How to Clean Smelly Food Stuck in the Drain

How to Clean Smelly Food Stuck in the Drain thumbnail
Clear out smelly kitchen drains with natural cleaning products.

Clogged food rots as it stays lodged in the sink drain and results in foul odors. Chemical drain cleaners used to clear out clogs are effective but can damage your pipes if they're continuously used, as the chemicals eat away at the pipe's lining. Salt is a suitable drain cleaner that breaks up food clogs and is ideal for minor clogs. For stubborn ones, baking soda and white vinegar naturally neutralize odors while clearing the drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking pot
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Salt
  • Washing soda (optional)
  • Ammonia (optional)
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  1. Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

    • 1

      Fill a pot with cool tap water, and place the pot on the stovetop.

    • 2

      Set the stove's dial to the highest heat setting until the water begins to boil. Turn off the stove dial once the water boils.

    • 3

      Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, and add 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

    • 4

      Wet a cleaning cloth, and place the cloth over the drain to prevent the baking soda and vinegar from rising out of it.

    • 5

      Remove the cleaning cloth from the sink, and slowly pour the hot water down the drain to flush out the pipes.

    Salt Solution

    • 6

      Fill a large cooking pot with 4 liters of water, and mix in 1/2 cup of salt to the pot.

    • 7

      Set the pot on the stovetop, and turn on the stove burner to warm up the salt and water solution.

    • 8

      Remove the pot from the stovetop when it is warm but not boiling, and slowly pour the cleaning solution down the drain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Substitute baking soda and vinegar with washing soda as a natural drain cleaner. Washing soda simultaneously breaks down and deodorizes drain smells to restore your pipe's performance.

  • Pour 1 quart of boiling water mixed with 1/4 cup of ammonia down the drain for stubborn clogs.

  • Slowly pour out the hot water, as it may splash back and cause severe burns if it's quickly dumped down the drain.

  • Do not pour boiling water down the drain if your home has plastic pipes, as the high temperature can melt plastic.

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  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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