Why a Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

Why a Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs or Sulfur blog banner
What’s that horrible smell? If you have ever smelled sulfur, you know it’s a smell you won’t soon forget. Most describe it as smelling like rotten eggs.

Now, imagine that coming out of your drain continuously. This unfortunate odor can emanate from kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and shower drains and typically signals that something has gone awry with your plumbing.

No one wants to hang out in a smelly home, and the good news is that you have options for getting rid of this offensive odor.

Read on to learn what causes a sulfur smell to come from your drain and discover a few ways that you can eliminate these odors.

What Causes a Sulfur Smell in Your Drain?

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

This gaseous smell coming from your 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 hydrogen sulfide gas.

It could also be caused by a sink that hasn’t been used recently. When sinks aren’t used often, the water in the p-trap dries up from lack of use. Without water in the p-trap, gas from the sewer line can rise out of the drain.

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

How to Test Your Water for a Sulfur Smell

In some cases, the drain isn’t the culprit — it’s the water. Fortunately, here is how to test whether the drain or the water is behind a sulfur smell.

  1. Fill 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. In this case, you’ll want to call a professional immediately, as that could signal a problem with your water main or even the municipal water supply. If the foul odor is only coming from the glass of water that was filled from the sink with the smelly drain, then it’s probably the drain itself.

What To Do About a Sulfur Smell in Your Drain

There are a few things you can do to stop sulfur from stinking up your kitchen or bathroom. 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. A few lemon wedges with the peel removed can help reduce or eliminate the smell. You can also pour baking soda into your disposal to help absorb odor. Baking soda has the added benefit of being an abrasive material, which can help remove any food bits stuck in your disposal.

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 for drain cleaning service if your drains smell like sulfur.

Contact a Mr. Rooter Plumbing location near you by calling. You can also request an estimate online.