How do you clean a smelly kitchen sink?

As the workhorse of the kitchen, the sink needs regular care and maintenance; otherwise, it will accumulate all sorts of debris and stat to produce a stench. However, not all smells that come out of your sink are food-related; others may be due to plumbing issues. If your U-bend doesn’t have water either due to evaporation or leak, sewer fumes will be able to breeze up your pipes. 

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So how do you clean a reeking kitchen sink? 

Many things could cause a smelly sink. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is identify the cause of the problem.

For instance, if the sink produces smell along with the following:

  • The water is not draining, or it is draining slowly, the problem could be the debris blocking the pipe and causing obstruction and the stench. 
  • The odor is like rotten eggs, and the sewer gases are wafting up the sink because of a faulty U-bend. 
  • The smell is of decaying food; it is rotting food, oils, fats, and grease clinging to the walls of the pipe.

In most cases, even if you have a single or double sink you will not need to hire a plumber. All you need to do is unclog the blockages, clean the pipes with detergents, or repair the U-bend. 

I am going to share with your tried and tested methods of fixing a smelly kitchen, but if the problem persists, you should get professional help. 

Homemade Solutions 

Below are various DIY methods you can try out to eliminate the nasty kitchen sink odors. 

Use hot water 

This is the easiest way of cleaning a smelly sink and it’s safe for stainless steel or porcelain, involves hot water alone.


  • Fill a kettle with water and bring it to boil 
  • Gently pour it down the drain hole, plop at a time
  • Give it around five minutes 
  • Run down the cold water to remove the remaining grease 

Using white vinegar 

If you have white vinegar at home, you can use it to clean your smelly kitchen. Just follow the steps below.

  • Slowly pour a small quantity of white vinegar down the drain hole.
  • Wait for about 30 minutes 
  • Rinse the pipes with hot water 

Using baking powder 

Every kitchen has a baking powder lying around, but if you don’t have it, buy it in your local store and follow the steps provided below. 

  • Pour half a half cup of baking soda down the drain 
  • Follow it with a cup of vinegar 
  • Allow the mixture to foam up and wait for 1 to 2 hours 
  • Rinse it with hot water 

Chemical Solutions 

If you can access the following chemicals, they also do well in terms of cleaning a smelly kitchen sink. 

Commercial drain cleaner 

Drain cleaners can be bought from any hard stores or online. But beware and read the instructions carefully as these substances can be hazardous. In addition to reading the directions printed on the label, make sure you also wear protective gear such as goggles and hand disposable gloves. 

Bio-enzyme drain cleaner 

Unlike the high drain cleaner, bio-enzyme drain cleaners are safe to some extent. You can also buy one from your local hardware store. Bio-enzyme is non-toxic and function by using enzymes that break down the food particles without damaging your plumbing or harming you. 

Tools Solutions

In most cases, the smell coming up your sink might be due to the problems with the U-bend. The pipe is commonly referred to as a sewer gasp trap as it is explicitly designed to prevent the sewer gas from escaping out of the drain hole. 

The first thing you want to check is if the water in this pipe has vaporized. This can happen mostly if you have been away on holiday and your taps have not run for a long time. To solve this, just run your tap for water to top up the U-bend.

Another problem might be a leakage in the U-bend. This is also easy to diagnose, as you only need to check for any drips or damp areas under your kitchen sink. If you find a leak, call a plumber to repair the pipe. 

There could also be a blockage in the U-bend pipe, in which case, remove the U-bend pipe and clean it up using a wire brush.