Bathrooms and kitchens can create strong smells in the modern home, but what do you do when there is a stink and no discernible source? The first place to check is your sink. So here’s what to look for and a few ways to deal with it.
- Dry p-drain: The simplest and most common reason a sink drain might stink is that your p-drain is dry. It’s called a “p-drain” not because of what goes down it, but because of its vaguely “p” shape. The fix for this is simple. Just turn on the faucet for about 30 seconds to allow water to collect in a pool in the p-drain. The water acts as a barrier and stops sewer gas from traveling up the drain and into your house.
- Clog or Biofilm Buildup: Biofilm is a nasty black-gray substance that builds up over time along the walls of your drains from discarded organic material and bacterial growth. This buildup can eventually form a clog, as can hair and other things you probably shouldn’t be putting down the drain. Clogs can often be discharged with a store bought drain cleaner, ammonia, or bleach. WARNING: NEVER use ammonia and bleach at the same time! They combine to make mustard gas, the same chemical used in World War I, and that would be the ultimate stinky drain!
- Leaky Drain or Clogged Vent Pipes: If you are clog free and your p-drain is wet, then it may be time to call in the professionals. The stink may be caused by broken drain pipes or a severe clog, and that means waste is being dumped somewhere in your house. A clogged vent might be from debris or an animal nest. Either way, your local licensed plumber will know how to remedy both.