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Old 12-30-2009, 10:04 PM
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My bathroom sink drain stinks - are there sink deoderants?

My sink was clogged, so I took it apart the other day and manually cleaned out the clog - mainly shaving soap and Piper whiskers, in various stages of decomposition and gunking.

Now, the drain works fine, but quite often there's a punky smell coming up after it drains. Is there anything I can put down it get rid of the odour? vinegar? hot water?
Old 12-30-2009, 10:06 PM
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Put some baking soda down your drain, then pour boiling vinegar in. Stinky, but it works, and kills any buggies living down there.
Old 12-30-2009, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
My sink was clogged, so I took it apart the other day and manually cleaned out the clog - mainly shaving soap and Piper whiskers, in various stages of decomposition and gunking.

Now, the drain works fine, but quite often there's a punky smell coming up after it drains. Is there anything I can put down it get rid of the odour? vinegar? hot water?
IANAPlumber, this could somehow screw up your drains for all I know, etc., but here's what I've done for stinky bathroom drains:

First, try lots of boiling water -- several quarts at least.

If that doesn't fix it, try dumping about a cup of dry baking soda down the drain (if that much won't fit, stop when it stops going down) followed by enough hot, undiluted, plain white vinegar to wash it all through. It will foam a lot.

WARNING: the sink may back up during the process. Keep a plunger handy and make sure you have lots of vinegar to keep washing the soda down (a gallon of vinegar is nice to have around anyway, right?). You may need to stick a stick down the drain and wiggle it to get the soda to mix well enough with the vinegar if you've added too much soda at first -- a wooden dowel is great for this; a chopstick is good too.

Be safe. Avoid breathing the hot vinegar vapors -- run a fan or open a window, and don't stick your face all up in there. Be careful not to get vapors or splashback in your eyes. Wear gloves, since the vinegar is hot.

The easiest way to heat vinegar is in an electric teakettle -- it's also good for getting water scale out of the teakettle, but rinse thoroughly before using it for anything else (unless you like sour tea).

Follow by running the tap as hot as it'll go for 5 minutes.

Problem drains benefit from doing this every four to six months. Prevent problem drains by always running the water on hot a little bit after you use the sink for whatever (shaving, brushing teeth, etc.). It may feel like you're wasting water, but you'll probably make up for it by not having to do the vinegar blast (or call a plumber) later on.

Good luck!
Old 12-30-2009, 10:35 PM
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I have a periodic issue where eventually little bits of soap/skin/hair/miscellaneous bathroom sink debris get into the little openings where the sink overflow goes back into the drain. Something begins to feed upon that, leading to a buildup of this extremely nasty grey/black soft boogery substance.

It does not smell nice.

I have tried a variety of ways to get it out of those little openings (baking soda & vinegar, bleach, boiling water, PineSol, soap scum remover, enzymatic drain cleaner) but nothing has worked better than a bit of wire (to scrape it out) and an old turkey baster (to squirt hot water on it and then use it as a suction device to scoop it out).

This flushes out a couple of good-sized hunks of awfulness. Once that's gone I'm fine for many months.
Old 12-31-2009, 12:01 AM
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There are some enzyme/bacteria drain cleaners out there, used for slow but not plugged drains.
Old 12-31-2009, 01:43 AM
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Had this problem awhile back... neighbour must've flushed a rat down the pipes or something... Bleach cleared that right up, and is where I'd go first, unless there's some compelling reason not to.
Old 12-31-2009, 02:02 AM
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Seconding bleach.

I had a problem a few years back with drain flies - crazy bastards resisted all my cleaning efforts.

Straight bleach solved it all.

Bleach is cheap and a good antiseptic. Try it first. Yes, just buy a jug and pour it down your drain.
Old 12-31-2009, 02:26 AM
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Thirding bleach. I would try a small amount first - about 1 or 2 cups - that may be enough.
Old 12-31-2009, 05:04 AM
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If it's coming from something alive, like bacteria, bleach will work. Just pour a pitcher of it down the drain and let it do its magic.
Old 12-31-2009, 07:27 AM
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Bleach works better at 10% strength than it does at full strength. Sort of like you want soap and water to clean with not just soap.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 12-31-2009 at 07:31 AM.
Old 12-31-2009, 08:23 AM
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I've used a cup of bleach to deodorize drains at my place. Seems to work well enough.

I use the baking soda/vinegar treatment for greasy problems in the drains before they get to actual clogs, although not in the quantities mentioned above.

I use about a quarter cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of vinegar. Then again, I try to get on these issues quickly, so it may be my problems aren't quite the dimension as those experienced by other people.
Old 12-31-2009, 09:22 AM
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One word of warning: DO NOT USE BLEACH & VINEGAR TOGETHER! It's similar to bleach and ammonia.
Old 12-31-2009, 10:08 AM
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Also don't use bleach in that heavy of a concentration if you're on a septic system.
Old 12-31-2009, 10:41 AM
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My recommendation is a pint of topical hydrogen peroxide from the pharmacy. It's cheep and works on so many things without killing the septic system.
Old 12-31-2009, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
One word of warning: DO NOT USE BLEACH & VINEGAR TOGETHER! It's similar to bleach and ammonia.
^ What she said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoe View Post
Also don't use bleach in that heavy of a concentration if you're on a septic system.
Yes. A septic system can handle a little bleach, but please do NOT put a whole container of undiluted bleach down the drain if you have a septic system. This would be a Bad Thing in most cases.
Old 12-31-2009, 01:06 PM
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I should mention that the soda and vinegar trick is really, really fun.
Old 12-31-2009, 11:50 PM
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1/4 cup of vegetable oil will work too. Oil just stays there and floats on top, sealing any odors in the pipe.
Old 01-01-2010, 11:52 AM
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Is there a reason for heating the vinegar?

I've done this plenty with plain, room temperature white vinegar (doesn't stink as much) and it seems to work just fine...
Old 01-01-2010, 12:23 PM
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Public sewer system: Bleach.

Septic system: Baking Soda.

If it's really all that bad, dismantle the pipe bend and clean it out.
Old 01-01-2010, 12:30 PM
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A plumber gave us his advice for slow drains last year - regularly give them a flush with a sink full of hot water and bleach (fill the sink with hot water and bleach and then pull the plug) - do this for all the sinks in your house. He also recommended doing a load of laundry with hot water and bleach (no clothes) periodically to clean out the drains for your washing machine. I use this on my kitchen sink that gets stinky sometimes, and it clears the smell right up.
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
One word of warning: DO NOT USE BLEACH & VINEGAR TOGETHER! It's similar to bleach and ammonia.
I also don't recommend using small explosive charges either. It does get rid of the oder, but I've personally found it a bit messy.
Old 01-01-2010, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
He also recommended doing a load of laundry with hot water and bleach (no clothes) periodically to clean out the drains for your washing machine.
I do that on my washing machine periodically too, just to clean out any mold, bacteria or funk. Just remember to run at least one extra rinse cycle (if not a complete cycle) with nothing in it in order to remove any residual bleach.
Old 01-01-2010, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Bleach works better at 10% strength than it does at full strength. Sort of like you want soap and water to clean with not just soap.
This has worked for me. Diluted bleach kills the nasties.
Old 01-02-2010, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by FalconFinder View Post
Is there a reason for heating the vinegar?
It works more impressively. You get more foaming volcano action. Presumably, this makes it that much more effective, but I haven't done tests.
Old 01-02-2010, 09:53 AM
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Ah. Ok. Thanks!
Old 01-04-2010, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgard View Post
I have a periodic issue where eventually little bits of soap/skin/hair/miscellaneous bathroom sink debris get into the little openings where the sink overflow goes back into the drain. Something begins to feed upon that, leading to a buildup of this extremely nasty grey/black soft boogery substance.
Yes, anytime a sink starts smelling, there's a good chance it's actually the overflow tube that's the culprit. Turkey baster and some diluted bleach works wonders.
Old 01-04-2010, 10:05 AM
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Did you ever consider using bleach?



I'm just sayin'...
Old 01-04-2010, 09:22 PM
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Actually, a healthy bacterial colony keeps old drains running better. That's why I do not suggest bleach.
Old 01-04-2010, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Actually, a healthy bacterial colony keeps old drains running better. That's why I do not suggest bleach.
Yeah, but when it gets to the "OH GOD THE SMELL" stage it's not longer healthy...similar to various gastrointestinal infections. There's the right kind and amount of bacteria to have in an intestine/drain, and if they get out of line, or the bad kind move in, you have to clear the good out with the bad with some antibiotics/bleach and just wait for the good ones to come back.

Last edited by bouv; 01-04-2010 at 10:10 PM.
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