Nasty kitchen sink odors: how to get rid of unpleasant smell

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The kitchen is a special place in the apartment, where cleanliness and sterility should always reign. One day you come home or wake up in the morning, and smell a pungent and unpleasant odor coming from the sink and soaking into your favorite textiles. This problem requires a quick solution and the help will come in mechanical ways, special products, as well as simple home remedies. In this article we will discuss the causes of bad odor, as well as methods to eliminate and prevent it.

Reasons for sink odor

Before you start getting rid of unpleasant odor, you need to figure out the reason for which this problem has occurred. The most common causes of bad odor from the sink:

  1. A clogged trap. It is the plumbing fixture that first encounters food residue and other debris that remains on the walls of the sink. If the check reveals that the problem really is in the trap and the smell comes from it, and not from the sewer, then it is enough to disassemble and clean the trap, or buy and install a new one. We recommend buying Unicorn traps, at MasterProf online store, as they are excellent at dealing with dirt, easy to maintain and stand out for their reliability.
  2. Загрязненный сифон
  3. Infrequent use of the sink can also cause an unpleasant smell in the kitchen and again the trap is to blame. But it won't be at fault because it's dirty or clogged, but because it just doesn't have water in it. Trap accumulates water in its bend, creating a water seal, thus protects against odor. A water seal is also used in the toilet bowl. In addition to unpleasant odor, it also protects against insects and rodents, which can use the sewer pipes to move around. If you don't use the sink for a long time, the water from the water seal evaporates and unpleasant odors escape. The idea to bend a pipe to create a water seal came in 1775 to Scottish mechanic Alexander Cummings, who patented the S-shaped sewer spigot.
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  5. An improperly assembled trap can also cause unpleasant odors. If you decide to install the trap yourself, even though it has a simple design, be sure to study and use the manufacturer's instructions. Even a small defect can affect the formation of the water seal, without which there is nothing preventing the unpleasant smell from escaping.
  6. If you notice the slow drainage of water and the accompanying bubbling, you may have an air lock in the stack. In this case, it is necessary to call a plumber, as you can hardly solve this problem yourself.
  7. Воздушная пробка в трубопроводной системе
  8. Poor sealing between the drain stack and corrugated pipe can be one of the causes of nasty smell. The diameter of the inlet of the drain may be larger or smaller than the outside diameter of the corrugated pipe that comes with the trap. To solve this problem, you will need to buy rubber bands or adapter (usually called gaskets), otherwise the smell will continue to seep into your apartment.
  9. 6. With prolonged use, sagging corrugated pipe is possible, resulting in sewage either stagnates in the sagging area of the pipe, or flows out completely without forming a water seal.

Causes of unpleasant odor from the sink overflow

Unfortunately, sometimes the smell comes not from the drain itself, but from a small hole on the vertical wall of the sink (overflow hole).

There may be several reasons:

  1. Incorrect installation of the overflow tube leads to stagnant water in it and the formation of unpleasant odor.
  2. Improper connection of the overflow tube to the sink outlet, which also leads to stagnant water.

The easiest way to eliminate this odor is to pour pipe cleaning chemicals directly into the overflow hole.

How can sewer odor harm you?

The smell of decay from the sink can lead to health problems. The fact is that rotting, which occurs in the trap, is accompanied by the release of gases dangerous to human health. They can cause malaise, headaches, and a number of other negative effects.

Some of the substances released through the sewer pipe are hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and methane. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide have the most obvious odors, while methane has no odor at all. If you inhale gases for a long time, the consequences will come quite quickly. First of all, the nervous and respiratory systems could be seriously affected.


You can get rid of the unpleasant smell either with the help of a plumber, or on your own. To do this, you need to diagnose the problem that is causing the nasty smell.

  • First, try to observe how the sink works. Turn the faucet on at full force and run a sufficient volume of hot water. If the water does not stagnate and goes easily, while the smell does not get weaker, try resorting to home or special chemicals for cleaning pipes.
  • In case you have done the cleaning, but the problem remains, carefully examine the trap and pipes for damage and leaks. All elements of the sewer system must be dry and free of cracks. If you find leaks at the trap connections, try changing the seals.
  • If you have opened the faucet and water is draining slowly, it is likely that there is a clog inside the pipes or trap that needs to be cleared.

How to clear a clog in the kitchen sink

It often happens that over time in the pipes accumulate the remains of food, hair, grease and other waste products, forming a clog in the drain, which prevents the normal flow of water and has an unpleasant smell.

The clogs can be removed with the help of:

  • Drain snake;
  • Plunger;
  • Disassembly of the trap and subsequent cleaning of all elements.

Cleaning of pipes with a drain snake

Drain snake is often used by plumbers and is a fairly popular tool for dealing with clogs. It is a metal auger in the form of a spiral, which can bend and penetrate into all bends of the water pipe.

Сантехнический трос
Please note: if you have plastic corrugated pipes, you should not use a drain snake, because it will damage the pipes. In this case, the corrugated pipe should be dismantled and the cleaning process should be started from the place where it was removed.

The process of cleaning with a drain snake is quite simple:

  • Push the drain snake into the hole in the pipe and push it as deep as possible with twisting motions. The handle at the end of the drain snake is always curved to allow for rotary movements.
  • The drain snake should be pushed to the supposed place of the clog, or to the drain stack. The drain snake is very flexible, so it will easily pass all the bends of the pipes.
  • Once the drain snake has sunk to the desired length, continue making rotating motions to unclog the pipes.
  • Carefully pull the drain snake toward you to grab all the debris that has clogged the drain.
  • Run a stream of water to remove any residual grease.

If after performing all these procedures, the water started to drain well, then you have solved the problem.

Unclogging with a plunger

The plunger is a classic way to eliminate clogs in the bathroom, and not only in the kitchen, but also in the toilet. No special skills are required to use it, just a few simple steps:

  1. Press the rubber against the sink drain;
  2. Press down firmly on the handle;
  3. Pull the handle up sharply;
  4. Repeat this procedure several times;
  5. Open the faucet and run some water to check the result.
Important: this method only works if the sink consists of one section. If you have a sink with several sections, you will either have to use several plungers or plug other holes with a damp cloth.
Чистка вантузом

Cleaning the trap with your own hands

If you actively use of the sink, it will be necessary to clean the trap from time to time to avoid clogging and unpleasant odor. Surely, this is not the most pleasant work, but it is an effective method of dealing with clogs.

Before you begin, place a container under the trap as water may leak from it during the disassembling. After that, unscrew the trap, disconnect all connected elements and clean them, and then carefully put the entire system back together. If any of the trap sealing materials are damaged, they must be replaced. You can easily find a set of gaskets in a store to repair the trap.

Homemade and special chemical products for pipe cleaning

As popular saying goes, "There is no cleaning problem that salt, soda, vinegar and citric acid would not solve." In our case, this saying is quite relevant, because with these products, you can easily clean the pipe system.

Let's take a look at the most effective ways:

Salt. Take a cup of common table salt and pour it into the drain hole in the sink. Boil water in a kettle, and pour half a liter of boiling water into the same hole. Wait 2.5 to 3 hours and run the hot water to flush out the residue. Salt has good cleaning properties and corrodes grease and dirt in the trap.

Soda and salt. Mix the two products in equal proportions and pour into the drain hole and wait half an hour, then rinse with boiling water and repeat the procedure. If you have performed this procedure twice, and the smell from the sewer remains, then move on to another method.

Citric Acid. Pour a standard 30g packet of citric acid into the sink, then add some boiling water and plug the drain hole. After half an hour, turn on hot water to flush the pipe and sink.

Soda and vinegar. Put two tablespoons of baking soda in the drain hole and pour a glass of vinegar into it, then close the drain hole with a plug or cloth. After 10 minutes, turn on hot water to flush the system.

It is necessary to note that these remedies will help only with the elimination of minor clogs.

Химия для канализационных труб

Household cleaning chemicals

If home remedies do not help, and you need to achieve significantly greater results, you can turn for help to household chemicals, which can be purchased at almost any hardware store or in a store with a hardware department. We'll look at the most popular and effective remedies below:

Clog Remover

This product appeared on the market quite a long time ago, and now is one of the cheapest and most popular remedies for clogs and odors from the sink.


The gel product allows you not only to remove clogs or plaque, but also covers the plumbing system with a thin protective film that does not allow grease and food to settle on its walls.


It is a chlorine-based product that can be used to remove clogs or get rid of odor from the sink. It is also a versatile product for household use.


One of the most affordable and popular remedies against clogs and odors. Can't handle serious clogs.


A very effective product that handles even the most serious clogs in a few seconds. The product is very strong and not suitable for thin pipes.


Smell coming out of the kitchen sink is a real problem for any house or apartment. As it was said above, there are many ways to solve it. It's up to you to decide which one to choose. Each method has both advantages and disadvantages. To sum up, eliminating odor from the kitchen sink is a manageable task.

The most important thing is to find out exactly what causes this problem and which method is most suitable. If you cannot find it, it is better to contact experts who will help you get rid of this problem in the shortest possible time.