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Home » This Is Why Your Shower Drain Smells Bad (4 Reasons)

This Is Why Your Shower Drain Smells Bad (4 Reasons)

  • Zak 
shower drain smells bad

Any area that is used predominantly to clean things is susceptible to bad odors. Whether it’s from the residue of products or pathogens caused by blockages, it can permeate with a nasty smell that is impossible to ignore. This begs the question, “Why does my shower drain smell bad?”

There are a few reasons why a shower drain smells bad, and they are as follows:

  1. Clogged drain.
  2. Mold or mildew outbreak.
  3. Residual dirt and grime.
  4. Gas from sewer lines is escaping through the drain.

Unless you do something about these issues, the bad smell coming from your shower drain won’t resolve on its own. In certain instances, the growth of mold or mildew can be detrimental to your health. So, for those reasons, you have to get the shower drain cleaned immediately.

Before we discuss the solutions, let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons why your shower drain smells bad so that you can take the appropriate steps to remedy this issue once and for all.

Why Does My Shower Drain Smell Bad?

why your shower drain smells bad, clogged shower drain

An obstruction in the drain

When speaking of obstructions, we are mostly referring to blockages that are caused by dirt, debris, hair, oils, and shower products that accumulate in the drain.

As the clog worsens, so does the odor that escapes the drain. There’s not enough space for new waste to pass through, and the combination of different organic waste materials creates that nasty smell.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to identify a clog early on.

It takes a significant amount of time for clogs to become noticeable, and by then, the first sign of them is a nasty smell.

Sometimes, random products like caps or lids may end up falling into the drain pipe and getting stuck. The obstruction itself may not be breaking down and creating a foul odor, but certain wastes like soap and hair may be accumulating around the obstruction. Eventually, it will undergo the same decomposition process that causes a bad smell.

Mold or mildew outbreak

It is a well-known fact that mold thrives in dark and moist places. It also feeds off debris and dirt in these areas as well.

Unfortunately, all three of these requirements are met for a shower drain. Often, debris and waste collect around the inner walls of the drain pipe, along with moisture. If certain types of bad odor-inducing bacteria or mold populate the drain, it will create a nasty smell that is hard to ignore.

This is one of the reasons certain products exist on the market to clean drains. They enter the drain along with hot water and run through it, breaking down stubborn debris and waste.

After being flushed out, you should be able to maintain an odorless drain for some time before you need to repeat this process.

Gas from sewer lines escaping through the drain

After doing some research on sewer lines, this is what I’ve found. The bad odor that comes from sewer lines is actually a byproduct of hydrogen sulfide and other gases that are formed when organic materials or waste break down.

In fact, it is also said that sewer gas is predominantly methane, which isn’t the worst-smelling thing, but when methane mixes with other forms of gas like hydrogen sulfide, it results in a nasty smell that is described as rotten eggs.

Ordinarily, these gases shouldn’t rise up the shower drain until you can smell them, but when there’s a clog in the drain line, a leak, or a dirty P-trap, the gas cannot escape anywhere other than your shower drain.

How To Unclog A Shower Drain

1. Use A Plunger

A simple and cost-effective solution to clogged drains is to use a plunger. They have been designed to dislodge a clog within reason.

Normally, it is advisable that the plunger be submerged in water because that will create a seal around the drain. But, that may not be possible in a shower. Either way, try this before you proceed with a different remedy.

It might create enough suction and pressure to break up some of the material that has caused a clog in the shower drain.

Thereafter, run some boiling hot water through the drain, and hopefully it will displace the debris and unclog the drain.

2. Use A Cleaning Mixture

In some cases, using a cleaning mixture of baking soda and vinegar may help to loosen and break down the clog in your drain.

For this solution, you need to mix an equal amount of baking soda and vinegar. Pour it into the drain and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Thereafter, pour boiling hot water straight down the drain.

Repeat this last step a few times, and then observe whether the smell has diminished.

Try running the shower for a few minutes afterwards as well. If you’re lucky, it may just break down the blockage enough for the hot water to flush it away.

If this mixture doesn’t do the trick, you can purchase a specially formulated drain unblocker that breaks down clogs and disinfects the drain to remove bad smells at the same time.

3. Use A Drain Snake

In the event that the clog or blockage is so deep in the drain that a plunger doesn’t work, you could try a drain snake or a plumber’s snake.

This is a long and flexible tool that is inserted into the drain.

You should twist the drain snake as it’s inserted into the drain and continue to do so until you find the blockage. At the sight of the clog or blockage, twist, push, and pull the drain snake until it breaks open the clog or blockage.

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of this article on the reasons why your shower drain smells bad.

More often than not, bad smells are caused by a blockage that ends up being a breeding site for mold and bacteria.

To prevent this from happening, it’s advisable to install a drain cap that catches hair and other debris before it even passes through the drain hole.

But, if a blockage has occurred, try the solutions mentioned above to remove the clog and restore the natural flow of water. This should eliminate most or all of the bad smells coming from the shower drain.

If all else fails, contact a plumber and have them address the issue thoroughly for you.

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