Two Easy Ways to Fix a Smelly Shower Drain

Are you tired of stepping into your shower and being greeted by an unpleasant odor? A smelly shower drain can quickly turn a refreshing experience into a stinky nightmare. But fear not, because we have two easy solutions to help banish those foul smells for good! In this blog post, we’ll explore the common causes of a smelly shower drain and provide simple tests to identify the problem. Plus, we’ll share some effective remedies that will have your bathroom smelling fresh in no time. So let’s dive right in (pun intended) and say goodbye to that pesky smell once and for all!

Causes of a Smelly Shower Drain

A smelly shower drain can be caused by several factors, and understanding these causes is the first step in solving the problem. One common culprit is mold growth. The warm and damp environment of your shower provides the perfect breeding ground for mold to thrive. Not only does it produce an unpleasant odor, but it can also pose health risks.

Another possible cause is a clogged drain. Over time, hair, soap residue, and other debris can accumulate in the pipes, resulting in a stagnant pool of water that emits foul odors. This buildup not only causes bad smells but also restricts proper drainage.

A dry P-trap could also be to blame for the stench coming from your shower drain. The P-trap is designed to hold some water in its curve to prevent sewer gases from entering your home. If this trap dries out due to infrequent use or evaporation, those nasty odors can make their way back into your bathroom.

Leaky pipes may contribute to a smelly shower drain situation. If you notice persistent odors even after trying other remedies, there might be hidden leaks causing sewage gases to escape into your bathroom.

Identifying and addressing these underlying causes will help eliminate any unpleasant smells emanating from your shower drain!

Mold Growth

Mold growth is a common cause of a smelly shower drain. This pesky fungus loves dark, damp environments – making your shower drain the perfect breeding ground. It thrives on moisture and organic materials, such as soap scum or hair that may accumulate in the pipes.

If you notice a musty odor emanating from your shower drain, chances are there’s mold lurking somewhere. To confirm this, take a closer look at the walls around the drain. Do you see any black or greenish patches? These are telltale signs of mold growth.

To get rid of the mold and eliminate the foul smell, it’s important to address both the symptoms and root causes. Start by cleaning your shower regularly with an anti-mold cleaner to remove any existing spores. Additionally, consider using natural remedies like vinegar or baking soda – they can help inhibit mold growth without harsh chemicals.

Clogged Drain

One of the common causes of a smelly shower drain is a clog. When debris such as hair, soap scum, and other substances build up in the pipes, it can lead to unpleasant odors emanating from your shower.

To determine if a clogged drain is causing the smell, you can perform a simple test. Pour some water down the drain and observe how quickly it drains. If it drains slowly or not at all, then there is likely a blockage that needs to be addressed.

There are several solutions for clearing a clogged drain. One option is to use a plunger specifically designed for drains. Place the plunger over the drain opening and vigorously plunge up and down to create suction that dislodges any blockages.

Another method involves using a mix of baking soda and vinegar. Start by pouring boiling water down the drain to help loosen any debris. Then sprinkle about half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar into the drain. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing with hot water.

Dry P-Trap

One common cause of a smelly shower drain is a dry P-trap. The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe located beneath your shower drain that holds water to create a seal and prevent odors from coming back up into your bathroom.

If you notice a foul smell coming from your shower drain, it’s possible that the water in the P-trap has evaporated or been drained out, leaving the trap empty. This can happen if you haven’t used your shower for an extended period of time or if there is an issue with the plumbing.

To fix this problem, simply pour some water down the drain to refill the P-trap. You can use plain tap water or add a small amount of bleach or vinegar to help eliminate any lingering odors. Make sure to run some water after pouring it down to ensure that the trap is properly sealed again.

Leaky Pipes

One of the potential causes of a smelly shower drain is leaky pipes. When pipes are damaged or have small cracks, water can seep out and cause an unpleasant odor to develop in your bathroom. This odor may be accentuated when water runs down the drain, as it can further expose the leak.

Leaky pipes can occur due to various reasons such as aging plumbing systems, corrosion, or improper pipe installation. Over time, these issues can lead to gaps or holes in the pipes that allow sewer gases to escape and create foul smells.

To determine if you have leaky pipes contributing to your smelly shower drain, you should inspect visible sections of your plumbing system for signs of leakage. Look for any wet spots on walls or ceilings near the bathroom area and listen for dripping sounds behind walls.

Simple Tests

There are a few simple tests you can perform to identify the cause of your smelly shower drain. These tests will help you narrow down the possible solutions and ensure that you’re tackling the root cause of the problem.

First, try running hot water down the drain for a few minutes. If the smell dissipates, it’s likely that there is a buildup of bacteria or organic matter in your pipes. This can be easily resolved by regularly cleaning your drains with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Another test you can do is to plug your shower drain and fill it with water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before checking if any foul odors are present. If there is no smell, then it’s possible that the issue lies with your P-trap drying out between showers. To fix this, simply pour some water into the drain after each use to keep the trap filled.

If neither of these tests helps identify the source of the odor, it may be worth calling in a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing system for any leaks or other problems.

Remember, these simple tests can provide valuable insights into what might be causing that unpleasant smell in your shower drain. By identifying and addressing the root cause, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a fresh-smelling bathroom once again!

Possible Solutions

Now that we’ve identified the potential causes of a smelly shower drain, let’s explore some possible solutions to get rid of that unpleasant odor.

1. Clean the Drain

The first step is to give your drain a thorough cleaning. Start by removing any visible debris or hair from the surface using a pair of gloves and tweezers. Next, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before flushing with hot water. This combination will help break down any buildup in the pipes that could be causing the smell.

2. Use a Drain Cleaner

If cleaning alone doesn’t solve the problem, you may want to try using a commercial drain cleaner specifically designed for eliminating odors. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and take necessary safety precautions when handling these products.

Remember, prevention is key! To keep your shower drain smelling fresh, consider using a mesh cover over your drain to catch hair and other debris before they can clog up your pipes. Additionally, avoid pouring grease or oil down your drains as they can contribute to unpleasant smells.

How to Keep Your Bathroom Clean

Keeping your bathroom clean is essential for maintaining a fresh and pleasant environment. Here are some simple tips to help you keep your bathroom sparkling.

First, make sure to wipe down surfaces regularly. Use a disinfectant spray or wipes to clean the sink, countertops, and toilet seat. This will help prevent the buildup of germs and bacteria.

Next, don’t forget about the shower curtain! Over time, it can accumulate soap scum and mildew. Give it a quick rinse with hot water after each use, or toss it in the washing machine every few weeks.

Another area that often gets overlooked is the grout between tiles. To keep it looking bright and clean, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray this solution onto the grout lines and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with an old toothbrush.


Having a smelly shower drain can be quite unpleasant, but thankfully there are simple solutions to fix this issue. By understanding the causes of a smelly shower drain and conducting some simple tests, you can identify the problem and take appropriate action.

One common cause of a smelly shower drain is mold growth. Regular cleaning with bleach or vinegar can help prevent mold from forming in your drains. Another possibility is a clogged drain, which can be resolved by using a plunger or a chemical drain cleaner.

A dry P-trap could also be the culprit behind that foul odor. Simply pour water down the drain to refill the trap and eliminate any stench. Leaky pipes may be causing an unpleasant smell in your bathroom. If you suspect this is the case, it’s best to call in a professional plumber for assistance.