Smelly Shower? FAQs About This Odd Odor

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Does your shower smell? You clean the tub, tile floor, and walls regularly. But every time the scented spray dries, the odor returns — and you’re left wondering why your bathroom smells more than just off. If your shower smells, take a look at what you need to know about your home’s plumbing system and the possible culprits behind the odd odor.

Can You Find the Source of the Smell?

You may need to play detective and sniff out the source of the problem. Even though it may seem like the shower is at fault for the offending odor, it’s also possible the sink, toilet, or another area of the bathroom is the cause. If the entire room smells, it’s unlikely that you could pinpoint the source by yourself. But if the scent is significantly stronger when you stand over the shower’s drain, you may have found the plumbing problem.

What Should You Do If You Can’t Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

You could cover the scent with air fresheners, but this won’t fix the problem and could result in additional plumbing problems or damage. If you can’t sniff out the source of the odor, contact a qualified plumber to inspect and assess the issue. A plumber has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to locate the cause, diagnose a potential problem, and repair your shower or its plumbing system if needed.

What Should You Do If You Can Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

The answer to this question is also to contact a qualified plumber. Your detective skills paid off and your sniffing revealed a pungent smell coming from the shower’s drain. What should you do next? While it’s tempting to clean or clear the drain area yourself, this type of DIY approach can cause more problems or fail to fix the real issue at fault. Even though you believe that you’ve found the source of the problem, you need a professional to diagnose the issue and clean or repair the drain or other part of your shower.

Why Does Your Shower Smell?

Now that you know more about the first step to take (finding the source of the smell), you may want to learn more about the possible problems that could cause an odd or offensive odor. While some shower smells come from mold, mildew, or other surface-level debris issues, others start deep inside of the drain.

Common reasons behind a shower odor (other than mildew, mold, or failure to clean the surface) include biofilm inside of the drain or pipes, other types of buildup inside of the drain or pipes, clogs, a problem with the p-trap, leaky pipes, or sewer line clogs or cracks. Only a qualified plumber should diagnose and repair any of these potential problems.

Are There Other Signs To Look For?

The plumber will need to know if you’ve noticed other issues that go beyond the odd odor. Many of the causes behind shower odors such as clogs and debris-coated pipes also come with other noticeable symptoms. If the odor is the result of a drain clog, you may also notice that your shower is slow to drain or there is constantly standing water in the tub. The same is true for debris-coated pipes. However, if a leak or cracked pipe is the issue, you are likely to see water on the floor, or the ceiling below the shower, or have an abnormally high water bill.

What Should You Do If Your Shower Smells Like A Sewer?

While many shower smells come from directly under the tub or stall floor, it’s possible the odor has worked its way up from the main sewer line or is the result of a serious leak. At higher levels, sewer gas may pose a risk to your health. The hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide compounds could cause throat and respiratory system irritation, headaches, fatigue, organ failure, or other serious health issues. This makes it essential to find the cause of the sewer gas and repair the problem as soon as possible.

Clogs in your home’s main drain, dry or malfunctioning p-traps, blocked vents, and cracked pipes can all result in the release of sewer gasses. A plumber can find the source of the problem and repair it fully. Without the proper fix, the backup could continue and sewer gas could make its way into your shower and bathroom again.

How Will the Plumber Stop the Odor?

There isn’t one answer to this question. The repair or remedy necessary depends on the specific problem. If the shower odor is the result of a clogged or debris-coated drain, the contractor may need to power-rod or power-jet the pipes. While this type of professional-level cleaning will stop a backup-related smell, it won’t fix a leak. Instead, the plumber will need to find the source of the leak and repair or replace the pipes.

Do you need to schedule a plumbing assessment or repair? Contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for more information.


Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.


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