Smelly Shower Drain – Common Causes And How To Fix It

Nothing can be more irritating than a stinking bathroom. Imagine meeting with that awful smell every time you enter the bathroom to take a relaxing shower! It is downright embarrassing, especially when guests seek your permission to use the washroom. However, the good thing about smelly shower drain is that they can easily be fixed.

Do you have a stinking shower drain, and you’re wondering why does my shower drain smell? Then you’re in the right post. After reading the last syllable of this article, you’ll be able to know the cause of your stinky shower drain and also fix it like a pro.

Ways To Fix A Stinking Shower Drain

What Causes a Smelly Shower Drain?

If your shower drain smells, then you will first need to identify the cause of the smell before you think of fixing it. The common causes of a bad smelling shower drain include;

01. Clogged Drain

Clogged Drain

As the stopper or filter in your shower catches hair, scum, and any other assortment of junk, it starts to produce a foul odor after a while. So, before you think of calling a plumber, check first for the waste gathered in the filter.

What you need to do is to unscrew the filter and clean it with an old toothbrush and hot water. This way, you may do away with the smell. You may also need to replace the filter or stopper.

02. Mold Growth

Shower Drain Smelling Due To Mold Growth

Mildew and mould thrive well in dark and damp places. Therefore, your bathroom would be the ideal place for them. The worst thing about them is that they have a terrible smell that never dissipates.

Mold is a difficult problem to solve in the home. However, some home remedies can kill it. How can you locate it? Well, when you feel the smell, check around your bathroom. It can be growing in your shower between the tub and the drain cover.

03. Dry P-Trap

Does your shower drain smells like sewage? Then you’ve got a dry P-trap- it is the primary cause of a smelly shower. Wondering what a P-trap is? Well, check under your shower drain. What do you see? A U-shaped pipe? Good, that’s the P-trap.

Dry P Traps Can Lead To Sewer Smell In House

Its primary purpose is to hold a small amount of water that traps any sewage gases from going back into your bathroom through the pipe.

If the P-trap is dry, the sewage smell will pass through the sewer pipe to your bathroom. A dry P-trap is caused by failure to use the bathroom for a long time or leakage of the P-trap.

04. Leaky Pipes

Shower Drain Smelling Due To Leaky Pipes In House

If you can smell a sulphuric sewage-like smell coming from the shower, then you’ve got leaky pipes. They are the common cause of a smelly shower. When pipes leak, they allow gases to waft up and escape through your plumbing.

Now let’s jump right in how to clean smelly shower drain.

How To Fix Smelly Shower Drain Like A Pro?

Should you call a professional plumber to fix your smelly shower drain? No, sometimes it’s good to do it yourself. What you only need is the right tools and materials, and you’re ready to go.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to stop a shower drain from smelling:

01. Use Boiling Water

Fix Smelly Shower Drain With Boiling Water In House

Boiling water is used to unclog clogged drains. If you feel a musty smell from shower drain and you suspect clogs to be the cause, the use of boiling water can go a long way. You need to pour the boiling water down your sink and shower the drain. Doing so would break down the soap and grease that may have clogged the pipe.

However, this method may fail if the shower drain’s blockage is severe. So you’ll have to incorporate other methods of unclogging drains, like using a plunger.

02. Use A Plunger

Getting Rid Of Foul Smell With Use A Plunger

The best option for getting rid of the foul smell in the bathroom is to use a plunger to clear the shower drain. However, it would depend on where the shower drain is clogged, the nature of the pipe blockage and the design of the shower drain.

If the clog contains a lot of hair and is deep, the plunger might not be effective. In this case, you’d need to add some petroleum jelly to the edge of the plunger pad to get a better seal.

After you’ve placed the plunger on the drain cover, fill the shower with water to submerge the plunger’s end. Then, plunge it in to the drain vigorously. Did it work? If not, try baking soda and vinegar

03. Use of Baking Soda And Vinegar

Clean Stinky Drain With Vinegar And Baking Soda

Baking soda and vinegar have a lot of great household uses. They clear a clogged drain and deodorize and disinfect the pipe. Here is what you’d need to clean your smelly shower drain using baking soda and vinegar:

  • Boiling water
  • 1 cup of baking soda and,
  • 1 cup of vinegar


  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • Then, pour the white vinegar into the shower drain and wait for few hours to check if the solution has dissolved the clog.
  • Next, pour some boiling water into the drain to clean up the drain. The baking soda will deodorize the drain, while the white vinegar eliminates the mildew and dissolves the build-up.

If you’d also wish to clean your sink drain in the kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom, the above recipe would come in handy.

04. Pull The Clog Out By Hand

Pull The Clog Out By Hand

If the clog consists of matted hair, the only way you can get rid of it is to take off the drain trap and pull out the clog by hand. Although this method is messy, it has a good chance of success. As you’ll be handling some questionable materials, you’ll have to wear rubber gloves. Below is how you do it;

  • Remove the drain cover using a screwdriver. There is a wax ring-Be careful not to lose it.
  • After removing the drain trap, use a flashlight to locate the clog inside the pipe.
  • If the clog is close, pull it out with your fingers.
  • However, if you can’t trace the clog, try chemicals.

05. Use of Chemicals

Unclogging Drains With Chemicals

Try commercial drain cleaners if all the above methods have failed to remove the smell coming from the shower drain. You can get them from hardware stores or supermarkets and carefully follow the usage direction of the product.

Although commercial drain cleaners do a tremendous job in unclogging drains, you must be cautious not to overuse them as prolonged use of these products can lead to pipe damage. And that’s why they’ve come last on the list. Let them come as the last choice.

Now that you know how to get rid of smelly drains in bathroom, the ball is in your court. Roll up your sleeves and get rid of that awful smell in your bathroom. Good luck, buddy!

Are you still facing challenges to remove the smell coming from your shower drain? If yes, ask any questions in the comment box below.

Additionally, the following suggestions will also aid in eliminating odours from your toilet and bathroom –

9 Smart Tips to Eliminate Bathroom & Toilet Smells From Your House!

Author Bio

Jennifer Kiminza – Jennifer Kiminza is a content writer and content marketing professional at Hub Spot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Jennifer worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Nairobi University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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