Home » How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink: A Complete Guide

How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink: A Complete Guide

Do you have a smelly drain in your bathroom sink? If so, you are not alone. Many homeowners and renters face this problem at some point. A smelly drain can make your bathroom unpleasant and even unhealthy. It can also indicate a bigger issue with your plumbing system. There are some simple and effective ways to get rid of the odor and restore your bathroom’s freshness.

This article will show you how to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink using natural ingredients and tools you probably already have at home. We will also explain what causes a smelly drain and how to prevent it from happening again.

What Causes a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink?

A smelly drain is usually caused by a buildup of organic matter and bacteria in your sink’s pipes. This can happen for various reasons, such as:

  • Hair, soap scum, toothpaste, shaving cream, makeup, and other debris accumulate over time and form clogs.
  • Food particles, grease, oil, coffee grounds, and other substances get washed down the sink and rot in the pipes.
  • Sewer gas that seeps back into your sink due to faulty plumbing or venting systems.
  • Hard water leaves mineral deposits and reduces water flow in your pipes.

These factors create an ideal environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow and multiply.

When these bacteria break down the organic matter, they release foul-smelling compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (which smells like rotten eggs) and methane (which smells like sewage).

How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink: 3 Methods

You don’t need to call a plumber or use harsh chemicals to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink. You can use some natural ingredients and tools that are safe, cheap, and effective. Here are three methods that you can try:

Method 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two common household items that can work wonders for cleaning a smelly drain. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that neutralizes odors, while vinegar is a natural disinfectant that kills bacteria. Together, they create a fizzy reaction that loosens up the gunk in your pipes.

Here’s how to use this method:

  1. Pour hot tap water down the drain for a few minutes. This will help loosen the soap scum and other debris in your pipes.
  2. Add ½ cup (133.6 g) of coarse salt to the drain. Salt acts as an abrasive that scrubs away the gunk on the sides of your pipes.
  3. Sprinkle ½ cup (90 g) of baking soda down the drain. Try to get as much of it as you can down the drain, where it will react with the vinegar later.
  4. Pour 2 cups (470 mL) of white vinegar or lemon juice down the drain. Both vinegar and lemon juice are acidic and will react with the baking soda, creating a bubbling effect that will push the gunk out of your pipes. Cover the drain with a stopper or a towel to force the mixture down the pipe.
  5. Wait at least 10 minutes for the cleaner to take effect. The longer you wait, the better the results will be.
  6. Flush the drain with more hot water. This will wash away the cleaner and any remaining gunk in your pipes. You should notice a significant improvement in the smell of your drain.

If your drain is still smelly, you may need to repeat this method a few times until it is completely clean.

Method 2: Drain Auger

A drain auger, a plumber’s snake, is a flexible metal cable with a corkscrew-like tip that can clear clogs in your pipes. You can buy one at your local hardware store or online for around $10 to $20. A drain auger is especially useful for removing hair and other solid objects stuck in your pipes.

Here’s how to use this method:

  1. Remove the drain plug or stopper from your sink. You may need to unscrew it or pull it out with some force.
  2. Insert the tip of the auger into the drain and push it down until you feel some resistance. This means that you have reached the clog.
  3. Turn the handle of the auger clockwise to hook onto the clog and pull it out. You may need to repeat this process several times until you clear the clog completely.
  4. Flush the drain with hot water to remove any remaining debris and bacteria.
  5. Replace the drain plug or stopper.

If your drain is still smelly, you may need to use another method to disinfect and deodorize it.

Method 3: P-Trap Cleaning

The P-trap is the curved section of pipe under your sink that connects to the drain pipe. It traps water and prevents sewer gas from coming back into your sink.

Over time, the P-trap can also trap hair, soap scum, food particles, and other debris that can cause a smelly drain.

To clean the P-trap, you will need to take it apart and remove the gunk inside it. This may sound intimidating, but it is quite easy if you follow these steps:

  1. Place a bucket or a large bowl under the P-trap to catch any water or debris that may spill out.
  2. Loosen the slip nuts that connect the P-trap to the drain pipe and the sink tailpiece. You may need a pair of pliers or a wrench to do this.
  3. Carefully remove the P-trap from the pipes and dump its contents into the bucket or bowl.
  4. Scrub the inside of the P-trap with a brush or a sponge and some dish soap or baking soda. Rinse it well with hot water.
  5. Reattach the P-trap to the pipes and tighten the slip nuts by hand. Make sure there are no leaks.
  6. Run hot water through the sink for a few minutes to flush out any remaining gunk and bacteria.

Your P-trap should now be clean and odor-free.

How to Prevent a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink

Cleaning a smelly drain in the bathroom sink is not fun, so you may want to prevent it from happening again. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Avoid putting food, grease, oil, coffee grounds, and other substances that can rot in your sink down the drain. Dispose of them in the trash or compost bin instead.
  • Use a drain strainer or a hair catcher to prevent hair, soap scum, and other debris from going down the drain. Clean them regularly and replace them when they get worn out.
  • Run hot water through your sink after each use to flush out any residue that may linger in your pipes.
  • Use baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice once a month to deodorize and disinfect your drain naturally.
  • If you have hard water, install a water softener or use a vinegar rinse to prevent mineral deposits from forming in your pipes.
  • If you suspect the plumbing or venting system is faulty, contact a professional plumber to inspect and fix it.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions related to how to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink:

Why does my bathroom sink smell like rotten eggs?

The smell of rotten eggs is typically due to bacteria in your pipes that produce hydrogen sulfide gas from organic matter. This can occur from clogs, stagnant water, sewer gas backups, or problems with your plumbing or venting system.

Why does my bathroom sink smell like sewage?

A sewage smell is often due to methane gas, created by bacteria breaking down organic matter in your pipes. It can occur from a clog, standing water, sewer gas backup, or faulty plumbing/venting.

How do I get rid of the sewer smell in the bathroom?

To get rid of the sewer smell in the bathroom, you need to identify and eliminate the source of the problem. This may involve cleaning your drain, unclogging your pipes, fixing your plumbing or venting system, or calling a professional plumber for help.

How do I unclog a bathroom sink?

To unclog a bathroom sink, try using a plunger, drain auger, baking soda, vinegar solution, or a commercial drain cleaner. However, be cautious with chemical drain cleaners as they harm pipes and your health. Follow the instructions on the label, and wear gloves and eye protection.

How often should I clean my bathroom sink drain?

You should clean your bathroom sink drain at least once a month to prevent odors and clogs from forming. To freshen and clean your drain, try using common household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice. Using a drain strainer or hair catcher can also help prevent debris from clogging the drain.

Conclusion

A smelly drain in the bathroom sink can be a nuisance and a health hazard. It can also indicate a bigger problem with your plumbing system. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink using natural ingredients and tools that you probably already have at home.

In this article, we showed you how to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink using three methods: baking soda and vinegar, drain auger, and P-trap cleaning. We also explained what causes a smelly drain and how to prevent it from happening again. We hope you found this article helpful and informative.

If you have any questions or comments about how to clean a smelly drain in the bathroom sink, feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you. And if you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family who might benefit from it.

Thank you for reading, and happy cleaning!

Bath Arcadia
Bath Arcadia