Why Does My Sink Stink?

Stinking sink

The unpleasant, foul odors coming from the kitchen can ruin the home environment and cause extreme discomfort. The kitchen sink is most likely the culprit if the annoying stink does not go away despite cleaning the kitchen and throwing out the garbage every day. Kitchen drains smelling like rotting food or sewage is a common issue that homeowners encounter occasionally. 

Smelly kitchens indicate a potential plumbing problem that can quickly become a severe health risk for the family when ignored for long. Fortunately, it is easy to banish stinky sinks with or without calling in a professional plumber.

Here are a few possible reasons that can cause your kitchen sink to stink:


Dumping too much oil or cooking grease down the drain is one of the major causes of a foul-smelling kitchen sink. These materials congeal in the sides of the pipe and disposal and gradually decompose to block them and trap other food debris. It results in a rotting smell backing up from the drains and into the kitchen. Pour vinegar and baking soda in equal parts into the kitchen sink drain, followed by boiling water.

Rotting food debris in the pipe

Another common cause of sink drain smell is food debris stuck in the pipe. Shredding food waste in the garbage disposal does not always guarantee clean pipes. Food waste can get trapped at the bottom and block the drain pipes. The food rots in the drain and creates an unpleasant odor. 

Dirty garbage disposal

A garbage disposal unit requires running water to stay clean and expel food waste. However, small food pieces can get stuck in the impeller, leading to smelling drains. Running hot water instead of cold water after using the disposal, old and outdated units, using the garbage disposal too often, and dumping too much food are a few other factors contributing to a dirty garbage disposal. Dump ice cubes and salt in the garbage disposal and then run cold water to clear away food debris from the impeller.

Dry P-trap

If the kitchen sink drain pipe goes unused for a long duration, the reason for the bad smell is usually a dry P-trap. Every kitchen sink in the home has a trap installed beneath it to prevent sewer gases from entering the home space. The water from the P-trap of unused kitchen sink drains evaporates, giving easy access to sewage smells through the pipes into the kitchen. Running hot water down the drain refills the trap and gets rid of the nasty odor.

Clogged vent pipe

Another common culprit of a sewer-like smell is the plumbing drain vent. Its primary purpose is to regulate the airflow in the plumbing system to allow the free flow of water and waste through the drain pipes. The vent is susceptible to developing clogs due to its location. A clogged vent pipe allows sewer gases to move into the drains, causing odors. Regularly inspect the vent for blockages and call a plumbing professional to remove severe clogs.

Keep your kitchen sink smelling great!

Knowing the reasons behind a stinky kitchen sink can help take care of the issue quickly and effectively. A local plumber can easily get rid of nasty smells and fix any other plumbing issue you are experiencing.

Edwards Plumbing LLC is a licensed and bonded family-owned plumbing team out of Gilbert Arizona, specializing in plumbing emergencies, repairs and renovations. We install and repair plumbing pipes, water heaters, water softeners, sump pumps, sewers, and more. Our competitive rates, honesty, experience serve residential and commercial customers. Call us at (480) 712-2081.