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How to Clean Your Home’s Smelly Drains

Yellow rubber glove hand cleaning sink drain

The scent of a smelly drain can quickly flood your home, making your hair stand on end as you arrive home or lingering in the background while you try to cover it with scented candles.

Drainpipe issues can present as a rotting food smell that gets worse when you turn the dishwasher on or a rotten egg smell that won’t go away no matter how clean the toilet is. Even your washing machine isn’t exempt from letting off an occasional unpleasant whiff. 

If you’re looking to clean a specific drain within your home, use the following links to find the solution for the smelly drain of your concern.

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The cause of bad sewer smells entering your home may depend on where they are located in your house and what purpose the drain performs daily. Read through the most common culprits of unpleasant smells along with some remedies to get your home smelling better.

How to clean smelly kitchen drains

A kitchen sink surrounded by wooden counter

Common causes

Dishwasher odour is usually caused by accumulating food particles that contain grease and other substances. These can block the filter, spray arms or drains in the dishwasher. As the food waste accumulates, it begins to smell of fishy or funky flavours that may transfer to food. Additionally, bacteria can accumulate in your dishwasher, making it a breeding ground for viruses and mildew, potentially causing a leaky drain. 

Natural cleaning solutions

The market is flooded with products for cleaning smelly kitchen drains, but one of the best remains a combination of a cup of baking soda, hot vinegar, and boiling water. Allow the mixture to fizz and leave it for an hour, then pour boiling water down the drain to finish. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Actizyme Unblocker 
  • Bare Essentials Borax 

When to call for help

Sometimes a smelly kitchen drain simply needs a good clean. On the other hand, if your kitchen sink smells, doesn’t drain properly, or regurgitates waste, it’s time to call a professional. 

How to clean stinky garbage disposal drains

Common causes

For the homes that have garbage disposals, they can be highly convenient. However, food can get caught in the blades, quickly rotting, and stinking out your drain. Not having enough running water through the sink or dumping a meal’s worth of food down at once can be the culprit. 

Natural cleaning solutions

A smelly disposal can be remedied by pouring coarse salt, ice cubes, cold water and lemon peels down the disposal. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Draino – Kitchen Sink 
  • Drain Clean 
  • Easy-Off Drain 

When to call for help

If your disposal is clogged, not grinding effectively, leaking, slow draining or exhibiting persistent odours. 

How to clean smelly washing machine drains

Common cause

The most likely cause of a smelly washing machine drain is plumbing problems, primarily if you use hard water. This can result from poorly installed P-traps or clogs in the vent pipes and drains. 

Natural cleaning solutions

Run the machine empty with a cup of distilled white vinegar. If you have hard water, repeat the process with baking soda. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Dr Beckmann Washing Machine Cleaner 
  • Magic Antibacterial Washing Machine Deep Cleaner 

When to call for help

If you experience noticeable changes to your water pressure, if the machine is overflowing, or you hear water hammer in the pipes or tubes. 

How to clean smelly outdoor drains

Common causes

The sewer pipes from your home run outside to a septic system. If your outside drain or the outdoor areas around your home smell of rotten eggs, there is a high likelihood that sewage gasses are building up in your drain because of sewer pipe issues. 

Natural cleaning solutions

Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, leave it for 30 minutes and follow it with a large amount of boiling water. If your external drains are blocked with mud or a reachable object, you can usually remove these manually. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Septic Plus 
  • Ecocare Activator

For more information on how to fix blocked sewer pipes, read more here.

When to call for help:

Your smelly drain is likely a symptom of a more significant issue, and by using any temporary solution, the problem will keep returning. You should contact a plumber or residential pipe relining experts when you notice smelly drains, particularly if the problem is persistent or the smell is offensive. 

How to clean stinky bathroom sink drains

Common causes:

From brushing your hair to brushing your teeth, your bath sink gets a lot of work. So it isn’t surprising that it occasionally emits a noxious smell. However, your bathroom sink odour may come from hair or grease build-ups or partially blocked pipes. 

Natural cleaning solutions

Pour boiling water down the sink and remove any clogs from hair or debris that are reachable. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of lemon juice down the drain and let it sit before running hot water down the drain. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Easy-Off Drain 
  • Draino Bathroom Max Gel 

When to call for help

If your bathroom drain continues to smell or the smell gets particularly offensive, especially if it lets off a rotten egg smell. Additionally, if the drain stops working and the sink becomes prone to flooding.

How to clean smelly shower or bath drains

Common causes

Unfortunately, shower and bath drains are susceptible to growing mould and the pipes can become clogged from hair, soap scum build-up, and grease. This will let off a rotten egg type smell. 

Natural cleaning solutions

Pour half a cup of baking soda, followed by a full cup of vinegar down the drain, then flush with hot water. 

Chemical cleaning solutions

  • Draino Cleaner
  • Easy-Off Drain

When to call for help

If your shower is smelling like rotten eggs after use, this is a sign that there is a blockage in your pipes. Unfortunately, biological debris trapped in the pipes cannot generally be removed with commercial products, therefore, removal requires a professional plumber. 

How to fix your smelly drains once & for all

relining company clearing smelly drain

In some cases, your drain simply needs a good clean, which can be achieved through commercial and natural cleaners. If the drain continues to smell, your pipes may be cracked and in need of professional plumbing repair. Call a local pipe relining company to inspect any persistent smelly drain that a plumber can’t fix.

If you live in the Sydney area of New South Wales, The Relining Company services Sydney-wide suburbs with trenchless, no-dig pipe relining. So, your shower, bathroom, outdoor area, toilet, kitchen, or garbage disposal drains can be cleaned, repaired, and running freely without the need for complete replacement or excavation.

While sewer pipes typically run in a complicated web underneath floors and behind walls, pipe relining technology allows experts to access issues in even the tightest and most inconvenient locations. 

Good, healthy pipes will run perfectly in the background without forcing you to block your nose or scratch your head. If you’re experiencing persistent residential pipe problems, the only true way to fix them or gain peace of mind is to call the pipe relining professionals.

If you’re ready to stop smelly pipes in their tracks, call our team on 0404 879 929 or click here to book your free consultation. 

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