What's That Smell? How to Fix Unpleasant Bathroom Odours

30 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog


When it comes the the nicest smelling rooms in your home, your bathroom is unlikely to win first prize. While there have been some significant advances in the masking abilities of air fresheners, your bathroom often plays host to a bad smell or two. Many of these unpleasant odours are just the result of standard use, and the smell generally doesn't linger. But what about when there's a bad or even just an unfamiliar smell that hangs around? Is it harmless, or is it a sign of major problems lurking in your pipes? The answer depends entirely on the smell, and in some instances you can easily fix the situation yourself. There are some odours, however, when you really need to call in a plumber.

Something Rotten in the Bathroom

As your shower drains, you might notice an unpleasant rotten smell that lingers when the water has subsided. This is usually a case of slime that has built up in the pipes, and while the water can still drain without any issues, there's a rather ghastly smell that wafts back into the room. Chemical drain cleaner will take care of the smell, but because this can be harsh on your pipes, it's best to use it sparingly. Since you don't need to clear an actual blockage, you can get rid of the smell with a couple of household items. Slowly pour a generous amount of white vinegar into the drain (around 500ml), and follow this with a litre of boiled water from an electric kettle. Your bathroom will smell like salad dressing for an hour or so, but this smell will soon disappear, along with the unpleasant rotten smell.

Down with Damp!

Mildew is not exactly a delightful experience for your nostrils, and if your bathroom constantly smells of mildew, you will need to do something about it. It's hardly a surprise that bathrooms are damp, but the room can become damaged if the room remains damp for extended periods of time. Doors can become warped, and other wooden fixtures can eventually begin to degrade. This is something that occurs over the course of years, but it can be expensive to remedy, so it's best to head off any problems with damp or mildew before they can take hold. A new ventilation fan would be ideal, but of course, that can be expensive. If your budget doesn't allow for this type of improvement, don't worry, because there's a budget approach. Go to your local hardware store and buy a few moisture traps. These are small plastic tubs that soak up excess moisture from the air, greatly reducing the level of damp in the room. You'll need to replace these tubs periodically, as per the manufacturers instructions.

Sewerage Solutions

If your toilet flushes and yet the smell of what has been flushed tends to hang around, you might have a problem with your sewer line. The unpleasant smell might not even be centred around the toilet, and might in fact be noticeable from the drains of your shower and kitchen sink. There might also be water backing up into these drains - the water is trying to leave as you flush your toilet, but a clog is forcing it back up through the drains into less than ideal places. A blocked sewer line can be a major problem, and in a worst case scenario, human waste can come back up into the toilet and overflow. It can be a disaster if left unchecked, but a plumber can use a device known as a plumbers snake to clear the blockage, returning your toilet and other bathroom drains to perfect working order.

Some smells are more of an annoyance than a big problem, but it's best to recognise the causes of these unpleasant bathroom odours, and to fix the problem as soon as possible. For more information, contact D & K Egan Plumbing.