One day you’re in your bathroom and kitchen and suddenly a horrible, smelly, and damp odor starts making your nostrils cringe and your eyes water. You check the trash, the toilet, the pet’s bowls but the smell has a sewer smell odor to it and won’t go away. No amount of air freshener or lit candles will get rid of the septic odors. 


The culprit might be a smelly drains either in your sink, basin, or coming from your shower drain. Build up of old food, hair clumps, old soap, dead skin, and other remnants of either your garbage disposal use in the sink or showering in the shower can lead to a build up of smelly sink fumes.


Here is how to clean smelly drains and eliminate the odors.

Woman showering in stand up showerCredit: By Toni Bremmer from Louisville, United States [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

First you’ll want to remove the drain cover. If it is a sink make sure the garbage disposal is turned off at the main power supply. Use a screwdriver to remove the screw holding the drain cover in place if there is one. Use the screwdriver to lift off the drain cover. Be prepared for a stronger sewer smell to come out.


Put on some latex gloves and pull out any hair of blockage visible in the drain. It’s going to be a bit gross but it must be done.


Mix up one part bleach with three parts of hot water in a large bucket. Carefully and slowly pour the mixture down the rancid smelling drain. You may need to stop throughout to give the mixture time to work itself into the drain. Wait about 10 minutes to really let the bleach and hot water soak into the smelly sink drain. Next turn on the hot water and let it run for about 5 minutes. 


Wait over night and then run some more hot water. Stop and if the smell persists use some drain cleaner such as Drano or Liquid Plumber. Slowly pour some of the drain cleaner down the drain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. After that time, run the hot water down the drain for another 5 minutes or so.


Replace the drain cover and screw. For garbage disposals, run the disposal for a few seconds after running hot water. You may also want to pour a small amount of bleach on the drain cover to help mask more of the odor.


For your safety do not mix different chemical cleaners together and always run the hot water for a few minutes to clear out the last used cleaner or bleach. Repeat these steps regularly to get rid of smelly drains and septic odors in all your sinks and drains. 

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