How to Remove Drain Odors from the Kitchen and Bathroom Sink
If you’ve followed my blog, you know that we bought a fixer-upper house this year, and it came with a whole set of old-house smells. I have been conquering the smells one by one which you can read in my post, How to Remove Odors and Clean the Air in Your House Naturally and Permanently. One of the last smells to overcome has been a mildew smell coming from the kitchen sink. Uck! So here is how to remove drain odors!
We’ve had a mild mildew smell coming from the kitchen sink since we’ve lived here, but there were so many other stronger smells that it didn’t get my full attention. When we recently replaced the countertops, we installed new plumbing under the sink, which I thought would get rid of the smell altogether. I couldn’t believe it when the smell was actually worse after a couple of days! The mildew smell was so strong I had to cover the drains because it was literally making me sick–with a headache and sinus congestion. Clearly, the smell was coming from deep within the plumbing and I was feeling desperate.
- Use an Enzyme Drain Cleaner to Remove Odors in the Sink
- More Tips For Keeping Your Drains Smelling Fresh without Harming Your Septic Tank
- Clean the P-trap Under Your Sink
Please note that this article contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something. Opinions about the products are fully my own.
Use an Enzyme Drain Cleaner to Remove Odors in the Sink
I searched the internet for answers and all I could find was to use vinegar and baking soda. I had done this so many times, but I noticed no difference. So I searched deeper into chat boards and voila, I found it. Someone’s plumber had recommended an enzyme cleaner called Bio-Clean Drain Care. So I went to Home Depot as soon as I could to get some. Bio-Clean Drain Care was a special order at the time (but now it’s easy to purchase!), so I bought Zep Drain Care. I needed immediate help, so no waiting to order.
The instructions for Zep Drain Care states to use it for three nights in a row, which we did. But I’m happy to report that after just one night, the mildew smell was gone! Hallelujah!
To use Zep Drain Care, run warm water down your sink for one minute to warm up the pipes. Then pour down one cup Zep Drain Care followed by two cups warm water. Be sure to do this at night or when you will be away for the day as you’re not supposed to use the plumbing for at least six hours while the enzymes do their thing. The instructions say to do this three times every month to maintain clean pipes.
This is what I used this time, but what I have found since is what I recommend!
Why I Recommend Bio-Clean to Clean Your Drains Instead of Zep Drain Cleaner
Update: So It would have been good if I had bought the suggested “>Bio-clean to clean my drains instead of Zep Drain Cleaner is that it contains both enzymes and helpful bacteria which eat away at the gunk in your pipes and septic system.
The reason you should choose a product with both enzymes and bacteria is that enzymes act quickly to start digesting the wastes in your pipes and septic system, and a product with bacteria as well is good for continuous support and maintenance as the bacteria multiply and produce more enzymes which will continue to digest the waste and build up.
So having bacteria in your pipe cleaner is important! It’s sort of like probiotics for your house!
More Tips For Keeping Your Drains Smelling Fresh without Harming Your Septic Tank
1. Freshen Drains and Garbage Disposal with Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you want you only have a mild smell in your sink or drains, the vinegar and baking soda may do the trick. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a couple of cups of vinegar. I use the cheaper white vinegar when cleaning. To get the baking soda and vinegar deeper down into the drain you can use a funnel to pour it in. Covering the drain immediately after pouring in the vinegar will also help the active bubbles to go down the drain rather than up into the sink. While vinegar and baking soda don’t work to get mildew out of your drains permanently, they are great for keeping them fresh and clean after you have used the enzyme cleaners or if you don’t have a mildew problem.
2. Use Citrus to Clean Garbage Disposal
To freshen up your garbage disposal, grind a few lemon or orange peels in there. The smell is heavenly and the volatile oils in the rind help clean the disposal.
3. Do Not Use Chlorine Bleach as a Drain Cleaner
I know, that’s the natural go-to for cleaning mildew and foul smells because we know it kills bacteria and fungus. The problem is, our drains and septic system need those beneficial bacteria to break down the organic matter–grease, oils, food, and waste–and keep them from building up. Continual use of chlorine in laundry and cleaning kill off those beneficial bacteria. If you have been using chlorine for cleaning in a way that causes the extra to go down your drain, start using Bio-Clean Drain Care to replace the bacteria that have been killed.
Clean the P-trap Under Your Sink
Cleaning out the P-trap under your sink is also an important way to get smells out of your sink. I put it last here, but it should possibly be first. Here is a great how-to video I found to clean the pipes under your sink. (I’m so thankful that my husband will do this for me!!)
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