How to Get Rid of Smelly Drains in the Bathroom

A smelly bathroom drain can be a major source of discomfort and embarrassment. The unpleasant odours can linger in your bathroom and make it difficult to enjoy the space. 


Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to get rid of smelly drains and prevent them from recurring. 


In this article, we will explore some of the most effective ways to clean and deodorise bathroom drains, including DIY methods and commercial cleaners. We will also discuss tips for preventing smelly drains and when to call a professional plumber. By following these tips, you can keep your bathroom fresh and odour-free, and enjoy a more pleasant bathroom experience.


Why Do Drains Smell in the Bathroom?

Have you ever walked into your bathroom and been hit with a foul smell coming from the drains? This is a common problem that many homeowners face, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. The reason for the unpleasant odour is usually due to bacteria and other organic matter that have accumulated in the drain over time.


The warm and damp environment in the bathroom provides an ideal breeding ground for these microorganisms, leading to the buildup of slime and gunk in the pipes. If left untreated, this can result in clogged drains, slow water flow, and an even stronger odour that can permeate throughout your home. But don’t worry, there are several easy and effective ways to get rid of smelly drains in the bathroom.


Identify the Source of the Smell: Is it the Sink or the Shower Drain?

The first step in addressing smelly bathroom drains is to determine the source of the odour. Is it coming from the sink or the shower drain? The two areas have different plumbing systems and require different methods of cleaning.


If the odour is coming from the sink, the problem is most likely caused by a buildup of hair, soap scum, and toothpaste residue in the drain trap. The trap is a curved section of the pipe under the sink that holds a small amount of water to prevent sewer gases from coming back up into your bathroom. Over time, debris can accumulate in the trap and cause a bad smell.


On the other hand, if the odour is coming from the shower drain, the issue is likely caused by a buildup of hair, skin cells, and soap scum in the pipes. These materials can create a sticky film that traps bacteria and other organic matter, leading to a foul odour. 


In some cases, mould and mildew can also grow in the moist environment of the shower drain, exacerbating the problem.


By identifying the source of the smell, you can choose the appropriate cleaning method to effectively remove the buildup and get rid of the odour for good.


DIY Methods to Clean and Deodorise Drains

If you’re looking for a DIY solution to clean and deodorise your bathroom drains, there are several simple methods you can try. Here are a few effective options:


  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: This is a classic and effective method for cleaning and deodorising drains. First, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a cloth or stopper to prevent the mixture from bubbling up. Wait for about 10-15 minutes, then flush the drain with hot water.
  • Boiling Water: Sometimes, all you need to do is pour boiling water down the drain to dissolve and flush away any buildup. Boil a kettle of water and carefully pour it down the drain in a slow, steady stream. Be cautious not to splash yourself or others with the boiling water.
  • Salt and Baking Soda: Another effective DIY solution is to mix salt and baking soda in equal parts, then pour the mixture down the drain. Wait for about 10-15 minutes, then flush with hot water.
  • Lemon Juice and Baking Soda: Lemon juice is a natural deodorizer that can help eliminate bad smells in your bathroom drains. Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of lemon juice and pour the mixture down the drain. Wait for 10-15 minutes, then flush with hot water.


These DIY methods can be effective for removing mild to moderate buildup and deodorising your drains. However, they may not be sufficient for more stubborn clogs or persistent smells.


Commercial Drain Cleaners: Pros and Cons, Precautions, Types of Cleaners Available.

If the DIY methods don’t work, or if you prefer a more convenient option, you can also use commercial drain cleaners to clean and deodorise your bathroom drains. These cleaners are formulated to dissolve and flush away stubborn buildup and kill bacteria that cause bad odours.


However, it’s important to use commercial drain cleaners with caution, as they can be corrosive and harmful to your pipes and septic system. 


Here are some pros and cons of using commercial drain cleaners:



  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Effective for removing stubborn clogs and buildup
  • Available in different types and formulations to suit different needs



  • Corrosive and harmful to pipes and septic system
  • Can release harmful fumes and chemicals
  • May not be effective for certain types of clogs or buildup


If you decide to use a commercial drain cleaner, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and take appropriate precautions, such as wearing gloves and goggles and ventilating the area. There are several types of drain cleaners available, including chemical, enzymatic, and natural options. Consider the pros and cons of each type before choosing the best option for your needs.


Preventing Smelly Drains

To prevent smelly bathroom drains from recurring, it’s important to practice regular cleaning and maintenance. 


Here are some tips:


  • Clean your drains regularly with a DIY solution or a commercial cleaner to prevent buildup and bacteria growth.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage your pipes and septic system.
  • Dispose of grease and oil properly to prevent them from solidifying in your pipes.
  • Use drain strainers or stoppers to catch hair, food particles, and other debris before they enter the pipes.
  • Run hot water down the drain after each use to flush away any remaining debris and prevent buildup.


By following these tips, you can keep your bathroom drains clean and odour-free.


When to Call a Professional

In some cases, smelly bathroom drains may be a sign of a more serious problem that requires the attention of a professional plumber. 


Here are some signs that you should call a professional:


  • The smell persists even after using DIY methods or commercial cleaners.
  • The water drains slowly or not at all, indicating a serious clog.
  • There are gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from the drain, which may indicate a problem with the plumbing system.
  • Your home has old plumbing, which may be more prone to clogs and other issues.


If you experience any of these signs, it’s best to call a professional plumber who can diagnose and address the problem before it gets worse. They have the knowledge and tools to handle more complex issues, such as tree root infiltration or damaged pipes, and can help ensure that your bathroom drains are functioning properly and odour-free.


Why you might need new tapware and bathroom accessories 

In some cases, smelly bathroom sinks may be a sign that your tapware and bathroom accessories are outdated or damaged. 


For example, old or corroded taps and fittings can harbour bacteria and prevent proper drainage, leading to unpleasant odours. Similarly, worn-out sink stoppers or drain covers can allow debris to accumulate in the pipes, leading to clogs and foul odours. In these cases, it may be necessary to replace your tapware and bathroom accessories to ensure proper function and prevent further issues. 


Upgrading to modern and efficient tapware and accessories can also improve the overall appearance and functionality of your bathroom, creating a more comfortable and enjoyable space. 


If you suspect that your tapware or accessories may be contributing to smelly bathroom sinks, it’s worth upgrading your bathroom. 


Where to go if you want to facilitate any of these bathroom trends 

At The Plumbing Store, we know that renovating a bathroom can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We have made it our mission to make the process as easy as possible for our customers by offering a massive range of products, all in one place. From fixtures to fittings, we have everything you need to create the bathroom of your dreams.


We are proud to offer our customers local customer service in Perth, and our team is dedicated to helping you every step of the way. We believe that great customer service is key to a successful renovation, and we strive to make sure that every customer is completely satisfied with their experience.


We also understand that cost can be a concern when it comes to bathroom renovations, which is why we offer very competitive pricing. We believe that everyone should have access to the bathroom of their dreams, and we want to make sure that our customers get the best value for their money.


So why not come and visit us at The Plumbing Store today? We have everything you need to make your bathroom renovation project a success, and we can’t wait to help you bring your bathroom design dreams to life.


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