Getting a smell out of a drain

The drain in my kitchen sink smells. It is not pleasant. I have tried pouring bleach down it. Boiling water. Amonia (at a time different than the bleach of course.) And nothing works.

I was thinking maybe draino with the foaming action. That has to be able to kill anything down there and the foaming action would help it expand to catch all sides of the drain. I may try it.

Anyone have other remedies to try?

Try bicarb of soda and some vinegar.

Does it have a garbage disposal unit? If so I would run water, turn it on and throw a half lemon into it. It’s worked for me.

Do you have a septic system, or are you on city sewer? If it’s a septic you should not be pouring bleach and other chemical down the drain. You can, fairly easily, cause the system to stop working, resulting in serious problems a few months down the line.
It’s possible you could have a vent problem. If the plumbing system is not venting properly it can pull the water from the trap below your sink, allowing sewer odor to pass up through into the house. Vents can be installed improperly, or the can become plugged by critter or other, natural or manmade, events.

To build on what A.R. Cane is saying, normally there is some water in the trap that completely fills that part of the pipe, mainly to keep the sewer smell out. If there is a venting problem, it will create a partial vaccum behind the trap (sewer side) and suck water from the trap. But that would probably happen to all drains, including the toilet (you may see some bubbles in the bowl).

Otherwise, some previous owner may have used some ribbed, flexible tubing as an extension between the sink drain and the trap. If a DIY’er has problems getting everything to line up, they may opt for this option. A lot of gunk gets into those ribs and smells to high heaven.

If that is the case, you may need to replace the extension. That could be quite a hassle if the person who did the plumbing there last didn’t line things up properly.

Fergawdsakes no. :eek: In fact, unless you are a plumber, never use any sort of caustic drain cleaner. Ever.

There are “all natural” “build-up removers” that work by enzymes, etc. Sold next to the Drano, in fact I think Drano sells a brand of them. These should solve your problem, and are fairly safe to use.

I’ll second that. Lemons are very versatile things. I hear that they can be heated in a bowl of water in the microwave to clean out the inside of that as well.

There is no garbage disposal.

No professional plumber I know uses any sort of caustic drain cleaner. Ever.

Exactly. :smiley:

Are you certain the odor is coming from the drain itself?

We had a problem like this and it truned out that the odor was coming from the “overflow” hole in the sink.

It’s tricky to clean that sucker out properly, so I would suggest a plumber.

Or google may be your friend; trouble is I don’t know the correct term for the overflow hole and its accompanying path to the drain.

Good luck.

Replace the trap(s) and be sure that it/they have a water seal to prevent line odors entering the kitchen. Something else may be amiss but there should be not more odors from the drain. Could there be something else under the sink or in/nearby? Maybe that is the first place to check thoroughly before changing the trap. Then the trap, then email me if you haven’t found the source by then.

There are usually overflow prevention bypasses in lavatories. Never saw a kitchen sink with one that I can recall.
However the overflow goes into the drain at some point where it can be plugged with cotton waste or rags. Use a plastic funnel and fill the overflow with a caustic drain cleaner solution and let it set as long as possible. If it eats up the cotton plug and you can flush it clear all should be well. Otherwise remove the plug next day with rubber or plastic gloves and catch liquid for disposal. Any accumulcation in the overflow should be flushed out with hot water as a clean up measure.

Oh, sure, “safe” products. Where’s the fun in that? What happened to the days of practicing chemistry in the kitchen? If you can get away with something idiotically dangerous and live to tell the tell, you get a clean drain and a great story!

Or severe chemical burns. It’s a trade-off. (Yes, I’m kidding.)

A drain smell can be deceptively misleading. Most often it’ll be something stuck in the pipes as mentioned earlier. (I’ll second the double-take of an overflow vent in a kitchen sink.) However, it could also be something as innocuous as the rubber flaps of the drain itself. (Not sure if that’s the technical term, but I’ll trust you know what I’m talking about.) Anything that’s porous can hold an odor. Or fester into one.

FLAPS in a drain???
Where, what, why??? Strange. The only “Drain Flaps” google referenced were in high pressure hydraulic systems.
Or are you referring to the “Pop Up” outlet closure device?
That too is almost universally built into lavatories not in kitchen sinks.

The OP should think of the whole thing as a treasure hunt and look for any possible places that anything could lodge to muck up the normal kitchen smell.

I’ve had 2 garbage disposals, and every other one I’ve seen had it. Maybe I’m describing the “flaps” wrong.

I’m talking about the rubber “net” that is slit like a pie that is presumedly designed to catch stuff you don’t want to just fall into the drain. IIRC, it’s 5 “pie” pieces. Or at least, that’s the best way I can describe it. Again, every single sink with a garbage disposal I’ve ever seen had it. I must just not be describing it correctly.

If memory serves, it’s built into the piece that threads into the sink itself. Does that make more sense? I don’t know the name of the piece, and my description could be more clear. Help would be appreciated.

One other thing I remembered. A friend in college had a horrid stench from the drain. It turned out to be a gap in the piece that treads into the sink where food would get stuck and subsequently rot. A quick hit of a caulk gun cleared that up.

Again, when dealing with a drain smell, you have to look at anything possible.

OP stated no garbage disposal. I recommend a box of baking soda poured down the drain and flushed with boiling water after allowing to sit for 10 minutes.

Just for clarification, is this because of personal injury(I remember burning all the hairs off one arm when my glove split once) or because of damage to the drains?

Both. Lye can eat skin, eat pipes, and combine with grease in the pipes to make an unbelievable drain clogging soap. And because if they don’t work, you have a pool of extremely caustic water. THEN WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Right. We are in complete agreement here.