Have you just found out that there’s a bad smell coming out of your bathroom floor drain? Well, then you’re certainly not alone!
Believe it or not, stinking drains are a common problem in most households. We may not want to deal with it, but now and then, we have to brave these issues.
However, even though it’s frequent, most people don’t know what causes a smelly floor drain. And most of us likely forget about the existence of these outlets even when we regularly clean our bathrooms or basements.
All this may seem trivial, but long-standing smells from floor drains are usually signs of plumbing problems.
It can lead to critical health issues because of the obnoxious environment created by the odour. Hence, to help you, we have developed this guide to trace the sources of your smelly floor drains.
So, let’s begin!
Causes of Smelly Floor Drains
1. Blocked Drains
This is the most apparent reason for an obnoxious smell coming out of floor drains, but it’s easy to escape our minds. Many things can cause a drain to clog up, but accumulated gunk on the grate is the most common.
You may have noticed a covering on top of the floor drain, which helps hold on to the things that might clog up the pipe. It also makes it easy for the water to go down the drain. The floor waste is the grated drain in the middle of your bathroom.
On this grate or cover, you might find a build-up of soap scum, food remnants, hair, dirt and other things that block the drains and cause a foul smell. Also, dry floor waste is usually the most common reason your bathroom smells like a sewer because it’s literally letting the sewer gases escape through the drain trap or the opening in the floor.
However, blockages are sometimes inside the pipe; if you suspect that, calling a plumber might help, so you don’t have to suffer a sewer gas trap problem, the smell of sewer gases, gunk or anything foul.
2. Bacteria Or Mould Growth
Finding out this reason is a bit tricky for smelly drains. Bacteria and mould can often grow inside the walls of a drain, which may start smelling in a few days. A musty odour is usually the first hint of this issue.
This problem is particularly prevalent in bathrooms where hot water is used frequently. In the kitchen sink drain, the garbage disposal begins to stink when food sits in the pipes. Additionally, it’s also seen in places where the water may stand for a while before draining out. Also, the growth of bacteria or mould can suggest the presence of a blockage in the drain.
It would be best to take care of this issue as early as possible to avoid prolonged exposure to the bacteria or mould, as it may lead to health problems.
3. Old Pipes
Do you still have old plumbing lines at your house? Old metal pipes often exposed to moisture may get rusted, leading to cracks or holes, letting sewage enter the drain pipe. Even when the situation isn’t adverse, the smell of sewage can still seep through the cracks. Usually, sewer smells occur in irregularly used drains.
If the sewer pipe becomes blocked or sustains damage from corrosion, tree roots, ground shifting, or construction, it will start to back up sewage into your drain pipes and eventually into your smelly drain.
Tree roots are a common problem that may damage pipes. Hence, foul odours can easily reach you through the drains if there’s damage to the lines. In such cases, the only way to end this problem is by changing or repairing the pipes with more weather or damage-resistant options.
4. Drain Flies
It might be hard to believe that flies might be one of the foremost reasons for smelly drains. However, drain flies, also known as sink flies, will easily make you feel their ability to spread foul odour.
These flies are often attracted to decomposing organic matter, commonly found in drains. These flies usually infest places during summer, as the hot and humid situation is perfect for their breeding.
You might be able to spot a few flies near the floor drain. However, in most cases, the first sign of these flies is the wriggling black larvae present near the drain hole.
It’s tempting to wash the flies or larvae with water, but don’t do that, as moisture helps the flies to thrive. Instead, using apple cider vinegar might better eliminate the pesky creatures.
Ways To Get Rid Of Smelly Floor Drains
Now that you know what causes odour in drains, it’s time to find ways to defeat it. Most of these options will be straightforward and can be done with things readily available at home. However, if you find that the smell isn’t going away, seek the help of a plumber right away.
1. Pour Hot Water Down The Drain
The hot water method is a favourite technique to eliminate clogs in a drain. This trick works for drains in sink and floor. All you need to do is pour hot or warm water down the drain. Make sure to remove any drain cap or grate beforehand.
But, if you have PVC pipes at home, we recommend using warm water to avoid melting the plastic pipes or joints. It’s a helpful method, as the temperature of the water can melt organic materials to unclog the drain.
As you aren’t using anything toxic, the pipes won’t get damaged. A trick is to use the leftover boiled water from your kitchen for this method.
2. Pour Hot Vinegar Down The Drain
As we mentioned before, pouring warm vinegar down the drain can also be a good solution, as vinegar removes bacterial growth and mould. Also, the warmth of the hot vinegar will melt down the organic materials blocking the drain.
To start, you will need to warm the vinegar on your stove or in the microwave. Please wait for it to get a little steamy, and then prepare to pour it down the drain so that the vinegar touches the walls of the drain pipe.
Follow it up by taking a plunger and pushing it on the mouth of your floor drain as you would to a toilet. This takes away any further clogs left in the drain pipe. You can repeat this step every month to avoid smelly drains.
3. Baking Soda And Hot Water Treatment
The internet is obsessed with baking soda, and we admit that so are we. It’s a miraculous and eco-friendly cleaning agent that works for our bodies and the drains. You can use this treatment as a monthly routine to get odour-free drains.
To do this, you will need baking soda and hot water. You can also take white or apple cider vinegar for the last step, but it isn’t necessary.
So, start by pouring a cup of 100 gm of baking soda down the drain. Please wait 15 minutes, and follow it up with hot water. After waiting for another 15-20 minutes, pour an additional 100 gm of baking soda into the drain, followed by either hot water or vinegar.
This treatment will give good results and eliminate the foul smell from your drains.
What Can You Do If The Smell Persists?
Unfortunately, in some cases, the smell will refuse to go away. In such a situation, it’s best to take help from a professional. Many people resort to using bleach or commercial drain cleaners, but getting an expert’s opinion is better.
Only a licensed plumber will help you with the problems of smelly drains. And you should ensure a thorough check-up of your house’s drainage and plumbing system to prevent and avoid further blocked drain problems.
Getting Rid Of Your Smelly Floor Drain
That’s all we had to tell you about smelly drains. We have tried to give you a comprehensive idea about the reasons that might cause the problem and attempted to provide some easy solutions.
Remember to regularly clean the drain grate to keep it clear of the usual gunk that might end up blocking the pipe. Also, keep pouring hot water once a week or do the baking soda and hot water treatment every month.
And, if the smell seems to persist even after regular cleaning and maintenance, seek help as there might be further problems in your house’s plumbing system.
With that, we have come to the end of this informative guide. Contact us if you have more queries regarding smelly drains or other household plumbing issues in Sydney.
Till then, bye and take care!