There comes a point in every young adult's life when they come into the kitchen to do day-old dishes and they smell something rancid and think, "what is that?" They will check the trash, the fridge, and likely every other place in the kitchen until they finally realize the smell was right under their nose. But once they realize the culprit is their smelly kitchen sink, they're unsure how to make the stench disappear.

I was like that in my first apartment; I had a garbage disposal at my parent's house and every other house I'd ever lived in growing up. I had no clue to as to how that smell got here and how to make it go away. That smelly kitchen sink is likely the result of a couple things: rotten food that hasn't flushed out of the pipes under your sink, and solidified oils or grease that have stuck to the insides of the pipes. Since the food and oil aren't moving anywhere, they're rotting and stinking up your kitchen. The good news is that it's surprisingly easy to clean your pipes and get rid of that putrid smell with just a few kitchen staples.

How to Clean Your Smelly Kitchen Sink

What you'll need:

- Boiling hot water

- Lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

- Lemon zest (optional but very useful)

- Baking soda

- Vinegar (if you don't have lemon juice on hand)

Step 1

Jazmine Velasquez

Set a medium or large pot of water to boil or use an electric kettle and fill to the max line. While the water is boiling, clean your sink basin with a soapy sponge and hot tap water. If you're using a fresh lemon, juice it while you wait while for the water to boil. 

#SpoonTip: If you're using a fresh lemon, zest the lemon and add to the baking soda mentioned in step three.

Step 2

Jazmine Velasquez

Slowly pour boiling water down the drain. If you do it too quickly, you will burn yourself with splashing, scalding hot water so please be especially careful with this step. The boiling water should melt any residual oils and fats stuck in the sink and possibly flush some of the rotten food out of the pipes.

Step 3

Jazmine Velasquez

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Use a spoon to coax the mixture into the sink if needed. Then pour 1 cup of lemon juice or vinegar down the drain. The combination of baking soda and lemon juice will set off a bubbling chemical reaction that loosens up any residual buildup. If you're using vinegar, don't worry too much about the smell — it will dissipate after step four.  Pour in more lemon juice/ vinegar if needed. Let sit for up to 10 minutes.

Step 4

Jazmine Velasquez

Let hot tap water run for about 2 minutes. If you have an electric kettle, heat up more water for a better result. Your smelly kitchen sink should now smell a lot better. 

Try to stay as vigilant as possible about how much food goes down the drain after freshening up your smelly kitchen sink. Try to throw away any leftover bits of food on your plate and scrape any unwanted oil/grease into a glass jar after cooking. That way, you won't have to clean your sink as often or deal with the nasty smell anytime soon. But if you ever have to clean it again, you'll know what to do.