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My Drains are Smelly – What is it?

My Drains are Smelly – What is it?

Offensive smells emanating from a drain is often the first, clearest, and sometimes the only, sign of underlying drain issues. While a drain, viewed from the outside, may appear to permit the free passage of water, bad smells emerging from it indicate a problem somewhere within its hidden workings. Therefore, a malodorous drain should never be ignored.

Woman not impressed at the stench of a smelly drain & pinching her nose to avoid smelling it.

The following is a list of common problems that are often identified because of a smelly drain, and what can be done about them – possibly DIY, but preferably through the services of a qualified drain professional.


Trapped Food

This is a problem that is especially common with domestic indoor drains such as the one under the kitchen sink. Even when care is exercised as to what goes down the drain, drained water may include grease, fragments of food, and other organic material. This material may not be entirely flushed out by water and may sit in the U pipe or lower down and decompose, causing a bad odour to waft upward.

The simplest solution to this problem, which is sometimes effective, is to fill the sink with hot water and add bleach, then permit the bleached water to pass through the pipes. This does not, however, usually remove the entire waste deposit within the pipes, and the services of a qualified drain professional will be better suited to remove more thoroughly.


Partial Blockage

A partial blockage occurs when something that does not normally decompose (such as cotton buds) enters the drainpipe and prevents normal drainage, causing waste to accumulate around it and become the source of offensive smell. This type of issue is solved only by dismantling the drain pipes and removing the blocking object, which is a messy process that is potentially hazardous to health.


Sewage Backing Up

Sometimes, the water pressure in general drainage systems below a domestic or commercial drain can cause sewage to back up into the drainpipes, causing a foul odour within the drain.

The problem is sometimes alleviated when the water pressure inside the pipes below decreases and the backup clears away. If it persists because the backup has left deposits of sewage within the drain, then the drain must be cleared.


Pipe and Accessory Issues

Depending on the material from which pipes and drain accessories are made, they can rust, absorb foreign materials, and otherwise degrade, resulting in bad smells. In these cases, the services of a qualified professional are required to evaluate the problem and replace the pipes and parts.



Badly maintained dishwashers and washing machines can create unsightly smells that can hang around in your home. Try using appliance cleaners which are regularly available at supermarkets or DIY stores. If this doesn’t overcome the problem, it may be worth seeking professional drainage advice to see it the problem is with your wastewater pipes.


Express Clear

The experts at Express Clear are ready to come and help. If you have a blocked drain or a smelly drain, contact our team today. We cover across Doncaster and the surrounding areas for any drainage issues you have.


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