Preventative Maintenance Tips

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Where To Look

No one likes to experience the dreaded “mystery smell” that can happen in a home that’s been sealed for a couple of days while on vacation, or that can randomly appear out of the blue, even after a deep clean to every inch of your house. So, before you can say, “What the Smell,” let’s take a deeper look into the potential cause and how you can prevent this from happening to you.

A Deeper Look

Several things can cause a bad odor in your home, from a stinky dishwasher to a musty mildew buildup. However, a backed-up sewer problem is one of the most common issues that many homeowners overlook that can cause a bad odor in your home.

One of our clients experienced an unknown smell in her condo but could not pinpoint where the smell was coming from. Originally, she called one of our technicians to address another problem in her home. However, when the technician arrived to help her, he was able to identify and address the problem of the unwanted smell as well. Boy, was she happy!

Below is a list of common factors that can cause sewer problems in your home.

Clogged Drain Image
  • Unused drains in shower or sinks

  • Excess fats and oils deposited down the sink

  • Improper food waste like coffee grounds and banana peels

  • Hair

  • Soap deposits

  • Diapers and wipes

  • Feminine hygiene products


Thankfully, sewer backup is a problem that can be prevented with a little extra TLC and preventative maintenance of your drains.

How to Prevent Stinky Smells or Backed Up Drains

First, it is important to understand the function of your drain. Your sink, bathtub, washing machine, and shower have a drain trap that is a U-shaped pipe called a P-trap. The P-trap keeps sewer gasses from coming back up the drain and into the house because a bit of water blocks them at the bottom of the “U.”

The main sign of a clogged P-trap is standing water in the fixture. However, a slow draining fixture and a rotten egg smell coming from the drain signify that the P-trap is partially clogged. Hiring a Handyman can save you the plumbing hassle. 

P Trap Maintenance Image

Since most P-traps are difficult to access and disconnect, the best preventative measure is to clean them by using a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water at least once every three months. Cleaning the P-trap quarterly prevents the drains from clogging and prevents horrible smells due to the decomposition of organic waste inside the P-trap.

How To Clean A P-Trap

1st Drain standing water. If there is standing water in the fixture, start by draining away the water using a bucket or cup. You want the solution to get straight into the P-trap. Also make sure to remove any blockage from the drain using a pair of rubber gloves to remove and dispose any debris clogging the drain.

2nd Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, slowly followed by a cup of vinegar.

3rd Wait for about 15 minutes for the solution to work out its magic.

4th Pour the hot water down the drain to break down the gunk. (While the baking soda and vinegar will break down the gunk inside the P-trap, the hot water will melt it further and flush it down the drain.)


As always, “It’s better to be ProActiv than to be re-active because trying to find a smell in your home is never fun.”

How We Can Help

We hope that this tip is an easy tip to get started with!

However, to stay on top of this preventative maintenance tip, make sure you always have baking soda and vinegar in your home, which are in most homes. Also, put on your calendar or schedule an alarm to remind you to clean your P-traps every 3 months. If you are too busy or you just would like someone to handle any drain repair for you, give us a call. We can help you by putting together a preventative maintenance plan customized for your home or building. Whichever works best for you, we are here to help.

Drain Maintenance Image

Customer Testimonial

Drain clog customer

Finding the cause of the smell in my kitchen was so refreshing!

– Alaina, Chicago

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