Why Does my Kitchen Sink Drain Smell and How to Get Rid of the Odor

kitchen sink with plunger feature
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Are you dealing with an unpleasant odor coming from your kitchen sink drain? This type of issue not only smells bad, but can also bring about additional health concerns. Although the cause of this problem can vary, one thing is certain – it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible!

In this article, we find out the common reasons for “why does my kitchen sink drain smell?”, how to get rid of drain smell, and how to prevent it from occurring in the future. Keep on reading to find out more!

kitchen sink with plunger

Why Does My Sink Drain Smell?

Here are a few common reasons for kitchen sink drain smells bad in households!

Plumbing errors

One of the most important and overlooked parts of the house is the plumbing work or pipe installation, this could cause a bad smell to come from your drain.

Clogged Sewer Vents 

A very common reason for smelly kitchen sink drains are clogged sewer vents. Clogged sewer vents on your drains could be caused by trapped or buildup in the pipes which then causes growing odor and even drainage problems.

Mold and Mildew

When there are problems with the installation of pipes on kitchen sinks, more often than not there will be leaks and these leaks can lead to mold and cause a smell.

Bacteria Growth

If you’ve checked for a leak and can’t find any, a likely reason is bacteria. It is very common for bacteria to be part of the plumbing system but too much accumulation could make your kitchen drain smells like rotten eggs.

How to Stop Drains Smelling?

kitchen sink being cleaned

Knowing the cause of the smelly drains is just the first step, now we should take a look at the smelly drain fix you need to know to stop the bad odor. Here are a few common solutions:

Check P-trap

The P-trap or the u-bend of the pipes are the very common culprits of buildup in the plumbing that can cause bad odors. Regular maintenance can help avoid the odors from building up.

Pour boiling water with dish soap

For most households, hot water and dish soap are all you need to clean up your drains. You can do this by filling up your drain with a few inches of warm water and adding some dish soap, mixing until bubbly and opening the drain to let the mixture run through the pipes.

If you have a new kitchen sink or mild odor only then this could be all that you need to do to make sure things smell good again.

Unclog the Drain with a Plunger

With a little bit of muscle power, a smelly drain can be cleared out by a plunger. Fill your sink with water halfway,  cover the drain with the cup of the plunger and push it up and down several times.

You can do this if you have a single sink, but if you have a double sink, you need to use a plug or wet cloth to block up the other sink.

After this, you can remove the plunger and see if the water has drained. If the water does drain, continue to do it a few more times to make sure to clean out the buildups.

Clean stinky drain with vinegar and baking soda

Some household DIY ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can also help in stopping the bad-smelling odor.

All you have to do is start heating some water, as the water is heating, you can pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain, and let the mixture sit. After around 10 minutes, the water should be at boiling point, and you can flush the drain with it.

How to Prevent Sink Drain from Smelling

kitchen sink 3

Once you’ve experienced a stinky drain, the only thing you’re probably thinking about is learning how to get rid of it and how to prevent it from happening again in the future. Now that we’ve covered the solutions to a stinky drain, let’s learn how to prevent bad-smelling drains.

As it is practically impossible to keep a kitchen drain always clean, it is important to make note of what foods or content you should avoid pouring down the drain to keep from the accumulation of residue that can cause bad smells, here are some examples of what to avoid:

  • Fats, oils and grease – a very common and unavoidable substance to pour down the drain is oil and grease from food and cooking but these can cause clogs to the drain that can lead to bad odor for the drain.
  • Starchy food – the same way with greasy substances, starchy food being flushed down the kitchen drain can cause substance residue to build up and eventually start smelling.
  • Egg shells – egg shells down the garbage disposal may sound crazy but some households dispose of egg shells this way. Not only can this pose as a blockage but it can also be a cause for rotten egg smells to come from the kitchen sink.

Now aside from knowing what substances to avoid flushing down the drain to avoid it from smelling, it is important to note that a big factor for maintaining your kitchen sink’s cleanliness is its installation. If you ensure hiring a good plumbing service in installation, then that itself can help lower smelly kitchen sinks drains.

Final Thoughts

A stinky kitchen drain is such a downer as it can make you automatically lose your appetite even while you’re still cooking, and it also makes the entire kitchen setting seem unsanitary. That is why knowing the root cause of the question “Why does my kitchen drain sink smell?” is very important. After reading this article, you can be sure to find a solution and know preventive measures to avoid it happening again in the future.


Is it OK to pour bleach down the sink?

The short answer is NO. Bleach is one of the chemicals you should avoid ever pouring down your sink as this can cause chemical reactions that could even cause your pipes to get damaged or even burst which would leave you with an expensive and nasty mess.

Is vinegar good for drains?

Yes! Vinegar is one of the best household ingredients for DIY solutions to clean out the drain, paired with baking soda. You can see the steps at the top of this article to know what to do.

What is the best homemade drain cleaner?

The best for smelly drains is baking soda + vinegar. They are ingredients that are almost always found in any household and they are very effective in cleaning out the drain, from physical residues to bad-smelling odors!

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