How to Cope With the Dreaded Smelly Drain

No one likes smelly drains. They never smell nice, and any smells emanating from them are indications that something has gone wrong. The good news is that most of the possible causes behind the smell are simple to deal with. Some you can handle on your own, but there does come a time when you have to call in the professionals. However, even that is a simple task, and making the drains in your home smell like nothing again won't take that long.

Make Sure It's Actually the Drain That's the Problem

First, make sure the smell is actually coming from the drain – and that the smell is due to an actual problem in the drain. One situation that people often face is the evaporation of the plug of water that sits at the bottom of the S-bend or trap in the drainpipe under a sink. The evaporation occurs because the weather is too dry (this is a real problem in places like Arizona and southeastern California) or because the sink has sat for too long without use. The plug of water prevents sewer gas from seeping back into your house, so if the plug is gone, you could be smelling sewer gas. Try running the sink for a couple of minutes while airing out the room; see if the smell disappears and then comes back. If it's gone, that was the problem, and you should run the sink every day or two to replenish the plug of water.

Have the Drain Professionally Cleaned

If the smell doesn't go away, then sewer gas isn't the problem, and it really is something in the drain. At this point, you want a literal fresh start; call a drain cleaning company to have all the drains in your home cleaned out thoroughly. You could resort to DIY attempts, but those can take a long time to work if you're dealing with an already smelly drain. Because the drains in your home can lead to shared drains, working to clear one could just push the smelly matter into the shared portion of the drain, where it can start sending up fumes to stink up other drains in your home. Get all the drains cleared out, and then work on preventing more smells from forming by using remedies such as baking soda and vinegar once a week.

Get the Garbage Disposal Fixed

Sometimes the smell in the drain is from food that the impellers in the garbage disposal aren't really mashing up well enough. The food gets stuck in the disposal. You may also want someone to look at the garbage disposal to make sure it's functioning properly, especially if it's an old model.

Professional drain cleaning is the fastest, easiest way to get rid of a bad smell in the drain. It is worth the money because it is so efficient. Once the drains are clear, you can work on keeping them clean and monitoring for any signs that bad smells are returning.