Mysterious odor under kitchen sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by jjt, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. jjt

    jjt New Member

    We have an odor in our kitchen that is driving us crazy! It is a sour odor, sometimes smells like a chemical of some sort. We moved into this house about a month ago, the house is about two years old. We thought it might be the air admittance valve, so we had a plumber replace it. The odor persists (and the plumber says the odor is NOT sewer gas). We can smell it through the dishwasher...which we removed as an experiment to see if that was the culprit. Still stinks. You can only smell it under the sink, not from above. Any ideas?
  2. Plumber2000

    Plumber2000 Plumber

    Eugene, Oregon
    Something may have split under sink, and maybe be invisible, check all wood surfaces and cracks in the cabinet areas.
  3. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2005
  4. jjt

    jjt New Member


    Thanks for taking the time to respond! We'll look into your suggestions. It seems the odor is continuous (it is not fading at all...which we thought it would if something had spilled). We covered the entire cabinet area with a bleach solution and still, no improvement. No smell from the basement underneath. It is truly stumping us!
  5. Mike_J

    Mike_J New Member

    Boston area
    "Sour" smell kind of sounds like garbage odor--maybe someone stored trash under the sink and the smell is just embedded in the wood. Sometimes even bleach doesn't get at such odors because they sink in so deeply (learned from experience with various pets). Have you considered it might just be "new cabinet smell" since they are only 2-yrs young? Various carpentry glues, laminate adhesive, etc. can really stink although I wouldn't imagine it lasting two years.

    Assuming you've cleaned everything out of there and scrubbed it all down and the odor doesn't improve at all over time, you may have to saw open the bottom of the base cabinet around the pipe and check what's going on. Maybe a pipe leaked in the space underneath the cabinets and there's mold or another mess under there. I would hate to do that to 2-year old cabinets but if the alternative is going crazy... Maybe you can pull the dishwasher and peek in the space under/behind the cabinets with a strong flashlight.

    Mike J.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Do you have a garbage disposer? These can get pretty nasty inside. Do you have a dishwasher hooked up to it? Is it possible that it is partially clogged? The food from the dishwasher can also get pretty nasty if there is any restriction. My old dishwasher didn't have provisions to heat the water (if needed, and in my case it did), so when using powdered detergent, it didn't all disolve, and it clogged the drain line. Eventually, it ate through the casing. I replaced it with a new one with the ability to heat water when needed (it's a long way from the tank, and I often ran it on timer so it didn't get too warm before it had filled itself). Good luck.
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