Why Your Sink Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs (Sulfur) +3 Simple Solutions

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Are you plagued with a rotten egg smell coming from your bathroom sink?  If so, then you are not alone. This is actually a pretty common problem that people face.  The key is to make sure that you find the source of the smell. Sometimes, it is coming directly from the sink drain.  Other times, it may be coming from the actual water source. 

rotten eggs
What is that smell?

To determine the problem, check the other drains in your home as well. If the rotten egg smell comes from all of the drains, then chances are it is something in the water supply, not the drain itself.  If the smell is contained to the bathroom sink drain, then it is probably specific to the pipes in that particular drain.  This is what we will focus on here.

What Actually Causes the Rotten Egg Smell?

Generally, the smell of rotten eggs comes from a sulfurous gas that is produced from a build-up of gunk, hair and other particles that accumulate within the drain.  This gas usually smells distinctly like rotten eggs and can be pretty overpowering.

It means that there are bacteria growing inside of the drain as well, which can be unhealthy for you.  

It is a really good idea to clean your drains regularly to avoid this problem.

Is it Dangerous?

women holding nose smelly bathroom
How to prevent that rotten egg smell in your bathroom.

People often wonder whether or not the sulfur smell that is coming from their sink is dangerous.  Since it is a gas formed from bacteria, it makes sense that it could be harmful to inhale. Truthfully, the level of toxic gas coming from your bathroom sink drain is probably not enough to do much harm.  In confined spaces, however, such as sewage tunnels, it can be enough to pose a threat.

Even if it isn’t dangerous, it doesn’t mean that you should just let it go.  

After all, who wants to have that nasty sulfur smell day in and day out? Let’s take a look at some ways that you can get rid of that odor, and also prevent it from coming back in the future.

Simple Solution: Cleaning Your Drain With Just Two Ingredients

If you have never cleaned your sink drain, then you may not really know where to begin.  Cleaning your drain doesn’t have to be a difficult feat. You can actually clean it with two simple ingredients that you probably already have lying around your house.  

You really don’t have to spend tons on powerful drain cleaners that are designed to fix clogs, unless of course, you have a clog in your drain.  If water builds up in your bathroom sink when it is running, then you may have a clog.

If so, then using a drain snake or a chemical mixture that is designed to break through clogs may be a good idea.  

vinegar and baking soda to prevent rotten egg smell
These two household ingredients can often get rid of the rotten egg smell coming from your bathroom drain.

If you don’t have a clog, run to your kitchen and grab some baking soda and vinegar. This may remind you of a science experiment you did as a kid (you remember, the volcano project?).  Baking soda and vinegar react to one another and create a foamy substance that is also a  great cleaning agent.  

Start by putting a liberal amount of baking soda in the sink drain (we use 1/2 cup)  Follow up by pouring roughly an equal amount of vinegar in behind it, and watch as it does its magic.  It will start to bubble and may foam up out of the drain. It may not smell kind of nasty while it is working on cleaning, but afterward you should notice a big difference in the way that your sink drain smells.  

Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then run hot water behind it to rinse the drain and complete the cleaning process.  You may find that you have to repeat the process a few times to completely get rid of the smell.

  1. Pour 1/2 Cup Baking Soda down the drain
  2. Pour  1/2 Cup Vinegar down the drain
  3. Wait approximately 15 minutes
  4. Pour hot water down the drain (I heat a tea kettle of water until it’s close to boiling)
  5. Repeat if necessary. 

Preventing Drain Issues in the Future

To keep your sink from ever having that gross rotten egg smell again, you will want to take a few preventative measures.  Here are some things that you can do to keep the drain in your bathroom smelling fresh and clean:

#1 – Keep Your Drain Cleaned Regularly

Using the two ingredient method to clean your drain is not something that you have to do only when you smell something pungent.  Do this on a regular basis. You should try to do it at least once a month, just to make sure that you keep the walls of your drain clean and free of debris.  It only takes a few minutes, so it isn’t something that will be a burden on you.

#2 – Use a Sink Drain Hair Catcher

bathroom drain with hair
Adding a simple hair catcher can prevent hair from going down the drain and causing clogs and odors.

Since hair and debris getting into the sink drain is the biggest culprit when it comes to the smell in your drain, it may be worth your while to get a hair catcher for your sink drain.  There are a lot of different ones to choose from.

Some are made of silicone and have small holes that allow water to drain. Others may be made of stainless steel. Either way, it can keep hair and other debris from getting down into your drain to harbor bacteria. It can also prevent clogs.

#3 – Replace Your P Trap

From time to time, you may need to replace your P trap.  The P trap is located under the bathroom sink, within the pipes.  It tends to build up gunk over time, and should probably be replaced every few years or so.  While you may feel a need to call a plumber to do this for you, it really is a pretty simple process.  

You can watch this video to learn more about how to replace it and decide whether you want to DIY or call a plumber.  You just need a few basic tools to get you started and the process is relatively simple. Also, there are some universal flexible P traps like this one that is designed to fit almost any bathroom sink and easy to install which takes some of the mystery and hassle out of the process.  

Apart from the smell coming from your drain, there are other ways you can keep your bathroom smelling fresh naturally (click to see our top tips).

Natural air fresheners (and odor eliminators) like Gonzo Rocks or Moso Bags are also an easy way to eliminate smells without doing any work (these natural bags just need to be “recharged” once a month by placing them in direct sunlight.

As you can see, there are definitely some ways that you can get rid of that rotten egg smell in your sink.  If you use these tips and still find the lingering around, it may be time to call out a plumber to make sure that there are no issues when it comes to your sewage system or water heater.  

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