Why Does My Shower Drain Smell?

Have you started to notice unpleasant odors in your shower? There’s a decent chance it’s the drain that the smell is coming from, and it could be one of several causes behind it. This article (and our whole plumbing blog, really) will explore these causes and explain how you can deal with those issues! 

No Water in the P-Trap

The drains in your home all have p-traps, named for their distinctive shape. These bits of piping serve a critical function for your drains. They prevent gases from the sewer from entering your home.

The p-trap achieves this by maintaining a constant water barrier that doesn’t allow for the free flow of gasses in either direction. The water rests in the distinctive curve of the p-trap. You should be able to see this water by looking down your shower drain with a flashlight.

When the water is missing either due to extended disuse of the drain or some sort of leak, sewer gases get into your home, and you’ll definitely notice the smell. If the smell persists after you’ve tried running some water and letting it sit for a while, you’ll probably need a plumbing repair to replace a damaged p-trap.

P-traps can also be affected by your shower vents. Without proper venting, the water in the p-trap can get sucked out into the drain line just like water in a straw. The venting prevents this pressure buildup and allows the water to rest. You should call Sharp Plumbing & Heating for professional plumbing repair here in Framingham, MA, if you believe your drain vents aren’t working right.

Built-Up Gunk in the Strainer

Your shower has some sort of stopper or strainer above the drain, often a simple grate. Lots of debris can get snagged on these fixtures, often without you noticing it. Of course, the old hair and other dirt that sit there for weeks are going to give off an unpleasant smell.

There’s a good chance you’ll be able to handle this without calling in plumbers near me for assistance. Most shower strainers are easy to remove, though not all. You’ll be able to clean out the hair and gunk caught underneath relatively quickly, although it will be quite unpleasant.

Whatever you do, don’t use harsh drain cleaning chemicals to try to fix this problem. These aren’t always very effective, especially where they’ll simply flow past the accumulated debris if it isn’t a total clog. They can then cause severe damage and wear to your pipes.

Mold Growth in Your Drain

Mold thrives on two basic requirements, moisture and darkness. Your shower drain has both of these in spades, and mold could grow anywhere it has somewhere to take hold. Mold won’t grow on the shear walls of pipes that constantly have water flushed over them, but it can take hold elsewhere.

Improperly fitted or damaged pipes, connectors, or other fixtures give mold a place to grow without being washed away. That is most common if there’s any space between the tub and drain cover, the perfect spot for mold. Realigning fixtures are a simple plumbing repair that can reduce mold growth and prevent leaks.

Mildew can be another source of gross smells in your shower and can grow on most surfaces. You can handle it quite easily by spraying your shower down with a common, off-the-shelf cleaning solution made for that purpose.

Dealing with a Shower That Smells

So if your shower smells, what can you do about it? For the most part, the only simple solutions are spraying down your shower for mold and ensuring that a lack of use hasn’t let the water from your p-traps evaporate. For any other issues, you’re going to need some help from a professional plumber.

Sharp Plumbing & Heating is the top choice for any plumbing repairs in Framingham, MA. Our team of licensed plumbers can handle any problems with your shower or any other plumbing fixtures. Today, you can reach out to us for friendly service and a reliable quote on any repairs or service you need.

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