6 Reasons Your Kitchen Drain Stinks

Believe it or not, your kitchen sink drain has more bacteria than the bathroom sink has. It is imperative that we clean the kitchen daily. The kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home; therefore, it gets messy quickly.

However, despite our best cleaning efforts, some odors just won’t go away. It doesn’t matter how many cleaners you use, if there is an issue with the sink drain, the odor will remain.

We have come up with 6 reasons why your drains continue to smell bad.

Infrequent Drain Usage

If a sink is not in use for some time, it causes the water within the trap to dry up. When this happens, sewer odors normally blocked from coming up through the sink are released into the air. Running the hot water down the drain for a while will usually fix this issue.

Drains are Greasy

Grease in the drain is one of the biggest reasons for a sink that stinks. When oil and grease congeal in the drainage pipe of a sink, it starts to smell as it breaks down. For this reason, you should avoid pouring any oil or grease down the kitchen sink. Fixing this problem oftentimes needs professional help, so consider using a home warranty plan or local contractor for assistance.

Garbage Disposal Needs Cleaning

If you do not clean the garbage disposal on a routine basis, food particles get trapped in the mechanism. This creates a bad odor in your kitchen sink due to the rotting food. There may be a number of reasons causing these food particles to get trapped, such as:

  • Not running cold water through the device after each use.
  • Too much food is being put in the device at one time.
  • The entire mechanism might need to be replaced.

Plumbing Vent Might Be Clogged

When there is fresh water and air running through the vents, this assures the plumbing vents are operating smoothly. If these vents are clogged, then gas from the sewer or septic system can be released into the home.

Particles of Food May be Stuck in Mechanism

Sometimes, garbage disposal fails to function properly. This could be due to a blockage in the drainage pipes. When greasy food congeals in a garbage disposal, food gets stuck and creates a blockage in the pipes.

Mold can form on the edges of these pipes which results in a rotten smell. In addition to the accumulation of greasy food particles that create a blockage in the drains.

Mold or Mildew in the Pipes

This might actually be the number one reason for a stinky sink. Your sink handles a lot of water flow every day. What better environment to allow the growth of mildew and mold? Plumbing pipes are wet and dark; the ideal climate in which bacteria, such as mildew and mold will thrive.

There are many remedies for cleaning out a drain that smells. You can pour boiling water down it, or use a concoction made of baking soda and vinegar. Take a plunger to the drain to clear the clog or use an auger or snake. Some people put lemon, lime, or orange peels in their garbage disposal and let it run for a while. If it’s a dry P-trap from lack of use, running cool water down the drain might remedy it. Or, you might need to call Roto-Rooter to have the pipes cleaned professionally.


We have just covered six of the most common reasons for a stinky kitchen sink drain. All of these can be handled with common household cleansers–from soda to good old-fashioned “elbow grease”.

However, when you have tried all the home remedies, it may be time to call a professional. Calling a professional plumber is always the best way to ensure your drains are cleaned properly.

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