Rotten eggs are an unpleasant smell – one you definitely don’t want in your home. You can spend days trying to find the cause – is it the bin? The fridge? Or the dog? Often, it is actually the sink in the kitchen or the drain in the garden which is causing these unpleasant odours – and the smell of rotten eggs could be a sign of a more serious issue – even a dangerous one. Read on to find out.
Smelly drains are a common problem. Sometimes, it’s caused by a build-up of food and dirt, however, sometimes it can be a sign of a bigger issue. Understanding the cause of the smell and how to get rid of it is important to get your drains smelling fresh and flowing freely again – and keep your home safe from gases that could be hazardous to your health.
The Cause of a Smelly Drain or Sink
There are several likely causes of your drain odours. The first thing to look at is where your drain is located and how it is used. For example, if it’s your kitchen sink, the smell is likely caused by a build-up of food. If it’s the shower drain, it could be a build up of dirt and hair.
It isn’t a fun job, but discovering the cause of the smell can help to treat it and prevent it in the future. There are four common causes of smelly drains or sinks:
1. Trapped Food Blockages
While you may take precautions to prevent food in your sink, small pieces and other organic matter can still get in your drains and cause a bad odour. This blockage can stop the flow of drains completely or cause them to drain slower than normal.
2. Clogs and Bacteria Build-Up
A common cause of a bad smell is simply bacteria. This usually occurs in indoor bathroom drains and sinks, as bacteria can come from hair, dirt or products that have gone into the drain. There are ways to prevent this build-up including bathroom drain traps. It is best to receive advice from a plumber to find the best prevention for you.
3. Pipework and Plumbing Errors
If you’ve had work done recently and notice a new smell, it could be due to a plumbing error. This could be a missing trap or vent, or even a leaky pipe. It could be worth contacting the plumbing company again or asking a second company to assess the smell and investigate the cause.
4. Collapsed Drain
Finally, if you notice a lingering odour that persists after you have had your drains unblocked, it may be a sign of a collapsed drain. This can happen after years of poor drain maintenance or damages and cracks in your pipes. Along with a bad smell, you may also notice damp or mould throughout the property and a sunken or wet area in your garden. You must contact a drainage expert if you think your drain has collapsed.
Why Does it Smell Like Rotten Eggs – And Why Is That Dangerous?
Most people describe bad smells from drains as being like the smell of rotten eggs. They aren’t pleasant, but there is a scientific reason for this. This smell often comes from a gas known as hydrogen sulfide, which is formed when bacteria grows in sewage, drains or the ground.
If you don’t use the drain or sink often, the hydrogen sulfide could come directly from the sewer itself. When water in the p-trap dries up, the gas can rise from the drain.
It’s important to know that hydrogen sulfide gas can be hazardous to human health. As a toxic gas, it can be about as dangerous as carbon monoxide. That’s why we recommend consulting an expert if this smell is coming from your drains.
Other Common Drain Smells and Odours
Hydrogen sulfide is very pungent and can be likened to many unpleasant smells. Some property owners have reported drains smelling like garlic, rotten vegetables or sewage.
It’s simple: healthy drains don’t smell. So whatever your drains smell like, it probably isn’t a good sign. Contacting a professional should be the first step to understanding the smell and getting it out of your property.
Outdoor and Indoor Drain Smells
While indoor drain smells can be easier to identify, outdoor drains are much more complex. There can be many more causes of outside drain smells and they often link to problems deep within the drainage system. It could be an outdoor drain blockage, or it could be something bigger such as a collapsed drain or damaged pipework.
If you notice a smell coming from a drain outside your home get in touch with Maintain Drains. Our friendly team can investigate the issue and give you a breakdown of the cause. Our team then works on a case-by-case basis to resolve the problem and get your drains flowing back to normal as quickly as possible with no more nasty smells.
How to get rid of Drain Smells and Neutralise Odours
Often, when noticing an unpleasant smell, the first thought is “how do I get rid of it?”, especially if it smells of rotten eggs. While odours can be masked with products such as Mr Muscle or Jeyes Fluid, if the root cause of the problem is still there, the smell will return.
The best way to remove drain odours is to go directly to the cause of the smell – whether that’s a food build-up or damaged pipes. By contacting a professional plumber, you can get straight to the cause of the issue and have unpleasant odours removed completely.
How to Prevent Smelly Drains
We always recommend putting measures in place to prevent issues before they arise. While drain odours have many causes, preventing them is actually quite simple and can be done through regular maintenance. Ensuring drains are clean, with minimal build-up, and they are used properly is important. Prevention is also important and there should be measures implemented to ward off nasty smells.
Life is busy, and it’s easy to forget to maintain your drains. Regular pre-planned maintenance can do the work for you and means a drainage expert can nip any problems in the bud before they arise. As well as time, it can also save you money, as prevention measures are more affordable than last-minute emergency repairs. This service is ideal for both homes and businesses. To discuss planned maintenance of your drains, give us a call today.
Drain Smell Cleaners
There are many products on the market which claim to clean your drains and stop nasty odours. While some are good, others are cheap and don’t actually work. Many drain cleaning products are made with toxic chemicals, and can actually cause more damage than repair.
Chemical drain cleaners are often a short-term fix and will not resolve the cause of the smell. Whether it’s a bacteria build up or a plumbing error, it isn’t likely that a cheap drain cleaner will repair it. Most drain problems need intervention and repair by a professional who can tackle the issue and prevent it from recurring.
When to get Help From a Professional
A smelly drain could be dangerous to your health, so it is recommended to contact a professional as soon as the smell is noticed. It isn’t pleasant, and getting it resolved as soon as possible will ensure your home is safe and smells clean.
In the meantime, you can use odour masks such as air fresheners to reduce odours. When contacting a drainage expert, they should advise you on how to reduce the smell and deal with the issue.
You can contact Maintain Drains 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all drainage issues. We specialise in blocked drains and pride ourselves on our 5-star service in and around Dorset. Request a callback from our team today to receive a free quote. Our team of experts can advise you on the best solution which works for you and your drains.
What causes a drain to smell like rotten eggs? ›
It's the smell of rotten eggs – and it's coming from your drain! It doesn't matter if it's your kitchen sink, your bathroom sink or even the bathtub, this smell can show up unexpectedly! Known as hydrogen sulfide, it forms when bacteria grows either in drains, sewage or in the ground.Should I be worried if I smell rotten eggs? ›
Smelling hydrogen sulfide does not mean that it will harm your health. The smell can cause worry, anxiety and resentment. Repeated odour events may culminate in real symptoms such as headache, fatigue and nausea. Although these are not direct health effects they are undesirable.How do I get rid of sulfur smell in my bathroom? ›
Pour a half cup of baking soda into the drain and then a cup of vinegar. Or, if you prefer, you can use a half cup of bleach. If you're still smelling sulfur or rotten eggs in your Milford, CT bathroom, then it's time to call the professionals.Why does my house smell like eggy drains? ›
If you are noticing the smell of rotten eggs, it is possible that your water or sink drain is contaminated. It could also be that the drain is clogged or partially drained. When sinks are clogged, they drain slowly, which can cause bacteria to build up in the p-trap and create the hydrogen sulfide gas.What is the best way to get rid of smelly drains? ›
- Pour a 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain.
- Pour a 1/2 cup lemon juice down the drain as well.
- Plug the drain and let the solution work for one hour.
- Finish by running the hot tap water down the drain.
Increase the water heater temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for several hours. This will destroy the sulfur bacteria. Flushing to remove the dead bacteria after treatment should control the odor problem.Can I shower if my water smells like rotten eggs? ›
You can breathe easy (metaphorically speaking) because water with hydrogen sulfide is still safe to drink and bathe in – it's just going to smell bad. However, the odor of hydrogen sulfide can be similar to that from sewage or other contaminants, which can be pose health risks.Why does my bathroom smell like sewer at night? ›
A dry P-trap is one of the most common causes of sewer smell in your bathroom. The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe located under the sink or drains. It is used to trap water beneath the drain, preventing sewer smells from reaching the bathroom.Is it OK to pour bleach down the drain? ›
Never Pour Bleach Down Your Household Drain
And these uses won't present any risk. Just like cooking oil, bleach is one of those things you shouldn't pour into your sink. You should also never use bleach to unclog your drains. Doing so can even burst your drain pipes, and you'll be left with a nasty and expensive mess.
Chlorine bleach can effectively remove medium to high levels (over 6 mg/l) of hydrogen sulfide. The chlorine in the bleach chemically reacts with (oxi- dizes) the hydrogen sulfide eliminating the "rotten egg" odor.