Asked on Feb 02, 2014

We have a bad odor under our in the cabinet under our kitchen sink.

by Dai291260

We have this stinky smell under our kitchen sink. Sometimes it is worse after we run the dishwasher. We have no leaks and nothing in cabinet that would smell bad. We suspect a it's sewer vent smell in the drain from the dishwasher & garbage disposal. What do you think? How do we get rid of it? Do I have to deep clean my disposal or dishwasher?

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  14 answers
  • Ene19230 Ene19230 on Feb 02, 2014
    We've had the same thing happen. The plummer said it was sewer gas. One time we did actually have a dead mouse in the walls though and it smelled the same when it started decaying. I'm sorry you have to deal with this because it's a terrible odor.
  • Katie Katie on Feb 02, 2014
    You might have to get a plumber in to look at your system as you may have to put something in place to stop the sewer gas from venting into your house. It's quite dangerous! Good luck. I hope it's something simpler.
  • Sometimes your sewer pipes under the house can sag and and not drain away properly. (this happened to us). You need to check that the drains under the house flow down and out. We also have a drain upstairs that does this so we cleaned out the goose neck and found all kinds of soap scum and hair. EWWWW and hair smells when it is in water for years LOL Try these things first.
  • If its a sewer odor, and there is no evidence of a leak, I would suggest that perhaps the vapor breaker anti siphon device, that normally should be seen mounted on the counter is faulty which is located behind the machine mounted in the cabinet. Or it does not exist. You will need to pull out the dishwasher to check the drain pipe for this device and if its missing, have one installed. If its discharging into the garbage disposal unit. Run several trays of ice in the disposal followed by some limes or lemons to sweeten the odor. Sometimes grease buildup can cause all sorts of funky odors.
  • Tabby Tabby on Feb 04, 2014
    Make sure your dishwasher was installed properly, the discharge hose from it should run UP over it and then down to the plumbing under your sink; otherwise, dirty water from the dishwasher sits in the hose and the food particles rot and you get the smell. You can google how to install a dishwasher to see pictures of what I mean, if you do not still have your installation manual.
  • Dai291260 Dai291260 on Feb 04, 2014
    Thanks, ours ties into the garbage disposal. We've already used a commercial garbage disposal cleaner, but that's a good idea.
  • Dai291260 Dai291260 on Feb 07, 2014
    Yeah! We got our stinky smell under the kitchen sink resolved. My husband found a vent that replaced the vent we had which didn't have a check valve in it to stop the sewer smell from coming in. It cost $20 from Menards. The vent is called Sure-Vent, Air Admittance Valve, mfg. by Oatey. Thanks for all your suggestions. Our kitchen smells great now.
  • That vent is exactly what I told you about. Its a anti-siphon vent. Its installed to prevent any water that leaves the sink drain while the dishwasher would be running from siphoning the water out of the dishwasher. Glad you got it fixed
  • Darlene Knafelz Oordt Darlene Knafelz Oordt on Feb 22, 2019

    We have this too and we're in a new home - the builder has been taking a year to try to resolve it. We've had the dishwasher checked, they've torn into our cabinet wall (sink is in an island) and they'd done a smoke test. They are saying no leaks, no issues, closing warranty. Is this vent something that all sinks have? or where would I locate this?

  • Amber Vogelpohl Amber Vogelpohl on Aug 19, 2019

    I’m following this too. We are having the same issue with our new build. It started about a month into living there. They have done smoke test, removed parts of the cabinet, checked the garbage disposal, etc. The smell comes from inside the cabinet on our central island that has our sink and dishwasher. The dishwasher apparently was installed without a heat shield so they are replacing that but the smell is there without the dishwasher running. Could this be our issue too? We have a septic system.

  • Shea Shea on Aug 19, 2019

    Sounds like a similar problem we had, turned out in our case when we ran the dishwasher we did not scrape plates or pots and pans etc. Lots of food went through our garbage disposal getting stuck under the blades. Solution for us I buy bags of limes on sale, Asian store, or Aldes are 2 good places. I cut one in half, put half in and run for about 30 seconds put the other half in and run a split second. Then run it a split second 3 to 4 times a day till your lime is gone, repeat with turning it on for just a split second. If you run the dishwasher and there is a little more order put a half and grind it all up then repeat with spilt seconds. This should help your sink smell good also.

  • Julie Whitley Romano Julie Whitley Romano on Aug 24, 2019

    Ours smells SOUR! This is our main island that houses the sink and dishwasher. It’s absolutely horrible. We had a plumber look at it and he said he’d never smelled a smell like it before. Suggested cutting open the toe-kick under the cabinet doors. Doesn’t seem to be the disposal. I’m at a loss. Anyone else smelled a sour smell? It absolutely disgusting. NOTHING I do helps. I’ve bleached out everything under the cabinet, put baking soda, done suggestion with anything relating to the disposal or dishwasher. Who else could we call? Another plumber? Contractor?

    • See 7 previous
    • Dolores Dolores on Nov 10, 2020

      I’ve had that horrible smell under my sink too,on a windy day the smell stinks up my whole apt. My sink wasn’t clogged but I put Drano down and let it sit for an hour and then boiling hot water, and that smell is gone!

  • Jim Withers Jim Withers on Dec 13, 2020

    Very familiar with the sewer gas smell in the kitchen cabinet under the sink. Our problem was a quick easy and $20 repair that the DIY person can do. The Studor Mini Vent was stuck in the open position. Removed old one, cleaned it, and reinstalled. (should be hand tight just unscrew and screw new one back in). Works great now with smell completely gone. Replaced it with a new one just to be safe.

    Level of difficulty: 1 on a 5 scale.


    • Kathy Kathy on Dec 26, 2020

      Jim, where was your mini vent located? We have the same sewer smell in our cabinet, but I'm not seeing a vent there.

  • Deb K Deb K on Dec 26, 2020

    Hello, hope this helps you out, a common problem

    Any oil can congeal tot the sides of the disposal, drain, and lower part of the pipe. The rotting smell is because the grease is decomposing. ... Pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain with vinegar. Let the vinegar and baking soda sit for about 10 to 15 minutes and then follow that with a pot of boiling water.