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Battling Smelly Drains: Winning the Fight against the Odours

Smelly drains are common in bathrooms and kitchen sinks. Although they’re typical, they can be overwhelming and unsanitary to the point that they lead to significant plumbing problems. Bad odours emitting from drains can be more than an issue that stinks—it may be a symptom of a plumbing issue that requires urgent attention. However, what can you do in case a smelly drain appears out of nowhere?

What Causes Smelly Drains?

Various reasons can cause smelly drains. For bathroom drains, bad odours may be caused by dead skin, trash, food, or a build-up of soap scum sticking on the pipes. Dodgy pipes may be another reason, especially if you’re living in an old property. 

Since pre-1980 houses used clay as pipes, there is a chance that some of the lines have cracked. If the broken pipes include the sewerage line, there is a massive chance it will smell.

Sometimes, drains also smell when no one is using them. Unused drains may have dried up bottoms. In effect, the smell from the underground floats to the top and through the drain, causing the terrible smell. 

Since dried up pipes are a common reason for smelly drains, simply flushing them out with water should immediately change the way they smell. However, this method of clearing out only works if the freshwater directly goes into the floor waste underground.

Lastly, drain flies or moth flies may also cause foul odours. The more insects are dwelling in the floor drain, the smellier the drain will be. Moth flies think floor drains are inviting because of how they smell. Moth flies love decomposing matter, making floor drains ideal places to lay their eggs and reproduce.

Solutions for Smelly Drains

Since smelly drains are often caused by blockage, the best solution is to flush them out with boiling water. However, this method may not work 100 per cent of the time. However, it should reduce at least a bit of blockage in the pipes, allowing waste materials to be flushed out.

Drain cleaners are also common for drain flushing. Although most plumbers do not recommend using it, drain cleaners still work on certain drain blockages. However, make sure they are your last resort to get the funky smell out of your drains. 

For minor issues, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar might be the simplest solution. Since they’re environmentally friendly, they can be used in any drain without worrying about poisoning the waterways. To use them together, pour a cup of Baking Soda down the drain, followed by two cups of boiling water and wait for a few minutes. Add another cup of Baking Soda and a cup of White Vinegar and plug the drain. 

You’ll eventually hear sizzling sounds, and the drain should be block-free however, if the block remains, repeat until you get the results you want.


Smelly drains are nothing to worry about. However, you should take care of them as urgently as possible to avoid pipe damage and leaks. Like most household issues, prevention is always better than cure. If possible, try to unblock the drains at least once a month using the vinegar and baking soda combination. However, if the issues persist, call your trusted plumber right away.

Sunny Coast Plumbing and Gas believes that it’s better safe than sorry. We offer commercial plumbing services for clients who need to eliminate foul odours in their drains. Through our years of combined experience, we can quickly identify the cause and solve it. Visit our website to schedule an appointment with us for a cleaner, fresher drain.

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