How To Fix A Rotten Egg Smell In The Bathroom

How to Fix Rotten Egg Smell in a Bathroom

There are few things more frustrating than a smell inside your home that you can’t find the source of. Especially if you’ve cleaned one room top to bottom and it still smells. If you’ve ever smelled a rotten egg or sulfur-like smell in your bathroom, you can relate to that frustration.

If you have a rotten egg smell coming from your bathroom it may be because you have a clog that needs to be cleared. If you smell it coming from the water then you may have a contamination issue. If you suspect a gas leak, you need to evacuate immediately and call 911. 

In this article, we’ll help you get to the bottom of that unpleasant smell, so you can breathe more freely in your bathroom.

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Common Sources of Sulfur Smell in Bathroom

  • Clogged drain
  • Non-use
  • Contaminated Water
  • Gas Leak

How to Clear a Clogged Drain

Your best bet is to start with the bathroom sink since it’s common for a bathroom sink to become clogged. The most likely cause of the clog is a combination of soap scum buildup, hair, and various hair and skin products.

The goal is to clear the drain in the least harmful way possible. Using chemical drain cleaners is bad for your pipes as well as your eyes and skin. These chemicals can also contribute to polluting the municipal water supply.

Step 1: Remove the Stopper

Remove the stopper from the sink. If you have a newer sink, you’ll probably be able to remove the stopper by unscrewing it. If your sink is older, you might have to do an extra step to get it out. There should be a small rod with a nut and clip connected to the pipe underneath the sink. You can detach it by turning the nut with pliers or your fingers if you can. Then squeeze the clip to release the rod. You should be able to lift out the stopper now.

Step 2: Clean the Stopper

Use a rag to clean off the stopper if it’s full of hair and other slimy stuff (yuck).

Step 3: Break up the Clogs

Pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar to break up any small clogs. The fizzing and bubbling are normal and expected. Block the drain with a small rag so that reaction stays down to take care of the clogs.

Step 4: Flush Out the Gunk

Wait 15 minutes, and then pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain and run the hot water for a few minutes. This should help flush out the melted sludge and slime. If this didn’t do the trick, continue to step 5.

Step 5: Use a Drain Cleaning Tool

Use a drain cleaning tool to try and fish out lingering debris. To use, insert it into the sink drain and move it around to grab any gunk stuck to the sides. Then pull it out and wipe the end of the tool. Repeat several times until the tool comes up clean. If this still didn’t solve the issue, move onto step 6.

Step 6: Try a Sink Plunger

There could still be a clog further down in the pipe that you might be able to loosen with a sink plunger. This is different from a toilet plunger due to its cup shape. To plunge the sink, start by blocking the sink’s overflow holes with a small rag. Then fill the sink with enough water to cover the cup part of the plunger. Next, plunge several times with quick movements to force the clog down.

You’ll know if it worked if you see the water in the sink draining quickly.

Step 7: Use a Drain Snake

If this didn’t help and you still suspect a clog, use a drain snake to pick up gunk further down in the sink.

Step 8: Clean the P-Trap

The last thing to check if you haven’t cleared the clog yet is the P-trap, which is a U-shaped bend in the pipe. The P-trap is supposed to contain a small, constant pool of water to keep sewer gas from coming up into your house. Clogs and anything else that might be stuck usually ends up here.

To clean the trap, turn off the water supply first and put a bucket underneath the sink. Turn the nuts at the end of the curved part of the pipe counterclockwise to loosen them. Now you can remove the P-trap and clean out anything stuck in there. Replace when finished and turn the water back on.

Non-Use

Sometimes bathrooms that haven’t been used in a while start to give off a smell. This is because of the P-trap discussed in the last section. When the sink goes unused, the water in the P-trap starts to evaporate. When the P-trap is dry, the sewer gas (and foul smell) comes up through the drain and into the bathroom. The simple solution, in this case, is to run the water in the bathroom sink to fill the P-trap. If the bathroom is rarely used, try to remember to run the water once per week for a few minutes.

Test for Contaminated Water

If you think that the smell might be coming from your water, here’s how to test that.

Step 1: Fill a Glass

Check to see if the smell is coming from your bathroom sink or drain. First, fill a glass using cold water from your bathroom sink.

Step 2: Smell the Water

Take the water outside and smell it, and then repeat the test with hot water.

If both the cold and hot water smell the same when you isolate it, the smell is likely coming from the water supply. If it’s only coming from the hot water, then your water heater is most likely the culprit. If you don’t smell anything in the water, the problem is probably coming from a drain.

There are many variables involved in potential water contamination. It can be tricky for a layperson to diagnose the source of the problem. When your water smells, it’s probably safest to call a professional. You will need someone to test the water or take a closer look at your fixtures.

Gas Leak

If you can’t link the foul smell to anything discussed above, you may have a gas leak. If you suspect you have a gas leak, leave the home immediately and call 911. The utility company or fire department will come ASAP to test your home for gas.

Although gas is naturally odorless, gas companies inject a chemical that makes it smell to alert residents when there’s a leak.

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Related Questions

How can I prevent sink clogs?

Being proactive to protect your sink can help to prevent clogs. If you see hair, toothpaste, or soap lingering in the sink, don’t flush it down the drain. Wipe it up and throw it in the garbage instead. It’s also a good idea to clean your sink stopper regularly.

Is sewer gas dangerous?

It can be. This gas is a combination of gases and compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. It’s not as dangerous in small amounts, but high amounts are toxic. Toxic amounts of sewer gas can eventually cause organ damage and even death. It’s important to take care of a sulfur/rotten egg smell as soon as possible to prevent adverse effects.

Kathryn Flegal

Kathryn is a craft aficionado who loves writing about DIY home improvement projects. When she’s not writing, she loves reading, listening to musicals, and playing with her kids.

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