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Help! My Shower Drain Smells Like Cabbage!

shower drain smells like cabbage

Hey…hey guys…?

My shower drain smells weird. Like, it’s all musty and gross and it smells like cabbage.

It’s not supposed to smell like that, right?

Can anyone tell me why my shower drain smells musty…and like cabbage…or rotten eggs…or sulfur…or sewage…?

It’s not supposed to smell like anything!

That’s gross!!!

Actually Dude, That’s Growth

What you smell could be active mold that’s growing underneath the drain cover. In particular, if you smell something musty, you can be sure it’s mold.

You’ll need to clean this as soon as possible, because breathing in too much of the gasses released by these mold spores can result in dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and nausea.

If the area is less than ten square feet, you’ll be able to clean it yourself. You’ll need some:

  • Boiling Water
  • Baking Soda
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Old Toothbrush

You’ll want to mix the water and baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste with the toothbrush to the shower drain and infected area. Wait ten minutes, and then scrub the drain thoroughly.
When finished, slowly pour the boiling water down the drain to rinse away the mess. Follow this slowly with a cup of vinegar, followed by a half cup of baking soda. Wait an hour, then pour boiling water down the drain one last time.
If this solution proves to be ineffective, you may have a larger issue in your pipes that requires professional help.

Check the odor again if the problem persists. If you smell sewage or rotten eggs, you may have one of two problems.

Problem A: Biofilm Buildup

Check to see if your shower is draining slowly. If it is, this can be caused from a very sticky buildup of bacteria and decomposing debris inside your drain known as ‘biofilm’. You’ll need to remove this with the following items:

  • Boiling Water
  • Baking Soda
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Drain Brush

After removing the drain cap, you’ll want to slowly pour about five cups of boiling water down the drain to loosen the biofilm. Immediately and slowly pour a cup of vinegar, followed by half a cup of baking soda down the drain
Wait two hours, and then pour more boiling water down the drain. Use the drain brush to clean away any leftover biofilm

Problem B: You’re Smelling Sewer Gasses

If your shower doesn’t drain slowly, you may be smelling sewer gasses. While not dangerous to be inhaling, it is rather unpleasant, and a solid indicator that your sewage system is having drainage issues.

Generally, these issues are caused by one of three things.

  • Sewer backup
  • No P-Trap
  • A dry P-trap

A P-Trap is an exaggerated curve or bend in a pipe that traps water in a confined space, which prevents sewer gasses from escaping through the pipe. Without the water acting as a barrier in the P-trap, the sewer gasses have a clear path to escape through any opening nearby.

Unfortunately, these issues can’t be handled at home, and require professional assistance. Why not give us a call today if you’re experiencing any of these smelly issues, and we’ll be happy to help. Solutions can range from a simple drain cleaning to a home repipe or a sewer repair, so it’s best to find out what you’re up against at the first sign of trouble.