How to Eliminate Sewer Odor (Bathroom, Toilet, Sink)

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Encountering unpleasant odors anywhere inside your house can mess up your whole day. That’s why the first thing you need to do is to figure out where does the bad smell comes from.

In most cases, people come across strange and unpleasant odors inside their bathrooms, but, it doesn’t have to mean that that’s the only place where bad smells appear. Usually, this unpleasant smell is a sewer odor that came into your house through the plumbing system.

Since sewer odor is unbearable, it is always a good thing to find the cause and eliminate the odor as soon as possible. And, we are here to explain to you how to do that. So, let’s begin.

How to Eliminate Sewer Odor

Why is There Sewer Odor Inside Your House?

There are lots of different reasons why this happens, but, the main one is some kind of failure inside your plumbing system.

Sewer odor can be caused by:

  • Main vent malfunction
  • Drain clog
  • Poor sewer installation
  • Bad pipes

Possibly the most common reasons are the main vent malfunction and the drain clog. But, there is always a chance that you can experience the other two as well.

How to Eliminate Sewer Odor

It’s not always easy to determine where the sewer odor comes from. So, it is a good thing to check all the places where this odor might appear.

As we already mentioned, sewer odor comes inside your house through the plumbing system which means that your toilet, shower drain, or the sink are the source. Finding out the real source will help you to eliminate the sewer odor in no time.

Never the less, we will explain what you should do in each scenario.

Source 1 – Shower Drain

It might be a little bit unusual, but a shower drain is a more common place to have sewer odor than a toilet. Both toilet and shower drains are connected to the main drain pipe which leads down to the sewer. That’s why the smell can come through both of these exits.

Anyhow, if you come across strange sewer smell when you take a shower or when you use shower drain, then you found your source. However, it is always a good idea to check twice and see if you are right.

You can pour a bit of water down the shower drain and wait for the smell to become even stronger. If that’s the case, then we suggest you grab a couple of things.

how to snake a shower drain

You will need to use:

  • Soap
  • Hot water
  • Large brush

Now, follow these instructions and you will get rid of the sewer odor from your shower drain.

1. Remove the cap 

First of all, you will need to remove the cap from your shower drain to access it fully. This is quite important since you are going to clean the drain. Over time, many different biofilm build-ups inhabit your drain and they start to smell bad.

That’s why you need to clean it from time to time to prevent this from happening.

2. Prepare the brush

Now, you are going to use the brush for this kind of job. So, take the brush and pour a bit of soap on the bristles. You need to remember that soap is a good thing to use to clean the drain, but not to unclog it.

So, if you have a clogging problem, you should use something stronger.

3. Start cleaning the drain

Take the brush and start cleaning the drain. Since your reach is limited by your hand, we suggest using some kind of extension that can help you to extend your range.

Anyhow, clean the drain as much as you can since the main problem is usually located near the exit.

4. Rinse with hot water

After you are done, you need to rinse the drain with hot water. This will give your cleaning a finishing touch which will result in clean drains and no more sewer odors inside your bathroom.

Source 2 – Toilet

The toilet can also be a common source of sewer odor. Since the toilet drain is directly connected to the sewer, the odor might come through the toilet bowl and enter your bathroom easily.

But, why does that happen? 

Well, if your plumbing system has pressure difference inside the drains, the air from the sewer will rush through the toilet drain pipe directly into the bowl. This happens because the pressure difference will create a vacuum effect that will suck the odor from the sewer and deliver it into your bathroom. The pressure difference is caused by clogs or bad vent pipe.

So, to get rid of the sewer odor and deal with this kind of problem, you will need to create a strong solution for cleaning. The Cleaner Recipe requires:

  • White vinegar – two medium-sized cups
  • Baking soda – ½ of a cup
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar and hot water mixture

Now, here are the steps that you need to take to clean your toilet drain and get rid of the sewer odor.

1. Pour hot water and baking soda down the toilet

The first thing that you want to do here is to take a full pot of boiling water and pour it down the toilet drain. Now, hot water will push the sitting toilet water down the drain and it will create some space for you to work further.


Follow with ½ a cup of baking soda. Just remember to pour baking soda slowly, don’t pour it all at once. This way, you will evenly distribute baking soda inside the toilet drain so it can get cleaned properly.

2. Let it rest

After that, you need to wait for a couple of minutes. This usually takes no more than five minutes since baking soda will quickly clean all build-ups and clogs inside the toilet drain pipe.

3. Follow with white vinegar and hot water

To ensure maximum results, you will need to take a pot of boiling water and add white vinegar. This mixture is a suitable cleaning solution for drain pipes. That’s why you need to pour it down the toilet drain and wait for a couple of minutes.


4. Give it time 

Since the solution will slowly disinfect and dissolve all sorts of build-ups inside your toilet drain, you should just sit back and relax. This usually takes up to ten minutes, so in the meantime, you can do some other chores.

5. Flush the toilet 

The last thing you will need to do is to flush the toilet a couple of times to ensure that everything works fine. This will clean your toilet drain and you won’t experience any sewer odor again.

However, if the odor is still there, you just need to repeat the process a couple of times. But, add more baking soda and vinegar this time.

Source 3 – Sink

When it comes to the sink, the sewer odor can easily infiltrate your bathroom through the sink drain pipe if there isn’t any water inside the trap. The sink will work just fine and you won’t be able to tell that anything is wrong with the plumbing.

But, the real problem is located inside the P-trap curve that doesn’t have any water. This water that sits inside the P-trap is blocking sewer odors to come through the sink and enter your bathroom.

However, when there isn’t any water there, you will have a stinky bathroom that reeks of sewer odor. So, you will need to find a solution that will bring water back in its place.


Essential things that you need to get rid of the sewer odor from your sink:

  • Bleach
  • Hot water
  • Plastic bucket

Anyhow, be ready to get your hands dirty for this one. Here’s what should you do.

1. Remove sink parts

Since the main problem is located somewhere inside the sink drain, you will need to remove all the sink parts and clean the one by one. It is a common thing to have all sorts of biofilm build-ups inside the sink drain. And, you need to clean them properly to eliminate sewer odor from your bathroom.

You will need to remove:

  • Pivot rod
  • Pop up stopper
  • P-trap
  • Gooseneck

So, after removing these parts, you can advance to the next step.

2. Create a mixture

For this step, you will need to create a mixture of bleach and hot water. Use the same amount of bleach and hot water and mix them inside a plastic bucket.

This mixture will help you to clean the parts properly.

3. Soak parts inside the mixture

Put these parts inside the plastic bucket and let them sit for at least ten minutes. The biofilm build-ups will be dissolved properly.

4. Install it back again

After that, you need to take the parts you of the plastic bucket and install them back onto your sink. This usually takes time, so there’s no need to hurry.

Gurgling Sink When Toilet Flushed

5. Rinse it with hot water

The last thing you need to do is to rinse the sink drain with hot water just in case there’s a bit build-up left inside it. With the sink drain perfectly cleaned, the water will come back inside the P-trap and your bathroom will not smell like sewer odors again.

Conclusion: On Eliminating Sewer Odor

Eliminating sewer odors from your bathroom is not that hard after all. All you need to do is to find the source and deal with the problem as soon as possible.

We have provided you with more than enough information to clean drain pipes of the source and to get rid of the sewer smell for good.