Why Is My Kitchen Sink Drain Smells Bad?


If your kitchen sink drain smells bad, you should look into the source of the odor.

If you don’t clean the smelly kitchen sink drain, it will become worse. It will smell like sewage or rotten eggs.

Garbage disposal residue, clogged sink drain, and wrong plumbing are the major causes of a smelly sink drain.

Keeping germs out of your kitchen sink drain can eliminate the odor. Cleaning your kitchen sink drain can also help in clogging, and water backing up into the sink issues.

With that in mind, every one of us is eager to eliminate this problem in a jiffy because who wouldn’t want to have a sparkling, clean, and shimmering kitchen sink?

Kitchen Sink Drain Smells Bad

5 Reasons for Kitchen Sink Drain Bad Smell

1. Garbage Disposal Residue

The garbage disposal is meant to gather solid food scraps in a grinding chamber and is installed underneath a sink. Its primary function is to break up food scraps so that they may pass through our pipes.

However, some of that foodstuff might collect on the disposal blades over time.

All of that food residue and grease might eventually combine to create a stinky disaster that makes a kitchen sink drain smells bad.

2. Clogged Drains

Some liquids and food scraps do not go down the sink. Food waste, grease, and even detergents may cling to pipe walls and promote bacterial development that will cause a sewage smell in the kitchen sink.

And if you’re sure there’s no leak generating the odor, bacteria is the most probable cause. Even a routinely cleaned sink may amass enough germs to produce an odor, especially if there is a blockage or clog someplace.

3. Plumbing Problem

You may detect stinky kitchen sink drain after plumbing maintenance or the installation of new pipes.

This might be due to a plumbing fault, such as a leaky pipe or a broken component.

When this occurs, the gases that regularly exit your pipes get stuck and build up, producing a bad smell.

4. Pipe Leaks

A leak that has gone unnoticed may sometimes generate a stench, and the sink will get the blame.

Water seeping from your pipes might saturate the wood and other items nearby, resulting in a moldy odor.

That’s why, if you notice a terrible stench in your kitchen sink, one of the first things you should do is check if there are leaks.

5. Accumulation of Sulfates

If your kitchen sink drain smells like rotten eggs, you may have too much sulfate in your water.

Too many sulfates in it may also cause drainage issues that may produce a stinky sink drain.

How to Get Rid of Odor in Kitchen Sink Drain

Step 1: Investigate

To get rid of the awful smell in the kitchen sink, you must first investigate the cause of the bad odor.

Try to figure out if it’s the water or the whole room that smells like rotten eggs.

Run the water for a few minutes to check if the odor becomes worse.

If it does, something unpleasant is trapped down there that you need to take out.

Step 2: Home Remedy

Cleaning a smelly sink drain is not a fun task. As much as we’d want it to, your kitchen sink doesn’t always smell like flowers.

With that, you should be prepared for such circumstances. You will need the following equipment to show your love to your kitchen sink: rubber gloves, scrubber, dish soap, baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, plunger, pliers, flashlight, screwdrivers, salt, and lemon.

Step 3: Sanitizing

After getting the equipment you need, you should clear your sink.

Pre-rinse your sink to wash down any visible wastes.

Here are simple ways to sanitize any sink after cleaning:

  • Plug the drain and fill the basin with a gallon of warm water.
  • Swish in a tablespoon of bleach.
  • Dip in a sponge; wipe down the faucet and handles.
  • Let sit for at least five minutes.
  • Rinse and allow to air dry.

Once done, you may now grab your gloves and try scrubbing to remove stains.

Step 4: Washing with Water and Soap

Fill your kitchen sink with boiling water, add some dish soap and stir the mixture until it seems frothy. When you’re finished, open the drain and pour the soapy stuff down it.

Now that, the odor should be eliminated from the sink drain.

Why does the kitchen sink drain smells like sewage?

Greasy Drain

An oily drain is one of the reasons why the kitchen sink has a bad sewer smell.

Accumulations of oil or grease in drain pipes can lead to blockages and you must remove them so that the water can flow freely.

If you neglect to do this, oil and grease can get stuck in the drains and gradually rot, causing unpleasant odors in the kitchen and home.

Clogged vents

A kitchen sink drain that smells like sewage may also be caused by a clogged vent. The clogged vent can allow sewage gas to flow into the kitchen.

Dirty garbage disposal

Dirty garbage disposal releases a kind of bad smell.

This results from certain foods being left out for long, it gets worse if it contains grease, fats, and oils. The reason is that the food produces bacteria and this will give off a noxious smell when it decays.

Also, if a little quantity of water is flowing into the garbage disposal, it can leave food remnants stuck at the bottom.

Then the accumulated food particles will rot and begin to produce a bad odor from inside. Again, dumping excess food waste in a worn-out garbage disposal can lead to dirty garbage disposal.

Sewer Smells

Sewer smell is also a common reason why your sink drain smells like sewage. This occurs when the drain that exists between the sewer and the sink is clogged.

Also, if your kitchen sink drain smells of sewer gas, the smell may be coming from the siphon or the plumbing vent. You will find the sink siphon under the sink.

If left unattended, the smell can cause irritation and health hazards.

Why does the kitchen sink drain smells like a dead animal?

The Rubber Splash Guard

Garbage disposals generally have a rubber splash guard, it prevents waste food smell from flowing through the garbage disposal back to the sink.

The problem here is that homeowners forget to remove this waste food and build-up trapped by the splash guard, the food particles accumulate and rot producing a very nasty smell.

A Dry P-trap

The p siphon has a major function of holding water, this will stop sewer gas from flowing through the sink drain.

If the p trap gets dry or something is stuck there, soon enough you will begin to smell something like a dead animal coming out from the kitchen sink.

An actual animal

This is uncommon but animals such as birds, mice, and even snakes (in some cases) may get stuck in the plumbing vent.

The plumbing vent runs through a pipeline that goes outside your home, mostly on the roof. It is inside this vent that small animals often get stuck.

The problem here is that the stuck animal will block the flow of sewage gas running through the vent and the dead animal smell will go back through the plumbing vent causing an offensive odor both in the kitchen and the whole house.  

Why does the kitchen sink drain smells like rotten eggs?

The grease stuck in the drain

Grease and fat that has accumulated in the kitchen drain can be a major cause of smelling like this.

No drain trap

If a proper drain trap was not installed with your new kitchen sink, that will likely be the cause. The reason is that nothing is preventing that smell coming from the sewer from flowing into your house.

Drain that hasn’t functioned in a long time

If your sink has not been used in a long time, the little water left in the p siphon can evaporate, and thus will allow nasty gas to flow from your kitchen sink.

Why does the kitchen sink smell bad when water runs?

The first reason why your kitchen sink smells bad when you run water through it is because of food buildup.

The food particles while washing your plates eventually ends up in your sink pipe, and once they begin to accumulate, they will cause a blockage in the drain pipe.

If you always neglect to unclog the drain pipe frequently, those leftovers will start to decay, and it is this food decay that causes a foul odor from your kitchen sink when you run water through it.

Another reason for this is inadequate water running through your drain u-bend trap. The trap’s function is to hold water so that it can trap the smell coming from the sewer line.

When the water gets dry and evaporates, the u-bend won’t be able to trap the smell coming from the sewer line and this will give that bad sewer odor a free flow passage to your kitchen once the water runs through your kitchen sink.

How to make the kitchen sink smell good

Lemon juice, Ice Cubes, and Salt

This combination is a perfect remedy to get rid of those sewage smell oozing out of your kitchen sink.

Throw some ice cubes, and kosher salt into the kitchen sink. After doing this, pour boiling water into the kitchen sink and wait for 8 – 10 minutes.

After that, pour cold water into the sink to confirm the kitchen sink isn’t smelling like sewage again. Once you’ve confirmed and all is looking nice, pour lemon juice on the sink basin to give it a nice smell.

Use dish soap to wash the kitchen sink

Fill the sink with hot water and add a little quantity of liquid dish soap to it for fragrance.

Scrub the sink thoroughly with an iron sponge to clear all the grooves and crevices around the kitchen faucet, then rinse the sink.

Freshen the garbage disposal with baking soda

You can also stop the odors coming out of your garbage disposal by adding a substantial quantity of baking soda into the garbage disposal.

Leave the baking soda in the garbage disposal for 5-10 minutes, then pour hot water into it. The baking also has its fragrance, so this will drive the odor away.

Getting Rid of Stinky Odor from Kitchen Sink Drain Using White Vinegar and Baking Soda Combination

If it still stinks after doing the last step, you may do some home remedies for smelly drains. The first method that you should try is by using a combination of white vinegar and baking soda.

Much to your convenience, baking soda and vinegar are also common household items that you’re likely to already have in your kitchen. Follow these steps:

  • Remove standing water from the sink with a cup or bowl.
  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, using a spatula or spoon to push the powder down the drain if necessary.
  • Pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain opening.
  • Place a stopper or cover on the drain to seal the opening.
  • Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and run hot tap water down the drain.
  • Use boiling water to break up more intense clogs.

Eliminating the Sink Drain Bad Smell Using Lemon, Salt, and Ice

If your kitchen sink drain smells bad after doing the steps before, don’t lose hope. You can still try this technique.

Pour several ice cubes and a scoop of salt down the drain while the garbage disposal is turned off. Turn it on and let it process the ice and salt for a few seconds before adding the lemon peels.

The salt and ice will assist remove any physical residue from your drain, while the lemon peels will help eradicate odor.

Eliminating Awful Odor from Kitchen Sink Drain Using Plunger

In any case, if the stinky odor doesn’t wear off, your kitchen sink might be clogged. Grab a plunger, get the food waste out as much as possible, and then go back to Step 4 to remove the clog finally.

To avoid clogs and disposal jams, it’s critical to understand what foods should be discarded and what the garbage disposal is intended to be used for.

If your plunger doesn’t do the trick, then you need to remove the obstructions manually. Before removing these obstructions, unhook the trash disposal from the wall outlet.

Remember to turn it off first. You don’t want the garbage disposal to start when your hands are lowered in the sink. Then, use a flashlight and examine for any blockages in the drain. 

If you come across anything, gently remove it with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Repeat Steps 4 to 6 again to make sure that the odor will be gone for good.

You can also polish it further with flour and make it shine by putting a few drops of baby oil to make it smell good.

Tips to Keep Kitchen Sink Drains From Stinking

Keep Kitchen Sink Drains From Stinking
  • Warm water for porcelain kitchen sink -Clean the sink by filling it with warm water and adding several cleaning tablets.
  • Keep outlet screened at all times -To prevent food from entering your pipes, place a drain screen over the plughole.
  • Flush sink weekly with 1 gallon of strong soda solution – If you are taking on a trip or won’t be using your sink for a while, you should maintain a routine to pour baking soda down the drain weekly to eliminate drain odor.
  • Clean and replace greased tray regularly – Pouring grease down the drain should be avoided. Instead, scrape the fat up from your pans and soak it before washing them with soap.
  • Schedule maintenance – To rid your kitchen of funky sink odors, you should plan regular service checkups. Having a skilled plumber inspect your pipes on a regular basis helps guarantee that they remain clean.
  • Don’t get it stuck again – Additionally, avoid throwing hard food waste such as eggshells, bones, fruit cores down the sink drain, which may get lodged and trap other food scraps moving through the sink plumbing.
  • Don’t let spoiled foods overnight in the kitchen sink – Never leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight to solidify; food particles may harden in the kitchen sink basin and cause bad odors.

Conclusion

It’s important to get rid of the kitchen sink drain odor immediately. This helps prevent the growth of germs and bacteria that thrive in warm damp environments like the kitchen sink.

Failure to eliminate germs may compromise your washing up, perhaps exposing your family to harmful pathogens. Smelly kitchen sinks are ugly and may make a kitchen unsafe.

Most kitchen sink drains stink beyond bacteria and grime at some point. I solved the issue using baking soda and vinegar methods.

So, check the above methods to get rid of the bad smell from the kitchen sink drain and let me know the result.

Lisa Burks

Hi, I'm Lisa Burks, founder of the Sink Formula blog, and plumber of 5 years experience.

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