Persistent foul smells in your bathroom can come from a variety of places and can occasionally be tough to get rid of. Knowing where these odors come from can help you locate them and get rid of them, and involving a professional can help get your bathroom back to being odor-free in no time.
Buildup of Gunk
A lot of hair, cleaning products, grease, and other things go down your drains every day. Occasionally, this can all start to clump up in your pipes close to your drains; if it stays there for too long, all of this gunk clumped together and the bacteria that grow on it can start to smell. When you aren't running water, this smell can start to come back up the pipes.
There are a few different ways to get rid of this gunk. If the clog is close enough to the drain, you can use a basic drain-cleaning snake to try to clear it away. You can also use chemical mixtures, such as vinegar and baking soda or bleach. This combination of killing off bacteria and clearing away clumps of hair and other gunk should clear your pipes well enough to get rid of the odor.
If the odor remains, the buildup may be farther down your pipes; if it is farther down, especially if the gunk is sitting somewhere after your bathroom pipes connect, you may notice the smell coming from multiple drains, even if they're all draining properly. In these cases, a plumber can help by using longer snakes to get rid of the gunk for you. The good news is that while this may smell disgusting, it's rarely indicative of anything damaging or harmful.
Some plumbing leaks can start out small, and they can remain hidden if they aren't in a very visible location or leaking at all times. For example, intermittent leaks can happen if the leak is in a drain pipe rather than a supply pipe. These more hidden leaks can happen in places like underneath your bathroom sink or rarely used tub or shower.
When a leak has been going on for long enough, mold may start to grow. Mold can cause a musty odor and shouldn't be taken lightly; mold can cause negative health symptoms and aggravate allergies and can also spread easily the longer it is left to grow.
If you smell what might be mold in your bathroom, do a thorough inspection of everything in your bathroom, from your cabinets to behind shower curtains and all along the baseboards. Water can travel surprisingly far, so avoid narrowing your search to just below or around your plumbing fixtures. If you can't find evidence of a leak right away, try running water in your sinks and showers to see if the leak is in any of your drain pipes.
From here, a plumber can help fix any leaks, then inspect your bathroom to make sure there are no other sources of water for mold to grow around. Once this is fixed, the mold in your bathroom will need to be taken care of as soon as possible.
Blocked Plumbing Vents
Even if your drain pipes are completely clear, you might still detect a foul odor coming from your drains. When this happens, a likely culprit is your plumbing vents. Your plumbing vents connect to every group of drains in your house and are designed to regulate the air pressure within your pipes. Many will go straight up to the roof of your house. Without these vents, the air pressure in your drain pipes would be such that they would drain very slowly even if there were no clogs or backups.
Blockages to your plumbing vents can cause foul smells to come out of your pipes; typically, gases trapped in your pipes would escape through your vents, but if that's not an option, they'll come up through the only other pipes that lead to open air.
Blocks in your vents can sometimes come from a buildup of leaves and brush, or even from wildlife; birds can sometimes build nests in these vents, or animals can get stuck inside them looking for shelter. If your vents are clogged, they only need to be cleared out to get rid of the smell. This can sometimes be a dangerous task, as the vents may need to be accessed from the roof, so call a plumber for assistance.
For additional information, reach out to a company like Complete Plumbing.