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Smelly Drains

I need help, my husband and I purchased our first home a few months ago and I love it. But we have a really bad smell coming from all of the pipes in our house. It is the worst in the kitchen but, the bathrooms smell too. It is so bad I am embarrassed to invite people over to our house.

Does anyone know why this is happening and what can be done about it? Please help us make our house not smell. Thanks.



Smelly Drains

They may not be vented properly to the outside and this will cause gas to build up and stink. Also, if the house was vacant, the water may have dried in the pipes and promoted bacterial growth. I would also consider, if you have the plunger type stoppers for your sinks that they may need taking out and cleaning. For that you would need to unhook the stoppers under the sink and remove and clean. If this were my problem before anything else I would pour in regular old table salt, maybe a cup per drain, and let it set and flush it down with some vinegar, then flush it down with water. I do this periodically to clean and freshen my drains. Good luck!



By Susan

Smelly Drains

If your new home sat vacant for awhile, it may mean that the drains need cleaning out. Start with the kitchen drains by putting 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then follow with one quart of boiling water. The vinegar and baking soda will produce the foaming (cleaning) action you want and the hot water will dislodge any bits and particles along the pipes. Then, do this same procedure in all the bathroom sinks. Also, remember to use lemon rinds in your garbage disposal for freshening and cleaning.

If that doesn't work and your drains are all free-running, meaning there isn't any backup of water that isn't getting down the pipes, I would call a plumber and find out for sure why you are experiencing this problem. He would be able to tell you if it is a problem in the pipes or perhaps if the smell is actually emanating from your water. Our water is well water and the sulfur smell is awful, but we control that with a special filter. Costly but it sure works.


By Sandie

Smelly Drains

My husband and I had the same problem with a house in the city we rented years ago. Our odor problem was caused by the sewer gasses backing up into our pipes. The smell would have knocked you out. My landlord had to call a plumber who had to take care of the drains (which were a total mess, even though everything drained fine) clear out to the street. I would definitely follow the advice about the baking soda and vinegar first. I use it even though I don't have drain or sewer problems now. (07/30/2005)


By terdralynn

Smelly Drains

If you have a private septic tank you will need to buy some enzymes and flush them down the toilet. If this doesn't work you may need your septic tank pumped out.

If you are on a public sewer system put a little bleach in every drain and toilet and flush it down to clean the pipes of built up bacteria. I do this regularly, about once a month. (07/31/2005)


Smelly Drains

Just wanted to let you know I tried the baking soda and the vinegar in my tub and bathroom sink. It sure did foam up but, I also noticed the baking soda instead of turning into liquid and going down the drain, turned solid. I had a terrible time trying to get it to go down. I was so scared I would have to get a plumber in to fix it I will never use that method again (07/31/2005)

By grammar

Smelly Drains

My neighbor had the same problem, but he found out it wasn't his drains as much as his water from the well. Do you have a well? If so then checkout the pressure tank. If the house sat for a while then bacteria grew in the pressure tank and then transferred to the drains. You must clean out the pressure tank and then your drains otherwise you will continue to have a problem. My neighbor solved his problem by buying a new tank and filter and that got rid of all the smell.
Good luck. (07/31/2005)

By Jack

Smelly Drains

I have tried everything for my smelly shower drain. I put baking soda and vinegar and then bleach, and it still smells. Once the drain dries and gets wet it smells again. I then was forced to call a plumber. It was best money i spent, the smell is gone. They also put some good bacteria down the drain to take away the smell, and it worked.(06/26/2006)

By nydoc

Smelly Drains

Does your toilet, basin and shower drain well? To check this try filling up the basin, start running the shower. Then pull the plug in the basin and flush the toilet. If you here a gurgling sound it could very well be a venting issue. Venting problems can also cause it to drain slowly.

There could be something caught in your vent above where it goes out the roof, such as leaves. This means you will have to get a plumber to get up on your roof and run a drain snake down the vent. Also, find out if the other drains drain slowly. If so, then this is definitely a venting issue. Don't try the old remedies, get what is called an enzyme from any plumbing outfitters. Tthis will clean out your drains you should do this every 3 months. Any of the other drain cleaners cause a sludge type of substance which will eventually clog your drain good at the least. It could also eat you pipes from the acids. Hope I was of help. (01/10/2007)

By Tom - plumber

Solving the Smelly Kitchen Drain

I know this sounds strange, but believe it or not heated urine actually stops a smelly kitchen drain. If you heat urine in a throw away container in the microwave and pour it slowly down the drain the smell will actually go away. It is the chemicals and acids in the urine that will neutralize common odors found in drains. If you do a Google search on smelly kitchen drains you will see a number of other references and materials on this topic. Hope this helps! (02/21/2007)

By Mike

Smelly Drains

Try a Medidrain, check on the net. They are really good, and definitely get rid of the smell.


By Nat

Smelly Drains

We located the bathroom vent, not the exhaust fan, on the rooftop. We ran a garden hose through it, turned the water on and moved debris through the line. I believe the problem has been solved. Yeah! (12/15/2007)

By Gracie

Smelly Drains

The root of all evil: most of us have been taught to wash our hands and face in soap and warm water. It is a belief that we will rid ourselves of of germs and bacteria. Well that is as far from the truth as you now are from the moon. Water temperatures that we can stand for washing and bathing are a greenhouse, and perfect temperatures for the promotion of germ and bacterial growth. Only boiling temperatures can effectively "kill" them, so you are wasting your time and hot water trying to save yourself. Your closest bet is to wash hands and face in "cold water" as the colder the water, the more effective it is in not allowing incubation temperatures for germs.


Cold water retards. Warm water promotes (got it?) Another caution. These so called antibacterial soaps and other products that have risen on the market are more harmful to you than dirt. Once our bodies have been ridden of harmful bacterial and ones that aide. We will have lessened our immune systems and are far sicker that we had been before the introduction of such products. Leave them alone. A little dirt and common sense is better for you that becoming sterile.

Keeping Fresh Facilities

  • Bathroom sinks: hair and body oils do not go down easily with water that is at a temperature that we can handle without burns. Pour 1/4 cup of a good liquid dish detergent (Dawn, Ivory, Palmolive) for dissolving the greasy buildup. Allow the sink to set for a few hours to work. Do at night, if more convenient. Use a heavy tape like duct tape to seal off the overflow vent, usually located directly across from the faucets. Pour in 1 cup of cheap, dollar store engine degreaser, and allow to stand for 20 - 30 minutes. This will aide the detergent, and eat out all soap scum and dissolved hair. Boil 2 quarts of water and pour in to flush the residue.

  • Follow the flush with 1 cup of a non chlorine bleach (cheap brand will do) to kill the remaining bacteria. Notice: liquid bleach will ruin forever you shiny metal and cheap looking non metal plug and drain ring. Remember that this dry additive must have water to work. Once poured in, follow with 3 - 4 cups of luke warm water and allow to stand 20 - 30 minutes to kill bacterial odors.

  • Next time, shave or trim hair with a bowl or cup of water. Pour the dirty water down the toilet which has flushing power, and no trap to catch and allow buildup of debris. Let nothing go down your sink drains but clear or soapy water. Even then soap builds up at safe water temperatures and must be cleared by a degreaser or liquid clog remover.

  • Kitchen sinks: egg shells are a great abrasive to scrape the inside of your disposal.

  • Bath tubs: never use Drano or other harsh chemicals to clear your pipes. As mentioned above: the major reason for bathroom smells are hair and body oils trapped in the drain. Follow the same directions as you would a bathroom sink. (03/14/2008)


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