Why Do My Drains Smell?

Are you smelling weird, nasty odors like the sewer smell or rotten eggs somewhere in your home?

Plumbing system problems can quickly cause smelly drains, which can be unpleasant. The unpleasant smell could come from your bathroom sink, kitchen sink drain, or main sewer line.

If you notice a nasty smell in your home, the issue is likely in your drain pipes.

If your kitchen sink drain smells weird, it might be time to check what's going on

However, if you’re wondering, “why do my drains smell,” there can be multiple reasons for that occurrence. Keep reading to learn more about smelly drains, their causes, and how to resolve them.

What Can Cause Smelly Drains In Your Home?

Multiple different things could cause your drains to smell funny, so it’s crucial to find out where are the smelly odors coming from and what’s causing them.

Below are some of the most common reasons for a bad sewage smell inside your home.

A build-up of Bacteria and Organic Matter

One of the most common issues that cause smelly drains is a build-up of bacteria and organic matter.

The build-up typically happens with your shower drains, but it can happen in other drains in your home.

If your bathroom drain smells funny, you can make a DIY solution to eliminate the odor

Just think about everything that goes down the shower drain; hair, soap, grease, and other waste can clog your drains and create an unpleasant odor. Also, odor-causing bacteria can get stuck in your drains, causing a blockage and smelly drain odors.

If this is your issue, you can quickly resolve it by following these steps:

  • Remove the drain cover and try to get out the particles stuck inside

  • Pour boiling water down the drain

  • Use a baking soda and vinegar solution to clean the drain line

This resolution should also work when there’s a sewer smell coming from your kitchen sink.

In such situations, food particles are likely stuck inside, preventing the drain from draining properly.

Issues With the Sewer Gas Drain Trap

Another common reason you have smelly sink drains or sewer odors from your home could be that you have issues with the sewer gas drain trap.

It’s a u-shaped bend that faces downwards and collects water, which is supposed to prevent the sewer smell from accessing your home.

If you have issues with the p trap of your sink, it will allow sewer smells to access your home

The gravity inside the p trap holds the water, and it refreshes every time you use the tap.

However, if the gas p trap has a leak or it’s not filled with water, it could release sewer gasses.

These are the possible problems sewer p trap problems causing bad smells from your sewer system:

  • Leaking sewer trap – If you think your sewer gas trap might have leaked, check for signs below your sink. If the kitchen or the bathroom sink smells bad, look for leakage signs on the floor. 

  • No water in the gas trap – When you don’t use the bathroom sink or other sinks in your home, the water from the dry p trap could evaporate.

  • If this is your issue, you can run some water down the dry p trap to see if the smell will disappear or not.

  • As the room is probably already smelly from the stinky sink, it wouldn’t hurt to air out the area and allow fresh air to help eliminate the bad smell.

  • Old homes might not have a gas trap – Very old homes have different plumbing systems and might not have a p trap.

    If that’s the case, you’ll need help from a professional plumber to install a new p trap.

Dirty Garbage Disposal

Many people have a garbage disposal in their kitchen sink, which is a convenient way to get rid of garbage. However, food particles, food scraps, and rotting food could remain in your kitchen drain, making your drain smell awful.

The disposal can clog happen if you don’t run enough water every time you use the sink and garbage disposal.

Luckily, you can resolve this problem by cleaning the smell with a DIY cleaning solution we’ll mention later.

How To Clean a Smelly Drain?

Although it may seem complicated to get rid of a bad drain smell coming from your home, it’s actually not that complicated.

While you can always reach out to a drain cleaning service, you can make these cleaning solutions.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

If your issue is not too complicated and the drain is simply dirty, you can use liquid soap and boiling hot water to clean the drain.

Repeat the steps below until the smells from the drains clear out:

  • Fill your sink with a couple of inches of hot, boiling water.

  • Add liquid soap until you get a bubbly mixture.

  • Once ready, open your drain to run the mixture through

Make a Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

If the boiling water and liquid soap trick is not strong enough to resolve your smelly drain issue, you can use vinegar, and baking soda as their chemical reaction is effective at cleaning.

  • You should mix vinegar and baking soda and pour the solution down your drain.

  • Allow the solution to sit for 10 minutes

  • Flush the drain by pouring the boiling water inside

Salt, Ice, and Lemon Peels

If you’ve tried the other cleaning tricks, but your drain still smells bad, you can use this cleaning solution.

Follow these steps to remove the weird smell coming from your sewer line to the drain.

  • Put ice cubes and coarse salt down your drain.

  • Turn on the disposal to process the ice and salt.

  • After a couple of moments, add some lemon peels inside

The ice and salt will dissolve residue from your sink, while the lemon peels eliminate the odor.

When To Reach a Professional Plumber?

If nothing works, call a professional to help you with the problem

If you have already tried cleaning your drain system but still have a bad smell, you might need to call a professional plumber to inspect the drain lines.

You might have a clogged drain or a similar issue preventing you from cleaning the drains while the sewer gases are still present.

You might need to speak to professional drain cleaners as well, as they are experts in eliminating sewer gases and stinky smells from your home.


If your drains smell, it’s essential to inspect them and find the cause of the problem. You can get rid of some smells by yourself, but some might require you to seek professional help.

Either way, react promptly to prevent further issues with your drains and plumbing system.

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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