If you’ve noticed unpleasant odors wafting up from your drains recently, you may have a growing yet unseen problem on your hands. Often, offensive drain odors become noticeable when rotting material or a substantial amount of bacteria builds up inside the pipe. As that mass of solid waste or slimy residue grows — which it’s doing by the day — eventually, it’ll form into a drain clog.

So what might be causing the nasty odor that’s floating out of your drains? Let’s take a look at a few common culprits below.  

Dry P-Trap

Solid material and slimy, bacteria-laden residue are frequently the culprits behind smelly drains. However, another culprit, a dry p-trap, may be causing the stench if you haven’t used a particular drain in some time.

The p-trap on your drain is located just beneath the opening to the drain where the attached pipe forms a u-shape. That area of pipe is designed that way so it can hold a small amount of water inside, which prevents sewer odors from wafting up through the drain.

But when you don’t use a particular drain for a while — say, in a guest bathroom you rarely use — the water inside that portion of the pipe can evaporate. When it does, off-putting sewer gases can begin traveling up through the pipe and wafting into the room that contains the drain.

Fortunately, this problem is super easy to fix: just pour water into the drain to refill the p-trap. If you haven’t already tried this, go ahead and do it now. If pouring water into the drain does nothing to quell the stench, chances are something inside the pipe is causing the odor. Or, your sewer line might be developing a blockage.

Trapped Food

If you’re dealing with a malodorous kitchen sink drain, chances are some type of solid food is causing the stench. Often, when people rinse off dishes, peel veggies over the sink, or allow grease to flow into the drain, those materials become stuck inside the pipe. Over time, they start to break down, just as they would in the trash or compost. And as they begin to rot, they also begin to stink.

Avoiding this problem is simple: Place a drain trap in the opening of the drain to catch any solid food particles that might otherwise flow into the pipe. In addition to implementing a drain trap, be diligent about disposing of oil and grease in the trash. Nothing belongs down your kitchen sink drain but liquid (not oily liquid), soap, and cleaning products. If you have a garbage disposal, it’s never a bad idea to read up on the items that don't belong in your disposal

To remedy a stinky kitchen drain, you can try pouring baking soda, hot water, or vinegar down it, but those things usually don’t get the job done. For best results — and to prevent a more severe, future drain blockage — schedule a kitchen drain cleaning appointment with a pro. That’s a surefire way to both eliminate the odor and ensure your kitchen drain does develop a serious clog.

Biofilm

Remember when we mentioned bacteria-laden residue? That stuff’s called biofilm, and it’s the slimy, nasty coating that’s currently lining the interior of your pipes. If you’re dealing with a smelly bathroom sink drain, shower drain, or bathtub drain, an excessive amount of biofilm is likely the culprit.

When hair, body care products, body oil, and who knows what else flows down the drains in your bathroom, some of it can get stuck inside the pipe. Since the interior of your drain pipes isn’t exactly pristine, bacteria begins growing on those substances. Over time, it starts to stink.

Luckily, keeping gunk out of your bathroom drains is pretty simple, too: Install drain traps to catch hair and any other materials that would normally flow down the drain. To fix a smelly bathroom drain, it best to hire a professional drain cleaner. While you can try pouring boiling water, baking soda, vinegar, or even enzymatic cleaner down the drain, again, those things are often largely ineffective.

A professional drain cleaner can perform a quick drain camera inspection to assess the interior of the pipes and determine if a clog is present. After the inspection, he’ll thoroughly flush the drain using a technique called water jetting, which effectively eliminates every bit of residue that’s causing the odor.

Hire Drain Cleaning Services in the Twin Cities Today

If your household drains smell terrible, it’s time to schedule a professional drain cleaning appointment with Drain Blaster Bill’s. We specialize in commercial and residential drain cleaning, as well as drain camera inspections for properties throughout the Twin Cities metro. From toilet and floor drain cleaning to shower drain and mainline sewer drain cleaning, whatever type of drain you need cleaned, we do them all. Need same-day service? We do that too!

To get started or learn more about how we can help you, call our Stillwater, MN office today at 763-913-8719, request a free estimate, or contact us online, and we’ll be in touch!