If your kitchen sink has started to develop a bit of an odor, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to get rid of the smell and keep your sink clean and fresh. Here are some tips on how to clean a smelly kitchen sink.

Kitchen sink with water running

Easy Tips For Cleaning a Smelly Kitchen Sink Drain

The absolute worst is walking downstairs or into your kitchen area and being met with a foul smell. You immediately know the culprit has to be the kitchen sink drain because you just emptied your trash can the night before. Follow these tips to rid your kitchen sink of smelly odors.

1. Clean Out Your Garbage Disposal

“If you do not have a garbage disposal go straight to Step 3”

First make sure no food debris is stuck sitting in the garbage disposal. Even those nice lemon peels you throw in to keep it fresh can get funky if they’re left sitting in the drain for days. 

This will unfortunately involve you sticking your hand in to remove any food that was not able to be ground down by the disposal blades. Be EXTRA CAREFUL that you or anyone else mistakenly turns on the disposal while your hand is in there.

2. Sanitize Your Garbage Disposal

If you’re assured that no leftover food is causing the smell, you’ll need to sanitize your garbage disposal by clearing off the blades. The below process will loosen and get rid of any stuck on food particles. Here are the easy steps:

  • Clear disposal blades with a coarse mixture 
  • Toss at least 8 ice cubes, followed by salt (preferably Kosher salt) into the garbage disposal
  • Turn on the garbage disposal and let run until the ice is ground completely
Bowl of ice and kosher salt on a granite counter top

3. Deodorize The Drain

Even if there are no large, visible pieces of food lodged in your drain, there is likely leftover smelly bacteria that needs to be eliminated. You’ll be pleased to know that this can be done without harsh chemicals. Here are the next steps:

– Gather 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda

– Pour the baking soda into the sink drain, followed by the vinegar

– Allow the above combo to sit in drain for at least 15 minutes

– Boil at least 8 cups of water

– Pour the boiling water down the sink 

Following these steps should get rid of any lingering odors. If you don’t mind using chemicals, you can also use 1/4 cup of bleach in lieu of the vinegar (do not combine the vinegar and bleach).

Preventing Smelly Kitchen Sinks

Now that you know how to rid your kitchen sink of bad smells let’s talk about the prevention of those bad sink odors.

Regularly Clean Your Sink

First, make sure that you’re regularly cleaning your sink. Even if you don’t think it’s dirty, debris can build up over time and start to cause an odor. 

It’s not enough to just let your dirty sink water go down the drain after washing dishes and then walk away. Be sure to wipe down your sink with a disinfectant or all-purpose cleaner every few days, and be sure to scrub any stubborn stains. I use Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner to keep odors at bay.

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Green Alternatives to Clean Your Sink

A green alternative to keep your sink clean is to try using a vinegar solution to clean it. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use it to wipe down the sink. This will help to remove any build-up and freshen the smell.

You can also use baking soda. Simply sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of the sink, and then scrub all around the sink with a sponge or brush. This will absorb any odors and keep your sink smelling fresh and clean.

Use Your Garbage Disposal Regularly

If you have a garbage disposal, ensure you’re using it regularly to prevent bad odors.  Leftover food scraps can quickly start to cause an odor, so grind up any food waste in the disposal as soon as you dump it in. You can also add a few lemon peels to the disposal for a fresh scent.

Our Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You now know how to clean a smelly kitchen sink! By following these tips, you can easily keep your sink and garbage disposal smelling fresh and clean.