One of the most annoying problems you could encounter is a smelly shower drain line.
Especially when you’ve reached home after a long day at work and are planning to have a warm, relaxing shower. But you are not alone, as smelly shower drains are a common problem in many households.
The problem can occur for several reasons and is generally accompanied by a blocked shower drain. In fact, the blockage generally occurs first and leads to a foul odour like rotten eggs you may be experiencing.
Thankfully, a few simple solutions can help remove the smell and clear up any blockage in the drain without needing professional plumber assistance. And in this guide, we’ll explain some of the best ways to deal with a smelly and dirty drain.
So, let’s find out how you can get rid of that shower drain smell!
Common Causes Of A Smelly Shower Drain
To be able to fix a smelly shower drain, it is important to understand what exactly is causing the problem, and the most common causes include:
Mould is a living organism whose active spores are responsible for the smelly drains. Mould growth inside a drain can result in a musty smell emanating from it, which can be dangerous if inhaled. If the growth is restricted to a small area, it can easily be removed using mould cleaners.
You can also use chlorine bleach and hot water, which kills the mould instantly.
Another possible cause of a musty smell similar to mildew emanating from your drain may be biofilm build-up. Biofilm is slime made up of bacterial waste that can build up on the shower tiles and within the shower drain. Like mould, biofilm poses health risks since it can spread disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and others.
Fortunately, cleaning biofilm is easy as you can simply use a scraping tool or brush to wipe it away. After scraping the shower drain pipes with the brush and removing most of the biofilm, spray the area with a disinfectant. Then leave it for a few hours allowing the smell to fade away.
3. Clogged Drain
A drain clog can be another cause of smelly shower drain lines and can generally be detected easily. Clogged drains will drain very slowly or may not drain due to soap scum, hair, and other small items trapped inside.
To unclog your shower drain, use a hand auger to remove the materials trapped inside and causing the blockage. However, be careful when using the hand auger as it can damage the piping and drainage when used incorrectly.
A shower drain that has a sulphuric smell may indicate a dry P-Trap. The purpose of a P-Trap is to allow small amounts of water into the pipes, which prevents the unpleasant smelling sewer gases from entering your home. When this pipe becomes dry, there is nothing to stop this foul sewer gas from wafting upward.
The most effective way to deal with this problem is to pour two cups of water down the drain and wait for about an hour. After an hour, check whether the water is visible inside the drain. If it is, the problem has been solved. Otherwise, the pipes may have cracked and will need to be replaced.
5. Other Issues
There may be other issues causing the foul smell from your drains, such as problems with the lines connecting to the septic tank or sewer. Such issues cannot be fixed using DIY methods and require professional assistance.
Fixing A Smelly Shower Drain
1. Using A Toilet Plunger
In most cases, cleaning the drain from which the foul odour is emanating should solve the issue, and the easiest way to do it is to use a toilet plunger. To use it, first, fill the shower stall or tub with enough water so that it covers the rubber bell of the plunger.
Then, place the bell over the drain opening and start plunging, allowing the water to remove the clog. You may need to do this multiple times until the drain starts draining normally.
2. WIth A Drain Snake
A hand auger or drain snake can be effective in situations where the clogged material is not easily dislodged. To use it, remove the drain cover and insert the snake into the drain pipe until you feel some resistance, which indicates the clog. Start rotating the auger, so the debris breaks up or is caught by the tool.
Once the resistance is removed, slowly take out the drain snake from the drain and get rid of the clogged material. Then, turn on the shower at full force, which will help clear away any remaining particles. Finally, use hot water and an all-purpose cleaner to clean the drain cover before replacing it.
3. Using A Drain Cleaner
You can use chemical drain cleaners to remove clogs that may be the source of the unpleasant smell in your shower. These alkaline-based cleaners usually contain sodium hydroxide and use heat to dissolve the clog. Most cleaners only need to be poured down the clogged drain, but it is always best to read the instructions first.
Also, take proper precautions such as wearing eye protection and gloves and, after using, provide adequate time for the cleaner to work. Avoid using commercial cleaners, but you may opt for enzyme-based ones that are environment-friendly and do not damage the piping. You can pour boiling water at the end to ensure the debris is cleared.
4. With Baking Soda And Vinegar
Vinegar and baking soda can dissolve soap scum in which bacteria grow, thereby removing any foul smells from the drain. For this technique, boil about four cups of water and carefully pour it down the shower drain. Use warm water instead of boiling if you have PVC pipes to prevent damage.
Follow this by pouring one cup of baking soda and a similar amount of distilled white vinegar and letting the mixture lie for about ten minutes. Finally, pour some more hot water to clean the drain.
Preventing Drain Clogs
Drain clogs are the most common cause of a smelly drain, and preventing clogs will help you avoid having to deal with the problem altogether. Hair is among the most common causes of drain clogs and can be removed using a drain catcher.
Stinky Shower Drain - Solved!
The above methods can effectively remove foul smells in your shower drain and are easy to use. However, prevention is always better than cure, and keeping your drain clean can help prevent such problems from developing in the first place.
Regular cleaning keeps the drainage system in good condition and prevents other plumbing problems, such as slow drainage or low water pressure. Maintain an odour-free shower by cleaning the drain at least once a month.
If you are still experiencing issues with drain odours after trying these methods, speak to our Perth plumbers. Woolf Plumbing & Gas offers an extensive range of plumbing system services, guaranteeing that we can provide you with an efficient and effective solution. So, call us today!