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.

How to remove mildew and musty smells from your drains for good. How to clean your drains.

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.

Zep Drain Care to remove odors from your sink drain.

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!

The whole Bio-Clean Drain Cleaning Kit is just what you need to get rid of sink odors.
Use Enzyme cleaners to remove odors from your sink drain.

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.

Use Vinegar, Baking Soda and Citrus fruit to keep your drains fresh and clean.

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!!)

You May Also Like These Articles:

How to Clean and Get Rid of Mold and Mildew In Your Home for Good

How to Remove Smoke Smell Caused by Your Fireplace, Woodstove or Cigarettes

How to DeClutter the Easy Way – The Mount Vernon Method

How to Get Odors Out of Your Refrigerator and Freezer for Good

Check out this great article I wrote with my husband, How to Buy a Car From a Dealership–Advice from a Car Salesman

46 thoughts on “How to Remove Drain Odors from the Kitchen and Bathroom Sink”

  • It seems like we are in a constant battle against build up in our drains. Thanks For sharing this helpful information!

    • You’re welcome, Maggie!

  • Heidi Erickson says:

    Great ideas for when your sink gets a little stinky. 🙂

  • Having lived in older homes I completely get this! Thanks for your tips!

  • Great advise! With a septic system I’m always a little cautious about what I put down the drains so I’ll definitely keep this in mind,

  • Melissa Parcel says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, we run into this at various times of the year and it drives me CRAZY!

    • Me, too, Melissa! I’m so glad to have finally found the solution!

  • I now this is news I can use. Great post!

    • Great, Melissa, and thank you!

  • Laura Belle says:

    Thanks for the tip. Great post.

  • Great tips, I definitely do not like drain odors!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I’m with you!

  • I’d like to try the GlobalCare SP7, seems to have a lot of uses and I try not to use anything harsh around the house.

    • Agreed! It’s an amazing product!

  • Very informative! I haven’t heard of these products before. I will be looking for them in the future though.

    • You’re welcome, Vicki!

  • Just in the knick of time! I need this right now – thank you so much for sharing!

    • Yay! You’re welcome!

    • You’re welcome, Kirsten! Thanks for stopping by!

  • I need to try this on one of the sinks in my bathroom. It’s slow draining and i think it might be clogged 🙁 thanks for the video and review

    • You’re welcome! It’s sure to work!

  • What great and useful info for anyone who has dealt with this nuisance.

  • I had never thought my house needed its own set of probiotics, but it totally makes sense! Thanks so much for sharing. I had never heard of Globalcare SP7 before, but love that it has so many uses and is so beneficial to the house!

    • I know! It’s amazing!

  • I’ve never even heard of these products! We bought a fixer-upper house too, Yikes. I may check these out. Fist bump from one fixer-upper to another 🙂

    • Hoping my research and trials will help you along the way!

  • This is a very educative and useful post. Thanks for sharing.

  • The Globalcare product looks like one we should have on hand. Thanks for sharing!

    • SP7 is amazing, right?!

    • You’re welcome! Hope it goes well! If you try the SP7, let me know how it goes!

  • My drains can def use a little TLC, I am going to try these tips! I knew about nth lemon but I am def going to try the baking soda and vinegar one!

    • Great, Jenn! In the long run, you will be glad if you use the Globalcare SP7. It’s more of a long-term solution.

  • Great tips! Would someone be able to get Globalcare SP7 at the Home Depot or Walmart, or would one have to order it online?

    • You order the Globalcare SP7 from my link here on my page. Thank you for inquiring, Patricia!

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