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Why Your Kitchen Sink Smells Like Sewage and What You Can Do About It

sewage smell coming from sink
The kitchen sink is one of the most used areas of your kitchen and can emit the foulest odours. All the food debris and grease that we put down in the sink every day can quickly accumulate, resulting in a disgusting smell. Besides rotten food, plumbing issues may also cause an unpleasant sewer smell in your kitchen sink.
Let’s explore some of the primary reasons your kitchen sink smells like sewage, and how you can solve the problem.

Five Reasons Your Kitchen Sink Smells Like Sewage

1. Food Debris in the Drainpipe

Shredding and disposing of your food waste in the garbage disposal doesn’t completely keep your pipes clean. Food can get stuck in the drainpipes, eventually causing a blockage.
Greasy foods harden on the drainage pipe walls, gradually leading to a rotten smell in your kitchen. Other food particles usually start accumulating on the greasy build-up, narrowing the drainage pipes and eventually causing a clog.

2. Clogged Plumbing Vent

The plumbing vent brings fresh air into your drain, promoting smooth water flow through the drainage pipes. A clogged vent can cause sewer gas to seep into your kitchen. It’s often difficult to identify and remove a blockage in a plumbing vent, so it’s best to call the professionals from MT Drains and Plumbing to solve the problem.

3. Dirty Garbage Disposal

Without adequate running water in the garbage disposal, food particles may get stuck and rot away in the garbage disposal’s impellers, leading to a rancid odour. Besides insufficient running water, dumping too much food at once or worn garbage disposal parts that need replacing can cause a dirty garbage disposal.

4. Greasy Drain

Another major cause of the foul sewer smell in the kitchen is the accumulation of grease and oil in the drains. The fat and oil harden in the drainpipe and rot gradually, resulting in a rotten odour that ends up in your kitchen and house.
It’s always advisable not to pour oil and grease down the drain. Besides causing an unpleasant smell, it can also lead to pipe blockage. Try running a baking soda and vinegar solution in the drain and washing it down with boiling water if you think you have grease or oil stuck in your drainpipes.

5. Unused Drain

If you haven’t used your kitchen sink’s drainage pipes in a while, it can cause a bad smell. Drain lines have a trap that blocks the sewer smells from getting into your kitchen via the sink, and when you don’t use the sink, the water from the trap evaporates. Without the water, it becomes easy for the putrid sewage smell to enter your home. One of the most effective remedies for this issue is to run hot water down the sink drain.

How to Neutralize Sewer Smell in Your Kitchen Sink

There are several DIY remedies to consider if your kitchen sink smells like sewage:

Hot Water and Dish Soap

Put a stopper in your kitchen sink before filling it with several inches of hot water. Add a squirt of soap and then turn on the garbage disposal.
Remove the stopper, allowing the water to flush through the disposal while it’s running. This method is one of the simplest ways to clean your garbage disposal and eliminate the rotten smell.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Start by running hot tap water for several seconds. Turn the water off and then dump a cup of baking soda down the drain. Add two cups of hot vinegar and allow the mixture to fizz. Wait for at least one minute before running hot tap water down the drain.

Ice Cubes, Lemon Peels, and Coarse Salt

A mixture of ice cubes, lemon peels, and coarse salt is an excellent way to clean the disposal blades, ensuring they’re free of lingering greasy food debris.
Dump some ice cubes and a handful of kosher salt down the garbage disposal. While the ice helps knock the food particles off the disposal blades, the salt scrubs the walls. Flush the disposal with water and add few ground lemons peels to give your sink a fresh smell.

Cleaning the P-Trap

With rubber gloves on, remove the curved section of the drainage pipe beneath your kitchen sink. Empty any water and dirt from the trap into a container. Take the P-trap outside and rinse it out with a garden hose. Attach the P-trap tightly before using the kitchen sink again.

Cleaning the Drain Vent

Most homes have their drain vents emitting into a single opening on the roof. Using a ladder, climb to the top and clear any debris that is clogging the drain vent.

How to Prevent Kitchen Sink Odour

You don’t have to wait until your kitchen sink smells like sewage to maintain it. Here are a few good practices and routine maintenance tips to prevent your kitchen sink from getting smelly:
  • Avoid pouring grease and oil down the drain. Soak the grease using a paper towel and scrape off the fat from your pans before washing them.
  • Use a drain screen on your plughole to prevent large food particles from entering your drainage pipe.
  • Regularly pour hot water down the drain to kill bacteria that cause unpleasant smells.
  • Pour baking soda down the drain at least once a week, or if you won’t be using the kitchen skin for a while.
  • Have a professional plumber check your drain pipes regularly to ensure they remain clean.
If you have tried all the tips and tricks in this article, but your kitchen sink remains smelly, then it’s time to call a professional. The experts at MT Drains and Plumbing have the experience and the right equipment to do the job right the first time.
We have a team of highly trained plumbers who will eliminate the sewer smell in your kitchen sink for good. Our plumbers will save you time and money, preventing you from buying unnecessary equipment and cleaning products.
If you live in Vaughan, Toronto, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, or other surrounding areas, contact us today at (905) 761-5551 or fill the Quote Request Form on our website.

Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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