Why Does My Shower Drain Smell?

bad odor from shower drain

We go to the shower to get clean and fresh. This space should look and smell nice to live up to its function. However, this isn’t always the case in many homes. Sometimes the drain can emit a foul odor that is difficult to ignore. When the shower drain smells, the stench can be so bad that people can’t bear to stay inside for prolonged periods. Clearly, this situation cannot persist. It may not go away on its own so you will have to find the cause of the shower drain smell and apply the appropriate solution.

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Shower Drain Smells: Causes & Solutions

Below are some of the most common culprits:

1. Clogged Shower Strainer

image of a showerhead depicting clogged shower drain

The shower strainer is there to catch things that are not meant to flow into the pipes. It prevents the build-up of waste items, hair strands, soap scum, and other debris that could block the plumbing system.

After a while, its holes might get filled with these unwanted matter preventing water from going down. The mixture of scum, decaying debris, and stagnant water might be responsible for the stench.

Cleaning the strainer immediately is the top priority. Remove this from the shower floor with a gloved hand. Take out the gunk and wash with soap. Use a sponge or brush if needed. If the shower drain clog remains, then there might be blockage further down the pipes. You will need to contact a plumber to fix this.

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2. Bacterial Growth In Your Shower Drain

Mold and bacteria thrive in hot and wet environments. A shower drain is an ideal place for them to grow. See if there are gaps between the strainer and the tub. This is usually where mold grows so clean this up as well. Spray your sanitizing solutions on all of the surfaces around the drain. You should also check for biofilm which could appear in pink or orange hues. These are actually colonies of bacteria that may emit foul gas that you are smelling. The odor is the least of your worries as bacteria can cause several diseases. Use antimicrobial sprays to disinfect the area.

3. Dry P-trap

A P-trap is the part of plumbing systems with a distinct curve designed to hold some of the water that flows through the pipes. You should be able to see one under your bathroom and kitchen sinks. There is also one under your toilet bowl. The trapped water serves as a barrier that prevents sewer gasses from rising up and fouling up your house.

If the P-trap is dry, then your drain might smell like rotten eggs because of the hydrogen sulfide in the sewer gas. One way to check is to shine a flashlight down the drain to confirm the dryness. You could try to pour water and see if this dissipates in a few hours. This kind of problem requires the expertise of seasoned plumbers.


4. Blocked Vents

When water enters the P-trap, it displaces air which needs to escape somewhere else. This is what the vents are for. They allow air to get out instead of being pushed further into the pipes and sucking the water with it. A properly working vent will help avoid P-trap dryness. Vents are connected to a vent stack which could suffer from clogs.

Common causes include fallen debris and nesting birds. Check the mouth of this vent to see what’s causing the problem. You can remove it right away if it’s within easy reach. If it’s further down, then you might want to consult a plumber for advanced solutions.

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5. Leaky Shower Pipes

water leak

Sometimes the problem might come from leaky pipes behind the walls and under the floor. These are serious matters that require the immediate attention of professionals. The leaks will also allow sewer pipes to flow up into the house through the drains and crevices. These might be caused by loose fittings or corroded spots. Sometimes the use of harsh chemicals to remove clogs do more harm than good by causing damage to the pipes. The problem will only get worse if neglected. Unlike the other issues discussed, this one has no easy solution. The worst cases might call a plumber for a pipe replacement.

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Final Words

Shower drains are not supposed to smell bad. If they do, then something is definitely wrong and you should investigate the problem. Look for clues using the steps outlined above. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber for help if you encounter an unfamiliar situation.

Call Robinson Plumbing For Expert Plumbing Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer a variety of plumbing services ranging from garbage disposal repairs and replacements, plumbing fixture upgrades, water leak repairs, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best option for your budget and home.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Additionally, our experienced plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work is backed with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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