Drain and Sewer Odors

Why do the sink and floor drains in my home have a foul odor?

Have you ever experienced a foul-smelling odor coming from one of the sink or floor drains in your home? There are several common reasons why you may experience this issue and with a few simple steps you should be able to resolve the problem on your own.

  • Rotting food and grease stuck in your drain or garbage disposal - Always avoid adding cooking grease and excess food waste down your drain. Cooking grease should be allowed to cool and disposed of in your trash bin. Grease is one of the leading causes of sewer odors and clogging issues. Also, when cleaning off dishes and cookware, avoid adding scraps to your drains when possible. Instead, clean the items over a garbage can first before doing your dishes. There are several ways to resolve a sink odor caused by this issue:
    • Run ice cubes and lemon juice through your disposal, this will help loosen food particles stuck to the blades. 
    • You can also add a mixture of baking soda and vinegar along with hot water to help get rid of the odor. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 10 to 15 mins and flush with hot water. After this you should have an odorless clean drain!
    • Use a natural enzyme drain cleaner to eat away decaying food particles without harming your plumbing. (Note: Avoid chemical drain cleaners like Liquid-Plumr or Drano as these can be corrosive and cause more harm than good.)
  • Sewer gas smells coming from your drain - If there’s a sewer smell coming from your drain, it can be coming from the sink trap. Your sink trap is a “P” or “U” shaped fitting located under your sink that is designed to hold water and prevent sewer gases from entering your home. Sometimes water in the trap can evaporate if the sink isn’t used very often and floor drains in your home can experience similar issues if not used frequently and evaporation occurs. Here are a couple of ways to help remedy this issue:
    • Run water at the sink or floor drain to fill the trap back up and prevent the sewer gases from coming back into your home.
    • On less frequently used sinks and drains, adding a small amount of mineral or vegetable oil to the drain can help to slow the evaporation process.

If you are experiencing this issue and work like further assistance, please call the Romeoville Public Works Department at 815-886-1870.