Shower Drain Smells like Mildew: A Simple Fix

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If you smell an unpleasant scent coming from your shower drain, it is a good chance that your drain pipes are infected with mildew.

Namely, mildew is a fungus that grows inside damp and wet places like drain system.

In most cases, you will find mildew inside a shower drain since this fungus growth is not that common inside a toilet or a sink drain.

Anyhow, the mildew build-up is nothing to worry about, but it is certainly a good idea to get rid of it.

But, before we start explaining how to get rid of the mildew build-up inside your shower drain, first it is important to establish that you actually have this kind of problem.

So, let’s see.

shower drain smells like mildew

Does Your Shower Drain Smell Like Mildew?

It is absolutely important to determine the smell before you start acting upon it.

Since there are different kind of smells that can come out of your shower drain, the mildew smell is possibly the easiest one to deal with.

Besides that, you can experience a rotten egg smell that is usually the result of a blockage or drain clog.

On the other hand, there is a sewer gas smell that can really create a strong stench inside your bathroom, and, that’s something really serious and hard to deal with.

But, we are here to focus on the mildew smell. Now, how can you describe this smell?

Well, most people just say that something stinks inside their shower drain. If it isn’t a rotten-egg smell or a sewer smell, then it must be the mildew smell.

So, the mildew smell is actually an unpleasant smell that has a musty scent which is easily noticeable. You can really tell a difference between a mildew smell and a rotten-egg smell.

Anyhow, you can also stick a piece of cloth inside the shower drain and see if you are dealing with the mildew. If you find dark-green build-ups on the cloth, then you are definitely dealing with the mildew problem.

So, let’s see how to get rid of it now, shall we?

how to unclog a shower drain

Eliminating the Mold out of the Shower Drain

This build-up takes a lot of time to grow and that’s why you can’t sense it immediately when it appears. However, when you come across this smell, it is already too late to clean it with only water.

Getting rid of the mildew inside your shower drain requires you to get your hands dirty. So, let’s see what exactly you need to in order to get rid of the mildew.

What you will need:

  • A cup of baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Pot of boiling water
  • The old piece of cloth
  • Old toothbrush

After you get all these things, you can start with the cleaning process. Now, keep in mind to follow these instructions in a given order or else the results will not be the same.

How to Get Rid of Mildew in the Shower Drain

Let’s begin.

1. Create the Mixture 

First of all, you will need to make a special kind of mixture (a paste) in order to clean the drain. Use a plastic cup for this step. Now, take a ½ cup of baking soda and mix it with an equal amount of water.

This will create a paste that is suitable for shower drain cleaning. Also, you don’t need to stir too much, just give it a couple of shakes and the paste will be set to go.

baking soda

2. Use the Mixture

Next, after you made the paste, it is time to use it now. Simply put, you will need to use an old toothbrush for this part.

Apply the paste on the toothbrush and start scrubbing the drain. The mold build-up is a nasty thing to clean with your bare hands, but it is not impossible to deal with.

Just scrub until you no longer see any dark-green build-ups inside your drain. Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to stick your whole arm inside the drain, you just need to scrub the part around the hole, and a little bit inside the drain as well.

And, as you suspected, removal of the drain cap is necessary for this part as well.

3. Let it rest

When you are done with the scrubbing, it is now time to let the drain rest for a bit. The drain part of the drain that you scrubbed is now covered with baking soda paste. Therefore, you need to let it settle a bit.

That way, the paste will start dissolving the mold and you will clean your drains in no time.

Estimated time is approximately 10 minutes, so don’t use your shower drain in that time.

4. Pour a gallon of hot water 

Now, take a pot of water and boil it on the stove. The water should be on at least 140-150 degrees, but, it should never be on 210 degrees since it can damage your PVC pipes.

In that case, after the water starts to boil, you need to remove it from the stove and let it cool a bit. The 140-degree water is enough to burn all the mold build-ups without damaging your drain pipes.

Pour a whole pot of water down the drain and wait for 10 minutes.

5. Let baking soda and vinegar down the drain 

After that, you should take a ½ cup of vinegar and pour it down the shower drain. To follow up with the vinegar, you will need a ½ cup of baking soda as well. Pour that down the drain and you will hear a bubbly reaction.

Baking soda and vinegar are great when it comes to dealing with the mold build-ups. They will dissolve most of the mold inside your shower drain that you are not capable of reaching with your hand.


6. Rinse 

Last, you will need to turn the shower tap on and rinse the whole bathtub and the shower drain as well. Use hot water for this part too and you will be good to go.

After that, you should use an old piece of cloth to clean the bathtub and the hole of the shower drain. Also, check the inside of a drain with a cloth again. If you see dark-green builds-ups again, you just need to repeat the process.

However, that is less likely to occur.

Conclusion: When Your Shower Drain Smells Like Mildew...

Dealing with the mildew build-up inside a shower drain is not that hard after all. You just need to be 100 percent certain that the smell that is coming from the drain is actually a mold build-up.

The rest is not that hard to do. Just follow our instructions and you will get rid of the mildew without any complications.