Renovation & Design

Blocked vent could be causing kitchen odour

Ric Ernst / TNS files

Thoroughly cleaning a garburator or unclogging a blocked vent may eliminate bad odours.

Question: Before we left on a six-week holiday, I cleaned out my fridge. I sent small amounts of jam, relish, salad dressings, down the garburator, but no meat. I washed the garburator with dish soap and ice cubes, and let the water run for a while.

Arriving home, I opened the cabinet under the counter and the smell was awful. To get rid of the smell I used baking soda and vinegar numerous times and fed a large bag of lemons through the garburator. I scrubbed under the counter, pipes and garburator with cleaner at least three times.

The drains from the sink do not smell anymore, but under the counter the smell is still bad. I bought four bottles of powerful liquid drain cleaner, left them for the day and the smell is still bad.

All this time I put a pail of charcoal briquettes under the sink to absorb the odours. Is there a way of cleaning the plastic pipes, as I believe the smell is permeating from there? Any other suggestions? -— Rose

Answer: It sounds like you have gone through great efforts to rectify the odour. Chances are the smell is caused by one of the following:

1) A blocked vent. Hire a professional to climb on the roof to remove anything blocking the vent. If ice is the culprit, either wait until the weather warms or, pour hot water down the pipe from the roof.

2) Maintenance needed directly to garburator. Disconnect the garburator, clean and reassemble the garburator. It sounds like you have already done this.

3) As you pointed out, the smell is possibly coming from the hoses. Either the hose connecting from your sink to your dishwasher or the hose running from your air gap to your garbage disposal. You will be able to remove the hoses, but you might wish to consider replacing the hoses instead of cleaning them.


Question: How do I get white T-shirts white again? I am unable to hang them in the sun. — Pat

Answer: Boil your T-shirts in a stainless-steel pot of water and washing soda for five minutes. For one gallon of water add a half cup of washing soda. Let the clothes soak in the water for 30 minutes. Wash as usual. Another option is to purchase Rit Dye-white and dye the T-shirts so that they are true white. Wash as usual.


Window cleaning tips

Whenever I wash my windows, I dry them with coffee filters. They don’t streak or smudge. — Colin

Make your own window cleaner. Into a spray bottle combine two cups of water, half a cup of white vinegar, half a teaspoon of dish soap. Spray, wipe and dry. — Wilma


Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:




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