Happy Drains Blog

How to stop smelly drains

Your drains shouldn’t smell! They’re supposed to flush everything away. But just as not cleaning your teeth could lead to bad breath, not cleaning out your basins and sinks could mean that your drains start to whiff. Particles of food, grease, soap, hair and so on can build up and start to decompose unless regularly dealt with. Bacteria can also start to build up, leading to bad smells and a potential health hazard. But luckily many remedies are close at hand, meaning you don’t need to go out and buy expensive sink unblockers.

The first thing to try is simple hot water. Pouring boiling or very hot water shouldn’t damage your pipes, but it will help to loosen and break down any residue. You could also try a little washing up liquid to help dissolve greasy build-ups.

If you have baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice to hand these are also effective when it comes to cleaning and neutralising smells. After trying hot water on its own, you could try this: Pour a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda into the drain, and follow it up with some vinegar. Allow this mixture to fizz and leave for around an hour. Then pour hot tap water down the drain and see if the clog clears. Lemon juice is an alternative to vinegar as both are acidic… with the extra benefit of giving you a nice citrus smell! Or you can then pop in a few drops of your favourite essential oils to replace the nasty odours with a much more pleasant scent.

Drains can also smell if the traps under the sink run dry through inactivity, which means that gases from the sewers can leak back into your house. If you have a sink that isn’t used often and is smelling, this could be the cause.

And if it’s your dishwasher that’s smelling a bit musty, it may be from blocked filters or pipes, but also could be caused by a hose that’s become worn or split.


Of course, the best cure for a smelly drain is prevention! Use a drain cover or strainer to stop anything going down the plughole, like hairs and bits of soap in the shower or bath, and never pour fat, grease, oils or bits of food down the kitchen sink. And don’t flush anything other than the 3 P’s – poo, pee, and toilet paper – down the loo. No hair, toenail clippings, make up pads and cotton wool, or wet wipes. But if the very worst happens and you have a strong smell that just won’t shift no matter what remedy you try, then give us a call at Happy Drains on 0800 849 8099!