What to Do When Your Plumbing Stinks

Mathews plumbing in Shelley

What to Do When Your Plumbing Stinks

By: Karli Willden

Dealing with Odors from your Plumbing

One item within your home that is often taken for granted is indoor plumbing. As it has been a mainstay in construction for almost 100 years, and its basic technological premise has remained unchanged for a large portion of that time, it is often overlooked. However, there are various odor issues that can arise from your household plumbing and pipes that may just drive you crazy. In this article, we will discuss the most common problems, some simple fixes and when you should hire a professional.

Simple Quick Fixes

There are several issues surrounding possible odors and different ways to try and solve them before calling a professional plumber.

Sink Stinks

Every sink, toilet or basin in your home should have a P-trap. It is a simple way to keep the smells of the sewer from backing up into your home, by essentially having a water plug stop smells from reversing into your home. However, if you have a large home or multiple sinks that do not get used very often, the water in these P-traps can often evaporate. This removes the water plug that prevents the smell from entering the home. Simply run water for a couple minutes in the offensive sinks to reinstall the water plug.

Smelly Toilet

Generally, the toilet is not an olfactory bed of roses, but if yours smells particularly bad just after use your toilet’s wax seal may need upgrading. There is a wax seal that seals your toilet to the floor drain, if this seals breaks, hardens or is non-existent, it may be leaking air into the bathroom after each flush. Removing your toilet and fixing the seal is relatively easy, just make sure to turn off the water before you do.


If you have a garbage disposal unit in your kitchen sink, there is a possibility that it has collected waste into its nooks and crannies and that smell is lingering. You can clean out your disposal unit with a simple wash process. Two home remedies may help this. Put in a tray of ice cube and some lemon peels for 30 seconds, adding a little bit of dish detergent while it is running. Then run hot water through it for an additional 30 seconds. The alternate recipe is to pour 1-2 cups of pure white vinegar into it while it is running for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of hot water.

Problems for the Pros

Smells all Over

If you have noticed that multiple sinks, basins or toilets are releasing sewer gas, you may have a sewer blockage or leak. Do not attempt to fix this, call a professional plumber right away.

Basement Drain Odor

If one of the basement drains is odorous there may be a clog in one of the sewer branch lines. It’s best to have it scoped to see if there is a problem by a pro.

If you have tried the simple fixes above and still find a smell emanating from your drains or sinks, it’s time to call in the pros for an inspection. Give Mathews Plumbing a call today at 208-357-3439.