If a drain in your home—whether it’s in the kitchen sink or the bathtub—is stinking up the house, you need to address it quickly. That’s because, even if the smell is the result of a small, easily fixable problem, you’ll want to get it fixed quickly so it doesn’t turn into a larger, more expensive problem. Moreover, if the smell is being caused by a serious blockage, you want to hire a professional as soon as possible to prevent something dangerous such as a sewage back up.
Whatever the case may be at your home, addressing the problem quickly will keep your costs as low as possible. With that in mind, we’ll first review the steps you can take to prevent any unpleasant smells from taking up residence in your drains. Then, we’ll outline the scenarios and warning signs that indicate that it’s time to bring in professional drain cleaning help.
How to Prevent Smelly Drains
As you can imagine, preventing smells is generally easier than removing them when they already exist. But if you’re an inexperienced property owner, it’s easy to overlook the importance of taking measures to prevent smelly drains. That is until the unpleasant stench starts to permeate your entire home. Fortunately, many of the remedies listed below, in addition to preventing smells, will also remove them if odors are already coming from your drain.
Clean Drains Regularly
Home Advisor suggests using a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar to clean your shower, tub, and kitchen drains.
Here’s the exact process that they suggest: “Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain, and then pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda. After a few minutes, pour in a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of very hot water. Leave the solution for up to 10 minutes, and then flush through with more hot water.”
As a best practice, any time you boil water for any reason, instead of setting it aside to cool, you should immediately pour the boiling hot water down your drain. As an extra preventative measure, you should periodically sprinkle some baking soda down the drain. Cambria Bold, from TheKitchn.com, suggests doing this each time you do the dishes or once a week.
Finally, any time you notice extra debris, such as food in the kitchen sink, or hair in the bathtub, make sure to remove it. If left unattended, excess debris can quickly block up your drains and cause unpleasant odors.
Invest in Metal Mesh Screens
Avoid letting excess debris pile up in your drains, whether those drains are in the kitchen or the bathroom. To do so, you can manually remove hair or bits of food. However, some excess debris will find its way through unless you take preventive measures. This is where a metal mesh screen will come in handy. These are very affordable devices which you can place over your drain and regularly empty out.
Preventing Kitchen Sink Drain Smells
The most effective way to prevent drain smells depends—to an extent—on the type of drain. Kitchen sink drains face a wide array of potential odor-causing issues, especially if the sink is equipped with a garbage disposal. Inexperienced homeowners often make the mistake of tossing anything and everything down the garbage disposal, but this can lead to smelly problems.
To avoid kitchen sink drain smells, scrape food into the garbage as often as possible instead of down the disposal. This will help reduce the chance of odors because the blades of your disposal and/or your pipes won’t be covered in food. Also, if you have a disposal, you can prevent odors by peeling citrus fruit such as lemons, oranges, or grapefruits and dropping them down the disposal. If you don’t have a disposal, you may achieve the same effect by pouring citrus juice down the drain. By doing so, you may actually be treated to a pleasant, citrusy smell.
When to Hire a Professional Drain Cleaner
In the event that you’ve tried all the remedies outlined above, it may be time to hire a professional drain cleaner. While you may consider using a chemical cleaner, you should know that you need to use these cleaners with great care.
Chemical cleaners have noxious fumes and they may cause burns if the cleaner comes into contact with your skin. If used improperly, you may cause damage to your pipes. Chemical cleaners can be useful, but you need to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using them.
So, when should you hire a professional drain cleaner rather than tackle the dirty task yourself?
Is More Than One Plumbing Fixture Smelly?
Usually, if just one room in your home has drains that are showing signs of a problem, the issue should be relatively easy to resolve. However, if multiple drains are stinking up your house, it may be that the main sewer line to your house is blocked.
If this is the case, stop using any water in your house and immediately contact a professional drain cleaner. If you don’t, the blockage may cause flooding in your home. Obviously, the water damage from flooding could be extremely costly, but it could also be dangerously unsanitary (and gross).
DIY Methods Not Cutting It?
Depending on how comfortable you are with your own abilities, you may try some DIY methods to clean out a single drain. This could include some of the preventive measures above or a drain snake. However, if you’re not confident enough to use a drain snake, or you’ve tried it and it’s not working, it’s time to call in a professional. While it may cost you some money in the short term, the benefit will be well worth it in the long run.
Go With a Real Pro
It’s always tempting to try and use the lowest cost option available. If you decide to hire a professional drain cleaner to remove the odors from your drains, make sure you’re hiring a pro with experience and credentials.
Nowadays, professionals can go deep within the drains with a camera and take live video of the mysterious world that is causing the clog. Plumbers can identify if there is a blockage, the size of the blockage, and come up with the best solution to remove the obstruction.
Even if you have to spend a bit more, you’ll be happy you did because the issue will be solved quickly and efficiently. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the problem coming back anytime soon.
Horizon Plumbing Service is a full-service plumbing company that has over 30 years cleaning drains throughout Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex. To get a free estimate (with no trip charge), contact us or call 817-461-1117.