Three Reasons Your Drain Stinks – And How To Fix It

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Stinky drains in the shower or sink can make the whole bathroom smell unpleasant. Fortunately, smelly drains can usually be remedied pretty easily. The trick is figuring out the cause so you can address those odorous symptoms. To help, the plumbing professionals at River City Plumbing in Reno are sharing three reasons your drains stink, and what you can do to fix them.

The Shower Strainer is Clogged

Many shower drains come equipped with a strainer that’s designed to trap debris like hair and soap scum before it goes down the drain. That debris starts to accumulate over time, and if you’re noticing a funky smell, it’s probably this greasy, scummy build-up.

How to fix it: Strainers are usually secured with a single Phillips screw, so use a screwdriver to remove it. Wear some gloves and have a bucket or garbage bag handy – you’ll need somewhere to dump the debris after you pull out the strainer. Use an old toothbrush and hot, soapy water to clean off the strainer and your smelly drain should be back to normal.

Your P-Trap is Dry

The curving portion of the drain pipe is the p-trap. That shape is intentional – it’s designed to catch and hold some of the water that drains through it. This standing water blocks sewer gasses that can could drift upward and into your home. A p-trap that’s run dry is often diagnosed by a telltale odor of rotten eggs. Try removing the strainer and shining a light into the drain. If you don’t see water, it’s time for a quick remedy.

How to fix it: Pour two cups of water down the drain and give it an hour before checking again with the flashlight. That should solve the problem, ,but if you can’t see anything and the odor is still strong, consider giving River City Plumbing a call for a more thorough inspection and resolution.

You Have a Mold or Mildew Issue

A musty smell is often an indication that you have mold or mildew growing beneath the drain cover. Mold and mildew thrive in dark, wet places, even in our dry high desert climate. While this can be a job for the experts, since mold and mildew colonies can be dangerous, the EPA advises a DIY approach if you’re dealing with small cases.

How to fix it: Mix equal parts of baking soda and water together into a paste, then use an old toothbrush to apply the paste over the drain. Wait ten minutes, then use the toothbrush to scrub the drain thoroughly. Repeat as needed to clear the mold, then pour hot water down the drain to flush. Follow up with a cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda, then rinse again. If you’re still smelling mildew, give us a call.

Don’t Want to DIY?

If you’re rather have an expert diagnose and solve your stinky drain, we’re happy to help. Contact River City Plumbing today.

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