How to Get Rid of Drain Odor

Let’s set a scene: You walk into your bathroom and notice an unpleasant and seemingly unidentifiable odor. If you can’t find the source of the smell, then the culprit is most likely drain odor. That’s right. Your drains can smell bad.

Okay, so your drains stink. But that begs the question: what can you do about it? Well, before we get into the individual DIY steps you can take to eliminate drain odor, we should first discuss what causes it in the first place. Then, once we’ve established the cause behind your drain odor, we’ll talk about just what you can do to get rid of it once and for all. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Causes Drain Odor?

In most situations, drain clogs, and odor-causing bacteria are the primary sources of unpleasant drain odors. Clogs can both smell bad themselves and provide a very habitable breeding ground for several species of odor-causing bacteria. However, bacteria and drain clogs aren’t the only sources for foul-smelling drains. Some other, less common reasons your drains might stink include:

  • Sewage As sewage decomposes, it releases noxious fumes and gases. These gases are unpleasant and smell like old sewage. Sewer gases can permeate through your drains when there are empty drain traps. Usually, sewer smells occur in drains that are not regularly used.
  • Mold and Mildew Mold and mildew smells are directly attributed to the existence of mold or mildew near your drains. Usually, mold and mildew smells occur in drains when there is a leak in the drain or pipes that connect to it.
  • Plumber Error Plumbers, like everyone else, aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes. Simple errors, like forgetting to install drain traps or sewage vents, can cause severe drain odors.

How to Get Rid of Drain Odor Yourself

Now that you have a more thorough understanding of the causes behind your smelly drains, we can discuss the several different DIY methods we recommend for getting rid of the stink. Let’s break it down:

  • Use Bleach: Since bleach kills almost every species of odor-causing bacteria, it is an excellent tool for getting rid of drain smells. To use bleach to kill drain odor, simply fill the sink to be treated with hot water. Then add a cup or so of liquid bleach and let the sink drain. Repeat the process until your drains smell like new!
  • Try Baking Soda and Vinegar: Another common and effective tactic for ridding your home of drain odor is with baking soda and vinegar. To use baking soda and vinegar to clean your drains, pour some dry baking soda in the drain first. Then, slowly add vinegar until all of the baking soda has reacted. You’ll know you’re done when you fail to hear any bubbles after you pour in more vinegar. Like with the bleach method, repeat the process until your drains no longer smell bad.
  • Boiling Water May Do The Trick: Just like bleach, boiling water kills most species of odor-causing bacteria. To use boiling water to clean your drains, just pour it in the drain a little at a time. Repeat the process until you no longer smell anything amiss.
  • Try a Drain Snake: Drain snakes are tools specifically designed to help remove clogs from drain traps. You can purchase a snake at your local hardware store for around $20. To clean your drains with a snake, insert the drain snake into the drain, root around a little, then pull the snake back out. Repeat until nothing comes back up with the snake. Then, once the clog is removed, use bleach, boiling water, or vinegar and baking soda to clear up any remaining odor-causing bacteria.

If any of the previously mentioned DIY drain cleaning methods left you wanting, then you can always contact our team of professional drain cleaning plumbers to help.


Drain odors are unpleasant. Nobody likes having to deal with them. However, with a little hard work and know-how, you can easily handle your drain odor problems on your own. So, if you have stinky drains, then why not give the steps listed in this post a try? We promise they won’t harm your plumbing, and they may even save you a little money on professional drain cleaning services!

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