Those moments when you just can’t put a finger on the smell lingering in your bathroom. It can range from mildly unpleasant to feeling like a whole sewer exploded in your bathroom. Whatever the intensity level it might be at, it is an unwelcome guest in the room that is also used to clear the mind for some.

Furiously spraying a can of air freshener doesn’t make that foul smell go away. Neither does opening all the windows in your bathroom. The sewer fumes seeping from your shower drain can’t be tamed by lightweight fragrances. It will actually make the air in your bathroom heavier and you’ll end up even worse off.

Since that’s an unpleasant thing that we don’t wish to happen, we’ll go for the alternative. Which is to learn what’s causing that horrific smell so that you can understand how to avoid and fix it.

In this article, we will share with you exactly that. You’ll learn 5 common things that make your shower drain stink which are easy to remember. So next time the same problem comes back again, it will be a no brainer.

5 Reasons Your Shower Drain Smells Like Roadkill

1. Clogged Plumbing Vent

A plumbing vent is an equipment that regulates air pressure in your waste system. The purpose of a plumbing vent is to remove gases and odours from your waste system and prevent them from invading your home. A plumbing vent helps water to flow smoothly due to the fresh air that is allowed into the plumbing system.

To locate a plumbing vent in your home, go outside your building and search for any vertical pipe poking through your roof.

When a plumbing vent is clogged it can cause a foul smell to crawl back into your building through your shower drain. A clog prevents gases and sewer smell to escape through the pipe so it can get carried away by wind currents. Instead, it traps the gut-wrenching smell which lingers back to your building.

A couple of things that can clog your plumbing vent are; birds’ nests, bird or rodent carcasses, leaves, small branches, trash, or other debris, Tennis balls or baseballs along with other items that could get lodged into it on the day-to-day activities.

How do you know your plumbing vent is clogged?
– If your shower drains stink,
– If you hear unusual gurgling sounds when water flows down the shower drain,
– If water takes a while to drain.

2. Debris Build-up

It’s refreshing to step under your shower and reward yourself with a refreshing hair and body wash. It’s hard to imagine that this little treat could eventually make your bathroom reek. Just like sinks, shower drains endure frequent disposal of soap, skin particles and other organic waste along with hair, lots and lots of hair. Even if your hair easily flows down the shower drain, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s completely disappeared into the waste system due to its tangly nature that makes it susceptible to trapping itself and create a build-up base for other particles to clog on.

Hair gets stuck along the drainpipes and collects more debris that gets washed down the shower drain. This leads up to an accumulation in your shower drain that makes you scrunch your nose every time you open your bathroom door as it decays and emits that unbearable smell.

A debris build-up in your shower drain is an accumulation of hair, dead skin, mould, soap scum and dirt. It compacts itself and forms a clog in your shower drain that not only prevents water from flowing smoothly but also causes foul smell to come out of the shower drain. An accumulation gunk that’s coated along the shower drain walls after a while, it begins to decay. As a result, fumes rise and come out of the shower drains making your bathroom smell like the actual sewer.

Shower drains are like kitchen drains in a sense that, material that is hard to dissolve will block the drain as it clumps and sticks together making it a breeding ground for odour producing bacteria.

To make your shower drain clog-free, keep all the indissoluble material away from it. This will also save you the trouble of unclogging it and touching gooey hair and other junk that caused the clog.

3. Dry P-Trap

There are many parts that go into a plumbing system in your house. One of the popular ones is called a P-trap. A P-trap is a curved pipe installed under your shower. And just like the plumbing vent, the purpose of a P-Trap is to keep sewer fumes and small sewer-dwellers like insects from creeping inside your house. P-traps are made with a little dip that keeps a small amount of water which holds sewer gases. When sewer gases and odours are held in the dip, they are prevented from wandering inside your house.

How is the rotten smell from the shower drain related to a P-trap?
As mentioned before, P-Traps hold a tiny amount of water. If the P-trap is dried out, no water is contained in the dip, and this paves a way for the sewer fumes to freely float from the sewer system and into your bathroom through your shower drain.

So, what dries out P-traps then?
A P-trap dries out when it goes a long time without use. This is why most toilets stink after home owners have been away for a long holiday for instance. When the water seal is broken, it can also dry out P-Traps.
If a P-trap leaks, it can also lose its ability to function and it will easily cause your shower drain to stink. Leaky P-traps are caused by wear and tear and they can also contribute to letting the sewer gases inside your bathroom.

4. Leaky Pipes.

Water on your bathroom floor is channelled to the sewer system by pipes installed under your shower drain. Strong as they are, these pipes are not immune to damage. They can get worn out and leak and when they do, sewer odours crawl back inside your house through your shower drain. Clogged drains typically cause plumbing leaks in pipes connected to sinks, tubs, and garbage disposals. Clogs cause water to back up in the drainpipe of these plumbing fixtures. The stagnant water in the pipe causes leaks through the caulking and seals.

Another common cause for leaky pipes can be Corrosion.
Corrosion often causes pipes to clog, which makes it harder for water to travel through. In such cases, the pressure from inside could cause damage to your pipes. This damage then allows water to leak out. Clogged drains put pressure on pipes, and they may burst if you don’t fix the issue as soon as you learn about it.

5. Biofilm Build-up

Something that’s common in most bathrooms is the slime on certain corners of the bathroom that always get wet. While it can seem as though the slime is just the remnants of your everyday products, that’s not necessarily the case. The slime is called Biofilm. Biofilm is a thin layer of bacteria and fungi that’s grown and multiplied on a surface. Bacteria that float in the air land on wet surfaces and multiply when there’s a source of food. When it grows it appears as a thin jelly-like stain with red, pink, grey, brown or black colour.

Your shower drain could be coated with biofilm that’s producing an unpleasant smell. When hair and other particles gets stuck in your shower drain it provides a breeding ground for bacteria. As it rots, it creates a conducive environment that attracts more bacteria and fungi. Having a hair catcher to place on your shower drain will prevent any hair from getting inside your drain and creating a base for biofilm. Another preventative measure is pouring disinfectant solutions on your shower drain on a regular basis to discourage biofilm build up.

Those are the 5 common reasons why your shower drains smell terrible.
1) A clogged plumbing vent,
2) A debris build-up,
3) Dry P-traps
4) Leaky pipes and
5) Biofilm build-up.

Regular drain cleaning, flushing and avoiding indissoluble materials from getting sucked in your shower drain can prevent your bathroom from falling victim to this scenario. Although these causes are common and can be fixed easily – there are some things that could make your shower drain smell like the sewer that aren’t easily recognizable. Things such as a poorly installed drain pipe can’t be identified easily until the plumbing system is disassembled and it takes a high level of plumbing expertise to do this.

If you try to disassemble your plumbing system without guidance, you might run the risk of losing small parts that hold certain fixtures together. You might also run the risk of damaging the pipes rather than fixing them. It is also risky climbing the roof to identify what is clogging your plumbing vent or diagnosing the sewage system without proper equipment and safety precautions knowledge.

We offer plenty of plumbing services in the UK which includes eliminating the rotting sewer smells that are creeping in your bathroom through your shower drain. We can fix all your shower drain problems and you can let us know all about it through our Emergency Plumbing Services hotline which is dedicated to serving you 24/7. Contact us anytime to book your emergency plumbing fix.