Bad Smell From the Shower Drain? Here Is What To Do

Is an unpleasant odor wafting from your shower drain, making your bathroom an unwelcoming space? 

A foul smell from a stinky shower drain can be bothersome and indicate an underlying issue that must be addressed. 

Let’s look at the common causes of bad smells from shower drains and explore some practical tips on how to tackle the problem. From simple home remedies to professional solutions, our team at Diamondback Plumbing has you covered. 

Tired of Dealing With a Stinky Shower Drain? Try This!

Accumulated hair, soap scum, and various forms of debris can build up in your shower drain over time and create a clog. This can lead to stagnant water, producing a foul smell from the shower drain.

Here’s what to do if a clogged drain is causing your stinky shower:

Use a plunger – Put a plunger over the drain, push down firmly, and pull up quickly to create suction. Repeat this motion several times to try and dislodge the blockage.

Be careful to thoroughly cover the drain with the plunger and ensure enough water in the shower pan to create a seal.

Remove the drain cover and clean it – Unscrew or lift off the drain cover, and use a flashlight to inspect for any gunk, debris, or hair that might be clogging up the drain. Then you can use a pair of pliers, a wire coat hanger, or a drain snake to reach and pull out the blockage.

Use a chemical drain cleaner – Commercial drain cleaning products can dissolve hair, soap scum, and other organic matter that might be causing a blockage. Be careful to follow the instructions on the product label carefully, as these products contain harsh ingredients that can cause chemical burns.

Try a homemade drain cleaner – You can create a homemade drain cleaner by pouring baking soda into the drain and then following it with a hefty dose of vinegar. Leave the mixture to fizz and bubble for about 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. This method can help to break down minor clogs in your stinky shower drain.

Use a drain snake – A drain snake, also known as a drain auger, is a long, flexible tool that can be put into the drain to physically break up or retrieve the blockage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the drain snake properly.

Call a professional plumber – If you cannot clear the blocked shower drain using the above methods or are uncomfortable with DIY solutions, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They have the experience and tools to effectively diagnose and resolve more stubborn or complex drain blockages.

Mold, Mildew, or Bacterial Growth

Moisture and warmth in the shower drain can create a conducive environment for mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. This is especially true if organic matter is present in the drain, such as hair or soap residue. 

Gather supplies – You’ll need protective gloves, a rigid brush or an old toothbrush, a bucket or a plastic bag, and a mold and mildew cleaning solution. You can use a commercial cleaner or create a DIY solution by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar or water and hydrogen peroxide.

Put on protective gloves – Mold and mildew can be harmful to your skin and respiratory system, so it’s essential to wear protective gloves while cleaning.

Remove the drain cover – Unscrew or lift off the drain cover to access the drain.

Scrub the drain – Use a stiff brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the drain thoroughly, focusing on the areas where you see mold or mildew growth. Be sure to clean the drain cover as well.

Rinse with water – After scrubbing, rinse the drain and drain cover thoroughly with water to remove the loosened mold and mildew.

Apply a mold and mildew cleaner – If you’re using a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions on the product label. If you’re using a DIY solution, you can apply it by spraying or pouring it onto the drain and drain cover. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the cleaner to penetrate and kill the mold and mildew.

Scrub again – After the cleaner has had time to work, scrub the drain and drain cover again to remove any remaining mold and mildew.

Rinse thoroughly – Rinse the drain and drain cover thoroughly with water to remove the cleaning solution and any remaining mold and mildew.

Dry the area – Use a clean towel or cloth to dry the drain and drain cover, and make sure the area is well-ventilated to prevent moisture from promoting future mold and mildew growth.

Replace the drain cover – Once the drain and drain cover are completely dry, replace the drain cover securely.

Clean regularly – To prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria from recurring, make sure to clean your shower drain regularly and keep the area well-ventilated to discourage mold and mildew growth. Utilizing these steps can help you get rid of the bad smell from your shower drain once and for all.

Ventilation Issues or Sewer Gases

If the water trap (commonly known as a “P-trap”) under your shower drain dries out or becomes ineffective, sewer gasses can enter your bathroom through the drain and cause a foul odor.

Check the P-trap – The P-trap is a U-shaped bend in the drain pipe that is designed to prevent sewer gasses from entering your home. If the P-trap is dry or has lost its seal, it can allow sewer gasses to escape into your home. Try running water in your shower for a few minutes to refill the P-trap and create a water seal.

Ventilate the bathroom – Proper ventilation can help prevent sewer gas odors from building up in your bathroom. Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated by using an exhaust fan or opening a window to allow fresh air to circulate.

Install a drain trap primer – If your P-trap tends to dry out frequently, you can install a drain trap primer. A drain trap primer is a device that automatically adds water to the P-trap to maintain the water seal and prevent sewer gas odors from escaping. It’s typically installed by a licensed plumbing contractor.

Check for plumbing leaks – Plumbing leaks, such as a cracked or broken drain pipe, can allow sewer gasses to escape into your home. Inspect your plumbing system for any signs of leaks, such as water stains, dampness, or mold growth, and have any leaks repaired promptly by a plumbing professional.

Water Quality

If you’re dealing with a stinky shower, the smell may not actually be coming from the drain itself but rather from the water supply. If your water has a high sulfur content, it can produce a rotten egg-like smell when it comes into contact with the drain.

Bad Smell From the Shower Drain? Here Is What To Do — Conclusion

Don’t let a foul smell from your shower drain ruin your bathroom experience. 

By identifying the root cause of the musty smell in your shower drain and taking appropriate action, you can eliminate the unpleasant smell and enjoy a fresh-smelling bathroom once again. 

Whether it’s a simple DIY remedy or a more complex plumbing solution, the key is promptly addressing the issue to prevent further discomfort and potential health hazards.

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