A smelly shower drain can stop you from enjoying a relaxing bath after a tiring day.
Everyone expects a clean and pleasant smell when they step inside the shower. The shampoo you apply has a pleasant fragrance, and the bar soap smells nice.
So, why that awful odour if these go down the drain?
In hindsight, these materials build up inside the drain, and the bacteria feed off the debris in pipes, creating a smell. However, there are other drain issues that most homeowners fail to identify.
We will walk you through some of the reasons why your drains smell, ways to fix them and maintenance tips that will help you deal with them in the future. Now, without any further ado, let’s dig in!
Reasons For Shower Drain Smells
1. Grease And Soap
Remove your drain cover, and you might find soap and gunk stuck. While bathing, hair, hair oil and sweat wash down the drain, mix with your shampoo or soap and harden once they cool down.
These greasy substances act as the glue that holds them together to form blockages, and the odour intensifies with time. Not only that, but they may also prevent water flow, leading to stubborn blocks that can cause flooding and even damage the property.
2. Bacteria And Mould
Drains with excessive moisture content become a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria feed on everything that gets washed down the drain and melt them, resulting in foul odours.
Additionally, the P-trap and S-trap-designed drains may promote the growth of bacteria. While these drains don’t allow sewer gases to rise and spread into the bathroom, they also facilitate the growth of bacteria and mould. They tend to hold water in their curves, which can create an ideal bacterial and mould growth environment.
Likewise, shower drains can become home to these stubborn bacteria if not cleaned and maintained properly. When water accumulates even for a week, bacteria may develop as a biofilm.
Hair follicles are one of the most significant reasons for clogs, drain blockages and the spread of foul odours. A few strands of hair easily slide into the drain through pipes and cling to the sticky surfaces formed by shampoo, oil and soap residue. As more hair sticks, the debris gives off a foul odour that can become unbearable.
However, such a clog can spread throughout the bathroom plumbing system and can be difficult to remove without professional assistance.
4. Leaky Pipes
A pipe leak usually results from perforations in pipes or loose fittings that aren’t installed correctly, spreading the wastewater and the resulting smell. If you have leaky pipes, they might allow sewer gas to escape into your home. The foul sewer smell can indicate a costly plumbing problem. It’s impossible to detect these leaks from the walls, and there’s no better option than calling upon a professional who will perform a sewer inspection and fix the leaks.
Ways To Deal With Shower Drain Smells
1. Using Baking Soda And Vinegar
If there’s a deposition of soap and grease in your shower drain, one of the best DIY cleaning hacks is to break it down with baking soda and vinegar. Add 2 cups of vinegar and 3 cups of baking soda to lukewarm water and stir thoroughly.
Pour the mixture down the pipe and leave it undisturbed for at least a day. This will help the solution dissolve any blockages resulting from oil or grease. However, don’t add too much water, as it will not allow the mixture to work correctly. If you use a commercial drain cleaner, be careful; this might even harm your pipes.
2. Use A Drain Snake
Get a drain snake with a 5/16 or ¼-inch cable from your nearby hardware stores. These drain snakes are flexible enough to get deep into the drain. If you can’t find any, make one by straightening out a wire coat hanger and creating a hook at the end. Then, insert the drain snake into the drain until you feel the clog and lift it out.
But exerting too much force can damage the pipe, so call a professional if you aren’t confident about your DIY skills.
3. Boiling Water
Pour boiling water down the shower drain regularly for at least a week to eliminate any foul odour. Doing this for at least a few weeks will remove all existing clogs and eradicate bad smells.
We wouldn’t recommend doing this if you have PVC pipes, as boiling water can produce cracks in the pipe.
4. Cleaning The Biofilm In The Shower
Make sure to clean off any visible biofilm on your shower tiles using a brush. Then, pour a disinfectant to get rid of it further. In case of biofilm deposition in the shower drain, mix the disinfectant with hot water and pour it inside the drain. This will dissolve the biofilm within a few minutes. Do this for at least a week to avoid it coming back.
4. Fix Leaky Pipes
There are some tasks that a homeowner can’t do alone, and working with leaky S-trap and P-trap drains can be especially difficult. Plus, leaks in your bathroom can often be hidden and may have caused damage before you even knew about them. Hence, the job should be left to experienced plumbers.
These professionals use specialised tools to conduct a detailed inspection of your drain to detect any potential leaks in the sewer pipe and make repairs wherever necessary.
Dealing With A Smelly Shower Drain
There are numerous reasons why your shower drain stinks and it might take some investigation to determine its real culprit. But hopefully, our DIY fixes will come to your rescue.
And if you don’t have the right tools, don’t want to utilise drain cleaners, or don’t have the expertise for the job, contact a licensed and experienced plumber to deal with the problem. They can even tell you the type of pipe in your drain (metal, PVC, or cast iron). And depending on the pipe, you may be able to use or avoid specific methods for clearing your shower drain at home.
The Sydney plumbers at Fixed Today specialise in dealing with smelly drains and sewer odours and providing permanent solutions to your clogged drain and sewer line. So, get in touch to see how we can assist you!
That’s all we have for today. We’ll see you soon, so take care and goodbye!