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How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Your Apartment

Posted by Friendly Design on October 3, 2020
How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Your Apartment- Ann Arbor Apartments managed by CMB

The question is How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Your Apartment. Drains can get clogged up with all sorts of stuff. Between the hair in the bathroom and the food in the kitchen, odors can quickly build up.

If your apartment smells musty or like a sock after you’ve been on your feet all day, it is time to take care of that drain. Food particles can attract flies, bathroom clogs can cause damage, and the odors can seep into the paint!

The first step to cleaning a smelly drain is to find the offender. Since you’ve only got a handful of choices, it shouldn’t take long! Then you can start the cleaning, implement some preventative measures, and enjoy some fresher air.

Supplies Needed to Clean a Smelly Drain


Some drains need some soap and water to eliminate the offensive odor they emanate. Others need the equivalent of a good scrubbing. Here’s what you’ll need to gather to ensure you have a successful cleaning experience.

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket

If you don’t have any white vinegar available, you can substitute almost boiling water to initiate the cleaning process.

Some stores sell industrial-strength white vinegar. This product is the preferred option because it provides a higher acidity level.

How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Your Apartment?

The first step is to put on your rubber gloves. Exposing your skin to hot water, baking soda, or vinegar can cause irritation or injury.

When you have the supplies gathered, bring the water or the white vinegar to almost a boil. You’ll need about the size of a small saucepan full of liquid to ensure you have enough available. Once it reaches to an almost-boil, pour half into the affected drain.

Please wait a few minutes for the fluid to do its work. Rinse with cold water to solidify any remaining odor-causing agents before pouring the remainder of the hot liquid to remove it.

Another option is to combine white vinegar and baking soda. Start by running the hot water at the sink for about one minute. Turn the water off, then add one cup of baking soda to the drain. Once the powder is in place, add two cups of hot vinegar.

This concoction is going to bubble and fizz. It takes about an hour for it to work its magic. Flush the drain with hot water from the tap to complete the cleaning process.

If these techniques don’t work, you may have materials in the P-trap that require manual cleaning. How you address that issue is dictated by the terms of your lease.

Unused sinks can let the sewer gases flow up through the trap because the pipes are so dry. Try to use each faucet at least once per day to reduce the risk of this issue. So, you get the answer to the question- How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Your Apartment.

Some retail products offer scented cleansers that can provide short-term results. If you want to solve this problem for good, give your apartment sink a good cleaning each week. Your drains – and your nose – will thank you!

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