Fixing Your Smelly Drains: How to Stop Drains From Smelling?

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Smelly Drains – The Solution

In this article, we’ll explore how to prevent and cure smelly drains, covering how you can resolve problems yourself, along with detailing any emergency drainage services that are available to you.

Things to check:

  • Bathroom & Kitchen Drains, including stinky sink drains and smelly toilet drains
  • Backed-up Sewers
  • Appliances

The cause of the smell could be one of the above or a variety of different factors. We’ve included a list of some of the most popular causes below, and the best ways to deal with them, including tips for how to clean smelly drains.

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How to Clean A Smelly Drain?

Smelly Sink and Drains in Bathroom or Kitchen

By far the most common cause of malodorous domestic drains, blocked or faulty waste pipes from the kitchen or bathroom sink, shower or bath is also one of the simplest to rectify. So what to do if the bathroom or kitchen sink drain smells bad?

Usually caused by bacteria from organic waste of some kind being trapped in the pipework (hair, rotting food, cooking fats/grease etc.), the problem can generally be solved by filling the sink with hot water and adding bleach, before allowing the solution to drain through the pipes.

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Smelly Kitchen Sinks and Bathroom Drains

First, clean the drain plug as this may be partly responsible for the bathroom or kitchen drain smells.

Baking soda, allowed to rest, and then followed by white wine vinegar could be used as a substitute for those concerned with the environmental impact of bleach, although this could be less effective. This should clear the majority of obstructions.

You could also try melting ice cubes into the drains, followed by salt. The texture of ice cubes and salt can scrub and scour the sides, helping to collect any additional debris and act as a drain smell cleaner.

Once you’ve cleaned, freshen the drain up by washing through some ground lemon peel – not only does this give off a pleasant scent, but the citric acid can assist with the breakdown of grease.

Professional drain cleaners may be required if the issue persists or the blockage is of a more robust nature.

It is possible that the problem of bad smelling kitchen and bathroom drains could be down to a lack of soil vent pipe (SVP) – a vent that directs foul odours up and away from the home.

It is very rare that your house will not have one of these, but its malfunction or non-existence should be considered if smells continue to linger.

Backed-Up Sewers

Blocked sewers are generally caused by cooking fats, cotton buds and general sanitary items becoming stuck in the pipework. Often, when there is an increase in water pressure through a sewer system, these obstructions cause a sewage back-up, leading to bad smells permeating the surrounding area.

Even after the increased water pressure falls, deposits from the back-up will remain, and the sewage pipes will need cleaning.

A Solution

If the blocked area falls within your property boundaries (including outside your home, all the way up to the street) it is your responsibility to rectify the issue.

In the majority of cases, this means calling in professionals to carry out emergency CCTV inspections and high powered water jetting, as the task goes beyond simple DIY.

Here at Express Drainage Solutions, we’re committed to providing emergency drain services throughout the coronavirus pandemic, providing a contact-free service to safeguard everyone who uses us.

If you’re experiencing a drainage emergency in an external drain, we can help restore your drain to full working order while taking every precaution to protect customers and employees in times of pandemic.

If the blockage has occurred in a public sewer outside the boundaries of anyone’s property, the local authority for dealing with these matters should be contacted. In most cases, this will be the water board that serves the area.


Appliances in your home that use and drain water may be the cause of internal bad odours, especially if they are not well looked after.

A natural build-up of lime scale or fluff and debris from clothes can cause blockages in washing machine waste water pipes – similarly with food scraps in dishwashers.

A Solution

Specialised appliance cleaners can be used to dissolve most drain blockages, usually in the form of a tablet that’s used during an empty cycle/wash.

Alternatively, if you have access to the instruction manual, you may be able to unclog the drain hole yourself. Unplug the appliance and locate the drain hole.

Using a plumbing snake or similar, try to unblock the drain hole, before washing the drain hole with a single teaspoon of baking soda, followed by a cup of warm water.

Please always check with the manufacturer or manual before cleaning an appliance, as makes and models differ, and it may be wiser to consult a professional drain specialist if you’re unsure.

Developing simple habits, such as leaving washing machine doors open slightly after use to allow moisture to escape and avoid mildew build-up, can help.

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