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Smelly Drains: Causes and Prevention

Smelly Drains: Causes and Prevention


Here at Coastal Drains, we get numerous callouts on a weekly basis for smelly drains. Unfortunately, offensive smells coming from drains in our homes is quite common and is often the first noticeable sign that something is wrong. While a drain, from the outside, may appear clear, a horrible smell emanating from within can indicate a problem somewhere further inside the pipework.  

What Causes Smelly Drains?  Running Kitchen Tap

Smelly drains don’t just cause a horrible smell in one room of the house but odours are often carried from room to room. They can cause significant disturbance to your life but what exactly causes the unfortunate, yet common, problem of smelly drains?  There are, in fact, numerous things that cause a blocked drain, such as:  

  • Trapped Food¬†¬†Food

Trapped food is one of the most common causes of a smelly drain and can be the reason your drain has become blocked or is running slowly. Even if you take care to ensure food doesn’t wash down the drain, fragments of food and other organic material can slip by. This material may not be entirely washed out and may decompose within the pipework, causing a bad odour.  

The simplest solution to this problem is to fill the sink with hot water and bleach, then drain the water through the pipes. This will help loosen stuck food and other clogs, washing them away.  

  • Partial Blockages¬†Sink Drain

Another common cause of smelly drains is a partial blockage. A partial blockage is caused by a non-decomposable product being washed down the drain and blocking the normal function of the drain. A partial blockage causes waste to accumulate around it and become the source of an offensive smell.  

  • Pipe Accessories¬†


Many people do not know this but their pipe accessories could be causing their drains to be smelly. Depending on the material your drain pipes and accessories are made from, they can rust and absorb foreign materials over time, degrading and causing bad smells. In such cases as these, it is best to call our team here at Coastal Drains. We will be able to evaluate the cause of the problem and replace the pipes and parts.  

How to Prevent Smelly Drains  Kitchen Sink

Prevention is key. We always say at Coastal Drains that it is far easier to prevent a drain problem than it is to fix one. To prevent odours from making your drains smelly, be sure to catch any food materials in a wire mesh to prevent it washing down the pipes. It is also beneficial to maintain your drain by running boiling hot water down it at the end of each day just to ensure everything is running smoothly.  

Avoid putting fat or oil down your sink also as this can result in significant build-up within the pipework. Hair and soap in bath and shower drains are also a problem, causing numerous blockages. To prevent this, use a sink strainer to catch any hair and soap and avoid it being washed into the pipework. Washing your drains regularly is especially effective. Drain cleaners used on a weekly basis are ideal for maintaining the health of your drainage system.  

How to Clean Smelly Drains  Drain

Thoroughly cleaning your drains regularly and keeping all sinks and drain catches clean of debris build-up is essential to promoting the health of your drainage system. Knowing how to clean a smelly drain is essential in fixing the problem and also preventing any future issues.

  • Prepare the Drain for Cleaning¬†¬†

Before you start frantically cleaning, it is important to clear the drain opening of all debris ‚Äď including any food, hair or soap scum. This will allow for your cleaning to be effective and will stop anything else being washed down the drain that isn‚Äôt supposed to be.¬†¬†

The bad odour coming from your drain is likely caused by a build-up of bacteria and the following cleaning tips should help tackle the problem, read on to find out more.  

  • Flush Water Through the Drain¬†¬†Flooding Drain

To begin with, pour boiling water down the drain. Wait five minutes, then follow with cold water to help wash away in remaining grease. It is good to maintain the health of your drain by washing it out with boiling water at the end of each day. This is an effective technique as it keeps your drains running smoothly and stops material from building up.  

  • Use Baking Soda¬†

Baking soda is an especially popular cleaning method as it reacts with boiling water and kills all odours. Place a teaspoon of baking soda down the plughole of your smelly drain and follow it with boiling hot water. This will allow the baking soda to do its work. Keep pouring the boiling water steadily for 15 seconds. Baking soda is ideal for effectively killing odours and it should tackle the source of the smell by effectively washing it away.  

  • Buy a Stronger Solution¬†¬†

If the above methods have not worked for you, we would recommend buying a strong cleaning solution that is especially made to tackle drainage problems. Corrosive drain cleaner is especially effective for blockages and should be available at your local supermarket for purchase.  

Call Us Today Coastal Drains Logo

Have you tried all the above suggestions and none of them have worked for you? If there is still an odour coming from your drain after you have carried out the above suggestions, you may have a more serious plumbing problem, such as a clog further down your plumbing system or a pipe leakage or break. If nothing else has worked and you’re not sure what the problem is, it’s time to call our professional drain cleaners here at Coastal Drains. We can fix the problem for you quickly and effectively.  

We have hundreds of calls every month from customers concerned about an unpleasant odour emanating from their drains. It doesn’t matter how big or how small your drainage problem is, our highly-qualified and experienced professionals can help fix the problem for you quickly and efficiently. No problem is too big or too small. So, what are you waiting for? Call Coastal Drains today and get your drains back up and running again!