There are many websites which suggest ways you can clean a bad smelling drain however odours may also be a sign of something more sinister. You can try scrubbing the floor grate and the smell may go however, there is probably a blockage somewhere in the sewerage line. This can be unpleasant and cause a mess if not cleaned professionally. On top of this, it is unhygienic to have sewage backing up through any drain.
Causes of bad smelling drains
Anything that sticks to the pipes including a buildup of soap scum, dead skin and bodily fluids will cause a bad smelling drain. This mainly occurs around floor waste gullies where there is a water seal at the bottom of the trap. The section of pipe that rises up to the floor is protected by the water seal. There is a branch line underneath which connects the fixture to the sewerage pipe and this tends to get smelly over time. A blockage in the main sewerage line will also cause a drain to smell.
How a plumber will make your drains odour free
Unlike the use of chemicals that lay on the bottom of a pipe, a high pressure water jetter is able to clean drains with ease. And doing this regularly will ensure they stay clean. Chemicals can’t reach the top of the pipe so will not get any scum on the top side. They are generally not effective in clearing the pipe at all. The best way to be rid of a smelly drain is to blast the inside of the pipe with a jet rodder. This way, anything built up on the walls of the pipe gets cleaned off.
Before you call a plumber
If the smell seems to be emanating from the toilet or shower, it’s worth considering the last time the fixture was used as it could be a simple fix. A bad smell may be present as the ‘S Trap’ or ‘P Trap’ does not have enough water in it to keep the funky smells at bay. It is designed to hold water in the bottom of the bend after the fixture is turned off. The water traps the odours stopping them from escaping the sewer system and smelling up the house. The water seal is maintained by the running of the fixture regularly. Flushing water through the trap or floor waste grate should resolve this issue pretty quickly.
If there is a hole in the trap, this will also cause it to lose its water seal as the water leaks out into the ground. This causes a sewer smell as the water seal is designed to stop this. A broken pipe, poorly installed pipe, leaky seals or leaky joints will also cause a sewer smell to come from the drain. This will require the handy work of a plumber.