Once you’ve used the kitchen sink to clean the dishes, or anything else for that matter, you may end up with the unfortunate side effect of a dirty kitchen drain. One would think a sink used for cleaning would basically clean itself, but on the contrary, it takes a bit of effort to keep the kitchen drain clear and odor free.
Before you can clean and deodorize your kitchen drain, you have to remove any food or other debris that is clogging it. If it’s just a minor clog, you can probably remove it by running the garbage disposal if you have one, or picking the food out of the drain with your hands if you don’t. (Be sure that the garbage disposal is turned off before sticking your fingers in the drain!) To find out how to deal with a more seriously clogged kitchen sink drain, see how to unclog a drain. To find out how to deodorize your drain, just keep reading.
Kitchen Drain Cleaning Instructions
1. Run hot water in the drain
The stinky scent in your drain is most likely caused by bacteria, and hot water can go a long way in beginning to zap. By hot water, this means very hot water, such as when you can see steam coming out of the drain. You can even boil water in a pan on the stove and then pour it down, using oven mitts on your hands of course. Also, don’t put your hands in the sink at this point or you will definitely risk burning them. Just let the water run through for about 15 seconds.
2. Drop in some baking Soda
Once the drain is good and hot, throw in about a teaspoon of baking soda, and keep the hot water coming for another 15 seconds. Baking soda is great for killing odors and this just might do the trick.
3. Do some heavy-duty deodorizing (if necessary)
If the hot water and baking soda doesn’t quite work at getting rid of the smell, there are several additional cleaning solutions you can try. You can pour about a cup of one of the following substances in the drain, let it sit for about half an hour, and then rinse it out with hot water: table vinegar, bleach or lemon juice. If you’re going to use bleach, wear old clothing, since it may spatter when you pour it. And only use it in a well-ventilated area.
4. Buy and use a stronger solution
If none of these do-it-yourself solutions work, you may want to try one made especially for cleaning gunk out of drains, such as a corrosive drain cleaner or Bio-Clean’s Bac-Out. These products should be some available at your local grocery store or home improvement store, or you can order them online. You can also try swabbing out the drain with a scrub brush.
Drain still not clean?
If there’s still an odor coming from your drain after trying all of these methods, you may have a more serious plumbing problem, such as a clog further down in your plumbing system, or the scent could be coming from your garbage disposal. If you think it’s coming from the garbage disposal, see cleaning your garbage disposal for further instruction. If you’re not sure what the problem is or just don’t feel comfortable dealing with it yourself, it may be time for you to call in a professional.
Dreaded Drain Flies
Though it is not that common, your kitchen drain may be inhabited by “drain flies,” small, furry flies, which can live in pipes and sewers. Before you get to work on eliminating them, you should make sure that you actually have drain flies, and not fruit flies or some other similar pest.
An easy way to tell if the flies are actually emerging from your drain is by using a roll of masking tape or package tape. All you have to do is put a piece of tape across the drain at night with the sticky side down. (Just one piece stretched across will do. You don’t have to cover the entire opening.) Make sure the sink is dry so that the tape will stick well.
Then, in the morning, see if there are any flies stuck to the bottom of the tape. If you repeat this process four nights in a row and don’t end up with any trapped flies, then they are probably coming not from your drain, but elsewhere in your home.
If your test determines that you do in fact have drain flies, then it is time to get rid of them. They are pretty gross to look at, not to mention unsanitary. These flies feed on food and other organic waste in your drain, so the Bac-Out or corrosive cleaner should take care of them as well, as your drain odor, by eliminating their food source. There are also special drain gels made for the removal of these pests. Just ask at your local hardware store.
If the infestation in your home is already severe, or you find you don’t have drain flies but one of their winged cousins instead and you can’t figure out where they’re coming from, you may want to call a professional exterminator.
Keeping your Kitchen Drain Clean and Fresh
To prevent odors from lingering in your kitchen drain, scrape your dishes into the trash can instead of down the drain, especially if the food on them is moldy or has a strong odor. Also, run hot water down the sink after each time you use it to wash dishes, and drop a tablespoon of baking soda and/or a cup of vinegar down the drain about once a week to prevent odors from building up.