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It’s disappointing when that the one place that can offer you some much needed private relaxation after (or sometimes before) a long day is also the place that causes you great discomfort. Yes, we’re talking about your bathroom. You’ve stacked your favourite products that leave a pleasant fragrance every time you take a shower so you know that horrible smell isn’t coming from those bottles. Fortunately, these are no stranger to our experienced plumbers.

A quick scan of your bathroom and you immediately realise that the one spot that can grant access to that foul smell is the shower drain. The moment it hits your nose, you know this can’t be good. The thing about sewer fumes is that, apart from being just generally unpleasant, they can cause some serious health issues as well that will have you taking a trip to the emergency room that you didn’t plan for. Sewer fumes can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system. Continuous inhalation of the gross sewer fumes can make you cough severely and make it difficult to breathe. On top of that, you can get a nasty headache, dizziness and nausea. So, you can see why it’s crucial that you solve this problem the moment you notice it.

In this article, you’ll learn how to get rid of that awful smell creeping inside your bathroom from your shower drain. You don’t need any complicated plumbing tools to do this. This simple DIY is for anyone wishing to solve the shower drain smelling problem as soon as possible and with the least bit of effort as a plumbing emergency, however, it is recommended to always call a plumber in cases of plumbing emergency for a more expert touch.

Easy Ways of Getting Rid of Horrible Smell Coming from Your Shower Drain

1. Unclog your shower drain

The clog in your shower drain could be the reason your bathroom smells like a sewer every time you swing the door open. This is because gunk consisting of organic matter accumulates in your shower drain and slowly decomposes over time. The gunk is usually a mix of hair, skin, bath products and soap.

Clogs in your shower drain can also cause the water from your showers to take forever to drain or it can completely block water from getting drained. Still shower water carries germs and exposure to those germs each time you take a shower can pose a health risk.

So, by dealing with this plumbing emergency either yourself using this guide or calling one of our qualified plumbers to help, you will be doing yourself a huge favour.

How To Unclog a Smelly Shower Drain

a) Use baking soda and white vinegar – a combination of a base and acid will break the clog down allowing it to dissolve and travel into your waste system. Once the clog is dissolved, your bathroom will be free of the horrible smell that was caused by the clog.

In this solution, the base is the baking soda and the acid is the white vinegar. These two ingredients have been proven and tested by many for solving minor household plumbing issues, including unclogging shower drains.

To unclog a shower, drain with baking soda and white vinegar, you’ll need: 
1. A pair of gloves.
2. 1 cup of baking soda.
3. 1 cup of white vinegar.

Step by step guide to unclog your shower drain with baking soda and white vinegar
Step 1: With your gloves on, pour one cup of baking soda on the shower drain,
Step 2: Let it sit for 10 minutes,
Step 3: Pour 1 Cup of White Vinegar directly on the shower drain.

The reaction between the two ingredients will create a chemical fizz. If it’s a minor clog then two tries will be enough. If it’s a stubborn clog then you might need to repeat the process a few times to completely break it down to get rid of the awful smell.

If the smell persists then you can try the second trick.

b) Using a drain Snake to unclog your shower drain

Has the thought of poking the clog in your shower drain ever come to mind? If it has, then there’s a tool specifically made for that task. It’s called a drain snake or some call it a plumber’s snake. It’s a long slender object that’s used to remove clogs stuck in pipes.

Sometimes the clog becomes too problematic to break down even with the baking soda and white vinegar mix. This is where your drain snake comes in for a more up-close and personal touch. A drain snake will move the clog around and break it apart enough to flow down the drain pipe and into the waste system effortlessly in manageable chunks, there is only so much our narrow drains can handle.

You can purchase a drain snake from any convenience or hardware stores near you. But if you don’t want to spend money, the good news is you actually can make one at home using a plastic straw.
This trick is easy but it’s also risky since your plastic straw could slip and fall inside your shower drain. Also, the plastic straw trick works well with shower drains clogs when the clog is very close to the surface.

How to turn a plastic straw into a drain snake

You’ll need a pair of scissors and a Plastic Straw.
Use a pair of scissors to cut the plastic straw diagonally from the tip to the tip. Leave half an inch of space between the cuts so that the plastic straw can still grip even when it’s cut.

How to unclog your shower drain with a plastic straw
Step 1:Wear hand gloves and insert the plastic straw inside the drain snake,
Step 2: Lower the drain snake until you feel it hit something solid,
Step 3: : Scrape the drain pipe and poke at the clog,
Step 4: Lift the plastic straw to reveal any debris that the straw caught and discard it with a tissue paper,
Step 5: Repeat this process until you feel that the clog has been removed.

2. Clean the biofilm build-up

If your shower drain is coated with biofilm then it could be the reason why there’s a disgusting smell lurking in your bathroom. Biofilm is slimy in nature with a pink, black or brown stain. Biofilm is caused by bacteria and fungi that’s grown and multiplied in one space.

Bacteria floating in the air settle on wet spaces that offer them a conducive settlement. The bathroom is an area that’s usually wet and that’s why they are commonly found in showers pans, underneath hand soap bottles, and inside shower drain pipes.

Hair and soap in your smelly shower drain often decays over time and offers food to the bacteria swimming inside the pipes. And this encourages biofilm to continue to build up. This also increases the power of the intensity of smells that float back into your bathroom.
Cleaning up the Biofilm build-up will help eliminate the smell your shower drain produces. And you can easily clean the biofilm build-up in your shower drain at home with things you already have.

a) Using bleach and water to clean biofilm build-up in your shower drain

Bleach contains an active ingredient called sodium hypochlorite which can kill bacteria and fungi that make up a biofilm. Take 1 part bleach and mix it with 1 part water then pour the mix down the drain.

3. Refill the P-trap

A p-trap is located inside your home’s plumbing system and it helps keep out the sewer gases and odours from floating back inside your house. It’s made with a water seal which holds the sewage and directs it through a plumbing vent and outside the building so that they can get carried away with wind currents.

If the P-traps in your plumbing system are dry then they can’t hold sewer gases and as a result, they’ll escape and run back to your bathroom through your shower drain

When bathrooms aren’t used for a while, P-traps dry out so if this is the reason, then you can easily fix it by running water in your shower drain for a couple of minutes and the P-trap will refill making the smell go away.

Additionally, if you’d like to get more handsy with unclogging your shower drain, then you can unscrew your shower drain and pick out the clog with your hand while wearing gloves. But this is usually a sticky business that most people avoid. So, it is recommended to call a plumber instead as this is a little more technical for someone without a plumbing background. Generally, shower drains with icky smells are caused by more complex plumbing issues that are difficult to DIY your way through when you have no plumbing expertise.

For instance, when your P-traps or drain pipes are leaking and they need to be exchanged or if your plumbing vent is clogged and to unclog it, you need to climb to the roof and use specific tools to identify what’s clogging your plumbing vent. Another issue could be a broken seal that held some pipes.

These problems require plumbing experts to fix them since they could be out of your range of skillset and they’re risky to try without prior knowledge of plumbing and safety measures while at it. And that’s why you can always count on us to fix your plumbing problems. We’re always a phone call away; 24-hour Emergency Plumbing Services. Contact us to get rid of that awful smell coming from your shower drain.

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