If you walk into your home or kitchen or bathroom and smell a foul odor, it may be coming from your drain. There are several reasons why your nose may be detecting that bad smell and the answer to removing that stink depends on what's causing it.

So, how do you get rid of smelly drain odors? If the smell is coming from your P-trap, cleaning that out and then using a solution of baking soda and vinegar usually removes the odor. If the problem is from decomposing food that's lodged in your garbage disposal or drain pipe, you can try combinations of ice cubes, lemon slices or bio-enzyme cleaners. But if the smells are coming from sewer gas, we recommend you call in a professional plumber to fix it.

Bad smells from your sink drain can have a variety of causes.

What Is Causing Those Smelly Drains?

There are 3 main issues that can cause that foul odor you are smelling from your drain(s).

  1. Problem in the P-trap under your sink
  2. Sewer gas
  3. Decomposing food lodged in the garbage disposal or drain pipe

Odors Due To P-Trap Problems

If food debris or an object has gotten stuck in the P-trap under your sink then either the lodged food is decomposing causing a clog and bacteria or any other food and grease that is now backed up due to the clog in the pipe is causing that beginning to rot and stink.

Another issue concerning the P-trap is with sinks that aren't often used. Many homes in the Atlanta, Ga. area have guest bathrooms or basement bathrooms that aren't used as often.

The P-trap under your sink is there to help prevent sewer odors from coming back up and filling your room and home with offensive smells. And when a sink is used daily, the P-trap remains filled with water. That water creates a seal that prevents those odors from seeping through.

So, if the sink is not used very often, the water in the P-trap eventually evaporates and the seal can't work (or doesn't work at all) and the result is, a stench.

Odors Due To Sewer Gas

If you notice that all your sinks and drains are sending out a stink then the problem is not in the drain pipe itself but more than likely in your sewer line.

You can confirm this if you hear gurgling sounds from your drain. That is usually a very common tell-tale sign that there's a problem in the sewer line that carries the wastewater from your home to your town's sewer system.

Odors Due To Decomposing Food

Food can get stuck anywhere along the line. From your garbage disposal, down to the P-trap and further on down anywhere along your drain pipe system. If the clog is big enough, that food can sit there and begin to decompose, begin to rot and create bacteria and before you know it - you're smelling the end result!

So, now that you know what may be causing the unsavory smells - here's some information on what you can do to fix it and get rid of those smelly drains.

How To Get Rid Of Drain Odors

P-Trap Problems

If the smell in your drain is coming from your P-trap (or if you're note sure) this is really the easiest problem to fix.

  • If you haven't used the sink in a while - simply run your faucet for a few minutes. This usually fixes the problem.
  • If running water doesn't work, try pouring a 1/4 cup of baking soda into your sink drain and then follow it with 1/2 cup of white vinegar. You will see some "fizz" coming out of the drain in a few minutes. Wait 10 minutes and then run the faucet with very hot water for about 3 minutes.
  • If you are handy, you may also want to dis-assemble the P-trap just to make sure there's nothing else stuck in there.
  • If none of these solutions work we recommend you call in a plumber.
  • Sewer Line Problems

    If that terrible smell is coming from your sewer line - it's time to call in a professional plumber to fix the issue. Don't wait because a clog can result in a drain backflow that ends up spilling raw sewage into the home or property and let's face it - that is not only a very messy and unsanitary scenario but it can be very costly to clean that up.

    4 Signs Of A Clogged Sewer Line

    1. Gurgling sounds from your drains or toilets.
    2. Water backing up out of drains or toilets.
    3. Water pooling around drains or toilets.
    4. Smell of raw sewage coming from your drains.

    You may notice that your house smells like poop or sewage after a rainfall, there are several reasons why that may be happening. Read On For More Information.

    Decomposing Food Problems

    There are a few handy solutions that you can do to clean your garbage disposal and/or pipe drains of any food debris that may be clogged and rotting.

    1. First thing first - you want to make sure that the clog is removed. Check our article on How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal for tips on how to do this.
    2. Avoid using a chemical drain cleaner like Drano or Liauid-Plumbr - they tend to be harsh and abrasive on your drain pipes.
    3. Instead, try a bio-enzyme drain cleaner - that may work to remove the odor from your drain.
    4. Go with a homemade solution of baking soda and vinegar (as mentioned above). This is a very common one that usually works.
    5. Put ice cubes in your garbage disposal as it's running. This is a great way to knock off any food particles that may be stuck on the blades and possibly a good way to help keep the blades sharp.
    6. Put lemon or orange slices in your garbage disposal as it's running. This is something you can do on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) just to get that nice citrusy smell in your kitchen.
    7. You can combine the ice cube method or the citrus method with a handful of course salt. The purpose of the salt is to "scrub down" the sides of the garbage disposal.
    8. Some homeowners like to add an essential oil to any of these solutions.
    9. For smelly shower or bathtub drains you can try the baking soda and vinegar solutions along with making sure that you've cleaned up any mold and mildew in the area.

    If any of these solutions do not work, we strongly recommend that you contact a professional plumber. The problem may be multi-faceted or deep in the drain pipe or sewer lines for you to fix.

    If you are looking for experienced, professional plumbers in the Atlanta, Georgia area, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    We Offer Drain Cleaning in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas

    Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.

    Acworth GA, Atlanta GA, Austell GA, Cartersville GA, Doraville GA, Douglasville GA, Hiram GA, Kennesaw GA, Lawrenceville GA, Lithia Springs GA, Loganville GA, Mableton GA, Marietta GA, Powder Springs GA, Rockmart GA, Roswell GA, Smyrna GA, Tucker GA, Villa Rica GA, Vinings GA, Woodstock GA, and Surrounding Communities.