What could cause my shower drain to stink?


DEAR TIM: We have a horrible odor coming from the shower drain in our acrylic shower. Five different plumbers have not been able to solve the problem. The first and fourth plumbers said nothing could be done, the second and third plumbers thought the problem was caused by a rocking toilet so they replaced the toilet's wax ring. The fifth plumber said he thought the plumbing drain lines were installed improperly and that the odor was caused each time the toilet flushed. The problem is, the odor just started and all was fine several months ago. I have poured every imaginable cleaning solution into the shower drain and the odor persists. What could be the problem? Shari W., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

DEAR SHARI: You might be eligible for a place in the record books for having called in that many plumbers for one problem. It is amazing that you have not made any progress on solving the problem. That tells me the source of the odor might not be plumbing related. But to determine...

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Your shower should be a place for you to relax and wash away the day’s worries. But if you find yourself standing in a puddle of dirty water, or if disgusting odors keep wafting up from your shower drain, your shower suddenly changes from a place of relaxation to a source of stress. Keep your shower drain clean, fresh and clog-free with these 3 essential tips!

Clear out Clogs

Every drain will clog at some point, so being prepared will save you some stress when it does happen. You can always call a plumber, but if you don’t want to wait for an appointment or spend the money, here are some DIY options:

Pulling Out Shallow Clogs

With shower drains, sometimes the problem is a glob of hair that gets stuck in the top of the drain. If this is the case, you may be able to carefully reach in with your fingertips or a pair or tweezers and pull it out. If it’s slightly deeper, some careful maneuvering with a bent wire hanger can do the trick.

Using a...

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1 - What is a maggot?

"Maggot" is a word often used to describe the small, worm-like larvae of flies. It is not a technical term and is rarely referred to in entomology. It can be mistakenly used to refer to larvae of other insects that are not flies, such as the larvae of mosquitoes or clothes moths. If you believe that you have discovered "maggots" in your home or business, the larvae of flies is often the result of decaying flesh or other organic matter.

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2 - What are the little moths coming out of my shower/bathroom?

If these insects are small (about 1/6th of an inch), grey, furry, and only have two wings, they are not moths at all but flies; drain flies to be exact. Drain flies are insects with a relatively short lifespan living only about 1 to 3 weeks. They're typically found in bathrooms because they feed on the slime and film that builds up in the drains of showers or sinks. For this reason they're commonly found in bathroom showers...

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I have a sewer gas type smell coming from my shower stall. My house is only 8 months old so I am not sure if they didn't put in a valve or something. I am wondering what ideas you might think what is causing this and if I should contact my builder. I made the mistake of putting baking soda and vinager down to clean it out and it really brought up some nasty smelling odors.

Not sure if you can look at the plumbing underneath the drain...ie crawl space/basement etc. There should be a trap in the drain line. A trap is a U-sahped section of pipe that mantains a level of liquid in the U area such that gases etc cannot not come back up the system. I suspect you don't have one...ie..the drain line route to the soil pipe directly...perhaps thru a couple of turns etc but not a downward then immediate upward bend....a U...a trap.

You'll probally need a plumber type person to cut the line and install a proper trap.


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Sounds like the main drain for the bathroom may be restricted.

As you shower the water doesn't drain away fast enough, and the plumbing begins to fill with water. As the pipes fill, air may be forced out through the toilet trap causing "bubbles". Since the tub is the lowest drain, the water backs up there first. If you continued to shower, you'd eventually see the toilet overflow as well (if the tub edge is higher than the toilet rim). If the tub was deep enough, you'd eventually see the sink overflow too.

If you look at this crude representation of your bathroom, you'll be able to see what I mean.

Now, if we add in a clog we can start to see what happens when you shower.

As you shower the water cannot pass through the clog fast enough, and the pipes begin to fill.

At this point, any air trapped in the line between the drain and the toilet trap will be forced out and bubble up trough the trap.

As you continue...

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I agree, pour some water in the bath room sink drain and if you have a shower, pour some water down that drain to refill the traps.

Now to the packets and the tank. What brand packets did you get and did you fill the tank totally full to have it back up in the shower, that is if you have a shower? We can look up the packets to see what kind they are.

Tell us about the kitchen sink you use every day. What is going down the drain? It is dish water from washing dishes or something else?

Is it hot water or cold or both?

And, do you have the gray tank drain valve open all the time to let the water run through the tank and out the dump hose OR do you let the tank fill almost full then dump it?

Reason for asking all this is, the stink comes from certian bacteria build that produces the smell and then the gases needs a way into the camper. You may have inherited a bunch of stinky bacteria in your tank from the previous owner. It sounds like your packets...

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Clean and maintain your drain with DF 5000. DF 5000 Gel drain treatment utilizes an extra-thick advanced blend of special bacteria cultures and free enzymes to coat drains and cut through decomposing organic materials. DF 5000 gel also improves drain flow, leaving behind a fresh scent and preventing costly blockages.

DF 5000 Drain Gel is NOT labeled for control of drain flies or any insect pest. DF 5000 is a drain cleaner. For control of drain flies please see our Drain Fly Kit which comes with complete instructions and is advised for people with new infestations of Drain Flies.

How DF5000 Drain Gel Works

DF5000 Drain Gel is an innovative blend of bacteria cultures and free enzymes in an active stabilization medium designed to reduce or eliminate drain fly food sources that promote drain fly development. The heavy gel formulation coats drain lines to attack decomposing organic masses and quickly break down gelatinous organic material where...

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Wow, i am very surprised, but happily so because i was about to go to bed, having just peered and poked at the state of my skin today and feeling rotten about a new outbreak around my hairline, in front of my ears and blackheads on my chin..when i decided to do a quick search on what organs these parts of the face relate…i’m a trainee herbalist and have my own brand of natural products and well the long and short of it is that i look after myself fairly well and like to get to the bottom of body issues…i couldn’t remember which organs the hairline relates to and was looking to be reminded (i know for instance that the forehead relates to congestion in the digestive system, the cheeks relate to deficiency in the lungs and the jawline relate to imbalances in the menstrual cycle and hormones)….the hairline, i would naturally relate to the lymphatic system (which when the lymph fluid isn’t circulating properly can be a big cause of spots, pimples and dull skin/complexion) so i am face...

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