Have you ever noticed a revolting smell in your kitchen or bathroom? Surprisingly, some of the foul smells can be traced back to plumbing issues. Finding the root cause can be difficult, and you’ll often have to do more than clean the drain to fix the issue.
Just like regular plumbing maintenance, the importance of getting to the root of the problem can’t be overstated. Why? Apart from the repulsive smell, plumbing odors can also be dangerous. That said, you need to get to the root of the problem and not merely mask it.
Straightforward Ways to Eliminate Nasty Plumbing Odors
Luckily, most plumbing odors can be easily addressed. Here are some practical and simple ways to resolve stinky plumbing issues once and for all:
1. Keep Drain Traps in Great Shape
When sewer gases enter your home, they can cause your drains to smell bad. This often occurs when the trap's water level evaporates or dries up completely. This can happen when the drain isn’t used often (e.g., drains in the basement).
To ensure the trap water level is sufficient to seal any harmful sewer gases, pour a quart of water into the drain, followed by a few tablespoons of cooking oil. This can help ensure the water won’t evaporate quickly and keep the trap sealed.
2. Pour Hot Water
Hot water can do wonders for your drains. Dirt and other residues that have hardened in your drain can cause it to smell. Hot water can help erode any hardened dirt. If you have leftover hot water from cooking, pour it down your drain.
Flushing your drains with hot water is also an effective way to ensure fat and grease won’t harden inside them and cause them to clog. Another thing that makes hot water great is that it won't damage your pipes even if they’re dated.
3. Pour Hot Vinegar
You’ve probably heard of using white vinegar to combat smelly odors. But did you know you can also use hot vinegar? This might not be common knowledge, but hot vinegar can be an excellent cleaner for your drains.
If you have a coffee maker, put equal parts white vinegar and water into the water chamber, run a half brew, and turn it off. An hour later, finish the brew cycle. Pour the hot vinegar down your drain, and it’ll take care of your drain’s foul smell.
4. Sprinkle Baking Soda
Periodically sprinkling baking soda down your drain can also help you eliminate any foul odor. It’s also an effective way to ensure your drains stay odor-free. When allowed to rest in your drain, baking soda will absorb foul smells and dissipate them, so they don’t escape into your home.
It’s recommended to sprinkle baking soda in your drains at least once a week. If you’ll be away for a few days, sprinkle baking soda down your drain before you leave.
If the bad smell from your drain persists, even with preventive maintenance and frequent cleaning, a professional should check and clean your system.
About the author: Rachel Watson is the senior content editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing, and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.