Odors From Floor Drains: Tackle Them With Determination and the Right Tools

One of the more difficult problems for homeowners to solve is eliminating odors from seeping up from a shower or floor drain. Typically, people will attempt to solve the problem by pouring a variety of solvents down the drain as well as calling armies of plumbers and handymen for very expensive consultations.

In the end, it seems, there are usually two causes of drain odors. The first cause may be a “biofilm” of bacteria which has built up on the inside of the drainpipe. The other frequent cause of the odor is mold growing nearby as a result of moisture from a leaking pipe or water escaping in between shower walls or underneath the shower floor.

This biofilm may appear as slime underneath the strainer on the floor as well as inside the pipe. Each time water passes through the pipe, the slime is jarred, causing it to emit its odor.

The solution only requires a little elbow grease combined with a large bottle brush and soap and water. Lift off the screen on the floor and thoroughly scrub the side which faces down over the drainpipe. When you have scrubbed that screen clean enough that even your grandmother would approve, it is time to move onto the drainpipe.

In a similarly grandmother fashion, use that bottle cleaning brush with soap and water to thoroughly clean the inside of the drainpipe. (At this point, it is a good idea to use a flashlight so you can see into the drainpipe.) Be sure to reach the brush cleaner down as deep as you can and make sure you do not miss any part of the inside of the pipe. Rinse the cleaned areas thoroughly and again, for the sake of your grandmother, scrub it one more time.

Now for the big test. Use the shower as you normally would for a few days. If the odor does not return you, not a Lexus-driving plumber, have solved the odor problem. You also have learned what to do if the odor returns.

A more difficult problem arises when the odor is not caused by slime inside the drainpipe. In this case, the cause of the odor is often mold. To eliminate the mold you will have to find where it is growing.

Using a flashlight, look in between and behind any area which is near the shower and visible. As life, and plumbing, is rarely so simple there is a good chance the mold may be under the flooring of the shower or inside the walls abutting the shower.

Now if you are a particularly hearty soul, you may choose to pursue this mold underneath the flooring and inside the walls. Note and underline that this can be tackled without tearing down walls and floors. In pursuit of mold you will need a drill, a long plastic tube, a small mirror and a stick.

Using the drill, create a hole in the wall opposite the shower large enough to allow your hand inside. Insert the stick with the mirror creatively stuck onto the end of the stick. Using your flashlight, watch for any buildup of mold on the inside of the walls.

Additionally, that long plastic tube should be sent into the wall to search far and wide for odors. As your eyes rarely detect odors, you will now need to switch senses and use your nose near the end of the tube.

If you find mold, it may be necessary to replace that wall or flooring which has the mold growing on it. Of course, the source of the moisture must be found and sealed off also.

While odors from drainpipes are an aggravating problem, they can be solved. However, the key to getting the job done is having the correct tools and plenty of patience.

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