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How to Get Rid of Drain Smell

Nobody likes dealing with a smelly drain. It’s a household nuisance that disrupts your daily routine and comfort. If you’re looking for a lasting solution, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a variety of methods to get rid of that foul odor coming from your drains. Whether you’re looking for DIY methods or considering hiring plumbers for foul-smelling drains, R.S. Andrews has got you covered.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

The combination of baking soda and vinegar is a popular household remedy for drain smells, and for good reason. By pouring a cup of baking soda down the smelly drain and immediately following it up with a cup of white vinegar, you create a chemical reaction that fizzes and works to break down grime, gunk, and odors. Allowing this mixture to sit in the drain for a span of 15 to 30 minutes enhances its efficacy. After the time has elapsed, running hot water through the drain helps to wash away the loosened debris, effectively neutralizing the foul smells emanating from the drain.

Boiling Water

In some cases, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Boiling water can work wonders on a smelly drain. Boiling a pot of water and carefully pouring it directly down the drain can dissolve some types of build-up and flush away loose particles. Repeating this process a couple of times may be necessary, but the heat and flushing action often result in a fresher, more pleasant scent emanating from your drains.

Enzyme Cleaners

If you’re interested in a more eco-friendly approach, enzyme-based cleaners are an excellent alternative to harsh chemical cleaners. These cleaners contain bacteria that eat away at the organic material in the clog. By pouring the enzyme cleaner down the drain and letting it work overnight, you give it ample time to break down the gunk that’s causing the smell. Remember to flush the drain with warm water the following morning.

Citrus Peels

For those who have a garbage disposal, citrus peels offer an easy and aromatic solution. Placing peels from lemons, oranges, or grapefruits into the disposal and running cold water while turning on the machine results in a cleaner, fresher-smelling kitchen. The citric acid in the peels helps to clean the blades, and the citrusy scent acts as a natural deodorizer.

Salt and Hot Water

Grease is another common culprit for drain smells. In such cases, a mixture of salt and boiling water can be highly effective. By pouring half a cup of salt down the drain, followed immediately by boiling water, the salt acts as a scouring agent, dislodging the grease, while the boiling water melts it away.

Use of Ice Cubes and Salt in Garbage Disposal

For those with a garbage disposal, a combination of ice cubes and salt can be a highly effective cleaning and odor-removing strategy. Filling the disposal with ice cubes and sprinkling a cup of salt over them creates a grinding action when you turn on the disposal. The ice helps scrape off any attached grime from the blades, while the salt serves as a scouring agent, helping to eliminate bad smells.

Coffee Grounds

Lastly, if you’re a coffee drinker, you have a natural odor absorber right in your kitchen. Drying your used coffee grounds and placing them in a bowl near the problematic drain can help absorb bad smells. It’s important to remember, however, that coffee grounds should never be put directly down the drain as they can lead to clogs.

The Causes of Drain Smell

Understanding what causes a smelly drain is the first step in combating the problem. Usually, the smell emanates from a buildup of food particles, grease, hair, or even soap scum. These materials can get trapped in the pipes and start to decay, leading to an unpleasant odor. Another common reason is the presence of sewer gases escaping through a dry P-trap, especially in drains that are rarely used.

When to Seek Professional Drain Cleaning Services

In some situations, the stubbornness of the drain smell might be beyond the reach of typical DIY methods. Persistent odors that recur even after multiple cleaning attempts should not be ignored. If you notice multiple drains in your home emitting foul odors, that’s a significant red flag indicating a more systemic issue with your plumbing. 

Additionally, if you find pests like fruit flies hovering around your drain, they are likely attracted by the organic matter causing the smell, another sign that a professional cleaning may be necessary. More urgent signals include water backing up from the drain accompanied by a nauseating smell, which could be symptomatic of severe blockage or even sewer issues. 

When you encounter these complexities, it’s prudent to consult a professional drain cleaning service for a comprehensive solution. At R.S. Andrews, we are available 24/7 to address drain odor issues with a commitment to both effectiveness and environmental responsibility. Our advanced services include the use of high-definition pipe cameras to accurately locate the source of the problem. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Hard Water Contribute to Drain Smells?

Yes, hard water can result in the accumulation of minerals inside your pipes. Over time, this build-up can trap food particles and other organic matter, eventually leading to foul odors. You may consider installing a water softener to mitigate this issue.

How Often Should I Seek Professional Help?

At R.S. Andrews, we recommend an annual inspection of your entire plumbing system, particularly if you’ve encountered issues like persistent drain odors. In some cases, such as recurring issues or complex plumbing setups, more frequent evaluations may be warranted.

Do Cooking Oils and Grease Affect Drain Smell?

Definitely. Cooking oils and grease can solidify inside your pipes, creating blockages that trap food particles and breed bacteria, leading to foul smells. Always dispose of oils and grease in a separate container rather than pouring them down the drain.

Can a Damaged Pipe Cause a Bad Smell?

Yes, a cracked or damaged pipe can let in soil or even sewer gases, causing a bad smell. Such issues typically require immediate professional attention for diagnosis and repair.

Can Food Waste in My Garbage Disposal Cause Drain Odor?

Absolutely. Food particles can get stuck in your garbage disposal, leading to bacterial growth and subsequently, foul smells. Regular cleaning of your garbage disposal is essential to avoid this issue.

The Bottom Line

A smelly drain doesn’t have to ruin your day or your comfort. From DIY solutions to professional drain cleaning services, there are various ways to tackle this issue. Whenever you find yourself in a situation that exceeds your DIY abilities, R.S. Andrews’ specialized plumbing services are always ready to step in and resolve the issue efficiently and effectively.

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