Bathroom Sink Odor

Bathroom sink odor occurs by virtue of what the sink does. It drains grey water. (Poor venting can also be the culprit behind bathroom sink drain odor. We will get to that. But first, let’s discuss the build and use of the sink.)

The bathroom sink carries bacteria from washed hands, cleaning stains from clothing and brushing teeth. Because the drain assembly allows for air to get to the moistened piping below the mouth of the drain, bacteria, mold and mildew settle into the drain assembly. With the bacteria that gets washed down the drain, the drain assembly is a natural sort of petri dish. With use, mold, mildew and bacterial growth continue and sink odor is what alarms us to a need to investigate the source.

Anatomy of a bathroom sink drain:

Anchor Sewer & Drain Cleaning

In the diagram (temporarily unavailable) above, notice the “u” shaped trap assembly. From the trap (water line) line down, we experience no unpleasant odor. This is due to the fact that the trap is doing its job when the trap is full with water. Water in the trap prevents sewer gas from entering the home.

Above the trap, there is usually about 14″ of pipe that is open to air. This is the tail piece and the pop-up assembly. Here is where every home’s built in petri dish resides.

In order to treat this part of the bathroom sink drain and inhibit odor causing bacteria from growing, the homeowner must be able to get an anti-microbial to the drain assembly and the overflow. (The overflow is locate just below the sink rim. Normally on the front or back of the basin).

One of the anti-microbial solutions that can be found on the shelves at The Home Depot is a product called Micro Ban found in a line of cleaners under the brand name, “Legend”. (HOWEVER, BE CAREFUL. IF YOU HAVE A SEPTIC SYSTEM, YOU DO NOT WANT TO INTRODUCE ANTI BACTERIA AGENTS INTO YOUR PIPES. YOU WILL WIPE OUT YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM.) The use of bleach kills almost any type of bacteria. However, mold only spores and becomes air born. This means, if you decide to ignore good advice and use bleach to kill mold, you may cause it to spore and lodge wherever it lands. That could be in your lungs or someone else’s.

Use a spray bottle to get the Micro Ban cleaner into the overflow. Dowse the overflow generously, as the flow will develop and then only trail in one part of the overflow conductor. Then poor about five ounces of micro ban into the drain assembly of the sink. This should inundate the piping and allow for a well treated drain line.

There is only two other methods of getting an anti-microbial to the overflow and the drain.

  • If your bathroom sink’s drain pipe has a flush mounted (Dandy) clean out in line, you could purchase an inflatable test ball to stop water in the line. Then fill the line with an antimicrobial up to the rim of the sink.
  • You could also remove the sink from the wall….(Turn the water to the sink off. Remove the trap and the supply tubes) now take the sink off the wall and soak it in an anti-microbial.

    A second product recommended by Anchor Sewer and Drain Cleaning is, RX-66 Bio Enzyme Digester, by Airx Laboratories.

    About the trap. The trap is supposed to be filled with water in order to bar gases coming from the sewer and entering the dwelling. However, if the trap does not have water in it, naturally, gas will emanate from the drain. If your trap does not hold water, call a sewer and drain cleaner or a plumber to investigate. We did say earlier we would provide more information on “poor venting”. Here it is:

    A customer called describing a sewer gas odor coming from his kitchen sink, bathroom sink and tub drain. Upon visiting, we could see the kitchen sink drain was not connected to a vent. What made matters even more intolerable for the drains around the house is, there was a garbage disposal unit on the kitchen sink. Without a vent on the kitchen sink and the use of a garbage disposer, water is being pumped through unvented pipe and air has to be pulled into the pipe from somewhere. That somewhere is by a vacuum being created in the drain lines. The water in the traps in the tub and the sink is sucked into the sewer line, leaving the traps with no water. The absence of water in the traps, is to allow sewer gas to enter the dwelling through the sink and tub drains. (Traps are installed to trap water which seals out gases)

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