A smelly bathroom can be unpleasant – making it difficult to enjoy the space or use it comfortably. Bad odours are often associated with uncleanliness, disease, and other unpleasant or negative connotations. Our sense of smell is closely linked to our emotions and memories.  Smells in a bathroom can also indicate the presence of harmful substances, such as mould or bacteria, which can pose a health risk. A clean, fresh-smelling bathroom is more pleasant and inviting, and helps to create a positive atmosphere. So let’s explore how to get rid of smelly drains in the bathroom but first let’s talk about some of the reasons why your bathroom drain might smell.

Why Do My Bathroom Drains Smell?

Here are 6 reasons why your bathroom might be causing foul, unpleasant odours..

1. Trapped Hair, Soap Particles and Grime

Bathroom drains commonly emit bad odours, because of hair, soap and bodily grime that accumulate in the drain and attract bacteria. This bacteria grows and produces septic gases like sulfur. This creates a smell in the water like rotten eggs.

2. Mould Growth  

If you smell a musty odour, it could be coming from a mould source.  Mould is naturally attracted to moisture, so it’s not uncommon to find them thriving in drains and releasing gas that smells.

3. Dry or Empty P-Trap  

The role of the P-Trap is to keep the sewer gases out of the home. Smells can occur when the water in the P-trap has evaporated due to lack of use, effectively removing the barrier between your bathroom and the gases in the sewer system. If that’s the case, the solution is as simple as running some water to allow the P-trap to fill up again.

4. Clogged Vent Pipes  

Aside from the p-trap, vent pipes are also used to prevent sewer gas from entering households. Vent pipes get rid of back-flowing sewer gases and push these up to the rooftop. If these vents are blocked with debris, it can lead to water pooling in the sink which may result in stagnant odours. Clogs will also force the sewer gases back down and up through your drains. A vent pipe that hasn’t been installed properly, is cracked or broken could also send gases into your home.

5. Blocked Drains

Blocked sewer and storm water drains are the most common cause of a smelly bathroom. Most often these blockages are caused by tree roots entering the sewer system. Tree roots prevent the free flow of water and create a build up of sewerage and debris behind them. These clogs then emit foul smells into your bathroom.

6. Sewer Line Damage   

If there is a break or block in the sewer line carrying wastewater away from your household out to Sydney Water’s main sewer, bad smells may occur.

6 Tips To Get Rid of Smelly Drains in your Home:

1. Pour boiling water down the drain to break up any clogs and freshen up the pipes.

Boiling water can dissolve grease and other organic matter that can cause blockages. The hot water can also help to kill any odour-causing bacteria and freshen up the pipes. The heat can also loosen any buildup of grime or soap scum inside the pipes, making it easier to wash away with hot water. This method is a simple, natural and cost-effective way to unclog and freshen up bathroom drains.

2. Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the drain, let it sit for 15 minutes and then flush with hot water.

Mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar and pouring it down the drain is a DIY method to get rid of odours because it creates a chemical reaction that can break down and remove buildup in the pipes. The vinegar acts as an acid to dissolve grease, soap scum, and other organic matter, while the baking soda acts as a base to neutralise odours. When the two are combined, they create a fizzing reaction that can help to clean and freshen the pipes. The solution is also effective at killing odour-causing bacteria. After letting it sit for 15 minutes, the mixture can be flushed away with hot water, leaving the pipes cleaner and fresher.

3. Use a commercial drain cleaner or bleach to kill odour-causing bacteria.

Commercial drain cleaners or bleach are used to kill odour-causing bacteria because they contain powerful chemicals that can effectively remove buildup and kill bacteria in the pipes. These chemicals can dissolve grease, soap scum, and other organic matter that can cause sewer blockages and contribute to bad odours. They can also sanitise the pipes and kill bacteria that may be causing the smell. However, it’s important to use caution when using these products as they can be harsh and cause damage to pipes or be harmful if ingested. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection. If used improperly, it may cause more harm than good.

4. Remove and clean the drain cover to remove any buildup of mould or mildew.

Removing and cleaning the drain cover is important to get rid of drain smells because the cover can trap buildup of mould, mildew, and other organic matter that can contribute to bad odours. Over time, the accumulation of these substances can cause clogs and blockages, leading to bad smells. Cleaning the cover regularly helps to prevent this buildup and maintain clean and fresh pipes. To clean the cover, remove it from the drain, wash it with soap and water, and use a scrub brush to remove any buildup. Then, replace the cover and run hot water down the drain to ensure it’s clean and functioning properly. Regular cleaning of the drain cover can help prevent bad odours and keep the pipes flowing smoothly.

5. Ensure proper ventilation in the bathroom, use exhaust fans and keep the room well-ventilated to reduce moisture buildup.

Ensuring proper ventilation in the bathroom and using exhaust fans is important to reduce moisture buildup and get rid of drain smells because excess moisture can contribute to the growth of mould and mildew. These substances can cause clogs and blockages in the pipes, leading to bad odours. Exhaust fans help to remove excess moisture and reduce the risk of mould and mildew growth. Keeping the bathroom well-ventilated also helps to reduce the risk of moisture buildup, which can lead to bad smells. By reducing moisture levels, you can keep the pipes clean and free of buildup that can cause odours. This can also help prevent clogs and improve the overall functioning of the plumbing system. Proper ventilation and use of exhaust fans can help keep the bathroom smelling fresh and clean.

6. Have a plumber inspect and clean the pipes to remove any clogs or buildup that may be causing the odour.

Having a licensed, drain plumber inspect and clean the pipes is important to get rid of drain smells because blockages or buildup inside the pipes can be a major source of bad smells. Over time, grease, soap scum, and other organic matter can accumulate inside the pipes, leading to clogs and blockages. A professional plumber will use specialised tools such as a high pressure water jet and techniques to clean the pipes and remove any buildup that may be causing the smell. They can also inspect the pipes for any damage or issues that may be contributing to the problem. Regular cleaning and maintenance by a drain plumber can help keep the pipes clean and free of buildup. This can also help prevent blocked drains and improve the overall functioning of the plumbing system and is a good way to keep your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.

Call a Drain Plumber to Fix Smelly Drains in Your Bathroom

If you do experience smells in your bathroom, it’s important to get the problem checked out by a licensed, drain plumber as soon as possible. It’s unlikely that bathroom smells are bad for your health but they can certainly impact the enjoyment of your home. Call us today for more information.