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A bathroom is a place where you relax and rejuvenate.

Sweet fragrances positively impact our minds and help us unwind while bathing. Studies show that people who take aromatherapy and relaxing baths have much lower stress levels than those who don’t.

But it can all go downhill if you have leaky and smelly drains. They ruin a bathroom’s clean and cozy vibe, making it highly uncomfortable. So, it would be best to look out for these dirty smells and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Foul-smelling bathroom drains shouldn’t be taken lightly because they might be a symptom of some underlying drainage problem. Today’s guide will discuss practical ways to stop your drains from smelling. So, let’s look at how to clean a smelly drain!

Why Do Bathroom Drains Get Smelly?

Before we move on to treating the smelly drains, let’s examine the reasons behind the problem. Finding solutions to stinky drain smells is much more effective after learning the root cause of the issue.

Bathroom drains can stink for several reasons, and a few of them are:

Hair Clogged Bathroom Drain

1. Mould Growth

Try smelling around the drains in your bathroom. We know it’ll be gross, but you’ll have to bear with it if you want to get to the heart of the situation. If you smell a musty odour, mould grows actively in your pipes.

Mould colonies produce spores that release tiny gaseous puffs with a musty smell. If inhaled directly, this stink can take a toll on your health, causing nausea, dizziness, and headache. You can check for this near your bathroom sink smell, drain pipes and drain plug.

2. Biofilm Formation

A biofilm is a layer of accumulated debris, non-biodegradable clogging and pathogenic growth. Bacterial colonies release sticky glue-like mucilaginous fluids that are adhesive between the debris and drains.

You can test the presence of a biofilm by running your shower water for two to three minutes. Be aware of whether the water flow is normal or low pressure. It may indicate a clogged drain.

Also, the smell of such biological clogging is usually like rotten eggs. Such pathogens and decomposing debris build-up can become a breeding spot for several waterborne diseases. That’s why you shouldn’t take smelly drains lightly.

3. Sewer Gases

If your taps are working fine and there is no change in the water flow and pressure, you may still be able to sense that rotten egg stink or sewer smell. This happens when sewer gasses escape from the pipelines.

Also known as hydrogen sulphide, these gases point toward the possibility of blockages or damage in your drainage system. The amount of sewer gas, aka hydrogen sulphide, that escapes from drains doesn’t impact the health but makes the living space uncomfortable.

Drains usually have a P-trap structure, a barrier between air and water transported through the drains. Due to a broken or absent P-trap, the gases might enter the drainage system.

Also, sewer backup or trouble in the mainline might contribute to the problem.

4. Clogged Air Vents

Drains are designed to prevent sewer gases and air from entering the network and have a system of vents. These vents are interconnected with all the house’s drains and open on the terrace.

Moreover, they carry all the air and release them through the opening. If the air vents or the grates at their opening get clogged due to dust and debris, the gases can enter the drain system, causing them to gurgle and give off a musty smell.

Hence, it is essential to get the vents tested every once.

How To Fix Smelly Bathroom Drains?

We discussed the main reason that can lead to smelly drains. Let’s look at tips for cleaning drains and eradicating drain smells, so keep reading.

Water Running Drain

1. Cleaning The Mould

First of all, try to have a close look at the mould growth.

You’ll need three ingredients readily available at home and a straightforward tool to eliminate the mould. Get some baking soda and white vinegar from the kitchen, and boil some water. Then, grab an old toothbrush, and you’re ready to clean smelly drains.

Mix equal parts of normal water and baking soda to create a paste. When the paste becomes somewhat viscous and adopts a slightly thicker consistency, apply it to the stinky drain using a toothbrush. Once you’re happy with the application, sit it out for ten minutes before scrubbing the drain.

You must note that things can get ugly when the mould visibly grows around the drain. Keep scrubbing until the growth loosens and you are satisfied with the result.

Next, boil around ten quarts of water and let it cool off a little. If you have PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) drains, boiling water can damage them by melting, so we advise keeping the water at 145 to 150 degrees Celsius. This temperature range is ideal for killing mould.

Once the water is at an appropriate temperature, pour it down the drain slowly and steadily. Additionally, pour a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. This will likely kill the mould and rid your drains of the foul smell.

2. Clearing Drain Clogs

You can clean minor drain blockages easily by following a few simple steps. You have probably heard of the baking soda and vinegar methods. First, you will need to identify where the clog is, and then you will need a drain brush cleaner, baking soda, some white distilled vinegar, and boiling water for this method.

First and foremost, remove the drain cover or grate using a screwdriver. If you have a push-and-pull drain, unscrew it by rotating it counterclockwise. Also, keep some boiled water handy ( five to ten quarts) and gently pour it down the drain.

The water will make the clog moist, and once that is done, pour a cup of distilled white vinegar into the smelly drain. Shove half a cup of baking soda immediately after the vinegar, then you’ll have to wait for two hours before the next step.

After waiting, pour 2 litres of lukewarm water into the drain. All this was preparatory work, making the blockage susceptible before the cleaning.

The most important part is clearing the clog and removing the debris using a drain brush. Do it carefully and thoroughly, loosening and removing all the accumulated matter (the biofilm, as discussed earlier). You can also use a drain snake to help dislodge the blockage. However, we recommend not using heavy chemical drain cleaners.

The blockage will probably be cleared, and your drain will stop smelling. If the smell still doesn’t leave or comes back after a while, you’ll have to call a plumber to help you out. A professional can clear a blocked drain quickly whilst protecting your plumbing system.

3. Fix The P-Trap

The P-Trap uses a layer of water to keep the gases separate from the water supply in drains. If that water barrier dries up, your drains can gurgle and smell.

Flash a torch down your bathroom drain; if you can see water there, your drain hasn’t dried, and there is some other reason behind the smell. You’ll possibly have to call a professional for an inspection. But if the P-Trap has dried, no worries, we’ll tell you how to fix it.

Trust us; the process is straightforward, and you must pour one to two cups of water into your drain. Wait for an hour, and check again.

If the water level stays intact, then your problem has been solved. Add four ounces of cooking or mineral oil into the P-trap to slow water evaporation and moisten the curved pipe.

4. Install A Hair Catcher

Hair trapping is a massive cause of drain clogging and foul odour. It might appear negligible initially, but the issue is much more prevalent than you think.

We have fine hair all over our bodies, which sheds and goes down the drain whenever we bathe or wash. All this hair can accumulate and cause big drainage problems.

Luckily, hair catchers are affordable and very easy to install. We suggest going for them instead of paying hefty plumbing fees.

White Shower Drain Cover

Fixing Your Smelly Bathroom Drain

That’s about it for this guide to cleaning smelly drains; you should clarify why bathroom drains stink and how to fix them. These methods can also clean a smelly kitchen sink drain or garbage disposal.

Before signing off, let’s review the gist of the matter again. Drains can be smelly because of mould, mildew, blockages, and sewer gases. But you can fix these problems on your own with some cleaning by using baking soda, white vinegar and boiled water. However, if the problem persists, call our plumbing team in Melbourne.

We will be signing off on that note. Until next time! Take care and follow our steps to prevent smelly drains.

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