When you step in your shower to get clean, it should be an enjoyable moment. Yet it’s hard to enjoy the act of cleaning oneself when you are surrounded by dirty smells. If you have ever asked yourself, “why does my shower smell?”, you are not alone. The truth is that anywhere water accumulates can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, and when it comes to plumbing issues specifically, your shower may have problems you can’t even see. Keep reading and get the answers you need to make bath-time better, courtesy of our plumbing and drain service team at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical.
The Top 5 Reasons There Is a Funny Smell Coming from Your Shower
- Mold/Mildew/Biofilm: One of the most common causes of nasty shower smells is organic material, such as mold. Mold can thrive pretty much anywhere it is warm and moist, making your shower an ideal spot for mold growth. You could also be dealing with mold’s less serious cousin, mildew, in your drains or around your fixtures. You can usually recognize these organisms by their stale, sour smell, akin to that gym sock scene. Another thing that can contribute to this odor is what’s known as biofilm, which includes shed skin cells, bacteria, and any other microorganisms that have accumulated in your shower. You may recognize biofilm as “pink mold” (though it isn’t really mold at all,) which is that light-colored slime you’ll often see surrounding your shower. The good news is that most of these things are fairly easy to get rid of with cleaning products such as bleach. The exception would be a more serious mold problem, in which case you may have to hire a professional for mold remediation.
- Drain Clogs: Clogs—those nasty things that can occur virtually anywhere in your plumbing system. Your shower drains, of course, are no exception, as hair, soap scum, and other debris go down your shower drains every day. The good news is that you can usually snake a shower drain clog pretty easily, or hire a plumber to do it for you. What you should NOT do, on the other hand, is use liquid drain cleaner. This may be okay once in awhile, for very small clogs, but store-bought drain cleaners rarely eat all the way through serious obstructions, and sometimes these toxic chemicals just sit on top of clogs, which can create a dangerous situation if a back-up occurs. Your best bet for a shower clog that won’t go away? Call an experienced plumber. They will be able to tell you whether your clogging issue is related to something more serious, like…
- P-Trap Problems: P-traps are the curved part of the piping in your drainage system, which are installed under shower and sink drains to prevent water from draining completely, thus acting as a barrier against sewer gasses coming up from your lines (more on that later.) It is possible for a p-trap to get dirty, become clogged with biofilm and debris, or to break entirely. While you can replace a shower p-trap yourself, this may quickly turn into a very involved process, which is why we suggest hiring a plumber to do it for you. If you cannot find the source of the nasty smell coming from your shower, there is a good chance it is coming from your p-trap, so contact a plumber to check it out.
- Sewer Line Issues: As mentioned above, your p-trap is in place to prevent hazardous sewer gasses from emerging from your drains. But when a p-trap breaks, or a leak occurs in your sewer line, those smells can still seep into your home through your shower. It is also possible for a clog deeper within your sewer line to cause a nasty shower smell. For these issues, you will likely need to hire a professional for a video line inspection. For instance, at All Pro Plumbing Heating, Air & Electrical, our team can feed a tiny camera into your sewer system, thereby determining definitively whether you need further sewer line services, such as hydro jetting.
- Leaky Pipes: Sometimes, that smell coming from your shower may not even be directly related to a problem with the shower drain itself. You may also be dealing with a leaky pipe somewhere else in your bathroom, or behind/under your shower and tub. The good news is that although leaky pipes are frustrating, they can usually be detected fairly easily, as long as you hire a professional plumber to do an inspection.