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Knowing how to clean stinky drains will help you keep kitchen odors under control. It’s certainly helped me! Living with two males and two (male) cats, I wind up playing “What’s That Smell?” far more often than I like.
Most of the time, I can trace the source of the stench back to one of the guys. Sometimes it’s their smelly shoes — and, sometimes, it’s them.
Other times, the source is a nasty sink drain and I can’t blame the guys about that at all.
Smelly drains are usually the result of built-up food residue. Fortunately, smelly drains are easy to clean and, if you make a habit of it, you can keep them odor-free.
How To Clean Stinky Drains
There are a variety of ways to eliminate drain odors. Many people find that a combination of methods works best, so choose the one that’s most convenient for you to start, then try another approach if the smell persists.
Pour: Often, stray hair and other debris get stuck in soap scum that’s lining the pipe and create smells. Treat that quickly by pouring a couple of quarts of very hot water down the drain. Don’t use boiling water, though — it can damage pipe fittings and joints over time. Wait for five minutes, then follow with cold water to solidify any remaining grease. Finally, repeat the hot water flush to remove that last bit of congealed stuff.
Deodorize: Heat four cups of white vinegar to until it’s just simmering. Let it cool one minute (again, because we don’t want to pour boiling stuff down the drain), then flush the drain with half of it. Rinse with cold water, then follow with the rest of the hot vinegar. This method usually powers through any small clogs, which are often the source of the smell.
Scour: Run hot tap water down the drain. Turn the water off. Dump a cup of baking soda down the drain and then chase it with two cups of hot vinegar down the drain. (Watch out, it’ll fizz.) Wait a half hour, during which the fizzing will subside and eventually stop. After the time’s up, flush the drain with hot tap water again.
How To Keep Your Garbage Disposal From Smelling
Using any of the above methods every couple of weeks will keep your drain from developing a nasty residue that can lead to small clogs.
Sometimes, though, kitchen garbage disposals need a bit of extra help. Here are two things you can do that will keep your kitchen sink smelling fresh all the time.
Run ice cubes in the disposal: Ice cubes are hard, so they scour the disposal blades while it runs. The cold temperature also helps collect any excess grease in your garbage disposal and carry it away.
Grind citrus peels: My mother shoves half a lemon down her disposal and lets it whir around until it’s gone. That clogs my sink, though, so I slice up lemon or orange peels before grinding them. It does give a pleasant smell to the sink and, thanks to the citric acid it helps remove greasy buildup. You don’t need to waste a piece of fruit on this, either — just stash lemon or orange halves in the freezer after using them in recipes. Pop one straight from the freezer down the disposal and it’ll clean and deodorize at the same time.
To keep odors away, make cleaning stinky drains part of your weekly kitchen cleaning routine.