Bathroom Mystery Smell

By Robert Robillard on Bathrooms

Shower Drain

How To Eliminate Bathroom Mold, Yeast Smells

Bathrooms are notorious for smells but its the mystery ones that freak us out the most.

The simplest answer is that the bathroom mystery smell could be mold or mildew somewhere in the bathroom. There is a lot of things that come to mind so let’s break this down:

Shower Steam

Its imperative to have a properly functioning bathroom fan and use it when showering. Many people run a bathroom exhaust fan when showering but not long enough.

Choosing the best exhaust fan system is an important part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove moisture and odor from your house, improving indoor air quality. The most important factor in a bathroom fan is its ability to remove moisture from the room.

If you already have a fan, make sure its strong enough to clear the room.  Read my article steps in choosing the best exhaust fan.

I also suggest installing a fan timer switch and run for 15-20 after your shower.  It’s important to ventilate shower steam while showering but the fan should continue to ventilate the room afterward, with the door closed to clear the room from ambient moisture.

Read my article on installing bath fans here:   how to install a bathroom fan.

Target Practice:

Do you have a lot of boys in the house?  The first thing I would investigate would be the walls adjacent to the toilet to see whether the boys have been “missing their target.”

If they are tell them to turn on the light when they pee, sit and pee and consider installing one of those bumble bee logos in the toilet for them to aim at – just kidding! Once you train the boys to be more accurate then you will have to clean, prime with an odor blocking sealer [e.g., Bin or Kilz brands] and re-paint that area.

How To Retrieve An Item Dropped Down A Sink Drain

Leaking Faucets?

Sometimes faucets leak over time and rot the vanity cabinet.  Check under the vanity for rot, or stains.  Address by replacing or sealing with an odor sealing primer anything that smells.

Loose Caulking or Tiles?

The same principle applies to loose, missing caulking and loose tiles.  Over the years, water may have seeped behind the caulking or tiles and started to rot the surfaces beneath, or behind them.  Where there is wet rot there is mold, where there is mold there is usually a moldy, funky smell.

Slow Drains?

Does your tub drain slowly? Every six months of so I notice my shower drain start to accumulate water and drain slowly.

Most people eventually end up with a slow draining bathtub or shower. Long hair, soap and bath products all combine to make a nasty, smelly drain clog.

  • While many folks may worry and call a plumber of reach for a harsh chemicals to solve their problem, most of the time you can remedy this slow drain, all by yourself, in 10 minutes or less
  • The first step is to carefully remove the drain cover and use care not to drop the screws down the drain.   Place the cover to the side for safe keeping.
  • Reach in and pull out any debris. Many times the clog is right under the drain and can be removed with your fingers. Wear rubber gloves or use a plastic bag like I did in the video.
  • Many tubs, certainly most older ones, have a stopper located inside the drain and overflow tube. Most of these have a lever on the overflow plate over the drain. To access the open drain you will need to remove the drain stopper. Unscrew the overflow plate and pull the linkage and stopper up and out. Then clean the linkage, stopper and drain.   Rinse and reassemble when done.

How To Clean A Slow Shower Drain Video

Drain Cleaning Homemade Tool

I find that drain cleaning is easier with a homemade “Drain Cleaning Tool,” that I make using lineman wire cutting / pliers. I cut out the straight part of a metal coat hanger, either leaving a bend in it or making my own “hook” bend.  I then use this tool to scoop / clean out the remaining debris in the drain.

A Using a Wet / Dry Vacuum with a crevice nozzle works well too and often can suck up smaller debris parts that you cannot grab with your hook.

I recently did a video on how to clean a slow draining shower –

How To Retrieve An Item Dropped Down A Sink Drain

Smelly Stinky Drains

Lastly, take a peek at, or better yet a sniff, near the sink and tub drains. There could be bacteria growing in your drain. If you do smell it in the drain, try cleaning it with this tried-and-true vinegar and baking soda mixture:

  • Mix one cup of white vinegar into the drain.
  • Follow with one cup of baking soda.
  • Let that sit for two hours.
  • Pour one gallon of boiling water in the drain.
  • Wait 10 minutes and flush with cold water for 10 minutes.
  • SAFETY NOTE: Never, ever mix vinegar and chlorine bleach. Remember your chemistry lessons. It will create a toxic gas!

How To Clear a Slow Draining Sink Video:

It’s my hope that by the time you got to the end of this article you discovered you Bathroom Mystery Smell. Good luck!

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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