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How to Clean a Smelly Drain?

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There’s nothing quite as unpleasant as a smelly drain. Each time you walk by, a waft of an unpleasant odor can make your nose wrinkle and leave you feeling uneasy in your own home. It’s a common issue; food particles, grease, and other debris often get trapped in drains, leading to clogs and that dreaded stench. The smell not only makes your home environment uncomfortable but can also be a source of embarrassment when guests come over.

Imagine the discomfort of having friends or family over, and despite the inviting ambiance, there’s an underlying odor that seems to permeate every room. It’s not just about the unpleasant smell; it’s a signal that there could be a deeper issue with your drainage system. Clogs, build-ups, and slow drains can escalate, leading to more severe plumbing issues.

But there’s a solution at hand. A clean, odor-free drain is not just a possibility; it’s a guarantee when you take the right steps. This article will guide you through practical, effective methods to eliminate those nasty odors and ensure your drains are clean and fresh. For more complex issues, Reimer’s professional drain cleaning service is just a call away, ensuring your home is free of unpleasant odors and your drainage system functions optimally.

What Causes Drains to Become Smelly?

A foul odor emanating from your drain can be a source of discomfort and embarrassment. Unraveling the mystery behind these unpleasant smells is crucial to formulating an effective solution. Let’s explore the various factors that often lead to the emergence of odorous drains.

Decomposing Residues 

The kitchen sink is particularly susceptible to the accumulation of decomposing food residues. When food particles are rinsed down the drain, they can get trapped and start to decay, releasing a pungent odor.

Microbial Infestation

Drains provide a moist and nutrient-rich environment for microbes. As these microscopic organisms multiply, they can release gasses that are characterized by a distinct, often unpleasant, aroma.

Obstructed Ventilation Systems

Plumbing systems are equipped with vents to facilitate the expulsion of sewer gasses outdoors. A clog or obstruction in these vents can lead to the indoor accumulation of these gasses, resulting in a noticeable stench.

Evaporated Water Seals

P-traps are engineered to retain water, creating a seal that prevents sewer gasses from infiltrating indoor spaces. An unused drain can lead to the evaporation of this water, compromising the seal and allowing odors to escape.

Sewer Line Complications

A compromised sewer line, marked by cracks or blockages, can be a source of foul odors. These structural issues allow odorous gasses to escape, permeating indoor spaces.

Chemical Interactions

The amalgamation of diverse household cleaning agents can instigate chemical reactions that produce gasses. Being cognizant of the combinations of chemicals you use can mitigate the risk of creating unintended odors.

Identifying the specific cause of a smelly drain is instrumental in devising an appropriate remedy. While some issues can be addressed through home-based solutions, others, especially those associated with structural or systemic complications, warrant the expertise of professionals. A nuanced understanding of the origins of drain odors equips homeowners to respond effectively, ensuring a fresh and inviting home ambiance.

Home Remedies for Smelly Drains 

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

One of the most popular and effective home remedies for smelly drains involves the use of baking soda and vinegar. This dynamic duo not only eliminates unpleasant odors but also helps in clearing minor clogs.


  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the smelly drain.
  • Follow it up with a cup of white vinegar.
  • Allow the mixture to fizz and work its magic for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with boiling water to flush out the residue.

2. Boiling Water Flush

Sometimes, a simple flush of boiling water can be quite effective in eliminating bad odors by dissolving and flushing out the odor-causing residues.


  • Boil a kettle of water.
  • Pour the boiling water down the drain in two to three stages, allowing it to work for a few seconds between each pour.

3. Lemon and Salt Scrub

The combination of lemon’s citric acid and salt’s abrasive texture can effectively scrub off the grime and neutralize odors.


  • Cut a lemon into halves.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the cut side.
  • Use the lemon as a scrubber, focusing on the drain’s surface and the surrounding area.
  • Rinse with warm water.

4. Enzyme-Based Cleaners

Although not a traditional home remedy, enzyme-based cleaners are a natural alternative to chemical drain cleaners and are effective in breaking down organic matter causing the smell.


  • Purchase an enzyme-based cleaner from a store.
  • Follow the instructions on the product label, as application can vary.

5. Bleach Cleanse

Bleach is highly effective in killing bacteria and other microbes causing the foul smell. However, it should be used sparingly to avoid damage to your plumbing system.


  • Pour a cup of bleach down the drain.
  • Allow it to sit for an hour to disinfect and deodorize the drain.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Note: Always ensure the room is well-ventilated when using bleach and avoid mixing it with other cleaning agents to prevent toxic fumes.

When to Get Professional Drain Cleaning Services

There are instances when home remedies might not suffice in addressing the issue of smelly drains, especially when the underlying problem is more complex than accumulated debris or bacterial growth. In such cases, seeking professional drain cleaning services becomes not just necessary, but crucial to restore the hygiene and functionality of your drains.

One clear indication that it’s time to call in the professionals is when persistent odors linger even after trying various DIY cleaning methods. Another sign is the recurrence of slow draining water, which often points to a deeper, more stubborn clog that home remedies can’t effectively address. In addition, if you experience frequent clogs, it could be indicative of a systemic issue that requires a comprehensive solution.

Reimer’s team of skilled plumbers is always ready to step in when the situation escalates beyond the capacity of DIY fixes. Equipped with advanced tools and extensive experience, they can handle any clog, ensuring that your drains are cleared effectively and safely. The team employs a variety of professional tools, including snake tools, electric rotor tools, sewer line cameras, and high-pressure water jets, ensuring a solution that is not only effective but also safe for your pipes.

Attempting to clear stubborn clogs with store-bought chemicals might seem convenient, but it’s not always the best course of action. These chemicals can, over time, damage your pipes and are not always effective in resolving the issue. Reimer’s plumbers provide a safer and more effective alternative, ensuring that the root cause of the smelly drain is addressed, eliminating both the odor and the underlying issue causing it.

Call Reimer Today for Professional Drain Cleaning Services 

With a legacy of trust built since 1921, Reimer guarantees 100% satisfaction. The company stands by the quality and effectiveness of its services, ensuring that clients are not just satisfied but delighted with the results. Every service is preceded by a fair and honest estimate, ensuring transparency and trustworthiness.

So, when the unpleasant odor from your drain becomes a persistent issue, or you’re faced with recurrent clogs and slow draining water, it’s a clear signal to call in the experts. Reimer is always ready to provide Day or Night drain cleaning services in Buffalo and Western New York, ensuring that your drains are not just clean, but also function optimally, contributing to the overall hygiene and comfort of your home. Call Reimer at (716) 272-2371 to restore the freshness and functionality of your drains.

What Our Clients Say

Chris and Kevin were excellent! The issue involved plumbing. Accomplished all that was needed at the time. They are returning for additional work as well. The annual contract has great value , and gives homeowner piece of mind when problems arise! I just signed up for mine!

-Kitty Testa

Chris L. Is a wonderful man. Put my mind at ease immediately when he looked at the problems which turned out not to be as bad as we thought. I will definitely use them again. Great service!

-Janice Kaled

Chris Reimer was at my home and did a great job was very nice guy to have work in my home and gave me no run arounds. I would for sure use again thank you very much!!

-Matthew Dillon

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