Approaches to Eliminating Smelly Shower Drains

Shower drain in tiled floor
  • .25
  • Beginner
  • 5-20

Smelly drains are distracting, embarrassing, and unpleasant. Drain smells are usually caused by a clog in plumbing, either from a slow drain or a backup of soap scum.

Prevent Soap Scum

To prevent soap scum, clean your shower with a sponge and cleaner. This will remove current soap scum, mildew, and dirt. Continued cleaning will prevent the buildup of soap scum in the future. If the smell was coming from the surface, this should stop it.

Shower Drain

Sometimes smells can occur from a shower drain. Be sure to clean out and remove any hair or debris from the grate covering to your shower drain. This alone can produce an awful smell.

Unclogging and Removing Drain Smells

bathtub drain

If water goes down the drain slowly, chances are that the smell is coming from within the pipes. Use a plunger to unclog this drain. If the plunger doesn't fulfill the job, you can use a drain cleaning solution. If both of these don't work, try an auger.

Baking Soda

To eliminate smelly drains, pour 1/3 cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, pour a gallon of hot water down the drain. Do this weekly to keep your drains fresh and prevent odor. Baking soda is another non harmful chemical that is good to use when you want to clean a smelly drain. It also has the ability to deodorize.

Eliminating Mold

To eliminate odor causing mold, always remove blockages. Check for any decayed substances. You can either use chemicals or remove them personally. Next pour boiling water down the drain and follow up with baking soda. Leave the baking soda in for 30 minutes and then drain. Sometimes mold can be backed up for awhile. It is always a good idea to repeat this step weekly to prevent further mold buildup from reoccurring.

White Vinegar

bottle of white vinegar

The acid in white vinegar can kill odor causing organisms in the drain. White vinegar is a good substance to use because it is not harmful like bleach or other chemicals people normally purchase to eliminate smelly drains. In addition, it is cheap to purchase and has the same killing properties as bleach.


If you use bleach, don't use it with other chemicals because they can create a chemical reaction. Always be weary of using bleach if you are pouring other chemicals down the drain. Bleach is a harmful chemical and it should be used in a well ventilated area.

Bathroom Cleaners and Fresheners

Bathroom fresheners can mask the smell of odors. Remember they only mask the smell of odors and don't completely get rid of them. You may want to choose an antibacterial freshener, so as it will kill some of the odor causing bacteria as well.


You can use a 1/2 cup of salt, followed by baking soda to eliminate a smell odor.