A shower is your own personal sanctuary away from the stresses of life. So when your sanctuary is invaded by foul odours, it can put a damper on your whole day. Thankfully, a smelly shower drain is a problem that can be easily diagnosed at home.
If you’ve been dealing with unfortunate shower drain smells, there are steps you can take to figure out why. We’ll explore the common causes of stinky shower drains, how to identify them, and whether or not you need to call a professional to take care of each. Here are the three top reasons for a smelly shower drain:
- Dirt and Debris Accumulation in the Drain
- Dirty, Dry, or Broken P-Tap
- Leaky Pipe in Shower Plumbing
Possible Cause #1: Dirt and Debris Accumulation in the Drain
Showers naturally accumulate a lot of debris. Because you use them to get clean, all kinds of nasty things end up going down the drain.
Normally, this isn’t an issue. But if all that debris accumulates into a clog, then it can cause your shower to smell bad. This is often due to bacteria buildup within the clog itself, as the damp conditions of drains are perfect for bacteria and mould growth.
The good news is that shower drains are often easy to handle on your own, and even easier to diagnose. If your shower doesn’t drain properly during use, and the water tends to pool up around your feet and ankles, then a clog is almost certainly the culprit.
Once you’ve determined the bad smell is coming from a clog, all you have to do is clear it. This usually can be done on your own, and there are a variety of methods you can use.
Check out our article “How to Clear Shower Drain Clogs” for a detailed explanation of how to handle these common nuisances.
Possible Cause #2: Dirty, Dry, or Broken P-Trap
A P-trap is a U-shaped bend in your shower drain pipe that keeps sewer gases from flowing back into your shower. In some cases, your P-trap can end up dirty, which will result in a musty smell coming up from your shower drain.
If the smell is musty and doesn’t smell like sewage, then you likely just need to clean the P-trap. This is a job that you can do on your own. All you need is some baking soda and vinegar. Pour equal parts baking soda and vinegar down the drain and cover it (make sure to pour the baking soda first). This will cause a foaming reaction that will clear out any grime stuck in the P-trap.
In some cases, a P-trap can produce a foul odour if it is dry. Gases have no problem flowing around a U-shaped bend, but P-traps usually have some water in them, which forms a seal that the gas cannot bypass. If this is the case, all you need to do is run your shower or bath tap for a bit in order to refill the P-trap with water.
Finally, P-traps can break just like any other piece of plumbing. If you notice a smell of sewage in your shower, and running the water frequently fails to work, then you may be dealing with a broken P-trap. In this case, you should call a plumber to come and perform the necessary repairs.
Possible Cause #3: Leaky Pipe in Shower Plumbing
Finally, a leaky pipe can lead to bad smells from your shower drain. If you notice a sewage smell, the drain is not clogged, and the shower has been run several times in the recent past, you may have a leak.
If you suspect a leaky pipe is behind the unfortunate smells in your shower, then there’s little you can do on your own. We strongly recommend calling a plumber as quickly as possible. Leaky pipes can lead to structural damage and mould growth if left unaddressed, so time is of the essence.
Call on Mr. Rooter to Eliminate Shower Drain Smells
If you’ve got a leaky pipe, broken P-trap or otherwise can’t identify the cause of a foul smell coming from your shower drain, then it’s time to call a pro. At Mr. Rooter, our plumbing experts have years of experience dealing with all kinds of plumbing issues, so you can rest assured that we’ll take care of your shower drain problems.
Do you have a smelly shower drain that needs to be addressed ASAP? No need to worry. Click the button below to locate your local Mr. Rooter and get help with your plumbing needs.