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Rotten Egg Smell Coming From Sink

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Every time I turn on my bathroom sink, it stinks like rotten eggs! (strong sewer smell). This does not happen anywhere else in the house. The kitchen sink, tub/shower, and washing machine do not stink at all, but the bathroom sink is just horrible when you turn on the water. Does anyone have any ideas why this would be and what to do about it? Thanks!

Robin from Washington, IA


Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By dkantol06/28/2013

Live in Costa Rica and a big problem here. Until you get to the bottom of cause of our same problem we fill baggies half full of water or put the plug in the drain so no air or smell can go any farther. Before we wash clothes (usually smell is there for first wash and comes through almost all the drains in the house... kitchen, washroom sinks, bathroom sinks and showers. We put the bags in place and drain plugs, problem solved. Here no answers either. I will survive or win!

By Paulie U.10/31/2012

Hello. I have the same problem in one of my bathroom sinks; no other sinks, not the dishwasher, not the shower, and not the toilets. It's definitely either the sink or faucet. The reason I know this is because we recently remodeled the bathroom and replaced both the sink and faucet - and then the problem started. If I leave the water "dripping" it won't smell - hence, it's not the drain/trap. I haven't figured out how to fix the problem - but I just wanted to share that it's most likely either the sink or faucet.

By supersoul07/17/2011

I have the same problem in the rightside of double sinks in both upstairs bath and possibly in the shower drains as well. Mostly notice when brushing teeth in the mornings. What do I do first? This us a new home.

By neil parsons08/01/2010

One other thing to check also is the overflow drain we have the same smells in our bathroom sinks and found that there was a build up growing in the overflow drains. We have rinsed it out with hot water and bleach but it keeps coming back i think its just that they are cheap sinks and need to be replaced.

By michael wheeler10/15/2009

So after having the same problem, I googled it. After a little bit of personal filtering I came to two possible problems.

1) Could be the inline water filter
2) Anode to the water heater could be going bad. Check both, in my case it was the anode (turned on the hot water to test, and was confirmed that way).

Hope this helps

By Marc Silsbe06/10/2009

Thanks to this site i fixed the problem myself.

Here were my symptoms:
1. Newer house
2. Smell of sulphur was in 1 room (bathroom)
3. Isolated the smell to the bathroom sink
4. Toilet / shower were fine

Removed trap under the sink (no tools required because of the PVC) and got rid of all the build up (mostly my wife's hair). Smell has dissappeared.


By Kurt05/23/2009

If you have sink made in China, odds are its the sound insulation they wrap all around the underside of the sink( Metal ?)You can contact me at 54awk AT Hot water in sink makes it worse, but its there all the time.

By mpb (Guest Post)02/12/2009

Had same problem in my kitchen sink. Plumber came, cleaned out the pipes, as he thought it may be siphoning effect, and sewer gas getting through. Also had one way vent put it. 300 bucks later, still the smell. 3 plumbers did not know what to do. I eventually replaced pvc pipes - no help. THEN replaced actual drain cap; it turns out there is a facade to match color of sink, and underneath it rotting food. Amazing how bad it can smell. Got a nice solid Koeller drain cap, and voila- gone. I can't believe the plumbers didn't not think of it. Hope this helps!

By The girl with the smelly sink (Guest Post)02/11/2009

I have odor coming from only ONE bathroom sink, there are two side by side. The J-trap was just cleaned out by a plumber - a week later? The sulphur smell again. YICKY.

By END THE FED (Guest Post)01/25/2009

I have the same problem. Im gonna demolish my house to get to the root of this! Even if it means being mean to my sink, who hasn't been all that nice to me, mind you.

By Starbuck (Guest Post)11/18/2008

I don't know if the smell is coming from the sink or my dishwasher. I do know that it's not there in the summer and it's worse when the heater comes on in the morning. Any ideas?

By Barbara. (Guest Post)10/24/2008

Check with your plumber, we just found a broken kitchen pipe under our house that was leading to methane poisoning. The plumber said there were spores and all kinds of things growing. Call Emergency Services Restoration, Inc. or another company to resolve. This will be costly, but the poison needs to be removed.

By Jane (Guest Post)09/28/2008

I have a very similar problem, but mine happens only when I run the D/W. For the first 30 sec - 1 min after it starts, there is a horrible rotten egg smell that comes from the sink and then it's gone. It doesn't happen every time I run the D/W, but it's often enough.I've tried pouring bleach down the sink but it still returns. Does anyone have an idea what can be causing this?

By Vickie Lewis (Guest Post)09/24/2008

I am having the same problem as Robin in WA discribed. Can anyone give me an idea why I would have this rotten egg smell only at one sink in my home? What is causing this? And what can I do to get rid of the smell?

Please Help!

By Peggy (Guest Post)07/07/2008

Check the vent pipes coming out of your roof. I started getting this very unpleasant smell in my back bathroom and could not get rid of it, same odor, smelled like rotten eggs. I took barbed wire and twisted it at the end to form a small 'ball' and went on the roof and worked it down the vent pipe. I thought maybe something, a small bird or small squirrel might have gotten down that pipe somehow. I know, this was a long shot, I really couldn't see how anything could have fell in and gotten stuck, but I tried this anyway. I just kept working the wire down the vent. At one point, it balked, like it was blocked.

So, I had to just make jabbing motions with it and all of a sudden, it started going again. When I felt that I had used enough wire to remove any object that might be blocking the vent I stopped, climbed back off the roof and went inside to check the bathroom. The odor was gone! I was one happy camper! I then went back on the roof and pulled the wire out. I was going to get some fine mesh wire and make 'covers' for all my vents, but never got around to it. I haven't had this problem since however. I'm sure there are better objects to use instead of barbed wire. I would have used a snake (plumber's snake) if I had had one, but I didn't, so I used what I had at hand. I still don't know what was blocking that vent, but it got it pushed on down to where it went out into the septic tank and I was rid of the odor and very happy about it.

By Kathy (Guest Post)03/25/2008

I have the same problem but only in two sinks upstairs, it doesn't go away and it smells no matter what temp the water is. I contacted the county zoning and they subsidize water testing for bacteria and nitrates. It cost me $10 per test, I am having 2 tests run ( 1 smelly and 1 non-smelly) to see what the problem is. I will post what the results are but the treatments I have found at the University of Minnesota are easy enough to do by myself.

By KERRI (Guest Post)03/11/2008

I have the same thing happening to me. I just bought my first house and I can't even show off my bathroom cause it smells so bad. The smell is coming from in the sink, not the water. I don't believe I have a trap or whatever. We had some problems with the guy that was putting the sink, toilet and bathtub in and I believe he left this part off. So what do I do now?

By Cynthia (Guest Post)01/26/2008

I have a serious issue regarding a bathroom sink that had no trap in it to my knowledge. A plumber came to our home for another issue and I asked him to check the sinks and shower head.
He immediately instructed me to open all windows and was highly alarmed that no trap was under the sink in the bathroom. This bathroom also had no ventilation fan. I have been very sick and read reports on methane poisoning. He told me that METHANE GAS was coming directly in through the sewer pipes. Has anyone gotten severely ill and ever lived in a home with no trap under the bathroom sink. I bought this home 2 ys. ago, had an engineer do the home inspection and all ... he never picked this up.
Very frustrating, yet thankful that some"one" found the cause of illness since I have lived here.

Any feedback, let me know.

By (Guest Post)11/13/2007

I also have a really horrible rotten egg smell in my house, which occurs every now and then, i am not sure what this like is and find it really hard to locate where its coming from, but i know it's coming from my kitchen.
Does anyone know what it could be?

By jennifer09/11/2007

I too have a similar problem. I live in the country and I'm on a cistern which comes from the city. I notice the smell real bad after it rains. I don't even have to turn my water on its just all through the house. I was wondering if anyone else has had this same problem? Thanks

By Guest (Guest Post)07/24/2007

I'm having the same problem. My house is fairly new so I'm surprised to find out that it's gunk built up in the drain. Every time I turned the water on, I'd get a whif. The first time it happened, I actually blamed my husband for passing gas! :)

By Wazza (Guest Post)05/03/2007

All the above answers could be correct.

If it is a build up of gunk in the trap ("S" bend) then there is a products in Australia that I have used and found very useful (but you must follow the directions very carefully). The product I have used is called "Draino" which is very strongly alkaline. It should kill any germs as well as clearing and obstruction.

Another possible consideration is if the plumbing has been modified or not installed correctly, you may not have a trap ( S Bend), if this is the case the smells from the main sewer pipes will be coming directly up into your sink. This is unlikely but I have seen this in a Do It Yourself (DIY) installation once. If you are not sure if you have the correct trap get some one in to check; no drain should be connected with straight pipe directly to the sewer pipes there must be a loop of pipe which holds some water to prevent the smells from passing up the pipe.

By (Guest Post)04/09/2007

I am having the same exact problem in my kitchen sink. It is horrible and embarrasing to have people over because my house smells like poop! I keep getting the run around from my water company and plumbing compaines no one knows how to fix it. We have tried flushing the pipes, changing pipes nothing works. Please help with any suggestions oneone might have.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]03/21/2007

(sent in by email)
This odor is caused by chemicals or bacteria in the water supply that are attacking the magnesium rod in the hot water heater It is usually associated with well water but is also found in municipal water. I have had the problem in both well water and city water.

If the odor is only in the hot water, the source is the hot water heater. If it is in both the hot and cold water, then the water supply is the source. In the case of city water, if more than one home has the problem, the source is the water supply.

It is often recommended that the magnesium rod be replaced with an aluminium or zinc rod to get rid of the odor. This may get rid of the odor, but it does not get rid of the bacteria, and replacing the rod with a different rod defeats the purpose of the rod in the first place.

This is becoming a serious problem in this country, due to the lack of information and government regulation.

Bottled water sales have skyrocketed here in the US. People are not going to buy water if the water coming out of the faucet is good.

There is too much involved to put it all in this email.

I would be glad to share any information with anyone who is interested.

Frank S Newkirk III

By Doggy. (Guest Post)10/07/2006

sulphur smell is probably coliform bacteria or hydrogen sulphide. If you are on a well please research "Superchlorination" and follow directions yourself. It's simple, and the pros will likely overcharge for doing it. If you are on city water, contact your water company immediately.

By Mary [12]09/25/2006

Yep, I would say it is probably a build up of gunk in the trap. You really need to pull it off and check but be sure to shut off your water valve under and put a small bucket or plastic container underneath the drain it before you remove it to catch any loose water.

By Warren D. Lockaby [2]09/24/2006

First I'd check the drain trap... the 'J' shaped curve in the drain pipe under the sink. Make sure it isn't leaking. Then sniff around to be sure the odor is coming from the sink itself and not perhaps from the bathtub drain, behind a wall, etc. If it is certain that it's coming from the sink itself you could have something unpleasant growing in the overflow drain in the sink. If that seems likely I would try the following, but only if I was certain no ammonia could be lurking in there: I'd pour some clorine bleach through the overflow system from the highest point accessable. For instance my sink has an indentation to hold a bar of soap and there is a small drain hole there. If you can get the bleach to it this should kill anything that might be making a home in there.

Be sure there is no ammonia present though, before you add bleach. If the two are mixed together the fumes are highly toxic. Good luck!

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