Sunday, May 17, 2020

destinkuishing myself

Over the past month, I think, a nastiness has grown and festered inside my apartment: a rotten stink that seemed to be coming from the cabinet underneath my kitchenette's sink. The stink was getting so bad that it began to smell as if a large rat had crawled into the space and died. The odor went from annoying pong to nauseating miasma, and at first, I was wondering whether I needed to call maintenance to see what the problem might be. I had no idea how the various pipes and tubes were connected between and among my sink and my washing machine (in Korean studio apartments, your washer is often located in the kitchenette—a fact that you get used to after a while), and no idea what sort of flaws and gaps in the piping might be letting this odor out. My tentative diagnosis was that there was a bunch of accumulated food-waste-turned-gunk in the pipes, rotting away.

Instead of calling maintenance, I decided to see what I could do on my own. Armed with a huge bottle of bleach that I had recently bought from the local No Brand store, I filled my kitchenette's sink about halfway up with warm water and dumped maybe two cups' worth of bleach into it. I popped the sink's drain open and let the bleach-water run down. In the meantime, I took my grungy-looking kitchen sponge—the one I use when washing dishes—and soaked it in a 50-50 water/bleach solution. In both cases, the results were immediate and fantastic: (1) my sponge lost all of the nasty, encroaching brown color that had begun at the sponge's edges and had been working its way inward for weeks, and (2) when I opened up the cabinet directly under my sink, I was no longer greeted with a blast of noxious putrescence. The space smelled a thousand times better.

I performed the purge on my sink a second time, just to be sure. I have no illusions that this will keep the stink away forever, or that I somehow managed to dislodge all the scum and goo lining my kitchenette's pipes and hoses. But I now know that, should the stink arise again, I have the perfect method for getting rid of it in a jiffy.

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