Do you have a mysterious, unpleasant odor in your kitchen? Something that doesn’t go away, no matter how many times you mop or take out the garbage? Check your kitchen sink.
Your kitchen sink might be the hardest working plumbing appliance in your home. If there’s a problem with it, chances are the food you run through the disposal or the grease you rinse off dirty plates isn’t getting properly removed from your house.
When food or grease gets caught in your kitchen sink’s pipes, it begins to rot. Rotting food or other debris can produce terrible smells and become a breeding ground for bacteria and pests. Even if you don’t have a disposal, the kind of stuff that drops down the kitchen sink’s drain can collect and start to smell surprisingly quickly. If your kitchen sink has a sour odor that you just can’t scrub away, here are a couple possible explanations and what you can do about it.
Grease in the Drain
If you pour cooking grease or vegetable oil down your kitchen sink’s drain, it can congeal to the sides of the drain, disposal, or lower pipe. Then, the grease starts to decompose and trap other falling debris. Soon, an unruly rotting smell wafts back up out of the sink and into your kitchen.
Scoop about a cup of baking soda into your kitchen sink’s drain. Follow that up with about as much vinegar, then let it sit for about ten minutes. While the mixture is doing its thing, boil a pot of water. When ten minutes have passed, pour the boiling water into the sink. The baking soda and vinegar should foam up and eat away the grease in your drain, and then the boiling water will flush it all out.
Dirty Garbage Disposal
Sometimes, scraps of food or other gunk can catch on your garbage disposal’s blades. That food rots and starts to smell. Problems increase if:
- You use your garbage disposal often.
- You run hot water with it.,
- You run no water.
- Your garbage disposal is older.
Grab about two cups of ice cubes and a cup of salt. Turn on the kitchen sink’s cold water and run the disposal for about 20 seconds. After that, dump the cups of ice and the salt into the disposal. Let the disposal keep running until all the ice cubes are gone. Cutting up the ice in cold water should have helped clear away the gunk caught on the blades.
For extra odor prevention, drop lemon, grapefruit, or orange rinds down the disposal while you’re running it with the ice. You can also add lemon juice and vinegar.
Problem with the Trap
If your kitchen sink smells more like sewer than rotten food, there might be a problem with its trap. A kitchen sink’s trap is the ‘P’ or ‘U’-shaped pipe directly beneath the sink basin. The trap’s job is to prevent sewer gas from drifting from the pipes back up into your house. It’s also handy for recovering lost wedding rings.
Usually, a sewer smell means that the water in the trap that blocks sewer gas has evaporated. This can happen if the sink hasn’t been used for awhile. If that’s the case, all you should have to do is run the sink and let the water fill back up in the trap. Watch the trap while running the water to make sure it isn’t leaking.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, take the trap out, empty it, scrub it down with an old toothbrush and a cleaning agent, and replace it. Clogs can build up in kitchen and bathroom traps. They may need to be cleaned periodically but if the problem persists, give us a call.
If there’s a sewer smell coming from your sink and you don’t think the trap is the problem, the next most likely culprit is the vent. The plumbing drain vent is basically a long, narrow, vertical shaft connecting your main sewer line to the outside air. This shaft vent stabilizes the pressure inside the pipe connecting to your sewer. Without it, water may siphon out of your sink’s trap, letting sewer gas in.
Plumbing vents are located on the roof of the house. When they’re not working, it’s usually because something is obstructing it, such as a bird’s nest or a piece of debris. There could also be a leak in the vent’s shaft, which would interfere with its pressure mitigation or could even let sewer gas into your house. In either case, you may want to consider calling a professional. Clearing a vent obstruction may not sound like a big job, but roof jobs are always trickier than they seem.
Keeping L.A. Smelling Good
If your kitchen sink smells, hopefully one of these quick fixes solves the problem. If the stench is coming from a simple clog, try plunging with a cup plunger.
If you’ve tried everything and you’ve still got a bad smell, give us a call. There’s more than one reason Mike Diamond is your “Smell good plumber.” With our pipe cleaning technology and years of experience, we guarantee we’ll find and solve your problem and get your kitchen smelling fresh again.