why does my bathroom sink smell

Why Does Your Bathroom Sink Smell? Here’s How to Solve it!

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Have you ever wondered that why does your bathroom sink smell? You may be thinking that someone has probably thrown up or there’s a rotten egg that is sitting in your kitchen. But the fact is, it’s none of them.

The truth is, the odor that you have been smelling this whole time is actually Sulphur. To specify, hydrogen sulfide gas is the one that creates this unpleasant pungent smell. This gas is produced due to the presence of bacteria in places such as the sewage and/or from the contaminated pipes and water.

Things like dead skin, soap scum, hair and other stuff accumulates and tends to get trapped so easily in your bathroom’s pipe.

Later on, it creates a layer of rotten gunk in your overflow pipe that will produce a foul odor. What’s worse is that the noxious smell of the sewer could easily enter the house if you can’t maintain the plumbing properly. 

This is a serious problem that must be immediately solved. As no one is going to be comfortable living inside a house that has an irritating sink smell bathroom. 


What Can You Do to Detect The Source of The Odor?

To resolve this problem, one of the most important things is to identify the source of this unpleasant odor. However, it may be hard for us to point exactly from where the Sulphur is actually coming from. 

For you to figure this out, you can conduct a really simple quick test. This test can easily and immediately be done inside your house. So, the purpose of this test is to check whether the problem is in the drain or with the water. 

Steps to Check The Source of The Odor Smell:

1. You can start by grabbing an empty glass and try to fill it in with the water from the drain or from the area that you believe to be the source of the smell.

how to detect bathroom sink smell source
Image: TheStar

2. Bring that glass of water outside and smell. Conduct the same test from another faucet and bring it outside to smell.

Steps to Check The Source of The Odour Smell
Image: bluefrogsanantonio

So here’s how it goes. If it turns out that both glasses of water have an unpleasant smell, we can conclude that the water contains bacteria. On the other hand, if only one glass of water smells, this apparently shows that one of the drains is contaminated. 


By conducting this method, you now know the source and start of this problem. And the next step here is what can you do regarding this issue.

Check Out: How to Get Rid of Weird Smells and Odors in Your House

How to Get Rid of Sink Smell in Bathroom

To address this problem, some chemicals are needed in the process. This is why you need to make sure that you are using protective equipment for your safety. Another important thing that you need to keep in mind is to never mix chemicals.

Things you need:

  • Vinegar (about half of the bottle)
  • Bleach (about a quarter of the bottle)
  • Hot water
  • Chemical resistant glove

These are the only products you will be needing in the process. With these you are ready to carry on with the process.                


What are the steps?

1. You can start by using vinegar as it is obviously a safer chemical as compare to bleaches. You can use any vinegar that you can find in your kitchen such as apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and etc. 

All types of vinegar
Image: BonApetit

2. Next, you are going to be pouring the vinegar directly down the drain. You would want to pour at least half a bottle of vinegar into the sink as it is going to give a full saturation down there. All you need to do next is to let it sit for about five to ten minutes. 

Vinegar to clean sink smell

Note: To get the maximum result, you can add baking soda and pour together with the vinegar into your drain.

3. After it is actually set, you need to make sure that you are using hot water to run it down the sink. Just open it for about a minute or two and let the water run freely through the sink for about a minute or two.


put hot water into sink
Image: TheKitchn

It is going to flush all the vinegar out. Letting the vinegar sit is actually going to give it time to address what is actually happening in the area that is causing the smell. A bunch of junk might have trapped and built up there over time. So, we would want to clean everything out.     

Read Also: 14 Tips to Make Your House Smell Good

What If Vinegar is Not Good Enough?

If the vinegar doesn’t really work that well, we need to step up the game.

This is the time where the role of bleach comes in. We are going to be using straight bleach. Whenever or wherever you are working with bleach it is very important for you to put on a chemical resistant glove on.

Close up sink drain and yellow sponge
Image: Hunker

You would not want to get them on your hands. With bleach, you need to use about a quarter of the bottle and pour them directly down the sink. Let it sit for about five to ten minutes and flush it out using hot water. 


Basically, you just need to repeat the same process as what has been mentioned above. And remember to use hot water to flush them all out.  

If by pouring these chemicals is not enough to remove and get rid of the odor, you might want to remove the ‘’trap’’ part of your pipe and specifically clean that part out. The reason why you should be cleaning this part out is because this can get a lot of gunk build up inside there.

If you have never experienced how to fix these things, you may want to call a plumber and ask them for help as they are more professional and aware of what they should do regarding this problem.

Tailpiece, The Breed Foul Odors

tail piece sink
Tail Piece Sink. Image: DIY Stackexchange

Every bathroom drain for sure has an inner surface that most likely to breed foul odors. Also, most sinks always do have this thing called tailpiece or may sometimes be known as a ‘’trap’’.

Tailpiece is a portion of a pipe that is attached from the sink floor to the p trap that is constantly exposed to the air. Things like grime, dirt, bacteria, mold and other unwanted components usually pass through this tailpiece as their way/path to the sewer.


How Could Foul Odors Develop in it?

From time to time, some components might be left behind and trapped there. Therefore, it will eventually form a thick slime layer. The bacteria and mold will keep on growing in the inside surface of the contaminated pipe. This caused foul odors to appear and ride to the surface.

tail piece sink
Bacteria and Dirt That Developed inside the Tail Piece.

What Can We Do If The Problem is With The Tailpiece?

It is nearly impossible to clean these pipes when they are attached. They are usually placed at the bottom of tubs and sink drains. Due to cleaning purposes, the drain assemblies are sometimes dismantled. 

When you are disassembling it, make sure to pay attention to both gaskets and rubber washers. If your drain is old, you may need to replace this part with a new one. Lastly, do not forget to make sure that you have finished everything off  properly so the drain will not leak. 

Read Also: 12 Things You Can Do With Baking Soda That Will Help House Chores

Contaminated Water Could be the Source of Smell as Well    

If after the simple test is conducted and it shows that the problem is actually coming from your water that is contaminated, this is what you should do. In most cases, when your water heater is contaminated, this might be because the magnesium of the anode rod is actually reacting with the bacteria.  

sink rod
Aluminum sink rod. Image: Landmark Home Warranty.

The best way to fix this is to simply replace the rod with the aluminum one. Furthermore, use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the water which is going to be much gentler than bleach.


When Should I Call and Ask a Plumber For Help?

If you have tried everything and yet it does not show any progress, you might be having a very serious plumbing problem which requires you to call a plumber for professional attention.

The unpleasant sink smell from your bathroom could really be frustrating, this is why it is better for you to immediately call a plumber when things get out of hand.

Only a plumber will know and understand how to troubleshoot and proceed further. They are able to dive deeply into finding solutions to resolve the problems.

In some cases, it may be because your drains are damaged and need to be repaired. Other possibilities are there might be a crack on your vent pipe or you may be having a broken toilet seal.

Since there are many possibilities that could be the source of this problem, just call a plumbing professional that will come to your house. They will evaluate the odor that is coming from the drain and determine the source/origin of this case.


Whether it is a simple clog repair or a major repair, a good plumber will for sure help you to get things fixed and solved properly.

These are basically the most efficient method that you can try to eliminate the bad sink smell from your bathroom.