Sometimes, when there’s a problem with your drains, you’ll be well aware just by the smell emanating from your bathroom or kitchen.
While unpleasant, it’s a handy reminder that you need to take action quickly, but how do you know what issue is the root of the smell?
In this article, you’ll find some of the common causes for potent drain odours and the remedies you can use to vanquish and prevent them.
What causes bad odours in kitchen drains?
If it’s your kitchen sink that smells, there are a few common culprits that might have found their way into your drainpipe. A lot of issues can be traced back to food scrapings or fatty deposits rinsed from plates and cookware. Bacteria from organic waste can cause a musty smell, and the best way to prevent this from occurring is to not let food waste cooking oils going down the drain.
How to remove organic waste from your drain?
Thankfully, getting rid of clogged food waste – and the accompanying stench – is a straightforward task. Here’s what you can do:
The tried and true baking soda, vinegar and boiling water method: Pour one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar down the drain. The mixture will bubble up, so leave it for a few minutes. Then pour boiling water on top – a kettle-load to be safe.
Alternatives to this method include adding salt to the mix, removing vinegar and just using warm, soapy water, or using lemon juice and essential oils with hot water. Visit this page for more home remedies.
If the smell persists – or if it returns after a short period of time – you might have a larger mould problem in your drains. In this case, it’s best to call a professional to inspect and clean your drains.
Other causes of kitchen drain smells
Food isn’t the only cause of smelly kitchen drains. A couple of other causes could be:
Damaged pipework – if the smell keeps coming back, won’t disappear or is accompanied by slow draining water, there could be damage to one of your pipes, causing a blockage. Have this inspected by a professional.
Biofilm build up – Biofilm is a slimy buildup of bacteria – different from mould or mildew – which sticks to your drains. To prevent biofilm from growing, clean the area around your drains – and your sink – regularly.
What causes bad odours in the bathroom?
The most common drain odour you’ll find in your bathroom is a distinctive sulfur or rotten eggs smell – likely coming from your shower drain. A mixture of trapped hair and soap is the probable culprit, so dealing with this partial blockage is your top priority. In terms of prevention, a simple shower plug strainer will catch loose hair and chunks of soap, stopping them from getting caught in the pipes.
How to get rid of bathroom drain odours
As with the kitchen sink, the trusty concoction of baking soda, vinegar and hot water should deal with minor blockages and eliminate the sulfur smell. However, trapped organic waste isn’t the only cause of drain odours in the bathroom. The following issues will require more of an investigative approach:
A dry P trap – A P trap is a curved pipe attachment on your shower drain which traps water in order to stop sewer gases from coming back up into your home. Your P trap can dry out, so shine a light down your shower drain to see if there’s any water sitting in view. If not, pour a couple of cups down the drain and wait around an hour; if the water is still there, problem solved, if it isn’t, your P trap will need repairing. If water disappears from the trap after pouring it in, it’s likely you have a crack or split in the trap itself – this will also require professional attention.
Blocked vent pipe – Your drain waste vent pipe is responsible for releasing those sewer gases outside of your house. If it becomes blocked, you might be able to smell these gases around your drains. If you’ve tried cleaning your drains but the smell has not subsided, the vent pipe could be at fault. In this case, you’ll need to call in a drainage engineer to inspect the drainage system and make the necessary repairs/replacements.