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5 Ways to Fix Smelly Drains, Ranked

Does an unpleasant smell waft up to you when you stand over your drain? You can temporarily fix your smelly drain problems with a home solution. Most of the time, your home solution will only work for a little while. It’s ideal while you’re waiting for the plumber, or if you’re expecting houseguests, but it won’t solve your problem forever. In fact, some of the drain cleaning methods suggested online won’t work at all.

So, which of the solutions should you try? Here are five ways to fix smelly drains, ranked from worst to best.

1. Boiling Hot Water

You’ll find suggestions online that you should turn on the kettle, let it boil, and then pour it down the smelly drain. However, we don’t suggest this method as it is very unlikely to work. Your drain already has water running down it constantly, so hotter water is not likely to dislodge much. That is unless the cause of the smell is fat or oil-based clog developing in the drain. Then a ton of boiled water may melt it and move it further down the drain. It may be harder to smell, but it will also be harder to fix when the time comes.

The only way the boiling water method will be really helpful is if the trap in your sink is dry and letting sewer smells up. In this case, water of any temperature would fill the trap back up and make a big difference. So, we suggest you start out by just running the tap water for a minute.

2. Bleach

Bleach can kill any bacteria or mold that is causing the smell in your drain (if that is the cause.) However, bleach is not the safest household chemical, and you generally shouldn’t pour it down the drain. It can mix with other liquids and release harmful gases. It can also cause serious problems if you have a septic system, which relies on good bacteria to be healthy. Besides, bleach will not help remove any clog that may be causing the smell.

If you do decide to pour bleach down your drain, do not mix it with any other chemicals and make sure it is a diluted solution.

3. Bathroom Cleaner

There are a wide range of bathroom cleaners that you may try to use to remove the smell from your drain, and they can be temporarily effective. You should not use intense cleaners that are meant to remove scale or rust, as they may damage the inside of your pipes.

If you do decide to put bathroom cleaner down your sink, do not mix it with other cleaners or with bleach. Rinse the drain afterwards by running the water for a few minutes.

4. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combining baking soda and vinegar will create a bubbling reaction that can move whatever is in your pipes. If something in the pipes is causing the smell, then this combination can remove it. However, you risk creating a clog or making it worse when you use this method.

5. Contact the Professionals

The best way to get rid of the smell in your drain is to reach out to your plumber. The smell may be from a partial clog developing down the line. Or, it could be from a bacterial infection in your water heater. A professional can discover the source of your smelly drain and fix it for good.