Keeping Your Shower Fresh: How to Get Rid of Sewer Smells

The pungent stink of sewage rising from the shower drain makes most people wrinkle their noses and urge them to find a remedy as quickly as possible. After all, it’s difficult to feel clean, even immediately after washing, if the location where you fly emits a nasty odor of garbage and sewage. If your shower drain emits a foul odor, it might be caused by many factors. The good news is that once you’ve identified the source, a stinky shower is usually a simple issue to remedy.

A blockage in the drain line, a dry or unclean P-trap, mold or biofilm build-up, and leaky drain lines in the walls, ceiling, or beneath the floor are all typical reasons for a sewage stench coming up from the shower drain.

Drain Clogs

A blockage is one of the most common shower issues that might result in sour aromas from the drain. Dirt, filth, oils, hair, and other debris may get stuck in the drain line and serve as a barrier, preventing comparable materials from being rinsed away. Because the construction of a clog takes time, you may not detect a stench when the clog initially begins to form. Still, trapped hair, mineral deposits, and soap scum may emit disagreeable aromas after a few days or weeks.

A drain filter, which may trap a lot of the hair and debris that would otherwise wash down the drain, is advised to help avoid blockages. However, it is essential to empty and clean the drain filter regularly. If hair, grime, oils, and debris are left in the filter, they begin to degrade and emit the same lousy odor as a drain blockage.

Solution: Unclog and Clean the Shower Drain

If you believe that the foul odor in your shower drain is caused by a blockage, there are numerous techniques you may attempt to unclog the drain. The first approach is to physically remove or dislodge the backup from the shower drain using a plumber’s drain snake. If you want to draw the clog out, use a drain snake with a hooked end that can hold onto hair and debris, but if you’re going to break up the blockage, use a drain snake with an auger mechanism that can bite into and through the obstruction using rotating force.

Alternatively, you may pour boiling water down the drain to attempt to dissolve any oils causing the blockage. Chemical drain cleaners may achieve the same benefits, but they can also cause damage to the drain line. If you must use chemical drain cleaners, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dry or Dirty P-Trap

A shower drain’s P-trap is positioned under the shower. This plumbing is a U-shaped segment of pipe that sits underneath the remainder of the shower drain line. This form is used to retain a tiny quantity of water in the drain line, preventing gases from the sewer line from escaping up via the shower drain. Dirt, filth, hair, oils, and other material may accumulate in this pipe, causing a foul odor from the trough.

A filthy P-trap isn’t the only issue that might cause a sewage stench from the shower drain. The P-trap might be dry, suggesting a blockage in the ventilation line. Plumbing vents draw air into the plumbing system, which aids in the movement of waste and wastewater through the pipes and out of the property. If the duct is damaged, blocked, or otherwise hindered, a vacuum may form, drawing the water out of the P-trap and leaving it dry. Odors from the drain line might escape via the shower drain when the P-trap is dry.

Solution: Clean and Sanitize the P-Trap

To eliminate musty smells, a filthy P-trap is simple to clean and sterilize. To remove any filth and grime sticking to the interior of the P-trap, you may use chemical cleaners, but if you are worried about putting harsh chemicals in your plumbing lines, you may want to try an alternate option.

Pour approximately 0.5 cup baking soda down the drain, followed by roughly 0.5 cup distilled vinegar. The chemical reaction can occur inside the drain by covering it with a stopper. This should eliminate any odor-causing germs and any filth or debris accumulated within the drain line.

A dry P-trap usually results from a damaged, blocked, or obstructed vent line. This condition is generally beyond the capabilities of most do-it-yourselfers, so it’s best to call a professional plumber for assistance.

Biofilm Build-Up

Biofilm is a material that resembles mold but differs in that it is created by a dynamic colony of bacteria and bacterial waste. It looks like muck, filth, or slime and comes in various hues, the most frequent of which are pink or orange. This slime may accumulate within the drain and even seep into the shower, causing musty, unpleasant odors.

Biofilm has a slimy texture and a glue-like texture that adheres to surfaces. Outdoors, you may notice biofilm on river rocks or birdbaths. Because of the variety of biofilm kinds, determining precisely what you’re dealing with in your shower drain might be tricky, but the main thing is to get rid of the biofilm as soon as possible.

Solution: Scrub and Disinfect to Remove Biofilm

Biofilm may emit an unpleasant stench, making you reconsider entering the shower. To remove biofilm, first, scrape the afflicted region with a brush or a similar instrument to break up the coating. Wipe away the biofilm layers as thoroughly as possible with a simple meeting, then spray the affected area with an antibacterial disinfectant.

Cleaning biofilm from a drain is more complex than cleaning it from shower tiles. Consider using a paint roller cover instead of a brush. The paint roller cover’s long, thin design enables it to fit into the drain line. Coat the roller cover with an antibacterial cleaning solution before inserting it into the drain and rotating it to break up the biofilm. Take out the roller cover regularly, clean it in a hot, soapy water bucket, and then put it back into the drain until you can take the roller out without any traces of remaining biofilm.

Leaking Pipes

A leaky drain line is a significant problem that may cause sewage odors to radiate from the drain or even through the walls and into the bathroom. To escape the house, the waste and wastewater from the shower must run down and into the main drain. If the drain line leaks, the wastewater will most likely seep into the surrounding area, soaking the insulation and the interior of the walls and flooring.

If this scenario is not resolved quickly, the leaking wastewater will cause unpleasant smells and damage the drywall, insulation, framing, and any other materials it touches. Thus it is critical to handle this issue as soon as possible. After the leak is repaired, the stench may continue until the afflicted insulation and infrastructure are replaced.

Solution: Repair Leaking Pipes

A cracked or leaky drain pipe is one of the most troublesome underlying causes of foul smells in the bathroom. Leaks usually occur around a junction or connection; however, identifying the leak is tricky because your drain lines are typically hidden within the walls and floor. This implies you may need to open up the bathroom’s walls or floor to reach the damaged piece of the drain line.

Because leaky wastewater may cause water damage, rot, and widespread mold development, you must also fix any concerns with the surrounding insulation, drywall, tiling, and other infrastructure. Due to the complexities of this work, it is advised that you engage a professional plumber to find the leak, repair the plumbing line, and prescribe the following steps. You may just need to worry about pipe and wall repair, but if the water damage is substantial, you may need to reconstruct the whole bathroom to entirely cure the problem. Consult a plumber or a water damage repair specialist.

When to Call a Professional

Sometimes the issue is beyond your own expertise and competence. Therefore, realizing your limits and bringing in a professional plumber when required is essential. For example, suppose the sewage odor is caused by leaking drain pipes that run behind the walls, through the ceiling, or under the floor. In that case, it can be difficult for the average DIYer to locate the source of the leak, open up the walls, repair the leak, and deal with any mitigating damage that remains.

Similarly, a blocked vent pipe might cause a dry or filthy P-trap. These vent lines often extend up to the roof, so if you aren’t comfortable working on the top or aren’t sure how to locate the vent line once you’re up there, it’s best to hire a professional. Experienced plumbers have the expertise and skills to rapidly identify the cause of the stench and provide a viable remedy.

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