Odd smells inevitably occur in even the cleanest of kitchens, but what should you do when your sink starts to stink like rotten eggs? This embarrassing problem can persist for weeks or months at a time, and you may begin to dread visits from friends and family as a result. There are a few possible culprits behind this smell, but the good news is that it can typically be resolved through basic cleaning methods or minor plumbing repairs. 

Moldering Bacterial Colonies in the Pipes

When you first catch a whiff of something sulfurous coming from the sink, you may initially suspect some clogged food causing the problem. When particles of food or grease are trapped in your pipes, they begin to decompose and house bacterial colonies, which can emit an unpleasant smell. Try rinsing your pipes out with baking soda followed by vinegar and then boiling water. The chemical reaction scours the pipes, while the boiling water helps wipe out existing bacteria. 

Leaking Sewer Gas

Another likely cause behind a stinky sink is gases rising back up from the sewer through your pipes. Typically, these gases are blocked by your sink's drain trap, which normally holds a small pool of water to absorb any rising gases. This trap is refilled as you use water, but a leak or long periods of disuse may leave it empty and allow those gases to waft into your home. You may be able to examine the trap on your own, but if not a plumber can inspect the trap and fix any issues. 

Installing the Sink Without a Drain Trap

In some cases, such as when a sink was installed as part of a misguided DIY project, your sink may be missing its drain trap entirely. If the sink has always smelled strange since you moved in or had it installed, make a visual inspection of the piping to ensure that the drain trap is in place and connected to the rest of the system. A missing drain trap can typically be added in without an extensive overhaul of your piping, but you may want to leave it to a professional. 

Reacting Chemicals in the Water Heater

If the smell of sulfur only appears when you are using hot water, you probably have a problem with your water heater. Magnesium or aluminum rods, known as sacrificial anodes, are used in many heaters to prevent other components from rusting, but they also chemically interact with the molecules and microbes present in water. These reactions produce a sulfur compound that will manifest in showers, sinks and any other source of hot water in your home. Although there are methods to temporarily halt these reactions, the most effective, permanent solution is to replace the anodes with rods containing aluminum and zinc instead. 

To learn more, contact a company like Alexander's Plumbing And Pumps