Sink Smells Bad

My sink has a moldy, mildew smell that I cannot figure out. It smells like a dishrag that has soured. I do not have a disposal or anything, it is just a plain sink. I have looked under my sink and there is a small dried puddle but it does not stink under there at all and it does not seem to be leaking anymore for whatever reason.


I have used bleach and I did the baking soda and vinegar thing. It works for a day or two and then that smell is back. I can walk by and get a whiff of that smell and it makes me furious! What can I do? Is there a service for this?

By sweetie6116 from GA

Anonymous Flag
April 7, 20090 found this helpful

You are probably getting small whifs of sewer gas which means your sink drain is most likely in the pre-stages of getting clogged.

Since the sink is still draining, you can't use a plunger. You can try drain cleaner, but those never work for me. You can go to a store such as Home Depot and buy the smallest snake they have. A snake is a flexible metal strip used to remove clogs from drain pipes. Stick the snake through the sink drain, then push it far enough to get past the trap. The trap is the U-shaped area of the drain pipe under your sink. You will hopefully push some of the clog past the trap, and break up the rest enough that it can be flushed down the drain. Now remove the snake. If sludge comes up with it, do not let it go back down the drain. You can repeat with the snake once or twice.

Clean the sludge out of the sink, then run both faucets full blast for a minute or so. If the smell is gone from that point on, you're all set. If the smell remains or returns, the trap will have to be removed, cleaned and replaced. It is not a complicated job, but if you can't do it yourself, a friend or relative might agree to do it for you. Otherwise you'll have to call in a plumber.

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April 7, 20090 found this helpful

If it smells sour, then it is probably just the water that hangs in the S trap. I would use fresh squeezed lemon juice, one a day, every day. I did that for a smelly dishwasher---it had the type of drain filter that was not removable, and always smelled, but that helped alot.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

Do you live in the country? It may be your sewer backing up, if so call a plumber or have your septic tank pumped out. The smell can be very harmful, so get it checked out.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with the one who suggested a drain snake, & would like at add a bit more. We had the same problem with a sink drain. When nothing helped, I used a thing sort of like a small drain snake, but it has a round brush bristles surrounding the end of it for an inch or two. After pushing it down through the drain far enough that I could tell it had gone through the drain U-shaped thingie, and pouring some baking soda down to help it scrub back and forth a few times, the smell went away. It was a cheap item, something found around the same aisle with the replacement kitchen faucets at Walmart in our area, home centers like Lowe's probably have them, too. Every so often, I use it on all the drains in the house & it keeps us from having clogs or odor.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

Some kitchen sink drains have a vent device that is located right under the sink. It's a lousy design & I've only seen it installed in rural areas where building codes are not enforced very effectively. It is also sometimes installed on sinks located in an "island" counter. All house waste drains need to be vented to prevent the "glub-glub" sound that also can cause back-ups due to too much air in the waste pipes. Normally, waste water drains are connected to vent pipes hidden in the walls that go up through the roof.

If you have this undersink vent, it can get wet on occassion & mildew forms in it. Have someone who knows a little about plumbing to see if this is the case. They are easy to spot. A plumber can remedy the situation.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

If your house is older like mine, there is no exhaust pipe from the sink drain up through the roof. My main sewer pipe has one but it is not near the kitchen so I also have the problem.

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April 13, 20090 found this helpful

You can purchase the stuff for bacteria in the pipes. Certain times of the year I find this issue. Maybe we don't use one bathroom more than the kitchen, etc. Running daily water is important.

Under your kitchen sink, replace the pipes. And note, the poly plastic ones do come loose at the rings much faster. I have a dishwasher (portable) which dumps water down the sink, then I have no problems. In the heat of the year, you can get fruit flies setting up shop in the drains too. Nasty, pesky things, that like the residue left in the pipes. Take a large kettle, boil water, pour down drains daily.

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August 27, 20090 found this helpful

You can also crush up some denture cleaning tablets or alka seltzer tablets throw them in the drain & add a cup of water and let it bubble for a little while, then flush with hot water.

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