3 Common Causes of Smelly Drains

Drain odors are both annoying, unpleasant, and some can be difficult to get rid of. Understanding the three common causes of smelly drains can help you pinpoint how to fix it.

Dry P-Trap

Every sink features a P-trap which works by trapping water to keep sewer gasses from flowing back up through your pipes. If this trap runs dry, there’s no protection between your home and the gasses coming back through the pipes. This can lead to nasty sewer smells.

This most commonly happens with sinks that aren’t used regularly. If you have a sink that you don’t use often, be sure to run water through it every so often to make sure the P-trap doesn’t run dry. This is an easy (and free) solution to a smelly problem.


Most common in kitchen sinks, a rotting smell is something most homeowners have to face at least once. Rotting food or other matter gets stuck in the drain and creates unpleasant smells. If you don’t regularly run your disposal after dumping food down your drain, you’re more likely to run into this problem.

Try flushing out your sink with distilled white vinegar while running the disposal, and then put one or two lemon peels down the drain. This should flush out the rotten food and replace the smell with a lemony fragrance, thanks to the peels.

If you don’t have a disposal, white vinegar can still help provide a simple and inexpensive solution. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Wait 10 minutes, and then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain.

Clogged Vents

Besides the P-trap, your plumbing system uses vents to remove sewer gasses and release them through vents on your roof. Unfortunately, it’s fairly easy for these vents to get clogged. Various debris such as leaves, branches, and more can easily end up in these vents. Without proper ventilation, odors can accumulate.

If you notice an unpleasant sewer smell coming from more than one sink in your home, you may need to get these vents checked out. At this point, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your plumbing. They will be able to tell you the extent of the blockage and how best to fix it.

Work With Local Plumbing Experts

If you’re concerned about nasty smells in your home, it may be time to bring in the plumbing experts at Pioneer Comfort Systems. Call us today at 318-795-8000.