Dealing with Smelly Drains: DIY Fixes and When to Contact a Plumber

If you've noticed a strong, unpleasant odor emanating from your kitchen or bathroom, the problem likely stems from your drain. Smelly drains are more common than you might think. From bacteria buildup to blocked vents, there are a number of reasons why your home's drains might be giving off such a foul odor. Fortunately, getting rid of the smell is often easy to do on your own.

In this guide, we'll provide you with some DIY tips on dealing with smelly drains and promoting a healthier, more hygienic home. We'll also help you determine when you need to call a plumber if your own efforts fail.

  • What causes smelly drains?
  • DIY fixes for smelly drains
  • When to contact a plumber

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Since 1989, Thornton & Grooms has been proud to offer top-tier plumbing services, as evidenced by the thousands of 5-star reviews we've accrued over the years. When you call for a drain unclog, our honest and professional technicians will work hard to get your drains flowing smoothly. We offer fast, same-day service and flat-rate pricing!

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What Causes Smelly Drains?

There are a number of factors that can cause a drain to smell. One of the most common causes is a buildup of gunk inside your pipes, such as grease, food particles, and hair. As these substances fester inside your drains, they can cause bacteria to grow, which creates an unpleasant odor.

Another common cause is a blocked vent. Plumbing vents allow gasses to travel through the pipes and safely funnel out of your home, leaving no odors behind. However, if the vent is blocked, the gasses will leak out through your drains and create a foul smell. A professional plumber will closely inspect your system to identify the root cause of the issue.

DIY Fixes for Smelly Drains

Before you call a plumber to fix your smelly drain, there are some techniques you can use to address the problem yourself. One tried-and-true method is to simply use hot (but NOT boiling) water. Pour warm water down the drain and wait a few minutes for it to flush out any buildup. Next, pour some cold water to solidify any remnants that are stuck in the drain. Finally, pour the rest of the warm water down the drain to fully flush it out.

White vinegar can also act as a powerful solution for smelly drains. After heating 4 cups of distilled white vinegar, pour half down the drain and run the water for about a minute. Next, pour the rest of the vinegar and repeat the previous steps. Alternatively, you can test solutions of baking soda and salt or lemon juice and baking soda to rinse out any buildup in your drains.

When to Contact a Plumber

While it's always a good idea to test out a few DIY methods before calling a plumber, quick fixes aren't always enough to get to the root of the issue. If your drains still smell despite your best efforts to flush them out, it might be time to call in the reinforcements. A professional plumber will patiently inspect your plumbing system to find the source of the odor and ensure that it doesn't return.

There are a few telltale signs that you need to contact a plumber. One red flag is a consistently backed-up drain. If soap, water, and other particles aren't gliding smoothly down your drain as they should, this is a sign that there's more to the story than a foul odor. Additionally, if you've tried warm water, white vinegar, or a different solution down your drain to no avail, you likely need a professional to step in.

Keep your plumbing system running smoothly with our highly-rated plumbing team.

At Thornton & Grooms, we offer fast, convenient scheduling and no-surprise pricing. Whether you need to schedule a drain unclog or a different plumbing service, you can always count on our experts to do the job quickly and efficiently. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, it's easy to see why we’ve earned the repeat business and trust of your fellow Michigan friends and neighbors!

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