How Do You Clean a Smelly Shower Drain? 3 Easy Ways to Fix Smelly Shower Drains

Close-up Of Water Running From Shower Head And Faucet In Modern

If the atmosphere in your home is being brought down by strange and unpleasant smells that seem to be coming from the shower drain, you may need to know how to stop a smelly shower drain.

Some of the most common drain pipes within the home that face a buildup of organic material, clogs, and bad smells are the ones in the kitchen and bathroom. This is due to the high amount of water and waste that flows through the drains in these areas throughout the day. 

Regular cleaning of your smelly shower drains will help to get rid of any bad smells caused by a buildup of body oils, soap scum, and other organic material – which can also lead to clogs. 

If your property has dirty or clogged drain pipes, which can be signalled to you by water draining away slower than usual, your home will be susceptible to the spread of bad odours and dangerous airborne bacteria. 

Below, we detail a thorough step-by-step guide that will help you to get rid of a smelly drain in showers like a pro, and eliminate any clogs and smells for the foreseeable future.

Solution 1: Remove Potential Drain Clogs

If you have smelly shower drains, the most likely cause is a blockage or a buildup of some kind. In these instances, you should deal with any kind of blockages within the drain pipe before cleaning the drain itself. 

Using a Plunger

In order to remedy blockages within a drain, a standard bellow-style plunger which can be purchased from any supermarket or homeware store can be used on sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and shower drains. 

To begin plunging the drain, fill the sink, tub, or shower floor with enough water to cover the drain itself. From there, press the plunger firmly over the drain in order to create a watertight seal and use several quick pumps of the plunger to unclog the drain. If you have a double-bowl sink, you will need to close the other drain in order to create a complete seal – otherwise, air will escape through the other opening. 

Alternative Cleaning Methods

If you don’t have access to a plunger, or a plunger does not remedy the situation, alternative methods for how to clean a smelly shower drain are available.

If the blockage is located near the drain opening, a simple barbed plastic cleaning tool can be used to hook the blockage, break it into pieces, and remove the blockage. These tools feature back-angled barbs which can pull out hair and other materials which may be causing the blockage and smelly shower drain. 

Alternatively, gas or water-powered cleaners, which come in aerosol drain cleaners or water bladders, can blow out more stubborn blocks with the use of pressurised water. If you choose this method of drain unblocking, you will have to make sure that the device fits over your drain properly – if not, you may need to use an adaptor. If you don’t create a good enough seal, the blast could be directed back towards you rather than into the drain. 

Another method, which works especially well for grease buildups, is using a heat pad to melt the grease within your drain pipe. Simply wrap a heat pad around the trap pipe under your sink and turn the heat pad on to generate heat. Then, run hot water with some grease-cutting dish soap through the drain to clear the blockage.

Biological cleaners can treat drain clogs, buildup, and smelly shower drains effectively. The best kind is an enzymatic or bacterial drain cleaner, and it is best to pour the solution down the drain and leave it to dissolve any organic material overnight. These cleaners may work in a slower manner than the other solutions, but are safer for the user, your plumbing, and the local environment.

Finally, if your blockage can’t be removed by any of the above methods, you don’t feel confident enough in your DIY skills, or you still aren’t sure how to fix a smelly shower drain, it may be time to call in the professionals.
Get in touch with the drainage experts at Blockbusters for drain cleaning, repair, and unblocking services to get your drains running how they should be. 

Solution 2: Banish Foul Odours

If you’ve unblocked your drains and the smell still persists, the time has come to fully clean your smelly shower drains and get rid of those horrid smells that are floating around your home. To do this, there’s a range of methods for you to try. 

Vinegar, Baking Soda and Hot Water

A concoction of white vinegar, baking soda, and hot water will help to eliminate odours from smelly shower drains effectively, as well as removing a buildup of grease, bacteria, and any other biological material residue (as long as the blockage is not severe). This mixture is also effective at preventing future drain clogs. 

Firstly, pour half a cup of baking soda (118ml) down your drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar (118ml). Cover the drain and let the mixture fizz away for around 15 minutes. After this, follow it up by pouring some boiling water down the drain to fully flush the drain out and clear the material from sitting at the bottom of the drain. 

Not only can this mixture remedy smelly shower drains, but it can also be used to clean drain openings, remove bacteria, and remove mineral deposits from your taps and faucets. 

Remember: while baking soda and vinegar can help unblock smaller blockages, they will not work on severely blocked shower drains. Additionally, if this doesn’t work on the first time asking, do not continue as this can damage the pipes.

Biological Cleaners

If the vinegar, baking soda, and hot water method didn’t work for you, or you simply don’t have the ingredients available, biological cleaners can be used as an alternative to strip away dirt, grime, and bacteria. These cleaners are effective at providing a solution to smelly shower drains, and can even help to prevent the buildup of any harmful bacteria or mould. 

You can find biological cleaners in any supermarket or homeware store, and many are safe for use overnight and do not damage the environment. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the product to clean your drainage system properly.

Please be aware that, if your home operates on a septic tank system, biological cleaners work best in order to not overly disrupt the biological balance within the septic tank. 

Solution 3: Clearing Deep Clogs

Sometimes, you’ll develop a clog deep within your drainage system that cannot be remedied by conventional unblocking methods. In these instances, your best bet is to use a drain snake, or auger, to remove the clog deep inside. 

Drain snakes, also known as augers, can be purchased from your local homeware store and they are great at clearing deep clogs that can’t be reached by other means. Drain snakes some in many lengths, however, a 25-foot (7.5m) cable should be enough for most household needs. 

Additionally, make sure to wear rubber gloves to get a good grip on the snake, as well as protective goggles to prevent anything getting in your eyes – especially if you’ve recently used harsh drain cleaners. 

To use the drain snake, simply remove the trap under the sink if necessary, as this will make it difficult for the snake to reach the blockage. Make sure to place a bucket underneath the pipe throughout the whole process in order to prevent anything spilling onto yourself or the floor. 

Slowly push the cable into the pipe opening. If your pipe has any sharp bends, you may have to wiggle the cable in order to get it through efficiently. From here, keep cranking the cable until you meet resistance. This will be the blockage. Crank the handle a few more times to lodge the wire firmly within the clog, then wiggle it to loosen up the blockage. 

Once you feel confident that the blockage has been loosened and the blockage has been broken up, turn the crank the other way to remove it from the pipe. Test the drain to see if water runs efficiently, and to see if the smell has gone. If it has not, you may need to continue the process or call in a professional. If this has worked, clean the debris from the end, and then dispose of the drain snake. 

How to Prevent Future Drain Clogs

It is essential that you keep your drain clear and buildup-free in order to prevent smelly shower drains and blockages from occurring again. Below are some of the most effective methods for the prevention of drain clogs and smelly shower drains. 

  • Drain screens:
    By using a drain screen on your shower drain, you will prevent large items, such as clumps of hair, passing through whilst still allowing smaller particles to drain away. This will help to prevent blockages, and any large items can be picked up and thrown away.
  • Never pour grease down the drain:
    Liquid grease will solidify over time, causing a smelly blockage within your drain. Furthermore, grease contributes to the buildup of fathers deep in the sewer line too. To prevent these kinds of blockages, wipe down any greasy items with a paper towel before rinsing them. Use plenty of hot water and grease-cutting dish soap when washing greasy dishes.
  • Perform regular maintenance and cleaning on drains and stoppers:
    You should make an effort to clean your drains on a regular basis. Empty out the trap and pour a few litres of boiling water down your sink every week in order to eliminate a buildup of unpleasant items which can cause smells to begin. 

Contact Blockbusters For Plumbing and Drain Repair Services

At Blockbusters, we understand how important it is for drains and plumbing systems to be clear and clean – otherwise, you’ll have slow draining fixtures and foul odours permeating your property. If you have a blockage that can’t be remedied by conventional means, or you have a smell that you can’t locate the source of, get in touch with the team of expert drain engineers at Blockbusters.

Contact the team