How to Cure a Sink That Stinks

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Clean stinky sinks from the inside.
Clean stinky sinks from the inside. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When you notice an unpleasant smell in your kitchen or bathroom, check the sink. Dry drain traps allow sewer gases to escape, and mildew and food stuck in the pipes underneath your sink lead to other unpleasant odors. Even if you clean the surface of your sinks regularly, they might smell like wet dirt, rotten eggs or mold. No amount of scouring will take care of the problem; you need to stop the smell at the source.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Wrench
  • Bottle brush
  • Bowl
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. mineral oil

Remove all items from the cabinet below the sink. Locate the sink's trap, the U-shaped pipe under the sink, and place a bucket in the cabinet under the trap. The bucket will catch water and debris that come out of the pipe when you remove the trap.

Loosen the nuts that hold the trap in place. If the nuts are metal, you might need to use a wrench to get them started. You can loosen most plastic nuts by hand.

Remove the U-shaped section of pipe, and empty any debris into the bucket. Use a bottle brush to remove buildup from the inside of the pipe.

Replace the trap and tighten the nuts securely into place. Run tap water to make sure the pipe doesn't leak before removing the bucket and replacing items in the cabinet.

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1 tbsp. cream of tartar in a bowl. Pour the mixture down the drain. Carefully pour in 1/2 cup white vinegar. You may notice bubbles coming out of the drain.

Boil 1 cup water, and pour it slowly down the drain.

Wait two to three minutes, and then run cold water from the tap down the drain for one full minute. This will flush out the pipe, leaving it clean and free of stinky debris.

Flush the sink with water at least once a month, and then pour 2 tbsp. mineral oil down the drain to prevent the water from evaporating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pour 1 cup white vinegar down the drain every two weeks to keep it fresh.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, run lemon peels through the disposal for a fresh citrus scent.

References

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