Drains

Why Does My Shower Drain Smell?

Overhead view of a stainless-steel shower drain with a handheld showerhead lying beside it.

A shower is meant to make you feel clean, not surround you with dirty odors! If you’re often wondering why your shower drain stinks, don’t worry. We have some helpful tips to rid your bathroom of this odor.

Find out what causes a smelly shower drain, how to get rid of the stink, and how to prevent it from happening again.

What Causes a Shower Drain to Smell?

A bad smell from a shower drain could indicate several issues, such as:

  • A clog. Most often, a smelly shower drain is caused by dirt, grime, hair, soap scum, and other debris that has traveled down your drain. Over time, that debris can get trapped, preventing water from moving freely down your drain. The odor from this buildup can then travel back up through the drain and into your bathroom.
  • A dirty P-trap. Located directly below your shower are a drain line and P-trap. Like your sink P-trap, your shower P-trap is formed in a U-shape. This shape allows it to capture a small amount of water in the drain line to then prevent gases from escaping the sewer line. If that P-trap is clogged with dirt, debris, hair, etc., those odors can easily travel back up through your drain.
  • A dry P-trap. This could be caused by two things: 1. A ventilation line clog or 2. Infrequent use. If your ventilation line is clogged or broken, then it can create a vacuum that pulls water out of the P-trap. Or, if you have a shower that isn’t used frequently, then that P-trap may dry out. Without water in the trap, sewer gases can easily escape.
  • Biofilm buildup. Biofilm is common in bathroom drains because it grows from bacteria. And because the bacteria waste forms a slimy, sticky texture, it can easily build up inside your drains and collect even more debris and bacteria.
  • Bacteria or mold. Both bacteria and mold can grow from the various materials that get trapped in your drain, like hair, dirt, and soap scum.
  • Leaky drainpipe. If the drain line connecting to your shower is damaged, the wastewater isn’t fully traveling out of your home, and therefore leaking beneath your shower or nearby. This can cause odors and quickly lead to water damage in your home.

Related Content: Are Stinky Sewer Smells Wafting Out of Your Drains?

How to Fix a Smelly Shower Drain in 5 Steps

Follow these five steps for how to get rid of shower drain smells:

1. Identify the smell

Knowing the difference between odor types can help you determine whether the issue can be resolved by a quick cleaning or requires more serious attention.

If your shower drain smells musty, it’s likely a buildup of mold. Although you should still be careful when dealing with any type of mold, you can usually resolve this issue with a solution of hot water and bleach. Start by pouring one-half cup bleach and two cups hot water down the drain, then let it sit for a half hour to an hour and rinse again with hot water.

On the other hand, a sewer smell from a shower drain is more serious and could indicate a leak in your sewer line. For a sewage smell, contact your local plumbing professional for drain services.

2. Use a safe cleaner

To get rid of dirt, soap scum, and other bacteria buildup, avoid using a commercial drain cleaner. These products can do more harm than good to your pipes and even your health due to their harsh chemical makeup. Instead, try out these all-natural drain and bathroom cleaners.

Additionally, we recommend you remove the drain cover every month or so and scrub the inside of it and the drain with these homemade cleaners and a toothbrush. This will help get rid of any grime that requires a little more grunt work than just pouring a solution down.

3. Remove clogs

If natural cleaners don’t get rid of the odor fully, you can try removing potential hair clogs using a plumbing snake or wire hook.

Related Content: How to Get Hair Out of Your Drains

4. Schedule drain cleaning

Though these cleaning methods will likely remove the smell initially, it may still return if the clog or buildup is deeper in your drains. That’s where professional drain cleaning comes in handy! The licensed plumbers at your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing use advanced tools and methods to fully and safely clean your drain.

5. Schedule repair

When these methods aren’t working, there’s probably a larger issue brewing inside your pipes or sewer line. Contact your local Benjamin Franklin plumber for an inspection and drain services.

How to Prevent a Smelly Shower Drain

Some of the best ways to prevent smelly shower drains include:

  • Regularly cleaning your drain
  • Installing a drain strainer
  • Always using an exhaust fan
  • Scheduling annual drain cleaning maintenance
  • Scheduling annual plumbing inspections

Related Content: 4 Ways to Clean Your Showerhead

Rid Your Shower Drain of Smell with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Don’t let foul drain odors ruin your shower experience. Get to the root of the problem with drain cleaning services from the licensed professionals at the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing near you.

Our experts use safe cleaners and methods and will address potential repairs or clogs. Call us today at 1-877-BEN-1776 or book an appointment online.

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