Home Improvement

How to Safely Clean a Smelly Drain: Tips and Tricks

How to Safely Clean a Smelly Drain: Tips and Tricks

A smelly drain can be an unpleasant and off-putting experience in any home. Not only does it create an unpleasant odor, but it can also be an indication of a potential blockage or plumbing issue.

To address this problem effectively and safely, it’s important to follow the right steps. In this article, we will discuss the best methods for cleaning a smelly drain and restoring it to its fresh, odor-free state. Whether you’re in the inner west region of Sydney or anywhere else, these tips will help you tackle the issue.

1. Identify the Cause:

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s crucial to determine the underlying cause of the smelly drain. It could be due to a variety of factors, such as food debris, grease buildup, hair clogs, or a blocked drain. Identifying the cause will help you choose the most appropriate method to clean your drain effectively.

2. Gather the Necessary Supplies:

To safely clean a smelly drain, you will need a few basic supplies. These include:

  • Rubber gloves: Protect your hands from bacteria and any harsh chemicals you may use.
  • Vinegar: A natural cleaning agent that helps break down organic matter and eliminate odors.
  • Baking soda: Known for its cleaning and deodorizing properties, it’s an excellent addition to your cleaning arsenal.
  • Hot water: Helps flush away debris and dislodge any blockages.
  • Plunger: Useful for clearing minor clogs and improving drainage.
  • Drain snake or plumber’s auger: Ideal for removing stubborn blockages.

3. Start with Boiling Water

Boiling water is a simple yet effective method to begin the cleaning process. Slowly pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. This helps melt away any grease buildup and flush out small debris, reducing the unpleasant odor. Be cautious not to use boiling water if you have PVC pipes, as they may get damaged. Hot water from the tap can be used instead.

4. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda:

Vinegar and baking soda are natural cleaning agents that can tackle odors and minor blockages. Follow these steps:

  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Follow it up with a cup of vinegar.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, allowing it to fizz and break down any debris. d. Flush the drain with hot water to wash away the residue.

5. Try a Plunger

If the odor persists or you suspect a minor blockage, using a plunger can help. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Fill the sink partially with water to create suction.
  • Place the plunger over the drain and push down firmly.
  • Pump the plunger up and down rapidly several times.
  • Release the plunger to create suction and dislodge the blockage.
  • Flush the drain with hot water to clear away any remaining debris.

6. Clear Stubborn Blockages with a Drain Snake

For more stubborn blockages that a plunger can’t handle, a drain snake or plumber’s auger is your best bet. Follow these steps:

  • Insert the drain snake into the drain until you encounter resistance.
  • Rotate the handle of the drain snake clockwise to break up the clog.
  • Slowly pull out the drain snake, taking care to remove any debris that comes with it.
  • Flush the drain with hot water to ensure the blockage is fully cleared.


Maintaining a clean and odor-free drain is essential for a healthy and comfortable living environment. By following the steps outlined above, you can safely clean a smelly drain and prevent further blockages or plumbing issues.

However, if you’re facing persistent odor or severe blockages, it’s advisable to seek professional help from a plumber in the inner west region of Sydney. They have the expertise and tools to resolve complex drainage problems efficiently and effectively. Remember, a well-maintained drain contributes to a fresh and pleasant home environment for you and your family.

Kaylee Ellen
Kaylee Ellen, a degree in Hotel Management has been a professional organizer and cleaning expert for over 10 years, where she helped homes and offices achieve the aesthetic look without compromising on functionality. She has been writing about transforming homes through organization and cleaning techniques in various blogs. She joined our team as a freelancer recently, bringing her practical knowledge and innovative methods to our readers. Kaylee is also an accomplished yoga practitioner who advocates mindfulness daily.

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