Why Does My Kitchen Sink Smell?

I normally love the smells that come from my kitchen. Cooking and baking deliver such rich aromas.  However, last week I walked into my kitchen and was greeted by a terrible smell; it was coming from the sink.  I decide to phone my Mom and ask her, “Why does my kitchen sink smell???”

Luckily my Mom knew exactly what to do, but before I tell you how I fixed my smelly sink, let us look at the possible causes of bad smells.

Why Does My Kitchen Sink Smell?Pin


What Causes Sink Odors?

Here are the most common causes of a stinky sink.

A blocked or partially blocked sink drain.  

Food particles and grease end up going down your kitchen drain all the time.  This food waste will start to rot, and bacteria will build up and release a nasty smell.  This is what happened in my kitchen, and it was easy to fix.

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Problems with your drains.  

If your sink smells like rotten eggs or getting a sewer smell, this can signal a problem with your drains.  All of your drains empty into the sewer, and the simple “s-bend” shaped pipe (called a sink trap) provides a barrier between your home and the sewer. You will also have a plumbing vent on your roof that releases sewer gas when needed outside your home.

If you cannot identify the cause of your kitchen sink smell, you will need to call a professional plumber.

How to Get Rid of Kitchen Sink Smells

Once you know the cause of your unpleasant odor, it is time to fix it.

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How to fix a blocked drain.

Removing the grease and food debris from your drain is straight forward.  My Mom gave me a cool, natural, and cheap way to do it.

How to fix a blocked drain.Pin

I used baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water.  I poured a cup of baking soda down the sink and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then I poured two cups of vinegar down the sink.  It bubbled up (the kids loved it), and I let it sit again for ten minutes.  After ten minutes, I flushed it out with a kettle full of boiling hot water.  I ended up doing this twice, and the smell was gone.

If baking soda and vinegar don’t work for you, there are many commercial drain cleaners (like Drano).  

If you still have a rotting smell after trying the above steps, you will need to call a plumber.

I now incorporate the baking soda, vinegar cleanse into my regular cleaning routine to keep on top of any odor issues. 

How to fix a sink trap.

The most common cause of an awful sewer smell coming from your kitchen sink is a problem with your sink or drain trap.  If this drain tap is leaking, it can become dry, and this is when you get a sewer gas smell in your kitchen.

How to fix a sink trap.Pin

To check your sink drain for leaks, you will need to get under your sink.  Pour some water down your sink and see if there are any leaks.  If your sink trap is leaking, you will need to replace it or tighten up the seals. 

Once you have fixed the leaking drain pipe, you can deodorize using the vinegar solution above.

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Another culprit of an unpleasant sewage gas smell is a blocked plumbing vent.  The plumbing vent will be located on your roof, and you need to find the blockage.  My suggestion would be to get a plumber to help you with this.

Other Causes of a Smelly Drain

A smelly garbage disposal system can be the cause of kitchen smells.  Rotten food can build up on the disposal blades when mixed with cooking grease.

When using your garbage disposal, make sure you always have running water, which will help move the food debris down the drain.  

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Many people put citrus peel (from oranges or lemons) down their disposal to remove and odors.  One of my friends freezes lemon juice cubes and puts these down the disposal with coarse salt to help loosen debris.  Others use a mixture of white vinegar and cold water.

If you are experiencing a foul smell coming from your kitchen sink, there are a few things for you to do.  If you cant get rd of the foul odor from your sink drain, then you should call a plumber for help.