Have you ever entered your bathroom or kitchen only to be smacked in the nose with a horrific and seemingly unidentifiable smell? If you can’t immediately discern the source of the smell, then the culprit is most likely your drains. That’s right. Drain odor is a thing, and it is far from pleasant. However, it’s nothing to worry about. There are several DIY steps you can take to eliminated unpleasant drain odors. However, first, we should talk a little bit about what causes them in the first place. So, before your stinky drains fill your entire home with a horrible smell, let’s get started.
What Causes Drain Odor in the First Place?
Okay, so we’ve established that your drains stink. But why? What causes unpleasant drain odor in the first place?
The most common culprits behind your stinky drains are odor-causing bacteria and clogs. Grime, gunk, hair, grease, and other types of household debris can clog your pipes. If left to their own devices, those clogs provide an excellent safe haven for several species of odor-causing bacteria. Also, depending on their composition, the clogs themselves can smell bad.
However, clogs and odor-causing bacteria are not the only contributors to unpleasant drain odor. Examples of other issues that can cause your drains to stink to high heaven include:
- Sewage: As sewage decomposes, it releases noxious fumes and gases. These gases are unpleasant and smell like old sewage. Sewer gases can permeate through your drains when there are empty drain traps. Usually, sewer smells occur in drains that are not regularly used.
- Plumber Error: Plumbers, like everyone else, aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes. Simple errors — like forgetting to install drain traps or sewage vents — can cause severe drain odors.
- Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew smell awful and are directly attributed to the existence of mold or mildew in or around your drains. Usually, mold and mildew smells occur in drains when there is a leak in the drain or pipes that connect to it.
DIY Drain Odor Elimination Procedures
Now that you know what causes drain odor, we can begin to discuss the DIY steps you can take to eliminate the problem. Practical and affordable DIY drain odor elimination procedures include:
- Pour Some Bleach in There: Bleach kills the majority of odor-causing bacteria. If you kill the odor-causing bacteria, you’ll destroy their smell as well. To use bleach to kill odor-causing bacteria, first, fill your sink with hot water. Then, add about one cup of regular household bleach to the sink. After you’ve added the bleach, allow the sink to drain. Repeat the process until the drain smells more like bleach than anything else.
- Try Boiling Water: Boiling water, like bleach, kills odor-causing bacteria. Additionally, boiling water can help break up clogs. However, boiling water can severely damage your pipes, so be careful. To use boiling water to fix a drain odor problem, just pour a little bit of it (like less than a half a cup) down the drain at a time. Repeat the process until your drain odor goes away.
- Use Vinegar and Baking Soda: When you mix vinegar and baking soda, a fizzy chemical reaction occurs. That fizzy reaction helps break apart drain clogs. The vinegar will also help kill some of the odor-causing bacteria that may have made their home in your drain lines. To use vinegar and baking soda, pour a liberal amount of dry baking soda down the drain. Then, add vinegar a little at a time until all the baking soda reacts. You’ll know you’re done when you can’t hear bubbles after pouring in more vinegar. Repeat the process until your drains smell fresh and clean.
- Try Snaking the Drain: While snaking your drain will do nothing to help kill odor-causing bacteria, the process is excellent at breaking apart and removing clogs. You can purchase a drain snake at your local hardware store for around $15. To use a drain snake to eliminate drain odor, insert the snake into the drain and jiggle it around. Then slowly remove the snake from the drain to pull up the clog. Repeat until the snake comes back up clean and your drain odor problems are eradicated.
- Use Water or Mineral Oil: While mineral oil and water will do absolutely nothing to help with drain-clog related odors, they can do wonders for sewer gas-related odors. Like we mentioned before sewer gasses can escape through empty drain traps. To get rid of those sewer gas odors, all you have to do is regularly run water down your less-than-often used drains. You can also try pouring a little bit of mineral oil into the drain to help prevent further sewer gas escapes.
If All Else Fails, Contact Public Service Plumbers
If you still have drain odor issues after attempting the previously mentioned DIY methods, then it’s time to call Public Service Plumbers. We’re always standing by to help you eliminate your drain odor problems. So, if you need help, then please don’t hesitate to contact us right away!