Why a Shower Drain Has a Sewage Smell

When you step into the shower after a long day at work, the last thing you expect is a strong sewage smell coming from the drain. The shower looks clean and you can’t see a reason for the foul odor. 

There are a few potential causes of a sewage smell coming from the drain and most can be easily addressed on your own.

  1. Drain Clogs

The shower drain can start to smell putrid if there’s a clog. Dirt, oils, hair, soap scum, and cleaning products can accumulate in the drain and act as a barrier, preventing water from flowing through. Over time, the clog will get bigger and start giving off a strong odor. 

Use a plumber’s drain snake to grab the clog and pull it out. Or, use an auger to break up the clog. You could also pour boiling water into the drain to try and melt any oils in the clog.

Consider installing a drain strainer to catch hair and debris and keep them from washing down the drain. But be sure to regularly clean the strainer, as well.

  1. Dry or Dirty P-Trap

The P-trap is a U-shaped section of pipe that dips below the rest of the shower drain line to trap a small amount of water that helps prevent sewage gasses from coming up the drain. Dirt, hair, oils, grime, and soap scum can get trapped in this pipe and cause a foul odor. Another cause of a dirty P-trap is a clog in the ventilation line. A broken or clogged vent can create a vacuum that pulls water out of the P-trap, leaving it dry and allowing odors to escape.

Use a baking soda and vinegar solution to clear the drain. If you have a dry P-trap, call Tucker Hill for professional plumbing service.

  1. Biofilm Build-Up

Biofilm is made from a colony of bacteria and bacterial waste. It looks like slime, muck, or grime and can be a pink or orange color. Biofilm can spread into the shower and cause unpleasant odors. 

To address the problem, use a brush and antimicrobial disinfectant to remove the biofilm. To remove biofilm from a drain, consider using a paint roller cover. Coat it with a cleaning solution, insert it into the drain, and rotate the cover to break up the biofilm. Repeat a few times until there are no more signs of biofilm.