4 Ways to Fix a Smelly Kitchen Sink

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“I needed the sewer rodded in my front yard because it was backed up. Within an hour, Sam showed up. He was professional, explained everything very well and did an awesome job. We've had this problem in the past and Sam was basically cleaning up what they left behind (A huge ball of roots). This was the first time we weren't left with an uneasy feeling about whether the job was really done right or not. We will definitely be using them for future plumbing services.”
- Rocio C.

Fresh baked cookies. Your family’s secret lasagna recipe. The kitchen should be filled with enjoyable scents like these. Unfortunately, sometimes your nose experiences the opposite – foul smells coming out of the kitchen sink. 

Woman using plunger to clear kitchen sink. Reichelt Plumbing, Schererville, IN.
By Andrey Popov of Shutterstock

When you consider how much goes down the drain in the kitchen, it may not be that surprising that it can start to smell once in a while. The key is to know where the stench is coming from so you can fix the issue. 

Here are four areas to check.

Garbage disposal

The garbage disposal can be a useful appliance but it also can cause a few headaches, especially in the smell department. It’s common for bits of food to get stuck on the blades or in the disposal canister. When the organic material eventually begins to rot, you’ll notice a not-so-pleasant odor coming from the sink drain. 

What to do: 

  • Run the cold water of the sink faucet for about 15 seconds
  • Add a few handfuls of ice cubes and a cup of salt to the disposal
  • Allow the disposal to grind up the ice cubs
  • Once the ice is gone, pour some lemon juice or vinegar down the drain
  • Turn off disposal

Blockage in the drain

There’s a reason that we recommend against pouring grease, oils, or fats down the drain. As they cool, they turn from liquid to solid form. This sticky gunk can get stuck it the sink drain or pipe, and other pieces of food attach to it. Even if the water isn’t getting backed up, you will notice the smelly effects of a blockage. What you need to do is break up this oily gunk so it passes through the drain.

What to do: 

  • Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain
  • Let the fizzy concoction sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to flush the blockage

Problem with trap

The trap is the curved part of the pipe underneath the sink. At the bottom of the bend, a small amount of water is held to prevent sewer gases from coming up and into your kitchen. There are two likely problems with the trap that would cause a smell. 

  • If the sink hasn’t been used for a long time, the water may have evaporated and what you’re smelling is sewer gas. This has a simple solution – just run the water for a few seconds and that should do the trick
  • The trap is often where a clog can occur. Depending on how the plumbing was installed, you may be able to remove the trap, scrub the inside with a brush and cleaner, then reattach it.  

Clogged drain vent

Did you know that your plumbing system has a pipe that goes up, probably to your roof? No, it’s not for liquids – it’s for air. The drain vent is used to maintain pressure so water and contents drain in the correct direction (toward the sewer). If this vent gets blocked by leaves, debris, a bird nest, or anything else, it could throw off the system and allow sewer gases to creep back up into your kitchen. 

What to do:

  • Find the drain vent on the roof
  • Remove anything that is stuck or blocking the pipe
  • Be very careful!

Professionals plumbers in Schererville

Don’t hold your nose when you enter the kitchen. Pick up your phone and call Reichelt Plumbing. Our experienced technicians can find the source of the smelly kitchen sink – and fix it the right way. To schedule an appointment, call (219) 322-4906.


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