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How To Get Rid Of That Stinky Smell In Your Shower Drain

Hello everyone – welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber”! This week, we’re going to talk about how to get rid of those annoying, stinky smells coming out of your shower drains.

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and looking for a few relaxing minutes in the shower, just to be slammed by what smells to be sewage as soon as you turn on that hot water. It starts off as a musty annoyance, but as the water continues to run, it quickly gets to the point you need to rush through the rest of your shower just to get out of there!

So, the good news is that smell you’re experiencing is likely not from actual sewage. The bad news is that it is more than likely bacteria that has built up on the underside of the shower drain as well as the pipe below it! Bacteria in the drain produces sulphide gas, which unfortunately doesn’t smell like roses. Let’s be honest, when we shower, we put that drain through the ringer - it gets all sorts of soap scum, dirt, makeup, etc. run through it, so it isn’t unlikely that it might need some TLC every once in a while!

First, let’s talk about what NOT to do. Please, under no circumstances, pour bleach or a Draino type drain cleaner down the drain. If you decide to do either of these things and not listen to me on this, make sure you definitely don’t use both! Side story – we once had a customer pour these both into a blocked shower drain, days apart, without realizing that the first chemical would still be sitting in the blocked drain. What resulted was an extremely noxious gas, an evacuated condo building, fire trucks, and one very lucky person (who’s drain was still blocked)! As I’ve mentioned before, these harsh chemicals will often do more harm than good when trying to deal with drain issues like blockages or smells. Not only can you unknowingly hurt yourself, you can also very likely corrode a hole through the pipes, causing another large issue!

OK so now that we’ve cleared that, here’s what you SHOULD do! First, we’re going to want to take the cover off of the shower drain. Usually, this can be done by removing the 2 or 3 Phillips (star) screws. If the cover is surrounded by grout, you may need to score around it first, then gently pry it up with a flat screw driver or another similar tool. Just be sure to give it a good scoring, as you don’t want to chip the grout! After removing the cover, thoroughly scrub the underside of the drain, the area surrounding the drain, as well as the inside of the drain itself – you may want gloves for this! Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed everything you can see (including the inside of the drain itself), feel free to use a diluted solution of water and regular old bathroom cleaner to give everything one more scrub. Finally, give it a good rinse with warm water.

In most cases, this should be all that’s needed to solve your problems! If for some reason it doesn’t, it may be time to try and snake the drain as there could be a buildup further down the line of hair, etc. Getting rid of that hair may be the final, necessary step!

That’s it for this week’s episode! I hope you all found it helpful and subsequently have shower drains that smell much nicer after this weekend! Thank you all for reading – we’ll see you next time!



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