You’ve given the kitchen a complete cleaning, and yet you still smell some lingering odors. Puzzled? Try sniffing the drains. A lot of mysterious kitchen smells are coming from hidden sources down in your pipes.
From Los Angeles to Sydney, plumbers are often called for this simple problem when you can easily take care of it on your own.
There can be a few reasons why you are getting bad odors in your drains, though the main one is that there is a blockage or clog of organic material that smells. It’s not enough to actually block the water flow, but even a small build-up of food waste can start to rot and that’s what you’re smelling.
In particular, this can be a real problem if your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal. Food waste constantly gets clogged in it, and without proper cleaning, it will start to smell.
There is a small chance that you may have a more serious problem with sewage, but it’s highly unlikely. The best approach is to clean out the drains and see if that fixes the problem. If not, then call the plumber and see if there is more going on.
How to Get Rid of the Smell
Now that you have an idea why there are odors coming from your drain, you can take a few simple steps to get the problem cleaned up.
As we mentioned, garbage disposals are a special concern for drain smells. Let’s deal with that first. A popular technique for cleaning disposals is to take a handful of ice cubes and/or a quartered whole lemon (rind and all) and run through a cycle. The chunks of ice will break away any food clogs and the lemon will remove grease as well as freshen up the smell.
For the drain with no disposal, you have to take a less vigorous approach. A simple trick can be pouring a full kettle of boiling hot water down the drain. The heat will almost instantly melt any grease, which is usually the glue that holds food clogs together. When the clog washes away, the smells go too. This is a great and easy technique that you should do every week to prevent any problems rather than wait until you smell something.
Another trick is to pour vinegar down the drain, as the acid will kill a lot of bacteria that can be causing smells. For a stronger approach, pour about half a cup of baking soda down the drain and then follow up with the same amount of vinegar. The fizzing will break up small clogs and free any food build-up.
And don’t forget that drain basket. It’s a great tool to keep food out of the drain, but it can get pretty disgusting itself (especially the bottom side that you don’t see). Give it a good scrubbing once a week to keep it clean and smelling fresh. If you don’t have a drain basket, that could be part of the problem since all sorts of food bits and other material is ending up down in the pipes. Try getting a strainer basket and see if it helps with future smells, just give it a wash now and then.