It’s no one’s idea of a good time first thing in the morning to hit the alarm button, stumble to the bathroom sink and catch a whiff of stink coming up the drain before even having time to brush teeth or brew coffee.

And a smelly sink when you’re trying to set the mood for a romantic evening? Forget about it.

However disappointing, discouraging and annoying that scent may be, it can oddly be beneficial in that it could indicate certain maintenance required in a septic system. And in some situations, it’s easy and relatively surface-level.

Try these ideas on for size when a stink becomes unbearable.

Clean your bathroom drains

Setting aside all the various and sundry bodily fluids and materials that find their way into bathroom sink and bathtub drains, a host of other components can add to the mix. Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash and soap can clog your drains, especially in conjunction with hair off one’s body or one’s head. That can also create feasting areas for stinky bacteria. It’s important to remember here, however, that simply grabbing Drano at the supermarket is not always the best solution to clogs for septic systems. Rather, consider using good-old-fashioned vinegar and baking soda – using the same science as the good clean fun of the volcano project you may have done in fourth grade – to clear. Let the mixture sit in the drain and flush with hot water. Repeat until the smell is gone.

Clean your sink overflow

These holes – which can be spotted underneath or across from the faucet in many bathroom sinks – can clog without much warning, creating the same stink mentioned above. Use a bottle brush, a toothpick or what have you to extricate the offending mass. A solution of 50% bleach and 50% water can also do the trick.

Look out for leaks

Leaky pipes could be contributing to an unwanted smell coming from a drain. Check under the sink for any signs of a leak (standing water, dripping water, or a water ring are the most apparent).

Have your system checked

It’s a good idea to have this done periodically anyway, but especially if you notice nagging odor that doesn’t respond to any of the aforementioned advice. That’s where Little’s Septic comes in – let us put our expertise to work diagnosing what may ail your system.