Bad odors are a sure sign that there’s a problem with your plumbing, but it can be hard to define exactly where the odor originates. If you notice a strong stench in your bathroom or kitchen, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible. The odors discussed in this article are signs of common plumbing issues. Once you know the cause of the issue, you can figure out how to get rid of it.

Rotten Eggs in Drains

The smell of rotten eggs typically indicates a gas leak in your pipe or bacteria growth. Sewer line leaks can cause gas to bubble up through your toilet and permeate your bathroom, and bacteria in drain pipes can create a foul odor that means you need a good cleaning.

Avoid using over-the-counter drain cleaners in these cases, because they tend to erode pipes and ultimately lead to premature breakdown and damages. Instead, a plumber would likely use enzyme-based cleaners, professional snaking, and hydro-jetting are the best routes.

Water Smells Like Sulfur

Sulfur, which also smells like rotten eggs to many, can happen when bacteria makes it into your water. If you only smell sulfur in hot water, this could indicate a problem with your home’s hot water heater tank. If the smell persists regardless of temperature, your pipes and home’s water filtration system is likely the culprit. Some homes do not have a sufficient filtration system, which makes their tap water undesirable in more ways than one.

A plumber can recommend a system that filters your home’s water and eliminates any smell or bad taste it carries.

Rotten Smell Coming From Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals usually contract an odor after food bits and other waste gathers in the pipes and begins to breed bacteria. Rotting food in a garbage disposal drain can also lead to obstructions that cause leaks. Grinding some citrus peels and rinsing with hot water is helpful. Not only does the ground up peel help get rid of the bad smell, but the rough peel helps to clean the edges around the blade where debris might be collecting. However, if you notice the problem persists even after cleaning, you may need a professional to remove the drain line and thoroughly remove any debris.

Rancid Drain Smell

Similar to your disposal and other pipes, sinks, tubs, and shower drains begin to smell when they are not clean. If your home does not have vent pipes or they have become clogged, gasses and other foul odors will linger in your home. Vent pipes can be installed in most homes without much difficulty, so you can speak to a professional about your options.

In other cases, a smell from the drain could mean there is build-up of dirt, soap scum, dead skin cells, and other waste that needs to be removed.

Sewer Smell From Bathroom

A telltale sign that something is amuck with your sewer is the smell of one coming from your bathroom, especially after you flush the toilet. Sewer line backups are one of the more common residential sewer problems. Luckily, they can be fixed today with less invasive techniques than in the past. Video inspection and trenchless sewer cleaning or repair can resolve the issue without damaging your home or yard.

The only way to truly get to the bottom of a bad smell is to let a professional trace it to its source. If you ever smell sulfur or rotten eggs coming from your pipes, it’s best to seek out a plumber right away to ensure there is no harmful gas exposure or bacterial contaminants in your drinking water.


Anita Ginsburg

By Anita Ginsburg
who is a freelance writer and residing in Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. When you notice bad odors coming from your plumbing, she recommends contacting a plumber as soon as possible.

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