Sunrise Specialty » How to Get Rid of Bathroom Sink Smells? (Causes & Remove)

How to Get Rid of Bathroom Sink Smells? (Causes & Remove)

When it comes to bathrooms, most people try hard to keep theirs clean. But sometimes, no matter how much you scrub, there’s just that one lingering smell: the bathroom sink. If you’re struggling with a smelly bathroom sink, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple tips on how to get rid of bathroom sink smell.

Why does my bathroom sink smell inside the sink drain?

It’s a frustrating problem to have cleaned the bathroom, scrubbed the toilet, and removed the trash, yet still find a remaining odor. If this happens to you, it very well could be smelly drains, one of which could be your sink. There are a few different causes for this odor:

Poor Drainage

A very common cause of a smelly bathroom sink is poor drainage. When the pipe has a clog because of soap scum build-up or any other reason that water can’t drain, water can pool and stand. This standing water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which can then lead to that unpleasant drain odor.

A Dry P-Trap

This is another common problem, and it can cause a nasty sewer smell. The plumbing trap, or p-trap is a u-shaped portion of pipe beneath the sink, and it is supposed to hold a little water at all times. This prevents sewer gas from traveling up the pipe and into the bathroom.

Therefore, if the water in the p-trap dries up enough, then those foul odors can seep through the bathroom sink.

Mold or Mildew

Drain smells can also permeate your bathroom if mold or mildew is growing in the pipe. This happens due to moisture, hair, soap scum, and toothpaste that coats the pipe walls over time. It leaves that signature musty smell that mold provides.

How do I get rid of a smelly bathroom sink?

Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to get rid of bathroom sink smell, no matter what the cause may be. Read on for our tips!

1. First, Clean the Sink’s Surfaces

When your bathroom sink drain smells bad, it’s sometimes because there is a build-up of gunk and bacteria around the sink drain. To get rid of the smell, you’ll need to clean the sink and drain thoroughly. First, clean all of the surfaces in your bathroom sink area, including the countertops, faucets, and fixtures.

If your bathroom sink is made of porcelain, you can clean it with warm water and liquid soap, bleach on white porcelain, or hydrogen peroxide on colored porcelain.

If your sink is made of a non-porcelain material, such as stainless steel or plastic, you can also clean with a combination of vinegar, water, and baking soda.

Vinegar and water can be used for stone sinks if needed, but don’t leave the vinegar on the surface for too long. Your best bet with stone sinks is to buy a mild cleaner that is made specifically for stone.

No matter what cleaning solution you use, wipe everything down with a clean cloth or sponge afterword. You may even want to use an old toothbrush. Dig the brush’s bristles deep into the sink’s grooves, especially down around the drain where mold and mildew can grow.

Pay special attention for mold or mildew growing in or under your sink–problem areas will often be dark and damp.

You may be asking, why do you start by cleaning the sink’s surface? The answer is simple. Because sometimes the odor isn’t coming from the drain after all.

You will want to eliminate any possible smells arising from the surface of your bathroom sink before you blame it all on the drain.

2. Second, Check for Blockages and Eliminate Them

Once the sink’s surface is clean, if odors persist, then the bathroom sink drain may very well be the problem. Before anything else, you’ll want to make sure that there is nothing blocking the drain. As mentioned above, types of blockage might include soap scum, hair, or any other type of debris build-up.

If there is indeed a blockage, you can try to clear it out with a plunger or a plumbers’ drain snake. If it’s a fairly mild clog, you can also try pouring boiling water down the sink drain, wait five minutes, then pour down cold water in order to congeal any possible grease in the pipe to flush it away.

3. Third, Eliminate the Odor

Once you’ve cleared out any debris from the drain, or if there wasn’t a clog to begin with, you can try using a commercial cleaner to get rid of any bacteria or mold. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the product label.

If you’d rather avoid commercial cleaners, try making your own natural cleaner mixture with vinegar and baking soda. Simply mix a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda in a bowl, then pour the mixture down the drain. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then flush with hot water.

The bubbling solution creates carbon dioxide and water, which can break through the clog if it is small enough.

4. Finally, Keep Your Sink Smelling Fresh

If you successfully eliminate the terrible smell in your bathroom sink drain, you will surely want to find ways to help keep your bathroom smelling fresh for longer. No one wants that nasty odor to creep back in anytime soon.

One way to do this is to try using an air freshener. These can easily be bought at the store and plugged into the bathroom wall near the sink.

However, if commercial air fresheners make you wary, you can so use a natural air freshener consisting of citrus fruits or essential oils. Some great essential oils for air fresheners include lavender, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and chamomile.

To try your hand at making your own air freshener, you can try simmering a pot of water with some lemon peels in it on the stovetop (or even in the slow cooker for an aroma that lasts all day). This method also works with cinnamon. It will help to fill your home with a refreshing and invigorating scent–which is much better than sewage smell any day!

With these easy and simple tips, you should be able to get rid of that pesky bathroom sink smell for good!

Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Sink Stink-Free

Now that you’ve eliminated the odor of smelly sink drains and have replaced it with a pleasant aroma, you’ll want to prevent the odor from ever coming back. You wouldn’t want to have spent all this time eliminating the foul smells only to have them quickly return.

This is where hygiene and a general care for your bathroom can really make a huge difference.

Here is a quick recap of our easy tips to help you keep your bathroom sink stink-free in the future:

  • Refill the p-trap whenever necessary
  • Wipe down the sink basin after each use with a mild cleanser
  • Clear the drain of any soap scum, hair, or debris build-up regularly with plunger, drain snake, or cleaners
  • Use a natural air freshener to help keep the space smelling fresh
  • Simmer a pot of water with lemon or cinnamon occasionally to fill the house with a refreshing scent

By following these simple tips, you can keep your bathroom sink smelling fresh and clean all year long and say good-bye to that terrible sewage smell.

Now, after all of that, if you’re still struggling with bathroom sink smell, it could be a bigger problem than what you can handle on your own. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to call on the advice of a professional plumber.

A plumber can help identify any underlying issues with your plumbing system, such as making sure your bathroom sink is properly ventilated, and fix any of these problems that might be out of your comfort zone. Plumbing is one of those home improvement jobs that is best left to the professionals.


In the end, a clean bathroom makes for a happy homeowner. And that homeowner can easily be you! Getting your bathroom sink to stop stinking is a task that is 100% doable, as long as you put in the work to investigate the odor’s main source and then work to eliminate it in whatever capacity is necessary.

Hopefully this article was helpful in teaching you what causes nasty bathroom sink smells and how to get rid of them, so that you don’t have to live with them forever.

Remember, the key is to practice good hygiene and keep your bathroom clean. If you do that, you should be able to prevent unpleasant smells from taking over your space. And with a little bit of effort, you can really get your beautiful bathroom whipped into shape.

Do you have any other questions about bathroom sink odor? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!