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Why Does My Sink Smell?

Have you noticed a foul smell coming from your kitchen or bathroom sink? It might smell like rotten eggs or raw sewage, and it isn’t pleasant to live with. Read on to find out what causes it and how you can make your sink as fresh as a daisy again.


What Makes Your Sink Smell Bad?

The waste trap in your plumbing is designed to prevent sewer gases from coming up into your house. One common example of a waste trap is a U-bend. A small amount of water is retained in the trap to block the sewer gases from coming back up the pipe. But this only works if the trap is properly vented, which equalises the pressure inside the pipes so that the gases can be released. If there is no proper ventilation, this may result in high pressure in the drains, which can lead to gases being released into your home. Or there could be low pressure in the drains, which can render the water in the trap ineffective in blocking the gases. If there is a blockage in your pipes, this can make the U-bend less effective and cause these problems, leading to a bad smell.

It is likely that your sink smells because there are things in your plumbing that shouldn’t be there. Food waste, hair, fats, oils, and grease can all cause difficult (and stinky) problems in your home. If you put bits of food down your kitchen sink it can get stuck in the U-bend and block your sink, causing it to smell. The same can be said for oils and fats, hair, toothpaste, and many other things that shouldn’t be put down the sink but may end up there anyway. When these things get caught in waste traps or build up in your pipes, they can decay and cause a nasty smell. Hair caught in the plughole of your sink, shower or bath can also act as a trap for other substances.


What to do if Your Sink Smells

If you think there is a blockage from hair or other items, try using a plunger to remove the blockage. If your sink smells and you think there is a build-up of debris in your pipes, you can clean your U-bend with the following steps:

  • Place a bucket under your U-bend to catch any water
  • Loosen the nuts holding the U-bend in place
  • Scrape any black residue from your pipes and use a pipe brush to clean them out
  • Reattach the U-bend to the sink
  • Run the water to ensure the U-bend is fitted securely with no leaks

If the above steps don’t help with the smell or any draining issues you have, there may be a problem further along in your pipes which you will need to call a plumber to help with.


How to Prevent Your Sink From Smelling

Here are some things you can do to prevent your sinks from smelling to begin with:

  • Scrape your plates before washing them in the sink so food doesn’t get stuck in your pipes
  • Try not to put anything down your sink that isn’t water and soap suds
  • Clear any hair out of the sink (or shower) rather than letting it go down the drain
  • Invest in a drain basket, which will catch any food in the kitchen sink before it goes down your pipes
  • Consider having a soil vent pipe installed by a plumber if you don’t already have one, to divert bad smells away from your home

If you have a problem with bad smells coming from your sink and your DIY tricks haven’t worked, or you’d simply prefer some professional help, give us a call on 01325 466016 or contact us online info@robertshawplumbing.co.uk.

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