Funky shower smells and other fun stuff

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I have this nasty smell in my bathroom. It is very hard for me to describe, but I’m OCD and it is driving me nuts. I think I have it pinpointed to the shower stall. I have totally scrubbed it however, I’m very anal about cleaning so it was already clean. I had my boyfriend look in the drain for hair clogs, but still no luck. I poured bleach down the drain and it still smells. It is so bad, I worry that everyone can smell it! I noticed it is very bad right after we shower, too. Do you have any idea what this is and how to get rid of it? We are very clean people, I dont get it. I’m totally freaking out, and I lay in bed at night obsessing over it, haha. Then I sniff it and think about it even more.

Please help me!

Signed,

Desperate in Dayton

WinkIvy says:

Man, I hate when you just cannot figure something out. I have some suggestions that might work. It sounds like you either have something really funky in your drain somewhere, or have mold behind the shower stall. If it’s a sewagey smell, it might be your drain. If it’s a rotting, moldy smell, my money’s on the mold.

If it’s a drain problem, first I would try flushing the drain with boiling water. Do NOT use boiling water if you have anything other than fiberglass with PVC piping. My next step would be sprinkling baking soda down the drain and then adding white vinegar.  Allow it to fizz, it may break up an unseen clog, flush with water when finished.  As  last resort I would try Draino, in case something is stuck in the drain.

If all else fails, it may be mold or mildew, especially if you don’t have an exhaust fan or any other type of ventilation in your bathroom. In that case, I’d try a product called Damp Rid. I’ve not used it, but Heather and I have heard good things about it.

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



9 Comments

  1. sherry on March 8, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    First of all it’s not your shower drain or anything to do with your plumbing this smell that you’re smelling is coming directly from your fiberglass shower stall/tub. This I have noticed is happening across the eastern part of Good country. The smell is coming from behind and around and including your shower stall made of fiberglass.

    Most of the contractors today In a lot of areas are using fiberglass in Lou of tile this is a big mistake.

  2. karen on July 15, 2013 at 5:56 am

    If you smell a horrible fish smell after shower has been used this could be an electrical fault with the shower switch. A connection may have come loose inside and causing the plastic to overheat. It can cause a fire so please get electrician to inspect shower fuse switch as soon as possible. This fishy smell is typical of electrical wiring overheating .

  3. JohnWhipple on June 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Some shower smells come from the glue used to apply the smaller tiles to the tile sheets.  Once warm and wet the glue breaks down and gives of a horrible smell.  Better sheet tiles use non waterbased glues and these do not break down with simply hot water.
     
    To test out this theory with your shower you simple need one extra sheet of tile and a bucket of hot water.  Soak the tile sample in hot water for 90 minutes and then try removing the mesh from the tile.  If your lucky they will be stuck well and not fall of to easily.
     
    If your not so lucky the tile will just fall off the sheet.  Place the sheet and loose tile in a plastic bag and then smell this bag after 12 hours.  You might have found the source of your shower smell and if so the fix is not an easy on and will require you to remove all tile and replace.
     
    This should be a last resort and only after every other drain and vent line possibility has been expored and ruled out.
     
    Good Luck.
     
    John Whipple

  4. JohnWhipple on June 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Some shower smells come from the glue used to apply the smaller tiles to the tile sheets.  Once warm and wet the glue breaks down and gives of a horrible smell.  Better sheet tiles use non waterbased glues and these do not break down with simply hot water.
     
    To test out this theory with your shower you simple need one extra sheet of tile and a bucket of hot water.  Soak the tile sample in hot water for 90 minutes and then try removing the mesh from the tile.  If your lucky they will be stuck well and not fall of to easily.
     
    If your not so lucky the tile will just fall off the sheet.  Place the sheet and loose tile in a plastic bag and then smell this bag after 12 hours.  You might have found the source of your shower smell and if so the fix is not an easy on and will require you to remove all tile and replace.
     
    This should be a last resort and only after every other drain and vent line possibility has been expored and ruled out.
     
    Good Luck.
     
    John Whipple

  5. Nelly on July 30, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Oh man, sounds like someone may have given this woman an upper-decker.

  6. Becky Homecky on July 26, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    After living in many many differnt types of homes and apartments over the years, my guess is its not the drain. Mold is in every home, so don’t freak out about that. But just an FYI Damp Rid is a band aid solution to your problem. First, get even a small fan and keep it running during and after you bathe/shower to help motivate the moisture to stop hanging out in the bathroom. And sure Damp rid helps suck up excess moisture too. But take mold seriously. There’s an amazing company called EcoQuest (look in your yellow pages for a dealer or go to their website and ask for one in your area). They have solutions to indoor air pollution (which is what you have my dear) and their machine Living Air kills mold, bacteria, even viruses. Ask to try a machine for a week free. Seriously. And then see how it works. It changed my home, and eliminated funk not only from the bathroom but basement, I even don’t smell the fishy smell when I cook fish. EcoQuest. Call them. And don’t lose sleep over your indoor air pollution problem anymore girl!!

  7. JRae on July 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Oh man, now I wanna know what smell is! Desperate, please let us know if you get rid of it, I feel like it’s a cliffhanger over here! 🙂

  8. freakgirl on July 26, 2007 at 11:05 am

    You might want to read this as well:
    http://www.doityourself.com/stry/showerodor

  9. Teresa on July 26, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Damp Rid is the bomb. We used it in a set of cabinets to dry them after the roof leaked and the A/C unit went and leaked water all over the back room of our gift shop. It has really dried things up in there, but most importantly it took care of the mildew smell.

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