The last thing you need when you jump in the shower is to be overcome by the smell coming from the shower drain. When you have a stinky shower drain, it is most likely caused by a buildup of biofilm in the drain pipe or not enough water in the p-trap, allowing the shower drain smells to rise back up through the pipes.
The biofilm is a collection of bacteria, body oils, soap residue, shampoo, and water that lead to the shower drain smell. This biofilm builds up in the vertical pipes directly below the drain or in the u-shaped p-trap that is meant to hold water. If your shower drain smells like sewer, cleaning the drain and pipes with homemade or commercial drain cleaner frequently can remove the sewer smell.
Smells in your shower drain can also be created by odor-causing bacteria that like to feed on the debris in your pipes. Some of the anaerobic bacteria reside in the p-trap and produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which generates the stinky sewage odor. The p-trap in your drain is designed to hold a small amount of water, meant to block sewer gases from making their way back up into the drain.
How to Eliminate Smells in the Shower Drain
You know it’s time to clean out the shower drain when your bathroom starts to smell like something died. The buildup of grease from soap and rotting hair can quickly clog your drain. When your shower water smells like rotten eggs, you don’t have to call a costly plumber.
Use Boiling Water
Pouring boiling water down your shower and sink drain breaks down the grease and soap that hold the clog together. However, if the clogged shower drain has a severe blockage with a lot of matted hair, this method may not work on its own.
However, even with excessive buildup and matted hair, pouring boiling water down the drain can help to partially clear the block and will fully work when used with one of the other shower drain unclogger methods.
Use a Plunger
To get rid of nasty smells in the bathroom, cleaning a shower drain is one of the first options to address. Depending on the nature of the pipe blockage and where the drain is clogged, as well as how your shower drain is designed, a plunger can unclog a stinky shower drain.
However, if the clog is deep and contains a lot of hair, you might not be able to get enough suction for the plunging to be effective. For a more successful plunge, try adding some petroleum jelly to the edge of the plunger pad so you can get a better seal.
After placing the plunger over the drain cover, fill the shower with enough hot water to submerge the end of the plunger. Then vigorously plunge to unclog the drain. If this method doesn’t seem to do the job, try the next option.
Try Baking Soda and Vinegar
There are so many outstanding household uses for vinegar that it is no wonder it can be used to clean and disinfect a clogged shower drain. Not only will this baking soda and vinegar drain cleaner clear a clogged drain, but it will disinfect and deodorize the pipe as well.
As a matter of fact, you can use baking soda and vinegar as the best way to clean bathroom tiles, the grout, the floors, countertops, and virtually everything in the bathroom. Take care of toilet odor on both the interior and exterior of the commode.
This powerful combo is great for deodorizing and removes stains of all types quickly and easily throughout every area of your home. Be sure to keep some on hand for whenever a smell or stain arises that you aren’t sure how to handle.
You will not want to clean shower glass, though, with this mixture, as the baking soda creates a film of its own. However, vinegar, hot water and a tablespoon of baking soda work well to remove hard water stains and soap scum from shower glass doors.
Use this natural cleaning method to clean and purify the bathroom sink and the kitchen sink, plus it’s a natural solution that won’t damage your pipes. Learn how to clean showerhead with vinegar, too, by putting the vinegar in a bag and attaching it to the fixture. It’ll be clean in no time!
Pour the baking soda into the drain and let it sit for several minutes. Next, pour the white vinegar into the drain. Wait for several hours to see if the solution dissolves the clog.
Clean the drain by pouring boiling water into it. The white vinegar will dissolve the buildup and eliminate mildew, while the baking soda deodorizes the drain. Not only can you use this recipe for your shower drain, but it is one way to clean a sink drain, too, whether it’s in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.
For an all-over bathroom cleaning spray, spritz a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to remove stains and brighten this much-used area of the home. This mixture is also quite effective to eliminate a nasty sewer smell in basement. Spritz it on the floors before mopping or use it as a wall cleaner.
Although you may not necessarily think of cleaning your washing machine since it does all the cleaning itself, there may be times when you are accosted by unpleasant washing machine smells. Running a cycle with hot water, vinegar, and baking soda should eliminate the problem and get rid of mold or mildew that may accumulate in the drum or gaskets.
Pull the Clog Out by Hand
If you have a clog that consists of a lot of matted hair, the only way you might be able to get hair out of the drain is by taking off the drain trap and pulling the clog out by hand. This method of drain cleaning has a good chance of success, but you’ll need to wear rubber gloves because you’ll be touching some questionable materials.
Remove the drain cover and be careful not to lose the wax ring underneath it. You may need to use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the drain cover in place.
When you’ve removed the drain trap, look inside the pipe with a flashlight to locate the clog. If the clog is close, you can reach into the pipe and pull the clog out with your fingers.
If you can’t see the clog, you’ll have to try another method. This is an excellent way for getting rid of clogs that are made of small objects or hair but won’t be sufficient for clogs of mineral buildup.
Make a DIY Hook
If you aren’t able to reach the smelly clog by hand, you can improvise and make a hook to try and fish the clog out of the drain. Use a wire coat hanger or another piece of wire, make a hook at the end and feed it through the drain until you reach the clog in the pipe.
Pull the wire out, and hopefully; you’ll bring a clump of hair and other items out of the drain with it. Since you’ve likely made quite a mess, it is also a good time to clean the bathtub.
If none of the homemade solutions above work to unclog the drain and eliminate the smell coming from the shower drain, you may have to resort to using a commercial drain cleaner or chlorine bleach. Most supermarkets and hardware stores sell effective chemical cleaners that are specifically designed to unblock clogged drains.
Follow the directions on the product carefully. You must be cautious when using chemical drain cleaners because prolonged use can eventually damage your pipes.
Clear Your Plumbing Vents
If you have a strong smell of sulfur or sewer gas in the shower, especially after using the washing machine or flushing a toilet, it could be an indication that your plumbing vents might be blocked. If your plumbing pipes are blocked, it causes suction from the flowing water through the pipe that can empty the p-trap.
You can usually eliminate the problem by clearing debris from the roof vent. During the winter, the roof vent can become blocked with ice. To remove the ice, head into your attic and point a hairdryer at the vent where it meets the roof to melt the ice blockage.
Call a Plumber
If the methods above don’t work and you still have water that smells like a rotten egg, you may need to call a plumber. They can check the sewer line and inspect the p-trap to ensure that it is working correctly.
While this method can be reasonably expensive, it will also guarantee you won’t have to put up with the shower drain smells any longer. When your shower drain stinks, you don’t have to live with the gross smell.
These quick ways to get rid of shower drain smells can have you enjoying your bathroom again. Once you’ve removed the offending culprit, make sure you regularly clean your drain and take the necessary preventive measures to avoid the clogs that produce the smells in the future.
We hope you learned a little about how to get rid of shower drain smells. If you liked the tips on getting rid of shower drain smells, please share these bathroom cleaning tips on Facebook and Pinterest.