What’s Causing the Smell Coming From My Drains?
LESLIE: Barbara in South Dakota is on the line. What’s going on?
BARBARA: We have a strange odor coming from the drain in the kitchen sink and also a slight drain in the bathroom. Not sure where it’s coming from or how to correct it, so I thought I’d give you a call.
TOM: You describe it as a smoke-like odor?
BARBARA: It’s smoke, like someone’s been smoking in the house. I know it’s the strangest thing. We don’t have smokers.
TOM: And you have it in the bathroom and where else did you say?
BARBARA: Well, mainly in the kitchen sink. Sometimes, when you just come into the kitchen, you can smell it and sometimes it’s real strong. Other times, it’s a lighter smell.
TOM: What it might be – especially because you have it in both wet locations – it might be biogas. Biogas results from decay – like when you get debris in the kitchen sink that just sits there for the longest time and it starts to decay and leaves off an awful odor.
So, what you might need to do is to really scrub those drains in both of those sinks. And I would use a bleach solution to do that, like OxiClean or something of that nature. It’s like an oxygenated bleach. And I would try to sort of cover all of that in that solution and let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes so it really kills any of the bacteria that’s laying in there.
But you can get some pretty odiferous bacteria that can cause that type of odor and have it emanate from the drains and sinks and bathrooms. We’ve seen it many times.
BARBARA: But what does the debris come from? Because we’re all using the garbage disposal.
TOM: Bacteria. You’re not going to see this level of debris.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it just sort of sticks to the side, just naturally.
TOM: It grows in there. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
BARBARA: OK. You mean fill the sink with bleach – kind of bleach water? How would you keep it?
TOM: Yeah. With like an OxiClean. Not so much the sink but more importantly that drain. You want to get that drain really coated in that bleach solution.
BARBARA: OK. So just let it sit there so it goes through the elbow, right?
TOM: Yep. Exactly.
BARBARA: OK. Thank you.
TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.