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What To Do When Your Shower Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your shower smells like rotten eggs, you may want to check your drain fast. This shower drain odor comes from bacterial growth. It’s likely caused by clogged pipes, leaks, dry P-trap, and other drainage system issues.

To fix a smelly shower drain, find out the cause of the bacterial build-up causing the rotten egg odor. The next step you take will depend on this. If you have a minor clog, you can unclog the drain using solutions that function as deodorizers, too.

Keep reading to learn how to remove this shower drain odor.

Unclog and Clean the Drain

When you see water forming in your tub or floor, you know you have a clogged shower drain. The buildup of soap, shampoo, and conditioner, plus hair, can cause shower clogs.

Those blockages encourage bacteria to produce hydrogen sulfide gas. This is why your shower smells like rotten eggs.

To unclog your drain, use a drain snake to break down clumps of scum and pull out tangled hair. Then to get rid of the stench, use a shower drain deodorizer. Learn more about this solution as you read further down.

Run Water to the P-Trap

A P-trap below the main drain looks like a letter U or P. It acts as a barrier against odor by holding water. This prevents gas from the drainage system from entering the surface. 

If the P-trap is dry or the water leaks, nothing blocks the gas from below, which could cause the shower drain odor.

If your shower smells like rotten eggs after you’ve been away for a long time, run water down the drain. Filling up the P-trap re-establishes the gas barrier. If this doesn’t work, there could be a physical issue with the P-trap. So, you may have to call a plumber to fix it. 

Check for Pipe Leaks

Leaky pipes allow moisture and scum to build up. This creates the perfect environment for bacterial growth. Thus, a rotten smell could suggest that your pipes need immediate repair.

You can also check for leaks by hearing odd sounds. Or by detecting moisture near drainage lines.

The easiest and most secure way to fix a leaky drain pipe is to contact a plumber. They have the tools and know-how to address the issue as opposed to when doing it yourself.

See if the Anode Rod Needs a Replacement

There are instances wherein the shower drain only smells like rotten eggs when you use hot water. In this case, the problem might be with your water heater’s anode rod.

Anode rods protect water tanks from corrosion. They could be made of magnesium, zinc, or aluminum that filter rust-causing elements.

But over time, it degrades and sustains rust. When bacteria get into a corroded anode rod, they release hydrogen sulfide gas.

So, if this is what’s stinking up your shower, hire a plumber right away to replace the anode rod.

Why Your Shower Drain Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Bacteria buildup in your shower drain causes that rotten egg smell. This microbial accumulation is sometimes referred to as biofilm.

As biofilms spread in pipes, they produce foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas. This sulfur gas smells like a rotten egg. Know more details on why your shower drain releases this odor.

Best Shower Drain Deodorizers

Bathrooms smell from time to time – and that’s a reality many people have accepted to live with. But the off scent shouldn’t linger for a long time. Luckily, you can do something about it.

If your shower drain stinks, use deodorizers that don’t only remove the odor but kill off the sources as well.

Shower drain deodorizers come in different forms. These include products you already have at home to commercial solutions. Check out which one you should use.

Vinegar and baking soda

Combining vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) forms a chemical reaction that breaks down the clog. It also destroys the biofilms causing the odor.

But remember that this solution can also harm your drain pipes. The vinegar and baking soda can corrode a metal pipe and degrade plastic and rubber. That said, make sure you follow the correct ratio: one part baking soda and two parts vinegar.

Learn more about how to use vinegar and soda to make a safe homemade drain cleaner.

 Bleach solution

Mixing half a cup of bleach with two cups of warm or hot water can kill off different types of microbes. These include molds and biofilms that make your shower drain smell like rotten eggs.

Avoid pouring down pure bleach or liquid chlorine down the drain. Otherwise, you could damage your pipes instead of only removing biofilm. Make sure you dilute the bleach and don’t breathe the fumes when you apply it.

Drain strips

You can buy drain strips in home improvement stores, hardware, and online via Amazon. These strips break down scum, grease, and other materials clogging the drain. They also kill off the biofilms that cause the shower drain odor. Thus, it also functions as a shower drain deodorizer.

While this commercial solution is effective, it’s more expensive than the do-it-yourself options. The average price for a pack of drain strips is around $9.99. Find out more about how much it costs to unclog a drain.

Drain clog liquid removers

It’s almost instinctive when you use drain clog liquid removers as a shower drain deodorizer. For one, it cleans up the pipe and counteracts the shower drain odor. But make sure you don’t use clog removers with potent chemicals, as they can damage your pipes.


If your shower smells like rotten eggs, your drainage system needs immediate attention. If you have ventilation and the stench goes away for a while, it may come back when you have visitors at home.  This could give them the wrong impression of your home. Following the actions outlined above will help you fix the rotten egg smell from your shower. In turn, it will spare you the embarrassment.

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