How To Clean Smelly Drains

How To Clean Smelly Drains

You walk into your kitchen or bathroom and smell a strong odour that you can’t quite place, it could be coming from your drains. Drain odours are a common problem that happens over time, but there are some simple things you can try at home to get rid of them.

What Causes Smelly Drains?

Sinks are the most common site for smelly drains because of food being washed down them, but you can also have drain smells coming from your tub or shower drains. The most common causes of drain odours include:

  •   Bacteria and Debris: Grease, food scraps, hair, soap residue, and other debris can line your pipes, attracting bacteria that release foul-smelling odours.
  •   Mold or Mildew: These smells can occur if you have even a tiny leak under a sink or behind a wall.
  •   Sewer smells: If you have drains that aren’t used very often, sewer gases can rise up from them if the drain traps become empty.
  •   Sulfates in the water: If you notice a rotten egg smell, you could have a bacteria that entered your hot water tank that reacts with the sulfates.
  •   Clogged drain pipes or vents: When drain vents become clogged, you will be left with sluggish water movement and stagnant odours.
  •   Plumbing mistakes: Sometimes small mistakes are made in the plumbing of a home that can lead to odours. A missing P-trap or drain vent will certainly cause strong, pungent odours. Leaks or rotting drain tubes will also cause odours to escape from your drains.

How Do You Get Rid of the Smell?

Determining the best way to get rid of the odour will depend on the cause of it. There are a number of things you can try first, before calling a plumber.

1. For odours caused by suspected debris build-up: Make a solution of near-boiling water with vinegar. Slowly pour half of it down the drain. Wait a few minutes then run some cold water, then pour the remainder of the solution down the drain to wash away anything that is remaining. Another concoction you can try is 1 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 2 cups of hot vinegar. Allow the solution to fizz and settle for one hour, then rinse with hot water.

2. For clogged P-traps odours: Clean the P-trap under your sink. You will need gloves, a bucket, and a wrench. Remove the curved portion of the plumbing beneath the sink and empty it out into a bucket. Rinse the P-trap out with a garden hose. You may wish to soak it in bleach for an extra clean. Reassemble the sink before using it again.

3. For sewer smells: Once you have ruled out a gas leak, you can combat the cause of sewer smells from your drains. Sewer smells can rise up in drains that aren’t used very often as the drain traps become empty. Keep water regularly running through all the drains in your home to prevent this. If you have drains that aren’t used very often, like a guest shower, you could pour a little bit of mineral oil into that drain to slow evaporation of water from that drain.

4. For sulfates: Try turning up the temperature on your hot water tank. The standard setting on a hot water tank is 140 degrees, but you can turn it up to 160 degrees for a short amount of time.  If you have any odour-causing bacteria lingering in there, the higher temperature should eliminate it. Before you do this, make sure there is a pressure valve on the side of your water tank first. Once the tank has had time to heat up, turn off your main water supply line. Attach a garden hose to the lower drain port on your hot water tank, and empty your tank completely into the floor drains.

5. For preventative maintenance: We recommend the use of a non-corrosive, environmentally friendly drain cleaner like BioSmart for prevention of clogs and odours. BioSmart will reduce odours by breaking down lingering bacteria in your drains. It will also keep your drains flowing smoothly and prevent clogs. BioSmart can be used once per month in your drains for optimal performance.

6. For mold or mildew smell: You will require a plumber to determine the cause of this as there may be a small plumbing leak that has gone undetected.

If you have tried the above steps and still have the problem, you will require the help of a skilled plumber. Your plumber will do a full investigation of your home’s plumbing and provide you an accurate diagnosis of the problem, and repair options. Our plumbers at Always Plumbing & Heating can also do a professional drain cleaning for you to get rid of the odours, and provide you with BioSmart for preventive maintenance. When you have the work done professionally by Always Plumbing & Heating, you will receive guaranteed workmanship and the best warranties that we stand by 24 hours a day…Always!

Call us at 780-489-8118 today to get started.

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