House bathroom

How to Fix a Foul Smelling Toilet

If you have problems with your toilet, they are always tricky to handle, and this is especially true if you have bad odors to deal with. Aside from regular cleaning, you may notice that the toilet smells bad when you flush it. The problem may not be inside the toilet itself, but it may be related to how the toilet is fixed to your floor. Every toilet should have a wax ring that runs along the base to prevent foul air from escaping. When the wax seal is compromised, the foul odors are noticeable, and this is exacerbated if you have a clogged main vent. Let’s take a closer look at how the process is supposed to work and how to fix this problem.

What Happens When the Toilet is Flushed?

When you flush water into the drain, it has to push the air in the pipe aside. When you have vents and a wax seal that are working correctly, the air moves easily through the ipe and out via the vent. But, if only one or perhaps both components are not working, the air cannot escape the pipe. This causes the foul smelling air to emanate from the base of your toilet through the damaged wax ring.

How Can I Fix This Problem?

Replacing the wax ring will remove the odor, and you should contact your local certified plumber and ask them to inspect the vent. If you feel confident in your DIY skills, you can attempt to repair the wax seal yourself by following these five steps in order:

Step 1: Evaluate the Damage

Take a look at the toilet base to determine the condition of the wax seal. If you notice that the seal has broken, it may be possible to seal it with caulk or a silicone sealant. This may provide a pretty good temporary fix, but to make a lasting repair, it will be necessary to disconnect the toilet, empty the water and fix the problem.

Step 2: Emptying the Toilet

A lasting repair begins with emptying the toilet water to make the work easier. Turn off the toilet water supply and flush the unit to remove the water in the tank. Repeat this process until the tank is empty, and then use an old towel to remove any remaining water. At this point, you can use a toilet plunger to ensure that there is no water left in the pipes.

Step 3: Remove the Toilet

Keep a bucket handy for any remaining water; remove the supply hose and the mounting bolts at the base. Don’t apply too much force because you could damage the anchor flange. Then set the toilet aside somewhere safe and keep it parallel with the floor to prevent drain sloshing on the floor.

Step 4: Remove the Old Wax Ring

Put on some gloves, remove the old wax ring and clean the area with mineral spirits. Plug up the drain when working with an old towel to prevent parts from falling in the pipe and sewer gas.

Step 5: Attach the New Wax Ring

Attach the new wax ring, press it down firmly, but don’t press too hard, or you could change the shape. Then replace your toilet, bolt it in place and reconnect the water. Finally, check that everything is working with a few flushes, and the odor should have disappeared.

If you’re not confident working on plumbing systems, contact your local certified plumber today.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.