Why does my toilet smell so bad? (2023)

Do you get a sewer smell every time you walk into the bathroom?

Do you walk into your bathroom and notice a "sewage smell" coming from your toilet? That smell of rotten eggs is not only very unpleasant, but can also cause headaches and nausea. Not to mention those bad smells that can indicate sewage entering your home and causing structural damage.

If that horrible smell lingers no matter how many different toilet cleaners you've tried or how long you leave the bathroom fan on, then you may bedeal with one of themthese 5 problems:

  • Evaporates water in P-trap
  • Clogged toilet drain or pipe
  • Bacteria in the system
  • Vent pipe problem
  • Damaged sealing ring

In this blog we explain why these problems lead to bad smells from your toilet and we offer possible solutions.

Do you want a plumber to fix the smell as quickly as possible?

Climate Design's plumbers are on hand all week to fix those toilet problems. With extended opening hours until 8pm and weekends, our team is ready to help no matter when it happens. In about an hour we'll do a free toilet inspection and fix the problem so you don't have to grin when you walk into your bathroom. Call us today(727) 295-1572or book an appointment below to experience5 star service.

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Evaporates water in P-trap

If the foul odor comes from a seldom-used bathroom (such as a guest bedroom or pool house) or if you start smelling it after returning from a long vacation,it's because the p-trap no longer holds enough water. This problem is the easiest to solve.

(Video) How To Fix A Smelly Toilet

What is a p-trap?

If there is not enough water in the p-trap, your toilet may smell.

The "p-trap" is the pipe behind your toilet that drops down and comes back up in a "p" shape. It prevents sewer gases from entering your home and can only function properly if it is filled with enough water.

If your household does not use a toilet often enough,the water in the p-trap evaporates, creating a path for sewer gas and its foul smell to enter your toilet.


Flush your toilet a few times to refill the p-trap with water, keeping it locked in place and preventing gases from entering your home.

Clogged toilet drain or pipe

If there is a clog in your toilet drain or pipe that is not removed, it will start to smell.

Make sure of that firstthat items that should not be flushed have not been flushed,included:

  • Condoms
  • Cotton swabs
  • Tandzijde
  • Tissues
  • Wipes

Once you've checked that nothing has entered your toilet that shouldn't have, you can troubleshoot a clogged toilet bylooking at the water level and the flapper of the toilet.

A bad toilet valve or float can cause a foul odor.

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Check the water level in the tank

A toilet needs a lot of water to flush waste properly. If the level of thetank water is too low, the toilet will start to clog.You can check if it is too low by:

  • To take offthe tank lid
  • looking for amarking on the inside of the tankthat indicates how much water it should contain
  • If there is not enough water,adjust the float(which floats upwards as the water in the tank rises and shuts off the flow of water to the tank)


Follow the steps below to change the float:

  • Check which type of float you have
  • If you have a…large rubber ball deviceinto the tank, raise the float ball arm slightly to allow more water to enter the tank
  • If you have a…float adjustment screw(also known as the floating cup ball valve) on top of the fill valve, instead turn the screw clockwise to raise the float
  • If none of these efforts work, call a professional plumber for help

Check the toilet valve

Locate the small rubber seal (called the flapper) that covers the hole in the toilet tank. Each time you flush the toilet, a chain lifts the flapper, allowing the water in the tank to flow into the bowl. When you are not using the toilet, the valve seals the hole to prevent water from escaping from the tank.

A flap with too short a chain causes water to leak from the tank,reducing the amount of water needed to properly flush the toilet. Weakened flushing will continue to cause more toilet blockages.


Adjust the flapper's chain byremove and hook into a hole againcloser to your flush lever. Make sure there is just enough slack in the chain so that it opens fully when you flush the toilet.

Your flapper can be tootoo old or damaged and needs to be replaced.Contact a plumber to replace the flapper or chain.

Bacteria in the system

You can use a diluted bleach solution to clean your toilet.

Wastewater microorganisms can attach to the rim of your toilet bowl or the tank and begin to multiply.This is a common problem in Florida, as bacteria thrive in the hot, humid climate.

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You can check for microorganisms growing in your toilet by opening the tank lid. Is the smell getting worse? If yes, keep reading for solutions.


Make a diluted bleach solution:

  • Use amask, rubber gloves and waterproof apronto mix a capful of bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) in cold water(99 parts cold tap water to 1 part bleach)
  • Do this in onewell-ventilated area
  • DoingNOTcombine this diluted bleach with other toilet cleaners. (If necessary, use detergent first, then rinse the area thoroughly with water before using the diluted bleach.)
  • DoingNOTcontinue to use the diluted bleach after 24 hours - discard it

Remove unwanted bacteria in the bowl:

  • Pour the diluted bleach into thetank overflow pipe or flush valve
  • Wait 30 minutesand thenflushyour toilet to release the bleach to wipe away the bacteria and odor

Get rid of unwanted bacteria in the tank:

  • drainthe water in your toilet tank
  • Use abrush to scrubthe walls with the diluted bleach solution
  • Wait 10 minutesand thengently wipe the walls
  • Refillthe container of water
  • Flushthe tank 2-3 times

REMARK:Don't go overboard with bleach and vinegar solutions as they can affect your toilet and cause more sewer smell problems.

If you don't feel comfortable making a bleach solution or aren't sure how much bleach to use, contact a plumber to have your toilet's tank and bowl professionally cleaned.

Vent pipe problem

All toilets drain through a connected vent line that runs through your roof. The pipe vents and removes sewer gas and allows air to enter the system so wastewater can quickly flow through pipes and into the main sewer system.

If this vent is not clear or is poorly designed, it will become clogged,and the sewer gas will not escape.



For example, a bird's nest or a pile of leaves can clog the vent pipe. Contact a professional plumber to clean it up andinspect the shape of the vent pipe.

The vent pipe should slope downwards so that liquid and solids do not become trapped in it. If the slope isn't pointing down enough, the toilet water will stand once it hits the clog every time you flush, and a plumber will need to replace the vent pipe.


Damaged sealing ring

A professional plumber can replace your toilet's sealing ring.

A sealing ring around the base of your toilet prevents urine and other waste from entering and allowing bacteria to grow in small crevices or cracks. As thesealing ring is loose or broken, sewage gas seeps through the cracks,and you smell a foul odor.


Inspect the sealing ring for cracks.If there are cracks, apply sealantto the exposed area.

Don't see any visible cracks? Check if your toilet wobbles or rocks. If yes, theseal ring is loose and a plumber must be called to replace it.

Contact Climate Design for a reliable toilet repair

Get rid of that awful toilet smell the same day you call Climate Design(727) 295-1572or book below for a free plumbing inspection. We provide fast and reliable service, whether it's 8am on Tuesday or 8pm on Sunday. Ofover 1,000 5-star reviews, Clearwater homeowners trust us to repair any make or model of toilet.

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

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How do you get rid of a strong smell in a toilet? ›

White vinegar and baking soda in equal parts is a cost-efficient and effective means of getting rid odors in a toilet. Add them to the tank, mix them in and then use the toilet brush to gently scrub the tank. Let it sit for a few hours, scrub the tank again and flush.

How do I 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.

Why does my toilet stink no matter what? ›

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.

Why does my toilet still smell like urine after I clean it? ›

The smell of urine in your bathroom could be from a leaky seal in your toilet, poor hygiene, or bacteria build-up. If your bathroom smells like urine, it could be because of a leaky seal in your toilet. A leaking seal can cause water to seep out and create a wet environment, which will then attract bacteria.

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

What makes sewer smell go away? ›

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!

Will bleach get rid of sewer smell? ›

Pour Some Bleach in It: Bleach, like other disinfectants, kills almost every species of odor-causing bacteria commonly found in drains and sewer lines. So, an easy DIY step to reduce drain odor is to use bleach.

Why does my house smell like sewer when I flush the toilet? ›

There is an issue with the P-trap.

This prevents sewer gases from rising from your toilet and into the air. 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.

Why does my toilet smell like rotten eggs? ›

When you say the Toilet Smells Like Rotten Eggs, it is actually a gas from the sewer, hydrogen sulfide that makes the outdated egg scent we all know. It basically comes from raw sewage. If your pipes and plumbing system is working properly, you should not ever have to get a whiff of this terrible scent.

Can I leave vinegar in toilet overnight? ›

You can use straight or a diluted vinegar cleaning solution for the bathroom to clean bacteria, especially around the toilet. Cleaning with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the bathroom can work really well. To clean your toilet with vinegar, pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl and let sit overnight.

Can vinegar damage toilet? ›

Vinegar will not damage your toilet in any way if it's left in your toilet overnight. Regardless of your toilet's material, the vinegar is not strong enough to damage the toilet or the toilet's plumbing. So, you can leave the vinegar in your toilets overnight without worry.

Can I leave vinegar and baking soda in toilet overnight? ›

For extra-stubborn clogs, you can let the fizz mixture sit overnight or combine this method with plunging. If your toilet remains clogged or continues to get clogged, this may be an indication of plumbing problems such as mineral buildup or pressure issues.

How do I make my bathroom not smell after using it? ›

Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan. Most bathrooms have exhaust fans above the toilet. Just make sure you've turned on the fan and not the heater portion of the fixture. Leave it running even after you leave the bathroom.

What absorbs odor? ›

Some of the best odor eliminators are coffee grounds, tea, vinegar, oats, and baking soda. Leaving a bowl of any of these odor absorbers out in a room that's due for a little freshening up will help clear out the less-than-pleasant smells from the air.

How do you make air freshener for toilets? ›

The ultimate toilet bowl odour buster
  1. Put 1 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup natural citric acid in a metal bowl.
  2. Add 12-15 drops of your desired essential oil.
  3. Wear gloves and knead the mixture into small cubes (you can add water to improve consistency)
  4. Put the cubes into an ice tray and let it dry all night.
Mar 26, 2021

How do you get rid of poop smell in bathroom fast? ›

Place a small bowl or vase of baking soda or white vinegar somewhere in the room, suggests Lily Cameron, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Services. “They'll absorb most of the smell in the air,” she says.

What happens if you smell sewage for too long? ›

In extremely high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can cause loss of consciousness and death. Suffocation: High concentrations of methane in enclosed areas decrease the amount of oxygen in the air and can cause suffocation. Symptoms of a lack of oxygen include: Dizziness.

Can a plumber fix a smelly drain? ›

Professional plumbers may use industrial water jetters, snake augers, and pipe camera equipment to find and fix the cause of your drain smell. An experienced plumber can remove the clog at its source so you can enjoy a clear drain again.

Why does my bathroom smell like sewer at night? ›

One of the most common issues of drain odor is due to blockages and clogs. Any type of blockages, whether they are partial or full, can prevent waste water from properly leaving your home. Over time, this stagnant water sitting in the pipes can build up bacteria and produce pungent odors throughout the night.

What happens if you pour bleach and vinegar down the drain? ›

The mixing of acidic and alkaline materials creates heat and high pressure, as well as releasing chlorine gas. Not only can you cause your pipes to burst, but you can make the air in your entire home toxic to breathe.

Why does my house suddenly have a strong sewer smell? ›

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.

Can sewer gas leak from toilet? ›

Toilets are an important part of the sewer system in your home. To protect yourself from a leakage of gas from the pipes, toilets should always be tightly fitted to the sewer lines. A loose toilet can cause a gap in the pipes and lead to a leakage of sewer gas into your home.

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.

Why does my toilet smell like something died? ›

Hair, dead skin, and residual shower gels collect in the pipes. Over time, these will begin to decay, which will create some of these noxious gases. The best way to prevent this is to clean your drain regularly. While this is something anyone can easily do, it can be a disgusting job and maybe too much for some.

Why does my bathroom smell like sulfur sewage? ›

The bacteria feed on soap scum, dirt, oil, hair, and skin that is washed into the drain. When the waste is broken down, it releases hydrogen sulfide gas, which seeps out of the drain and into the air of the bathroom, creating a rotten egg smell. To fix this issue, you need to unclog and clean the drain.

How do you fix rotten egg smell in bathroom? ›

What to Do When Your Drains Smell Like Rotten Eggs
  1. Flush the Offending Drain With Water. ...
  2. Have Your Drain Traps Professionally Inspected. ...
  3. Try Vinegar and Baking Soda. ...
  4. Check for Dirty Plumbing Vents. ...
  5. Give Your Garbage Disposal Some Much-Needed Maintenance.
Jun 20, 2022

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.

Can clogged P-trap cause smell? ›

A dried p trap will result in a sewer odor emitting from a sink that maybe hasn't been used in a while. A p trap is designed to use water to block the sewer gases from leaking up the drain. If a sink's p trap dies out this can result in a drain that smells bad.

How do you fix a dry drain smell? ›

Pour a 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Pour a 1/2 cup lemon juice down the drain as well. Plug the drain and let the solution work for one hour. Finish by running the hot tap water down the drain.


1. The Toilet Always Smells Fresh And Stays Clean All You Need Is This |Remove toilet smell HealthPedia
2. Why Is My New Toilet Smelling Like Raw Sewer?
(Fast Plumbers)
3. Smelly Toilet? 9 Easy Steps to Resolve. Pay Zero
(Beautiful Plumbing)
4. Finding A Sewer Odor In Your Bathroom
(Twin Home Experts)
(Tiffiny Grant)
6. Why Do I Have a Sewer Smell in My Bathroom? 3 Potential Reasons. Seattle Best Plumbing (206)633-1700
(Best Plumbing)


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