What Causes Drain Odor?The two primary culprits behind unpleasant drain odor are clogs and the odor-causing bacteria that breed on them. In addition to harboring odor-causing bacteria, clogs contain all manner of nasty gunk and rotting debris. Unfortunately, clogs and their bacteria friends are not the only sources of unpleasant drain odor. Other culprits behind your stinky drains might include:
- Sewer Gasses: When waste and other organic matter forms decompose, they release noxious fumes known as sewer gasses. If you have underused drains in your home or business, their associated drain traps are most likely dry. Unfortunately, dry drain traps provide sewer gasses with the perfect escape route. You’ll generally know you have a sewer gas problem when your kitchen or bathroom stinks of old, decaying sewage.
- Mold and Mildew: If you leak somewhere along your drain line, then there is a chance that mold or mildew will make its home near that new water source. If you have mold or mildew near your drains, then their odor can easily permeate through your drain line.
- Plumber Error: Like anyone else, plumbers make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes can lead to some quite unfortunate consequences. If a plumber, at one point or another, forgot to do something like installing a drain trap or sewage vent, then drain odor is right around the corner.
How To Eliminate Drain Odor Caused by Clogs and Odor-Causing BacteriaIf you’re facing a drain odor problem caused by clogs and bacteria, then you have a few DIY solutions to try. Let’s break them down in a little detail:
Try Bleach: Bleach kills the majority of odor-causing bacteria. It also helps break apart the very drain clogs that harbor those stinky bacteria species. To use bleach to clean your drains, fill the affected sink with hot water. Then add a cup of bleach to the water and allow the sink to drain completely. Repeat the process until your drains smell normal again.
Use a Little Boiling Water: Like bleach, boiling water kills several odor-causing bacteria species and can help break apart clogs. However, it can also severely burn you as well as damage your plumbing. So, if you choose to use boiling water, make sure to avoid burning yourself or hurting your pipes. Use a little bit at a time (around a half of a cup), and don’t use more than a gallon of boiling water total. If you still have stinky drains after trying a gallon of boiling water, contact one of our plumbing professionals.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Might Do the Trick: Vinegar and baking soda can help eliminate clogs and odor-causing bacteria. To use them to clean your drains, pour a generous helping of baking soda into the affected drain. Then, add vinegar, a little at a time, until it reacts with the baking soda. You’ll find the sound of bubbles subsides once the process has run its course. That will be your cue to stop pouring vinegar down the drain. Finally, flush the drain with hot water until the vinegar smell dissipates.
Snake the Drain: Using a drain snake is a great way to break apart and remove clogs from your drain lines. To use a snake to clean your drains, insert the drain snake and remove it slowly from the affected drain. Repeat until nothing comes back up with the snake, and then flush your drain with hot water for around fifteen minutes. You can purchase a drain snake at your local hardware store for approximately $15.