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sewer smell in bathroom

Sewer Smell in the Bathroom? 6 Easy Fixes

If you’ve ever dealt with a recurring or persistent odor emanating from your bathroom, you may have asked the same question most of us have asked at some point: Why does my bathroom smell like sewage?

There can be several reasons for that sewer smell in bathroom spaces. While most of us immediately think our toilet smells like a sewer because of their function, it could just as well be any other fixture with an exit into your drainage system or several of them. That means that, in addition to your toilet, you’ll want to consider your shower and sink drains.

In most instances, you can take care of the problem yourself or do a toilet repair. If you try all of these and your bathroom still smells like sewage, try some simple remedies before turning to a plumber to investigate possible more serious causes.

How does the bathroom smell? If it has the odor of spoiled eggs, you may have bacteria in the water that has backed up from the drain system. A gassy sewer smell in bathroom spaces could mean there’s an issue with the p-trap on your sink, which could be affecting your toilet. A toilet that smells like urine might mean the wax ring sealing it around the floor drain is leaking. 

Let’s look at the solution for each of these issues, as well as some other simple solutions.

1.Your P-trap is empty

If your bathroom has a gassy smell, your sink drain may be the culprit. The p-trap beneath your sink is that little u-shaped section of the drainage pipe. This section holds a small amount of water and sometimes that water can evaporate. With no water in the trap to protect from sewage smells from rising back up, your bathroom can fill with the stench it usually prevents. To fix the problem, simply pour one quart of water down each of the drains in your bathroom to refill the traps. Alternately, pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup baking soda down the drain to eat away the bacteria, then flush it away. Pour these directly into the toilet, baking soda first, as they will bubble up when mixed. Let them work for about 20 minutes and then flush.

2.Your toilet bowl needs to be cleaned 

The simplest answer for a stinky bathroom may just be that the toilet requires cleaning. Even if it has been recently cleaned, let’s face it, sometimes it needs to be cleaned again due to use. You can create a natural solution for cleaning using ingredients you likely already have on hand, such as white vinegar or lemon use, or use one of your own, but your first step should be to clean your toilet inside and out, from top to bottom. 

3.Urine has collected around the base of your toilet

Use a paste made from baking soda and lemon juice to clean around the bottom of the toilet where the base meets the floor. Also, rub it around the seat and inside the rim. Let it sit for ten minutes and then use white vinegar in a spray bottle to spray on the areas where you smeared the paste. The three ingredients will foam for a few minutes. Once they seem to stop working their magic, wipe the remainder away with a wet cloth.

4.Your toilet bowl needs heavier deodorizing

Sometimes your bathroom may smell just because it’s a bathroom and that comes with the territory. Try some natural deodorizers to cure the problem. A few drops of essential oil in your toilet water can work wonders. Just let the oil sit for a few minutes and then flush. Cloves, cedar, and lavender contain both antifungal and microbial properties that may help with bacteria problems.

5.There is bacteria in the toilet water

Does your bathroom smell like spoiled eggs? That rotten egg smell is created by a gas called hydrogen sulfide. Bacteria that has formed in the drain and sewer lines is what gives off this foul odor. You’ll need to disinfect your pipes to get rid of it. You can use white vinegar or bleach to fix this problem. Simply pour about a half cup of one or the other into the toilet’s s-bend or drain and let it sit for an hour, then flush.

6.Your toilet drain may have a build-up not reached by general cleaning

If the bathroom smells like urine, it will only get stronger if left to accumulate. It will not only stink up your bathroom, but it will permeate into the rest of your home if not eliminated quickly. A simple homemade toilet drain cleaner may take care of the problem. Pour ½ cup lemon juice with ½ cup baking soda into the toilet, baking soda first. The two ingredients will bubble up and work their magic to clean any residue that might be creating the offensive odor in your bathroom. Let them sit for ten minutes and then flush. Not only will this help to rid your toilet of an unpleasant smell, but it can also help break up simple clogs that may be further down the drain and kill bacteria.

The key to eliminating the odor in your bathroom is to identify it and then treat the issue using one of the solutions above or with a preferred sink enzyme cleaner. This can often be a matter of just trying different things until one of them works.

 If you’ve gone through all of the practical solutions and there is still a sewer smell in bathroom areas, it’s time to call a plumber to address what may be a much more significant issue.

You may have a blockage further down into your drainage system that will need to be addressed by a professional, or your wax ring may need to be replaced. If either of these is the case, you won’t want to delay as they will only get worse with time. 

In some cases, you may want to have vents installed in our drainage system to correct your problems on a long-term basis. A plumber can discuss the best way to approach a solution to this and more unique issues with you.

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