3 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Smelling eggs where you know there are none? We give you the most common reasons and remedies to get rid of the rotten cloud in your home.
A “rotten egg” smell indicates the presence of hydrogen sulfide. Mainly caused by rotting food in the disposal system or sewage in the kitchen drain, there’s also the chance of a gas leak. You can get rid of the smell by cleaning your drains and letting professionals deal with a gas leak.
A sulfur smell in the home should never be ignored. Here is how you can tell if your egg-cloud is serious and get the best advice on how to deal with the lesser problems yourself.
The Reasons Why Your Kitchen Has A Rotten Egg Smell
A bad smell in the kitchen is never normal. Indeed, there is nothing good about a rotten egg smell. It shows that there is some kind of gas in your home. The most common gas that causes this odour is hydrogen sulfide. However, the smell can also indicate the presence of methane or mercaptan. All of these gases can have an adverse effect on your health – which is why you need to put on your detective cap the moment you smell trouble.
Hydrogen sulfide usually comes from decomposing matter, methane from the sewage system while mercaptan points to a more dangerous leak from a gas oven or cooker.
Is This A Gas Leak?
Natural gas has great uses in the home – we cook with it and we use it to heat our water. Unaltered, this gas is both colourless and odourless. Needless to say, that is not the safest combination for a substance that is potentially fatal after prolonged exposure. To warn people, gas companies add mercaptan. Why? Because mercaptan is stinky enough to grab someone’s attention right away.
There are several ways to determine if the rotten egg smell comes from a gas leak.
- You notice that the gas stove is open and leaking (the smell should be very strong around the stove itself).
- There might be an unusual noise near a gas line, like whistling or hissing.
- A clearly damaged gas line or pipe.
- You’re experiencing symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, and throat irritation.
- If the leak is in water, there might be bubbles or a misty cloud.
Your options are limited to professional help. The moment you realize that your kitchen or home is clouded in gas, get out and call for help. If you notice that the problem is a gas stove, turn it off and open all the windows. But it still remains preferable to call in an expert to see what went wrong and whether your house is safe to live in.
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Is This Sewer Gas?
Sewer gas is a notorious suspect when it comes to smelly kitchens. More specifically, your kitchen sink.
While sewer gas is not as life-threatening as a gas leak, you must still deal with potentially difficult causes. The following points are the most common reasons why sewer gas is taking over your kitchen.
- A blocked drain or vent.
- A blocked p-trap.
- Faulty plumbing.
A Blocked Drain Or Vent
When a drain or vent is in good working condition, it allows air and water to flow freely. Drains remove wastewater while vents allow sewage gases to leave the house. When one or both becomes blocked, gases might get forced back up the kitchen sink. This usually leaves a rotten egg odour hanging around the kitchen.
You can try plunging the sink to remove a blockage in the p-trap or nearby pipes. This will only work if the blockage isn’t already too severe. Commercial drain cleaner is another option but it must be used with caution as these products are dangerous to pets and kids. You can also check for debris in the main vent by climbing on the roof.
- Sometimes, a blocked main vent can be flushed clean by pouring water into the top.
- You can also try a drain snake tool to hook or dislodge a blockage.
- Make sure that you are using the right ladder to get onto the roof.
A Blocked P-Trap
A p-trap is that U-shaped loop under your kitchen sink. It is designed to fill with water to block sewage gases from going up and escaping through the sink. However when there is a blockage in the p-trap – which is very common – then gases can seep through and make the kitchen smell bad.
Here are a few troubleshooting tips.
- If the rotten egg smell only happens when your washing machine is on, check that the washer’s drain pipe is not pushing past the p-trap. That could help sewage gases to escape into the sink.
- Use a drain snake tool to gently dislodge the blockage.
- If the obstruction is light, you can run the tap for a while until the water drains easily. The force of the running water should remove the blockage.
- Try plunging. Hold the plunger straight while you do so and vigorously pump for about a minute (make sure that the sink has about 2 cm or an inch’s worth of water before you plunge).
- If the p-trap is not the glued variety, you can manually disassemble it and remove the blockage easily that way.
How Faulty Plumbing Makes Your Kitchen Smell
Faulty plumbing also interferes with the flow of water and gases. When the design is wrong, gases are bound to find their way into the home. More often than not, the problem will be in the kitchen or bathroom.
How do you know that faulty plumbing is to blame? A blocked drain or vent happens over time. You might live in a house for a while before the kitchen starts to reek. But incorrectly placed pipes tend to cause problems from the start. When you move into a new place or start to experience this issue shortly after a plumber tweaked your system, then bad plumbing practices are more likely to blame.
Regrettably, there is no DIY quick fix. You either need to be a skilled handyman to know where the problem lies and how to reinstall your plumbing. The best course of action might be to call a plumber with a proven track record.
Is The Smell Coming From My Food Disposal Unit?
Food disposal units have been known to smell like rotten eggs, so it is possible. You can try a few things and if they clear up the smell, then you have found the source of the stench! That being said, a quick sniff should also indicate if the smell is coming from the sink’s garbage disposal unit.
Most of the time, the reason it smells like eggs is due to the sulfur in decomposing food, there might be a bacterial build-up or the unit is overdue for a good cleaning.
- Eliminate the possibility of blocked drains, vents, and a p-trap first.
- Put ice cubes through the disposal unit to clean the blades.
- Pour a cup of baking soda into your active unit, then follow it up with a cup of white vinegar.
- You can also use commercial food disposal cleaners.