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Episode 8: More on Smelly Drains

this just in: now you can block your billa's smelly floor drains without actually plugging them!

you may have already been using smelly billa to smell-proof your house, including a method using plastic cling wrap to cover your drains.  as mentioned in that post, however, this very effective method could be very dangerous in the event of a plumbing or laundry leak (and not to mention inconvenient if you're daily uncovering and recovering your drain before and after each shower).

here are a few more solutions that have come my way which may help you greatly.  the first two are for those of you with three inch drain pipes in your floor.  to determine the width of your drain pipes, just use your fingernail to lift the silver plate off the drain and measure the width of the pipe.  if they are three inch pipes (which is about the length of your thumb), here are two great solutions for you.  first up...

idea 1:  the cup trap

this traditional concept has been shaped into cup-form to fit into your billa floor drains.  it keeps a little water in the cup, and the water actually becomes a floating liquid seal that guards against odour coming up out of the drain and into the apartment.

here's how it works:

genious!  i have one of these installed in both my shower and balcony drains.  the only thing is that the water in the cup sometimes dries up (on the balcony drain), allowing the smell of poo/death to waft up into the apartment (especially while the bathroom/kitchen fan is running [it pulls the fumes up!]).  but if it starts letting smells through, just dump an inch of water down the drain and you're good to go again.  all-in-all, this little thing works wonders.
print off this pic of the cup trap and bring it down to the open market (shi ja'ng) and find the man in the stall which sells hardware and rustic thing, and see if he's got one.  alternatively, show the pics to your landlord or work manager and see if they can find the traps for you.  
but either way (even though this item seems safe enough), i'd still have the landlord/manager install it so that if anything goes wrong involving a drain in your house (even if it's completely unrelated to or unconnected to you), no one would be able to blame you for something. (sticking stuff into drains is some sort of serious insurance category, i'm sure). as always, at your own risk, but this gadget has proved indispensable to me.

idea 2:  the trap door

here's something neat: a small disc with little trap door in it which was designed to shut out food odours in your kitchen sink's drain basket.

even though it was designed for the kitchen sink, i popped one of these little discs onto my balcony drain, and it worked wonders!  to test it out, i even filled up the washing machine, unhooked the drain pipe, and let the wash-water drain completely out into my tile balcony: the little trap-door thingy drained everything without causing water to overflow the balcony and go into my house.  but it drains slower than the cup trap, and it has never been officially tested for reliability (e.g., little trap door getting gunked up and stuck shut or stuck open).  i never had a problem with it during the time i had it installed, but use at your own risk.

idea 3:  the floating cork

a little more on the homemade side is an idea which a missionary family here used to use years ago when they lived in a shabby place overtop a gross restaurant:  take a large ziplock bag, put water in it, and put it over your drain like a flat little cushion.  apparently it creates enough of a seal to keep the odours from coming up out of the drain.  but get this (this is the coolest thing ever): you can even use this for your shower drain because as the water travels across the floor to your drain, the ziplock bag floats up and allows the water to drain.  then, when the water is finished draining (i.e., when you're done your shower), the bag once again comes to rest over the drain, reestablishing the seal!  waalaa!  i've never tried it yet, but if you do (and do so at your own risk), let me know how it works.

idea 4:  the smelly guys

lastly. apparently there is some company out there that comes and smell-proofs your drains with something similar to the trap door discs (above).  a reader wrote:
wevegotseoul said... "There is an actual company that will come to you house and install drain covers so that it doesn't stink." [link to wevegotseoul's info on the matter]
sounds like you pay a bunch, but it comes with some sort of guarantee.  haven't seen that company yet.  but if you can find them (or have someone help you find them), you may be able to convince your employer to pay for the smell-proofing procedure.  thanks wevegotseoul.  [update: keep clicking through the links on wevegotseoul's post. there's a business card with the company's info.]


that's all.  for more help with smell-proofing, check out Help!! My Billa Smells like Poo/Death!!

Smelly Billa
why stink?

Jo Min Su경기도  평택시, 2010
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  1. Johnny - this new blog of yours is quite entertaining. I have a suggestion - I used these in a stinky apartment in MJ. Not sure how effective they were, as I have an annoyingly keen sense of smell, so there was little that could appease my over-active sniffer. Check out the testimonials...


    I think I picked mine up at Walmart or some place like that :)


  2. thanks juliana! yeah, i always hope to block the smells before they can enter, but sometimes you just need help. scent-free odor eaters like the ones you mentioned are way better than perfumed sprays that just create the double dragon effect ("poo and roses" smells worse than poo itself).

  3. If your apartment only mildly stinks than I would use the ones that you found above. The stink guys that I linked to, they put caulking around the contraption and are willing to seal other potential smelly areas too - like around your toilet etc. I suppose if you are proficient at using caulking you could DIY as well... nah, there's people for that.

  4. thanks wevegotseoul! the first two methods above have worked 100% even for the really F O U L stenches that live under my building (not just mild), but i love the fact that the smelly guys you mentioned come with a guarantee and credibility, and --i imagine-- "liability" too in the case of something backfiring.

  5. Interesting post - thanks for sharing!