06 Jun. 16

How to Remove that Rotten Smell from the Bathroom Sink

Kitchen sink drains take a beating; they get worked hard on a daily basis. Even with the aid of a garbage disposal or sink strainer, grease and food particles still manage to make their way down the drain creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Bathroom drains are abused less, but they are not immune to odor issues. Soap scum, dead skin, hair and other stuff accumulates and gets trapped. That layer of rotting gunk in your overflow pipe will eventually emanate a foul odor.  Another nasty problem — noxious sewer gasses can make their way into your home if the plumbing is not maintained properly.

What is the best way to prevent bad smells from the bathroom sink?

The best way to minimize bad smells is to keep all of your drains clean. Deodorizing weekly will work as a preventative measure, but you will have to manually remove the smelly debris from time to time. Bathroom sink odors can come from a number of places. If the problem is a clogged overflow pipe, it can’t be accessed without effort, but you can still clean it easily by pouring the right solutions down the drain. There are a few common household items that have been proven effective at eliminating odor and dissolving debris. For example, baking soda and vinegar are safe and powerful cleaners. If that doesn’t work well enough, oxygen bleach is another alternative that is less toxic.

What is the most efficient method for cleaning the overflow drain?

The overflow of a bathroom sink is a small hole located at the top of the sink. This opening leads to the bottom of the sink. This area is very susceptible to scum buildup. City dwellers that access a sewer system have the option to try a mixture of water and chlorine bleach. Combine 50 percent of each and pour the solution into the hole. This can also be accomplished more precisely with a turkey baster. Never add chlorine bleach to any other cleaning agent, the combination can prove to be very toxic. If you are on a septic system, do not use chlorine bleach.  This will destroy the good bacteria in your septic tank. Use a small brush with a long thin handle to clean out the hole.

What are p-traps in plumbing fixtures?

If odors persist, check if every plumbing fixture contains standing water in the traps. The traps are P-shaped and located underneath tubs, showers and sinks in the drain lines. It is often assumed that these areas were designed to catch small objects and prevent them from migrating down into septic tanks and sewers. That function is an added perk. They were actually created to keep sewer gasses and critters from making their way into your home. The water in the traps works as a barrier against foul gas from the sewer.

Floor drains and fixtures that are not used frequently may lose this important water seal due to evaporation. The water in the trap may get suctioned out by a clogged pipe or bad plumbing system, or it can simply evaporate. Take heed, it may appear that water is still in the trap when it is actually just a reflection or a very small amount. Gas from the sewer can pass right over the insufficient volume of liquid on the bottom.

This usually occurs in showers and tubs in such rooms as guest bathrooms, where there is less traffic. They can go unused for months or even years. To address this issue, try pouring a quart of water into each bathroom drain. This is enough water to refill the trap and restore the water seal. You will soon know if the problem has been corrected. The odor will go away quickly. If not, there are other possibilities.

What is a tailpiece and how do foul odors develop in it?

All bathroom drains have an inner surface that will potentially breed bad odors. This holds true for kitchen sinks as well. Most sinks have a tailpiece, which is a portion of a pipe that stems from the sink floor to the top of the p trap. This piece is continuously exposed to air. In addition, grime, dirt, bacteria, mold and more undesirable components pass through the tailpiece, en route to the sewer. Regularly, debris gets left behind over time forming a thick slime layer. Bacteria and mold flourish on the contaminated inside surface of the pipe causing odors to surface.

It is almost impossible to clean out these pipes while they are installed. They are fixed parts placed at the bottom of tub and sink drains. Sometimes the drain assembly can be dismantled for cleaning purposes. As you take them apart, inspect the gaskets and rubber washers. These parts may need to be replaced if the drain is old. Make sure the drain has no leaks when you put it back together.

How should bathroom pipes be maintained?

Keep your drain lines clean and clear by periodically flushing them out. Fill your sink to the top with

tap water, then unplug it, and let it rush down the drain. A good amount of pressure is created from the weight of the water and it usually fills the whole branch line, sink to the main drain. Even the top surfaces and sides get a light cleaning through this procedure. To clean out the main drain, fill all of the tubs, sinks, etc., to the brim with water. Find helpers to pull out the drain plugs simultaneously. The toilets should be flushed at the exact same time as well. The main line will experience a powerful cleansing surge that should effectively help prevent future odors.

When should I call a plumber?

If all else fails and odors persist, you may have a very serious plumbing problem that needs professional attention. Only a plumber would know how to troubleshoot further and delve deeper into finding a solution.  Sometimes, drains are damaged and need to be repaired. A vent pipe might be cracked or you may have a broken toilet seal.  Plumbing professionals will make a house visit to evaluate your drain odor and determine the cause. Whether it is a simple clog or major repair, a good plumber will make sure your problem gets fixed.