Why There's a Sulfur Smell Coming from Your Drain

Metal Sink

What’s that horrible smell? If you haven’t smelled sulfur, it’s hard to describe how awful it is. Most have, described it as smelling like rotten eggs. Now, imagine that coming out of your drain – it’s possible to have a sulfury smell emanating from kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and shower drains.

Let’s look at the problem and what you can do about it …

First, why is there a sulfur smell coming from the drain?

If your drain smells like rotten eggs, it’s hydrogen sulfide, one of the many compounds that make up the gas found in sewage.

How can I check if the smell is coming from the water or the drain itself?

There’s an easy test you can do yourself :

  1. Pour a glass of water from the sink with the stinky drain.
  2. Take it outside and smell it.

If you can smell the sulfur in the water, pour another glass of water from a different sink and do the same thing. If both glasses of water smell like rotten eggs, it’s probably the water. If it’s just the one with the smelly drain, it’s probably the drain itself.

What causes the sulfur smell in your drain?

The smell in a funky drain can have several potential causes. The most common is a clogged, or partially clogged, drain. When sinks are clogged they drain slowly and bacteria can build up in the p-trap and create the hydrogen sulfide gas.

It could also be caused by a sink that hasn’t been used recently – because when the water in the p-trap dries up from lack of use, gas from the sewer line can rise out of the drain.

A common culprit in the kitchen is a dirty garbage disposal. Food and bacteria can collect and cause the drain to smell really bad.

What to do about the sulfur smell in the drain

To prevent sulfur from smelling up your bathroom or stinking up your kitchen, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure your garbage disposal is clean. Run it regularly and use a garbage disposal cleaner or some ice cubes to keep the blades clean. Additionally, a few lemon wedges can help reduce or eliminate the smell.

In your bathroom, you can clear a clog in several ways, including pouring a half-cup of baking soda into the drain, then a cup of vinegar, and flushing with hot water. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional.

If your drain smells like rotten eggs, either in your kitchen, bathroom, or shower, it could be something simple – like a routine clog or empty p-trap. But it could also be something serious. Don’t take chances with your plumbing. Call on the experienced professionals at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing to evaluate and fix your drains if they smell like sulfur.

Contact your local Mr. Rooter by calling us. You can also request an estimate online.

There are more bathroom hazards you can’t always see. Learn how to prevent slips and falls in the bathroom with this helpful resource from Glass Doctor. Like Mr. Rooter, Glass Doctor is part of Neighbourly’s community of home service professionals. Visit GetNeighbourly.com to find a home service provider you can trust.