A shower drain that smells like rotten eggs is an indication that there is a problem in your bathroom that you need to address. The smell could indicate a simple-to-fix issue or a larger drainage crisis.
The rotten egg smell that comes out of the shower drain is due to bacteria built up in a clog caused by hair and other debris or by escaped sewer gases. The p-trap in a shower drain normally prevents debris from clogging up the pipes; however, if it dries out or accumulates an excess of debris, it can start to smell.
How do I get the egg smell out of my shower drain?
Most of the time, the rotten egg smell is caused by a clog composed of hair and other debris which can be easily cleared away. Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain to let the mixture eat away at the clog. Chase the mixture with hot water to clear the remaining debris.
Alternatively, you could use professional drain cleaners which typically have chemicals that eat away at difficult clogs. Before you use this method, check with your plumber to see if your pipes can handle a drain cleaner. Some plumbing systems cannot handle the harsh chemicals.
If you need a bit of mechanical help extracting the clog, use a wire coat hanger or a drain snake to reach into the pipes to pull out bits of the clogging material or push it through to the sewage disposal. Once the clog is clear, pour boiling water down the drain to ensure it is completely gone.
Why does my shower drain smell like eggs only after I shower?
If you have a clog in your shower drain, bacteria will accumulate and form a biofilm on the material that is responsible for the clog. These microbes are attracted to damp areas and thrive on the debris that they use for food.
When you take a shower, the water that goes down the drain hits the bacteria in the clog so that they give off a sulfurous odor. When the water dries up, the smell will dissipate. However, just because the smell has gone away doesn’t mean the bacteria have.
If you smell rotten eggs coming from your shower drain after taking a shower, you should address the problem immediately because the clog and its accumulated bacteria will not go away on their own. You will continue to smell rotten eggs after every shower and the stench may become much stronger over time as the biofilm of bacteria grows.
Is a rotten egg smell in my shower drain a health hazard?
There is no immediate cause for concern for your health if you smell rotten eggs in your shower drain. Since the water has already been used by you, its only path is to go toward waste disposal so there should be no risk of consumption of the egg smelling water.
If the cause of the rotten egg smell is a sewer gas leak, the most likely culprit is dihydrogen sulfide. Over time repeated exposure to dihydrogen sulfide can make you nauseous or give you a headache, but otherwise, there is no immediate risk to your health.
If the cause of the smell is due to bacteria build up, you may or may not suffer side effects of exposure to the bacteria. Even though the health hazards of a rotten egg smelling shower drain are not a cause for concern to your health, you should not let the problem linger and run the risk of causing problems for your health.
Should I call a plumber to get rid of the rotten egg smell in my shower drain?
Most of the time, you can get rid of the rotten egg smell in your shower without having to call a plumber. However, if you have tried clearing out the drain with a baking soda and vinegar mixture, chemical drain cleaner, or with a snake and the smell still lingers, a clog may not be the problem.
Once you have ruled out the possibility of a clogged drain, you should call a plumber since the rotten egg smell could be the result of sewer gases. While exposure to dihydrogen sulfide is not serious, it can make you feel sick. A plumber can diagnose where the pipe may be leaking and fix the problem.
The most common way for a plumber to find out where the leak is coming from is to conduct a smoke test. Once they discover where the problem is located, they will need to come up with a plan to fix the pipe as soon as possible. In the meantime, you may not be able to use the shower.
Will my drain pipe need replacing if it smells like eggs?
If there’s a simple clog in your drain, there is no need to replace the pipe. However, if there is a crack in the drain pipe that is letting in sewer gas like dihydrogen sulfide, then you may need to replace your drain pipe.
A plumber will be able to diagnose the extent of the damage to your pipe when he locates the source of the leak. If the crack in the pipe is small enough, the plumber might be able to use a simple patch to repair the pipe.
However, if the pipe is completely broken or the crack is too large to accommodate a patch, the entire pipe may need to be replaced. Talk to your plumber about the best options for drain pipe repair or replacement to solve the issue of your rotten egg smell.
What is the best cleaner to use for getting the rotten egg smell out of my shower drain?
The best cleaner to use for clearing out the rotten egg smell from your shower drain is one that can eliminate the common cause of clogs in showers. Drano makes a drain cleaner that is specifically tailored to clear out clogs made of hair and grease.
The patented formula of the cleaner eats away at hair so that the clog can quickly dissolve once you chase the cleaner down the drain with hot water.
If you would rather avoid using chemicals in your shower drain, baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water is a tried and true remedy that will also push difficult clogs out of the drain pipe so that rotten egg smell can go away.
Why do I smell rotten eggs from more than just my shower drain?
If your shower drain is not the only place you smell rotten eggs, then a clog might not be the problem. A leak in the sewer pipe can cause the smell of rotten eggs to permeate through drains from the shower, sink, or toilet. Sewer gases will escape through every possible opening that is exposed to the leak.
Call your plumber right away if the smell of rotten eggs is coming from more than one drain as this could be an indication of a serious leak. Another possibility is that you have multiple clogs, which should also be addressed immediately as they can lead to major problems with your water drainage.