Smelly Drains Fix | How to Clean Bad Smelling Drains For Good

It’s no secret that household and bathroom drains in particular are home to all sorts of organic compounds that can create lingering smells. So how do you fix this problem?

Smelly drains have a number of causes, so in order to stop your bathroom drains from smelling, you need to know what is causing the awful odour in the first place.

In this article, we will give you some of the most effective ways to stop the stench from your shower and sink drains.

In addition, we’ll talk about the common causes of stinky bathroom drains as well as effective ways to prevent the foul smell from coming back.

Common Reasons Why Your Drain Smells

Before we look for a solution to stop a smelly drain, we should first discuss the causes of the foul odour in your bathroom drains or any other drain for that matter.

Woman holding nose at awful smell.

Sewer Backup

Sewer backup is when the wastewater can’t drain due to a blockage or damage within the pipes.

When left untreated, sewer backups quickly fill the pipes which may lead to a foul odour coming out of your bathroom drain.

In addition, because drains are a common site for bacterial growth, sewer backup may cause the bacteria to spread into the bathroom floor or sink making it harmful to your health.

Dried Out P-Trap

A P-trap is the curved U-shape pipe found in every drain. Its main purpose is to prevent the methane gas from the sewer to travel back up through the drain and into your home.

It does that by constantly holding water in the curved section blocking the sewer gas from escaping through the drain and into your bathroom.

When water is drained, it pushes the trapped water into the sewer and gets replaced by the newly drained water.

The problem arises when the water in the P-trap dries out. This is a common problem in drains that aren’t used regularly like in the guest bathroom or basement bathroom.

When that happens, there is no water blocking the escape of the methane gas from the sewer resulting in a foul odour coming out of the drain.

P Trap pipe underneath a sink

Loose or Damaged Pipes

Another reason could be loose or damaged pipes. When this happens, sewer gasses can escape from the pipe resulting in a disgusting smell in your bathroom’s drainage.

Although it’s not very common, it is often the hardest problem to treat.

Organic Compounds

Last but definitely not least, the smell of organic compounds which is present in all sewers around the world.

Your drain receives an awful amount of wastewater compounds ranging from body oils and bath wastewater to urine, phlegm, and feces.

Not to mention your drain is a moist dark place making it the ideal site for bacterial build-up and mould growth.

As a result, you may be confronted with a disgusting smell that often lingers in your bathroom. Luckily, treatment of this cause is really easy using the methods we will show you.

How To Stop Drains From Smelling

Now that we’ve discussed the causes of bad odour in your drains, we’ll talk about some ways to stop it.

Pour Water Into The Drain

If you’re experiencing a bad odour coming from your spare bathroom or basement bathroom, this might be due to a dried-out pipe.

Simply pour a bucket of water into the drain and this should resolve the problem quickly.

Remove The Obstruction

As you pour water down the drain from the last step, you may notice that the wastewater does not drain quickly or at all. This can indicate a sewer backup.

The easist way to deal with such an obstruction is to use a plunger and some elbow grease. After about 1 minute of plunging the wasterwater should flow more freely.

Hand with yellow glove holding gunk and hair that was removed from a blocked drain.

Apply Chemicals

If after the previous two steps your issue is not resolved, the problem might be from organic compounds themselves.

You will have to attack the source of the odour which is the organic compounds found in your drainage systems.

A great product for this is Enzyme Wizard drain odour eliminator & maintainer. It effectively removes foul odours by breaking down organic matter into their basic elements of carbon and hydrogen.

Simply apply one does to your drain and this should solve the problem quickly.

Just a quick note. When using chemicals, make sure to use appropriate gloves to prevent skin contact.

Fix Leakages

If you’ve exhausted all the options above and still encounter a smelly drain problem, you might have a leakage due to loose or damaged pipes, or cleanout cups that have come undone.

This requires locating the leakage and fixing the source of the problem either by replacing or tightening the pipes, or refitting the cleanout cups.

If you can’t find the leakage source easily, it’s best to call a plumber.

How To Prevent The Smell From Coming Back

Now that you finally removed the smell, you need to follow a few simple routines to prevent it from coming back.

Use All Drains Regularly

One of the easiest ways to maintain a sink or shower drain and keep them from smelling is to make sure they are being used. This prevent the P-traps from drying out.

Make sure you turn on your faucets for just about 10 seconds at least once every three days. This includes your spare bathroom which you do not use very often.

Of course you may be able to push this timeframe out to once a week, but do not leave it too long especially in hot weather.

Regularly Use A Drain Maintainer

Apply a quality drain maintainer like this one, at regular intervals as recommended by the manufacturer. This will ensure your drains remain clog-free and deodorized.

Close up of a clean drain with water droplets on it.

Regularly Clean Your Bathroom

Regularly cleaning your bathroom reduces the number of bacteria and organic matter that are going into your drains.

Use a high quality bathroom cleaner like Bathroom Blast to wipe all surfaces, mop floors and clean the sink.

We recommend that you conduct a weekly general cleaning in your bathroom to keep it clean and smelling fresh.

Final Thoughts

Having a clean and fresh bathroom is a must for every household.

While you may burn incense or use other air fresheners, make sure you are not just masking the problem.

Depending on the cause of your smelly drain, the solution could be as simple as pouring an inexpensive chemical or as hard as replacing the pipes.

For most of us, keeping our bathroom drains fresh and clean also doesn’t require expensive equipment or professional plumbing services.

In short, proper maintenance and regular cleaning is the key to stopping your bathroom drains from smelling.