• Geoff Burke

Why Does My Perfectly Clean Toilet Smell So Bad!?


Welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber”!

This week, we’re going to cover one of the plumbing mysteries many of you have and can’t figure out; “Why does my perfectly clean toilet smell so bad!?”. There are a number of things that may be causing this, so let’s dive in!

You all know what I’m talking about – you walk into the bathroom and are hit with a wall of smell. If you don’t keep the door closed it can even emanate into the hallway and other rooms! Definitely not the first thing you want to wake up to in the morning.

Here’s the good news: usually, a stinky, smelly toilet it an easy fix. Of course, there will always be outliers where something larger could be at play, but most of the time it is something easy to take care of! Let’s go through the reasons for that stinky toilet:

1. Loose Bolts or a Broken Flange Over time, toilet bolts will tend to loosen off, resulting in a wobbly toilet. You all know what I mean – you go to sit down and feel like you’re going to fall off! Not only can this create water leaks, but it can also cause sewer gas to be emitted from the base of the toilet. Sometimes, these loose bolts can be a symptom of a bigger issue: a broken flange. Since we now use plastic piping for our drains, bolts can sometimes put extra stress on the toilet flange and pull right through. If this is the case, there are steps we can take to fix that flange without breaking tile, the ceiling below, etc. so not to worry!

If you notice your toilet moving around too much, try tightening the bolts slightly to secure the toilet to the flange. Just be careful, tightening the bolts too much will result in you breaking the base of your toilet and potentially a big flood!

2. Gasket Failure In between the toilet and the flange will be a gasket made of wax or rubber. Over time, these tend to fail and result in either water leakage to the ceiling below the toilet or a stinky bathroom. To correct this, you will need to take the toilet off and reinstall it with a new gasket. Be sure to have the correct size gasket to create a proper seal between your toilet and the flange, or you may make matters worse!

3. Bacterial Growth Under the Toilet Many times, the source of the smell isn’t from the drain or toilet itself, but what lies beneath. Sometimes when removing a toilet to investigate odours, there is a major bacterial buildup on the floor beneath the toilet. This is usually caused by urine (and a young boy is often the culprit!). The good news is that this is a quick and easy wipe down after removing the toilet.

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