LESLIE: Laurel in Pennsylvania is dealing with some stinky drains at home. Tell us what’s going on.
LAUREL: My bathroom drain and the kitchen drain, they’re starting to smell like garbage. And nothing I put down there helps. Can you help me?
TOM: What have you tried to do in terms of cleaning them?
LAUREL: Like dishwashing liquid and real hot, sudsy water.
TOM: Laurel, the odor that you’re describing is most likely what we call “biogas” or “biofilm.”
TOM: Because of the moisture and the waste that gets into these lines, they form sort of a mass of biological material that sort of gels together and releases an awful odor, kind of like something that’s rotting. And there’s no way to kind of make it simpler than that but it’s really kind of a gross thing.
So, what you need to do is – just sort of rinsing it out with hot, soapy water is not going to do this. You’ve got to take the drain cover off, you’ve got to get into the drain with a bottle brush or something like that and scrub the inside of the pipe. And that will start to break down the biofilm and that should help eliminate the odor problem. It’s not just a matter of rinsing it out, because that’s kind of just feeding it. You literally have to abrade this gross stuff away to make it clean once again. OK?
LAUREL: Alright. And I really enjoy your program every week.
TOM: Thanks so much, Laurel. Good luck with that project and call again.