Does the toilet also smell after cleaning? (Possible causes and solutions) | Upgraded home (2023)

Does the toilet also smell after cleaning? (Possible causes and solutions) | Upgraded home (1)

It is certainly not a fun task, but certainly a necessary one, and that is cleaning a toilet once or twice a week. Routine cleaning ensures that the toilet is hygienic, odor-free and functioning properly.

But sometimes a toilet can give off a foul smell even after a thorough cleaning. This article explains why a clean toilet smells bad, and also highlights some useful cleaning tips. If you don't have the resources to handle the problem yourself, it's best to contact a professional plumber.

If your toilet looks clean but gives off a foul odor, there may be a problem with the P-trap; the tank may be dirty; the drain is clogged; the wax ring is affected; there are sewage bacteria in the bowl; the pipe vent is clogged; the water level in the bowl is low or cracked. A professional plumber can determine what is causing the smell.

Do you need a cleaning service?

Get free, no-obligation quotes from professional contractors near you.


Does the toilet also smell after cleaning? (Possible causes and solutions) | Upgraded home (2)

What causes a clean toilet to smell

A toilet shouldn't smell after a thorough cleaning, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case as there are several glitches that can cause this result. Some of these failures are difficult to prevent and/or detect, but that does not mean that you are powerless.

If your clean toilet smells bad, it could be due to one or more of the causes described below. Some of these problems can be tackled on your own, but most will require professional help. There are also some plumbing-related problems that only your local water company can fix, and while these are briefly explained later, it's important to point out that these are uncommon.


If there isn't enough water in your toilet's P-siphon, a foul sewer smell can emanate from your toilet. The P-siphon is located behind the toilet because it is part of the pipe. It should be filled with water, but sometimes the water inside can evaporate.

(Video) The Toilet Always Smells Fresh And Stays Clean All You Need Is This |Remove toilet smell HealthPedia

This is a common problem with toilets that are not used often. If you find yourself getting a foul smell from a toilet you don't use all the time, try flushing it a few times. Doing this should fill the toilet's P-trap with water and the stench should dissipate quickly.

Dirty tank

Cleaning the toilet bowl thoroughly is not enough. You also need to clean the tank. The toilet tank can absorb the smell of waste andsewage system, especially if it is not cleaned properly and routinely.

The solution here is simple: clean the tank! Cleaning this part of the toilet is no more difficult than cleaning the bowl.

Just pour some white vinegar into the tank and then use a toilet brush to scrub the walls. After some thorough brushing, let things sit for a while and then flush the toilet a few times so that all the water in the tank is removed.

If you do this right, the bad smell should go away and not come back, provided you clean your tank often.

Clogged drain

The problem with clogged toilet drains is that a blockage can be present even if the toilet appears to be flushing normally. A foul odor emanating from an apparently clean toilet could be caused by an under the radar clog.

If you suspect that the blockage is coming from the drain, the first thing to do is to grab a plunger and try to clear the blockage this way. If this is not effective then you should get a drain hose and try clearing the blockage this way. Using a drain cleaner can also be effective.

But if drain work doesn't suit you, there's always the option of getting help from a professional plumber.

Compromised wax ring

A sewer-like smell coming from the toilet can also be caused by a compromised onewas ring. The wax ring sits under the toilet and acts as a seal. It also holds the toilet in place and prevents sewer gas and water from escaping.

But a wax seal is not invulnerable and can become loose and/or wear out over time. When this happens, the most common result is the emission of a very bad smell, which comes directly from the sewer line under the toilet.

Attach a wax ring

Repairing a wax ring yourself is possible, but most people should not do this on their own. Instead, when faced with this situation, you should ask a professional plumber to help you. They have the tools, know-how and experience necessary to install any of these correctly. Hiring a plumber ensures that you don't have to worry about the smell later on.

(Video) How To Fix A Smelly Toilet

You can also get a waxless seal as it is compatible with most toilets. If your wax ring is damaged and repair is not possible, you should ask a professional plumber what they think of waxless vs. traditional wax rings.

Sewer bacteria

There is also a chance that live bacteria have migrated from the sewer to the toilet bowl. These microorganisms usually adhere to the rim of the toilet bowl. They will reproduce and expand in the toilet if left unchecked, and when this happens a foul odor can be the main result.

If you don't know that these bacteria breed under the rim of the bowl, you may think that it is permissible to overlook this area of ​​the toilet during cleaning. Never mind a spot of the toilet when cleaning, as odor-causing bacteria and particles can lurk in the smallest nooks and crannies.

It is not difficult to get rid of these microorganisms. All you have to do is pour a few cups of bleach into your toilet's flush valve. This part is located in the tank.

After doing this, flush the toilet several times. The bleach you poured into it will come out around the rim and run down the sides of your toilet bowl. This is a great way to get rid of those smelly microorganisms. Be careful when using bleach as this is a toxic substance and you don't want to go overboard when pouring it.

Clogged pipe vent

The vent pipe is an integral part of a home's plumbing system, and when it becomes clogged, the smell of sewage is likely to permeate the bathroom. A vent pipe, when it's working properly, vents sewer gases while also providing good airflow; there must be air flow for waste water to flow freely.

But when the vent gets clogged, the gas can't escape through its designated spot, so it backs up until it finally escapes into the bathroom. If your apparently clean toilet has a foul smell - and none of the above problems are the cause - then you should check the vent pipe and see if there is a blockage.

Leaves and other natural debris can clog the vent pipe, or a bird may have made the vent pipe its home. In any case, if there is a blockage, it's a good idea to call a professional plumber to handle the situation.

Low water level

Something as simple as a low water level in the toilet bowl can also cause a sewer smell. When the water level in the bowl is low, sewer gas can escape.

The key here is identifying the cause of the low water level. If a clogged pipe is the cause, this problem alone can cause a foul odor. Low water can also be caused by something harmless, e.g. the family dog ​​drinks from the toilet bowl because the lid is not down.

You must first identify the cause of the low water level and then address the problem. If you can control the water level and the smell persists, you know the water level isn't the problem.

(Video) Why Toilet Smell Worse After Cleaning (7 Reasons With Solutions)

toilet barst

A crack in the toilet bowl can also lead to the emission of a nasty smell. Here again the problem is a low water level. If you notice a leak on the floor under the toilet, chances are there is a crack somewhere. It's best to have a crack treated right away, as cracks can get worse over time and lead to larger leaks and overpowering odors.

If the crack is small, a simple and affordable repair is probably all that is needed. But if the crack is large and it generally looks like your toilet is on its last legs, then replacement is probably your best option.

Do you need a cleaning service?

Get free, no-obligation quotes from professional contractors near you.


Does the toilet also smell after cleaning? (Possible causes and solutions) | Upgraded home (3)

Related Questions

Is rust ring removal possible?

Removing a rust ring is not that difficult. You can use borax or other standard toilet cleaners for this. A unique method is using Coca-Cola to remove the rust ring. You'll be amazed at how well this stuff breaks down rust.

What if the toilet smells like urine?

If the toilet smells like urine, even though it looks clean, the smell may be coming from the tank. When you lift the tank lid and the smell hits you like a ton of rocks, you know you've found the source. Simply clean the tank with vinegar or disinfectant, then flush repeatedly.


(Video) 9 Reasons Your Bathroom STINKS and How to FIX IT!!

Matt loves all things DIY. He has been learning and practicing various trades since he was a child, and he is often the first to be called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt enjoys working with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his favorite pastime.

Recently published

link to When will HomeGoods be restocked?

When will HomeGoods be restocked?

If you get in a rush every time you enter HomeGoods, you may already know exactly when to find the best deals and find one-of-a-kind items. But what if you can't find what you're looking for to complete...

read more

link to What to do with old towels

What to do with old towels

Towels last up to 5 years, and most homeowners don't care much. However, with a little creativity and time, you'll think twice about throwing them away. Understandable,...

read more

(Video) Sewer Smell In Bathroom? How to Identify and Fix the Problem


Why does my toilet smell even after being cleaned? ›

Sewer Bacteria

In order to survive in your toilet, these tiny microorganisms tend to hold on to the rim of your toilet bowl for dear life. As bacteria begin to reproduce and multiply inside your toilet bowl, they can cause a foul smell that remains even after you clean your toilet.

Why is there always a smell coming from my toilet? ›

Even the cleanest homeowners occasionally encounter this toilet problem – an obnoxious odour that leaves you asking, “why does my toilet smell?” These toilet smells can come from an unused toilet, bacteria, mold, clogged drain, broken toilet seals, blocked vent pipe or cracked toilet bowls.

How do you get rid of sewer smell in toilet? ›

The trusty non-toxic combo of baking soda and vinegar can clean drains naturally. Add one cup of baking soda to the clogged toilet or slow drain, then wait a few minutes. Follow with two cups of vinegar. Listen for bubbling and sizzling noises to indicate that the mixture is working.

Can a bad toilet seal cause sewer gas smell? ›

A sealing ring around the base of your toilet keeps urine and other waste from entering and growing bacteria in small crevices or cracks. If the sealing ring is loose or broken, sewage gas seeps through the cracks, and you'll smell a foul odor.

How do I keep my toilet clean and smelling good? ›

Add Windex, Fabuloso, or vinegar to your toilet tank. Sprinkle laundry detergent or hydrogen peroxide into your toilet bowl. Use a toilet spray or drops to eliminate odors before and after you go. Clean your toilet regularly to maintain freshness.

How do you test for sewer gas? ›

The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball.

What is the best cleaner for sewer smell? ›

You can also add a mixture of baking soda and vinegar along with hot water to help get rid of the odor. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain followed by one cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 10 to 15 mins and flush with hot water. After this you should have an odorless clean drain!

Can a plumber get rid of sewer smell? ›

Loose connections along the vent pipe or sewer line can also let pungent gases into your home. These will most typically be inside a wall or in the ceiling, so you'll need the help of an experienced plumber to correct this issue.

Will sewer smell go away on its own? ›

When that smell reeks of the sewer, it may not go away on its own but instead, point to a serious problem that might require professional plumbing repair. The wastewater plumbing systems in your home are fairly simple. They rely on unblocked pipes, gravity and fresh air venting to drain.

Can sewer gas smell come and go? ›

The smell is likely strongest at floor level or at the drain. While it might come and go (or you may become so used to it that you no longer notice it), it's not fixed even if the smell dissipates for a while.

Should you caulk around a toilet? ›

Without caulk around the toilet base, water can get under there and sit for a long time. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bugs and mold. Applying silicone caulk prevents water infiltration and helps you maintain and clean and healthy bathroom.

What is the best bathroom deodorizer? ›

The 17 best odor eliminators for every gross smell, from cat pee...
  • Ozium Air Sanitizer Spray. ...
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray. ...
  • DampRid Moisture Absorber With Activated Charcoal. ...
  • DampRid Fresh Scent Hanging Moisture Absorber, 3-Pack. ...
  • Harris Cleaning Vinegar. ...
  • Zero Odor Laundry Odor Eliminator.
Feb 3, 2023

How many years does a toilet seal last? ›

Every toilet in your home has a wax ring connecting it to your plumbing, which creates a waterproof seal to keep what goes down to the sewer from seeping out the sides. This piece of equipment usually lasts as long as the toilet, about 30 years.

How often should you change your toilet seal? ›

In theory, the wax ring “should” last the lifetime of the toilet, or certainly 20 to 30 years.

How often should you reseal a toilet? ›

The wax ring is exactly what it sounds like: a ring made of sticky wax that helps form a watertight seal between the bottom of the toilet and the sewer pipe. It requires no maintenance and can last 30 or more years, often as long as the toilet itself. But sometimes wax rings can dry out, crumble, and fail prematurely.

Why does my toilet smell like sewage when I flush? ›

If you are noticing a sewer smell, it could be because the p-trap has a leak or broken seal. In the event of a faulty p-trap, you'll likely want to call in the pros to fix it. There's a blockage in the drain pipe. Sometimes blocked drains can exist without creating a fully clogged toilet.

Why does my toilet smell like sewer? ›

A sewer gas smell in the bathroom can be caused by:

evaporation of water in the P-trap piping. broken seal around the toilet in the wax ring or the caulk. A burst pipe. tree's roots have grown into or have caused damage to your sewer pipes.

How do I know if my toilet is leaking sewer gas? ›

If sewer gas is present in your home, the first sign you may notice is the smell of rotten eggs. You may also experience various symptoms of exposure, such as: fatigue. headaches.

What kills drain odor? ›

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

All you got to do is run hot water for a few seconds and pour one or two cups of baking soda down the drain plug hole. And then add a couple of cups of hot vinegar. Let it foam up and wait for an hour or two. Flush it through using hot water.

What is the main smell of sewer? ›

When organic materials break down in a sewer pipe they form hydrogen sulfide, a toxic and flammable gas. Hydrogen sulfide combines with gases like ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen that are present in the pipe to form “sewer gas”. This hydrogen sulfide gives sewer gas its sulfuric, egg-y odor.

What kills septic smell? ›

Grab some household baking soda and pour a cup of it down any toilet or drain. This should be done about once a week, which will help maintain a good pH level (between 6.8 to 7.6) for the microorganisms. After the baking soda is in the drain, make sure to avoid using excessive amounts of water.

Is it unhealthy to smell sewer? ›

The health risks linked to sewer gas exposure include: Hydrogen sulfide poisoning: Hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs, even in low concentrations. Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause eye and respiratory irritation.

Why does sewer smell come and go in my house? ›

One of the most common causes of sewage smells is a clogged drain. When your home's wastewater has nowhere to go, the odors will come back up the drain they should be going down.

What happens if you don't caulk around a toilet? ›

If there is no caulk, any water that creeps underneath the toilet can remain undisturbed for some time. It will soon start to stagnate, providing a breeding ground for mold and fungus. The application of caulk to the toilet prevents this from happening, and the bathroom is healthier as a result.

What do you put around the base of a toilet? ›

Caulk keeps your toilet secure the floor, and avoids any chance of injury or toilet malfunctioning. It's actually required by the International Plumbing Code to caulk a toilet to the floor, and now knowing the reasoning behind it, why would you not want to?

Should you grout around a toilet? ›

Typically, a tile floor is completed and grouted prior to the toilet being installed or replaced. If the toilet is already in place before grouting, you can grout between the toilet base and the tile.

What does a dry P trap smell like? ›

Dry air might just be the cause of that unpleasant rotten egg smell in your home. Especially during winter, a P-trap can dry up and allow sewer gas to enter the home.

What does sewer gas smell like? ›

Actually, sewer gas is mostly methane which is odorless but it's almost always mixed with other gases, the most common of which is hydrogen sulfide which has a rotten egg smell. Hydrogen sulfide comes from decomposing organic matter.

How do you fix a toilet that smells like P traps? ›

To eliminate odors coming from a dry p-trap, pour half a gallon of water into the trap to restore the barrier. It will prevent the odors from seeping through the drain. Another helpful method is to add a cup of white vinegar bleach to get rid of larvae and slow down the evaporation.

What does dry cleaning fluid smell like? ›

Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene is a colorless, non-flammable liquid comprising 80-85% of the dry-cleaning fluids used in the United States. PCE has a sharp, sweet, ether-like odor which can be detected at concentrations as low as 1 ppm.

What does bad plumbing smell like? ›

There could be odor-causing bacteria feeding on debris in your pipes. This process will give off a foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like sewage or rotten eggs. Also, mold grows where it's warm and wet — and mold growth on the debris causing a drain clog can also cause a bad smell.

What is the best way to get rid of sewer gas smell? ›

Sewer Gas
  1. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the drain.
  2. Follow with one cup of white vinegar.
  3. Let that sit for two hours with the bathroom door closed.
  4. Slowly pour a gallon of hot water down the drain.
  5. After 15 minutes, run cold water for 10 minutes to thoroughly rinse the vinegar down.
Apr 28, 2023

Will sewer gas smell go away? ›

Leaks, cracks, or blockages in the plumbing can cause sewer gas to leak into your home. The best remedy for a minor sewer gas leak is to call a local plumber so they can find and fix the leak. The symptoms of sewer gas exposure are mild and will go away after exposure ends.


1. Bathroom Smells Musty! - Causes And Solutions
(In The Wash)
2. Why Do I Have a Sewer Smell in My Bathroom? 3 Potential Reasons. Seattle Best Plumbing (206)633-1700
(Best Plumbing)
3. 5 Reasons Why the Toilet Smells like Sewage
(My Germ Free Home )
(Andrea Jean Cleaning)
5. Toilet Tank Trick Plumbers DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW! 💥😳 (it's better than vinegar & fabuloso)
(Andrea Jean Cleaning)
6. Finding A Sewer Odor In Your Bathroom
(Twin Home Experts)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated: 09/29/2023

Views: 6135

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (55 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.