Is there a horrid stench in your bathroom? A sewage smell in the bathroom, or a kitchen or a laundry room for that matter, can indicate a serious issue — sometimes more serious than just backed-up plumbing. 

The distinctive smell of sewer gas wafting through your home may signify a toilet leak or a crack in one of the plumbing vent pipes, or your toilet may need servicing. If the odor is specifically emanating at a fixture drain, you probably have a clogged drain or blocked vents.

If ignored, the sewer odor can get so unpleasant that even air fresheners or ventilation won’t suffice. The smell could be coming from the sewer line itself, something that requires immediate action. If the cause of the sewer smell is a dried-out P-trap, the solution could be as simple as running some water from the faucet. If the problem is a broken or a burst pipe, you may need to call a professional plumber and solve this problem immediately.

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An unpleasant sewer smell in your bathroom or kitchen needs to be attended to as soon as possible. Finding the root cause of the sewer odor will help you eliminate the bad odor. This article will explore some of the most common causes of a sewage smell in the bathroom, and the best way to get rid of this foul odor. 

Is sewage smell dangerous?

sewer gas smell

Yes. Unfortunately, any awful odor from the drain pipes isn’t just bad for your nose, it can severely affect your health. It’s crucial that you identify the sewer gas smell. The fact is, sewer gas can make you sick. For example, gas fumes such as hydrogen sulfide are highly flammable and toxic. You can identify the gas by its rotten egg smell. Another gas that’s hazardous to your health is methane. It’s known to cause headaches and nausea. 

Symptoms of breathing in sewer gas

If there’s a foul sewage smell in the bathroom that refuses to go away, you might be breathing in poisonous gases. Some of the symptoms that you might experience includes:

  • Constant headaches
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent drowsiness or dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Suffocation

Reasons and remedies for sewage smell in bathroom

Once you find the source of the sewer odor, you can take steps to eradicate it. Below, we’ve listed the most likely causes for a lingering bad odor. And, the best ways to deal with the problem. So, let’s begin. 

Dried out water trap or unclean P-trap

A dried-out water trap — underneath your bathroom tub or floor drain — is one of the most common causes of sewer smells. It allows the sewer gas to travel through the drain and enter your bathroom. 

If your shower drain smells like a sewer, then this is a sign that your P-trap needs to be cleaned.

The solution: An easy fix to solve this problem is by throwing a pitcher full of water into the drain. This will allow the P-trap to properly fill up with water again and effectively block any sewer smells from perpetrating your home.

Adding a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil into the drain will prevent the water from evaporating as quickly. 

Read more: Bathroom remodel & renovation financing options

Missing cleanout plug

Make sure there is a plug inside your bathroom’s drain bowl. Look for a plug inside the floor drain by removing the grate of the opening. A missing plug will allow the sewer gas to bypass the water trap and enter your bathroom.

The solution: To fix this issue, purchase a replacement plug at a hardware store and install it.

Leaky wax ring seal

toilet sewage smell

The wax ring or caulk around your toilet bowl can leak over time due to a broken seal. The leak allows sewer gas to find its way into your bathroom from underneath the toilet. What’s more, water, urine, and other waste products find their way through the crevices — causing bacterial growth and foul odor. 

The solution: To replace the wax ring, you’ll have to temporarily remove the toilet. Apply a line of caulk around the toilet. It’s a good idea to use plastic shims between the bathroom floor and the stool to prevent the toilet from rocking. This will also prevent you from damaging the new wax ring.

Read more: Is it possible to relocate a toilet?

Broken or cracked sewer line

A broken or cracked sewer line — even a loose connection joint — can lead to sewer smells. 

The solution: If you detect a leak, contact a plumbing service immediately. They will investigate the problem further through their expertise and specialized equipment. Do not attempt to rectify the plumbing yourself. You may end up damaging the pipes or drains. 

Even after taking all the steps to get rid of the sewer smell in your bathroom, it has not gone away, you may want to consider a sewer inspection by plumbing professionals. They are the best people to advise you on sewer repairs or a sewer line replacement. 

Read more: Home inspection costs

Last words

Everybody likes having a clean, pleasantly smelling bathroom. These sewage odor solutions will help you eliminate the smell and the toxic gases that can cause irrevocable damage to your health. Identify the problem and fix the problem before it grows into something more. Soon, your bathroom will be back to smelling like the spring meadow that you love!

Read more: Plumbing financing for good & bad credit

How to get rid of sewage smell in bathroom was last modified: May 22nd, 2021 by Ramona Sinha
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