Why is there a Sewage Smell in your Bathroom & How to Solve It?

small white apartment bathroom

Does your bathroom have a bad smell that you can’t seem to get rid of? While many homeowners turn to cleaners, air freshers and other products to mask or rid their bathroom of these smells, the solution may be much simpler. 

Most of the time if your bathroom smells like a sewer, it’s because sewer gasses are rising through your pipes into your bathroom. The solution: check your P-trap. 


What is a P-trap?

Funnily enough, a P-trap is the u-shaped piece of pipe that can be seen under all of your sinks. And even though you can’t see it, these joints are found below every plumbing fixture in your home, including bathtubs and washing machines. You may never have noticed before, but if you take a look at your toilet you’ll probably see a built in one below the tank and bowl. 

A P-trap serves two purposes: one is to stop large solids that might clog the sewer system further down the line. The other purpose is to prevent sewer gasses from coming back into your home. 


Why is my P-trap not working? 

The second purpose is what we’re focused on for this article. It’s a very simple mechanism for preventing sewer gasses—the u-shaped bend keeps water sitting still inside the bottom of the U, which in turn forms a barrier that rising sewer gasses cannot penetrate. 

If you have a bathroom that is not under consistent use, the water in your P-trap may evaporate to a level that allows sewer gasses to escape past it, causing an awful smell in your bathroom. In climates where it is warm and dry, like Nevada, this can happen in only a couple of weeks. 


How to fix a problem P-trap

The good news is, because the P-trap is such a simple operation, it can be just as simple of a fix. Try running water for a few minutes to see if that helps the smell. If that does the trick, just remember to run water on a regular basis to maintain that “trap seal” and prevent sewer gasses from escaping. 

If running water does not work, it may be time to call a plumber to check for a leak. Silver State is available for leak detection, and has experience as a leak-detection company. While this is a more labor-intensive job because it can require a lot of testing and searching, we believe it’s important to find the source of these problems and fix them as soon as we can. 

If you are having problems with smells in your home, or possible leaks, call us to schedule an appointment. We are available anytime of the day or night, and weekends too.