Have you caught a whiff of something not right coming from your bathroom drain or floor waste? Before contacting a plumber, follow these simple steps to try fix the problem yourself first by cleaning your drain¹.

What causes a bathroom drain to smell?

There are several reasons your bathroom drain might start to smell. Mould growth on the inside of the drain cover, a blocked drain, or if the water at the bottom of the floor waste has dried up, this can allow the smelly air from the main sewer to escape through your drain and into your bathroom area.

How to fix a drain that smells

If the problem is the floor waste water has dried up following a period of lack of use, the answer is simple: pour a few cups of water into the drain. This will fill up the dried out section of drain and prevent nasty sewer smells from escaping into your bathroom.

If you’ve got mould growing inside the drain cover, simply clean any mould off with a mould removing product.

If the problem is a blocked drain, you can possibly fix this yourself using environmentally friendly household items commonly found in your cupboard. 

  1. Try flushing the drain by pouring half a litre of hot water into the floor waste along with 1 cup of baking soda. 
  2. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Add another cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar, then use a plunger around 5-6 pushes to loosen the blockage.
  4. Once the fizzing has died down repeat the process and hopefully your clog will break up and drain away.

How to prevent drains that smell

Using simple household products once a month can prevent drains from smelling in the first place.

Add to your usual bathroom cleaning routine the following steps:

  1. Once a month complete the hot water, baking soda and vinegar routine to loosen any small buildup.
  2. If your drain has a plug, try plugging the drain after the baking soda and vinegar has been added to allow the trapped steam to work even harder on dirt and grime buildup.

What if I can’t fix the problem myself?

If the above fails to move the clog and drain the water, you’ll need to contact a plumber for specialist advice and service.