Why Is My Shower Drain Emitting A Funky Smell?

The bathroom isn’t really at the top of anyone’s list when looking at a house. In fact, it’s often treated as an afterthought—a place where you do your dirty business and nothing else.  Truly enough, your friend may have a long story behind the rug in their living room—but there’s usually nothing to be said about the bathroom! Eventually, the constant disregard turns into indifference and neglect of this one area. “A bathroom is a bathroom. It’s not that deep,” you may think. 

The Importance of Your Bathroom

Actually, it is that deep. More than any room in your home, you should be paying attention to your bathroom the most!  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the average shower lasts 8 minutes, totaling 60 hours a year. It doesn’t seem such a short time now, does it? How have you been spending these minutes? While you may not know it, the quality of your bathroom affects your mental health. That’s because hygiene has a significant impact on your mood! Showering and washing your body isn’t only to stay clean—it’s also to wash away the stress of the day. Indulging in a bit of self-care in your bathroom helps you switch off from reality and be in touch with yourself.  A nice bathroom aids in your self-care regime, so you can look after yourself and have some quiet time to meditate and reflect. Once you leave the bathroom, you‘re ready to face the challenges of the day or wind down and relax before bed. 

Common Bathroom Horrors

The state of your bathroom depends on how much you care for it. If you fail to pay enough attention to it, you can forget about soaking in the tub or having a nice shower!  The bathroom may just be a small area, but serious issues can develop, affecting the rest of your home. Some of the most common bathroom problems include:


Most bathrooms in America have a mold problem—the moisture and heat from your bathroom cause a humid environment, thus creating the perfect place for mold to grow.  Mold isn’t seriously harmful to your health, but it sure is unpleasant to look at when you’re taking a bath or shower. You can find mold in the damp, dark places of your bathroom, such as the bathtub, shower, and grout.

Soap Scum

Soap scum is one of the biggest issues, as it’s hard to get rid of, and it keeps coming back! Despite its name, soap scum isn’t just made up of soap; the combination of water, minerals, soap talc, and body oils bond together and form into a white, chalky residue. This residue is usually found in:
  • Glass shower doors;
  • Fiberglass shower enclosures;
  • Metal shower and sink fixtures;
  • Ceramic tiles; and
  • Fabric and plastic shower curtains.
Soap scum is stubborn; as long as you use soap and water, it will keep coming back. You can, however, minimize soap scum by using an in-home water softening system and using liquid bath soap.

Smelly Shower Drain

Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to enjoy your shower, but an unpleasant smell attacks your nose and ruins the mood? Nothing makes you want to get out of the shower more than a weird-smelling shower drain. 

What’s Up With That Weird Smell?

Unlike other bathroom problems, a funky-smelling shower drain is much more troublesome. It may not be as apparent as mold or soap scum, but it causes the most hindrance to having your lovely alone time in the bathroom.  More than skeletons in your closet, the unbearable smell coming out of your bathroom is much, much worse.

Figuring Out the Root of the Problem

There are many causes of shower drain smells, which is why it’s important to find out what’s behind it before calling a plumber near you. To find out the cause of your smelly shower, sniff things out! Do a smell test of your shower; lean down and take a quick whiff. Take note of what kind of smell it is so that you can find out what the cause is.  Drain odors are usually caused by growing mold and clogged drains. A musty smell means that mold is most likely growing underneath the drain cover. When your drain cover isn’t perfectly sealed, mold will grow in that small, wet space. On the other hand, if your shower smells like rotten eggs, something is probably clogging the drain!

The Clog In Your Drain

A clogged drain is a common issue in many bathrooms. If your shower is draining slowly and if your shower drain smells strange, it may be because of a clog in your drain. Clogs are usually made up of:
  • Soap scum
  • Hair
  • Mineral deposits
  • Dirt
  • Small items
Most clogs are a combination of all these items. When they accumulate and harden, they can cause obstructions in your drain and become traps for grime and dirt—thus the funky odor.  Clogged drains not only cause an off-putting scent, but they can also cause much larger problems if ignored for long enough.

What You Can Do About it

You can try to unclog your drain by snaking the drain using a snake or a hand auger. If you don’t have this tool, you can make your own drain snaking tool by straightening out a wire hanger and leaving a hook at the end, so it can prod through the substance that’s blocking your drain. Some other solutions you can try are:
  • Pulling the clog out by hand;
  • Using a plunger to draw up the clog;
  • Pouring boiling water down the drain; or
  • Pouring chemical cleaner.
One wrong move can damage your pipes, so if you’re not confident that you can successfully deal with the clog, reach out to a professional plumber instead!


No one wants to have a smelly bathroom. Not only does this affect your relaxation and self-care time, but is also very unhygienic and could cause severe damage to your pipes. Recognize the causes of clogged drains so that you can prevent this from happening again, and hire local plumbing services so that you can enjoy your showers once more! Leave your clogged drain problem to our professional plumbers at Core Plumbing! We are a father and son full-service plumbing company offering people in San Diego 24-hour residential and commercial plumbing repair, replacement, and remodels. Book an appointment online today!