You're washing your dishes and your liquid soap dispenser is empty. You open the cabinet under your kitchen sink and you're hit with a terrible odor.

What is that smell? If your kitchen garbage is in that same cabinet you may think that is the problem. But, be aware that the cause of that smell is most likely a problem in your P-trap (which is the U-shaped pipe under your sink).

If the odor is also coming up from your sink's drain then in addition to the P-trap the problem could also be from sewer gas or decomposing food in your garbage disposal. You can read our article on How To Get Rid Of Smelly Drains for help with that.

But if it seems to just be coming from under your sink, then read on.

How Do I Get Rid Of The Smell Under My Sink?

If that bad odor is coming from your P-trap then it may be an easy fix, if you have the proper tools.

Simply dis-assembling the P-trap under your sink. cleaning it out and then putting it back may solve the problem for you.

Here are the simple steps to do that.

  1. Turn off the water to the sink. There are two turnoff valves (one for cold and one for hot). Turn both of them off by turning them clockwise. (Righty tighty, Lefty loosy)
  2. Place a bucket under the p-trap pipe
  3. Use pliers or a wrench to loosen the two large nuts that are joining the p-trap and the pipes together.
  4. Remove that U-shaped pipe and clean it out. (there should be water in that p-trap so be careful).
  5. You may also want to use a long screwdriver on the remaining pipes under your sink to check that no food or other object is stuck in those pipes.
  6. Once the P-trap is all cleaned out, put it back making sure the two large nuts are tight.
  7. Turn the water back on and test to make sure there are no leaks under your sink.

This process may get rid of that smell. If it does not, we recommend you contact a plumber to assess and fix the problem.

What Causes The Musty Smell Under The Kitchen Sink?

Musty smells are usually the sign of mold and mildew.

If you detect that type of smell under your kitchen sink we recommend that you remove everything out of those cabinets and use your hands to check for any areas that may be wet or moist.

If you do - then you may have a pipe leak somewhere in that area or even in the wall or floor by by the sink.

Your kitchen drain pipe normally has three slip nuts with washers in them. Many of us put alot of items under the kitchen sink, some of us even hang items from the drain pipe. These items can all easily dislodge the slip nuts, making them lose and causing a leak. This is the most common reason for a leak in your kitchen sink drain pipe.

If you find that a pipe under your sink is leaking, read our article on What To Do About A Leaky Drain Pipe Under Kitchen Sink. But of course, if the problem is a cracked pipe then that will have to be replaced.

If you find moisture but aren't sure where it's coming from, then we recommend you call in a plumber to begin the process of finding that leak to help you get rid of that musty smell.

Once the cause of the mold / mildew has been found and fixed and the area has been cleaned, you may still find that the odor lingers. If this is the case, you can try placing a bowl of baking soda or kitty litter or white vinegar in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Leave it there for at least 24 hours. These may absorb that odor.

How Do You Deodorize A Kitchen Sink?

If you want to add a fresh scent to your kitchen sink (and your kitchen) you can try any of these simple solutions.

  • Pour 3-4 gallons of boiling hot water down your drain. This may help to break up some debris that is lingering in your drain and/or pipes. But note, if your pipes are made of Pex, CPVC or PVC - they are NOT made to witstand the temperatures of hot boiling water.
  • Pour about 1 cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal - let it sit for about 5 minutes and then turn on your faucet and let the hot water run to rinse the baking soda away.
  • You can also pour 1 cup of baking soda in the sink's drain, then heat 2 cups of distilled white vinegar in the microwave until it's just warm (not hot) and then pour the vinegar into the drain. You should see it fizzle. Wait 5 minutes and then turn on your faucet using cold water and rinse it away.
  • If your garbage disposal can handle citrus peels then you can also put pieces of rinds (no bigger than about 2 inches) of oranges, lemons, grapefuit and limes into your disposal and run it along with your hot water tap on.

You can do any of these solutions about once a month to keep your kitchen and sink smelling clean and fresh.

If you have any questions about upir water pipes or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.