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How to Fix Smelly Drains

Having a smelly drain is not just unpleasant but embarrassing too – that’s why 1st Call Drain Clearance are here to share a few words of advice to help you nip smelly drains in the bud. 

1st Call Drain Clearance - Smelly Drains

If the below methods do not disperse your plug odour situation, get in contact with our professionals and we will be right with you to lend a hand. 

Things to Check 

Causes of Smelly Drains 

  • Trapped and decaying food in my drain

It’s hard to stop small bits of food from being washed down the kitchen sink and so, it’s likely that you will be taken back by an unpleasant, pungent smell emanating from your plug on occasion. This built-up matter will eventually decompose but to tackle it head on, use hot water and a little bleach, this should remove the food and the odour too.

To prevent food from going down your plug, always scrape plates into the bin and pop a metal grate over your plug to catch any food bits and this will help to keep your plumbing as free-from food as possible.

  • Partial blockages

When non-compostable items find their way down the plughole, there’s nowhere for them to go and this item will inevitably collect further bits including soap scum, hair and food, which will cause bad odours and if left, a full blockage.

  • Soap scum and hair

Showers see it all: thick soap, shampoo, conditioner, exfoliators and hair, which is a lot to deal with on a regular basis, so there’s no doubt that the bath or shower plug can become smelly. The hair that’s gone down the drain is notorious for becoming a net-like substance that traps soap and sugars from exfoliators, which can cause a slow drain. 

Prevent or put a stop to a slow drain by placing a plug filter over the top and remove after each shower/bathe. Alternatively, you can use a wire brush, simply pop this into the drain and move up and down to get hold of the blockage, lift up and remove. You can also use shower plug cleaners to breakdown and push the soap scum through the pipes and out.  

  • Broken, faulty drains

If you find that your drain isn’t blocked but is diffusing unpleasant smells, it might be that the drain is broken further down, this could mean that what you’re smelling is sewer gases. Even if the smell comes and goes, it’s incredibly important to have this looked at to ensure the problem is solved. 

Smelly Drain Solutions

  • Hot water and bleach 
  • Metal wire brushes
  • Baking soda and hot water

How do I Clean Smelly Drains?

Firstly, prepare your drain so that it’s ready for a deep clean – this involves removing anything inside the sink as well as drain catchers. Clear away any obtainable debris such as hair or food and use a wire brush to bring up as of the blockage up as you can before moving on to the next steps.

Pour just-off-the-boil water down the plug hole and wait for five minutes. Then pour cold water down the sink.

Place a teaspoon of baking soda into the plug and pour just-off-the-boil water directly down the drain. Pour gently for 15-20 seconds, this will eliminate odours and wash away the remaining debris.

If that doesn’t quite cut it, try using a gentle sink cleaner gel and follow instructions on the back of the packaging. 


For help and advice, turn to 1st Call Drain Clearance & Technical Services Ltd. We’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week and provide a fast response time and guarantee to be with you, on site within 2 hours. So if you’re looking for a comprehensive service, get in touch today. We operate throughout central London and the surrounding areas.

Problems with your drains?

Get in touch with our team today

Areas We Cover

We have engineers covering London, Central London and the Home Counties


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