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Common Causes of a Smelly Shower

No one has the luxury of deciding what kind of problem they’re going to have with their home, or when the problem will occur. Things happen, and we all simply have to deal with them when a problem arises, regardless of whether it’s convenient or not.

One common reason people contact Mr. Rooter of Greater Syracuse is that they’ve noticed an unpleasant smell coming from their shower drain. While no one likes a smelly drain, this normally isn’t a difficult problem to fix. In general, there are two primary reasons that cause a shower drain to smell: biofilm and a p-trap issue.


When you stop to think about it, a lot of different substances go down your shower drain, such as body oils, shampoo and conditioner, soap, water and shaving gel, just to name a few of them. As time goes by and you use your shower, these substances often create a biofilm in the vertical pipes and p-trap underneath your shower. As the biofilm accumulates, it starts to release a smell that will eventually become noticeable in your bathing area.

Cleaning your drain with a commercial cleaner, or even with some soap and water, is normally enough to eliminate the smell.

Biofilm will also accumulate on hair that’s trapped inside a pipe. If a clog of hair covered in biofilm is responsible for the smell you’ve noticed, removing the clog is typically all you have to do to eradicate the odor.


The p-trap is a u-shaped piece of pipe that’s designed to hold water. A p-trap’s job is to hold enough water to prevent gases from your sewer from coming up your shower drain. If the odor you’ve smelled in your shower has a sewage-like scent, it’s an indication that you have a problem with your shower’s p-trap.

If you don’t use a shower often and notice a smell that resembles sewage coming from its drain, the water that’s supposed to be in the p-trap has probably just evaporated. You can fix this easily by letting the water run in the shower for a few minutes. This will re-fill the p-trap so it can once again block the sewer gases from traveling up the shower’s drain.

If you use a shower often, yet still notice the smell of sewage coming from your drain, it may be a sign that you have a bigger problem. If your p-trap has a leak and can’t hold water the way it’s supposed to, it will be unable to stop sewer gases from reaching your shower drain. This means you’ll need to replace your p-trap in order to eliminate the unpleasant sewer smell from your shower.

Contact Mr. Rooter for a No-Charge Plumbing Check-Up

If you’ve noticed a smell coming from your shower drain, or you’re concerned about another plumbing issue, contact Mr. Rooter. We’ll perform a plumbing check-up on all of your home’s plumbing at no charge to you, and we’ll provide lasting plumbing solutions for any problems we find.

Give us a call to schedule your no-charge plumbing check-up today.

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