How to Fix a Smelly Sink and Clean Its Stench

Yuck! What’s that disgusting smell? If it’s coming from your sink, it’s time to learn how to fix a smelly sink so you can stop scrunching up your nose whenever you come near. When a kitchen or bathroom sink emits a nasty smell, it’s usually because some rotten food debris is stuck somewhere or because there is a buildup of bacteria down the drain.

If nothing works, or if you noticed from the start that your smelly bathroom sink is smelling like sewage, you should call plumbing services. The problem could be that the P-trap of your sink has gone dry and that it can’t stop sewer gases from going up the drain anymore. Or perhaps the ventilation of your plumbing system is clogged or faulty, and the sewer gases are getting trapped in your home as a result. A plumber will be able to assess the situation and get rid of that nasty smell for you.

Let’s learn how to fix a smelly sink:

1. Clean your smelly sink thoroughly

Small food residues could stick to the sides of your sink while you do the dishes or while you prepare your meals. If you haven’t done it already, you should first clean your smelly sink thoroughly.

Run some hot water in your sink, and add some dish soap. Let it soak for a moment, then scrub the inside of your sink with a kitchen sponge or a brush. As you flush the dirty water down the drain, remember to scrub the drain opening as well. This will hopefully fix your smelly sink.

2. Remove large food debris from your garbage disposal


If there is a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, there could be some rotten food debris. Start by unplugging your garbage disposal, then check if something obstructs the blades.

If you notice food debris or even a utensil that someone could have dropped down the drain, remove it with a pair of pliers.

Plug your garbage disposal, flush it with hot water and check if the disgusting smell is gone.

3. Flush your garbage disposal with hot water and dish soap

If your garbage disposal still smells bad, put a stopper over the drain opening, then fill the sink with hot water and a few squirts of dish soap.

Remove the stopper, then turn on the garbage disposal while the water drains. The soapy hot water will flush the disposal and hopefully remove any smelly food particles that could be stuck on the blades or down the drain.

4. Place half a lemon in your garbage disposal

A lemon or an orange could help you fix a smelly sink and deodorize your garbage disposal.

You can simply cut a lemon and toss half of it down your garbage disposal while it’s running. This should clean the blades and the sides of the disposal, but it should also instantly make your kitchen smell fresh and clean. No more foul smell!

If you don’t have any lemon, you could put a quarter of orange down the disposal or simply a few fragments of citrus peel.

Remember to never toss an entire lemon or orange down your garbage disposal, as it could be too much for its blades.

5. Pour some baking soda down the drain

Of course, kitchen sinks can get smelly even if they are not connected to garbage disposal. Try pouring one tablespoon of baking soda down the drain, then run some hot water. This could be all that’s needed to fix your smelly sink problem.

Baking soda can also help prevent odours. Simply pour one tablespoon of it down the drain once a week to keep your sink fresh.

6. Prepare a mixture of baking soda and vinegar

For stubborn smells, boil some water in a kettle or a pot. Slowly pour it down the drain, followed by a cup of baking soda and white vinegar. Put the stopper on the drain opening, then wait a few minutes before flushing the mixture with hot water.

Alternatively, you can scrub the drain opening with a brush while the mixture is bubbling instead of just waiting.

7. Pour some vinegar or bleach down the sink’s overflow pipe

If the foul smell comes from your bathroom sink, it could be caused by a buildup of bacteria in the sink’s overflow pipe. This is a small hole near the top of your sink, and its purpose is to prevent it from overflowing.

When water and soap scum get in this hole, they will eventually become smelly black gunk. To get rid of it, you can pour some white vinegar or household bleach down the hole to kill the bacteria.

You should also scrub the rim of this hole with a small brush to remove the nasty gunk.


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