Shower Drain Smells Like Poop And Sewer: Reasons And How To Fix?

When I found the sewer smell in bathroom at night, it was horrible! I bet a lot of you have that experience. I did not waste any time to figure this out and to fix it up.

When your shower drain smells like poop, it indicates issues in lots of areas like blockage in sewer roof vent, obstructed drain, full septic tank, and so on.

So, you need to figure out the reasons first and then solve this horrible problem. And you will learn all about this issue including what to do in this article.

Why You Shower Drain Smells Like Sewer?

sewer smell in bathroom

Scrubbing your bathroom including regular disinfecting and deodorizing should keep your bathroom clean and smell nice.

But suddenly if that begins to smell bad, here are the possible reasons:

  • Toilet Drain Obstruction

Lots of stuff can create such obstruction in the toilet drain. You may not notice such obstruction because some of such obstruction will let the water to flow but will block the solid stuff.

Since, poop can’t go to the septic tank, you have a definite reason to have a poopy smell! No matter how clean a toilet or entire bathroom you have, you will still have that poopy smell.

  • A Blocked Toilet

Toilet can often get blocked at least partially. If not you, anyone can flush un-flushable items down there and block it.

A partially blocked toilet may still have contents left in the bowl. So, having a poopy smell is obvious.

  • The Septic Tank Is Filled

When no empty space left in the septic tank, your shower drain will be filled with solid waste. With a slow draining shower drain due to filled septic tank, having poop smell is a must.

Do not try to check the septic tank yourself! You must hire a septic pumping company to deal with this.

  • Broken Wax Ring

The wax ring located at the base of the common can deteriorate over time and worn-out. It can partially block the drain as well. When it does, sewer gas will seep out of your toilet.

So, that can cause having a foul odor in our shower too. We often don’t replace the wax ring until it’s completely damaged.

When you don’t find the reason to have such poopy smell in your shower, have a look at the wax ring.

  • Dried P-Trap
p-trap smell fix

Water in the P-Trap of your shower drain keeps sewer smell out of the house. The water in P-Trap acts as a vapor seal.

But when not used frequently, the P-Trap can get dried.

The water in the P-Trap evaporates when you don’t use the bathroom for some days.

So, sewer smell can easily pass through it and flood your shower and home with foul smell.

It won’t be a poopy smell, but you will have a foul smell of rotten eggs or sewer. Not a good experience!

  • Lack of Bacteria In Septic Tank

Septic tank needs the right kind and amount of bacteria to keep it functioning. When your septic tank does not have the right kind of bacteria or right amount of enzyme, your bathroom will reek of poop!

  • Dead Animal

Don’t leave its possibility out of your thinking. Dead animals can have stuck on the walls or crawlspace. May be a dead mouse decomposing in the walls.

It’s not uncommon where animals fall into the septic tank too! And people often make mistakes recognizing the smell of a rotting corpse with poopy smell.

  • Blocked Shower Drain

Dirt, debris, rust, calcium deposits, etc. can lead to a blocked shower drain. And don’t forget about the soap scum and hair. Plenty of such materials can accumulate and block the drain.

When water can pass though the blocked drain, it will lead to producing a foul odor. It may not smell like poop but it won’t be a pleasant smell either.

  • Mold And Mildew Growth

Some people won’t agree but having mold and mildew in the bathroom will give your sewer-like smell for sure. When you don’t have a running bathroom extractor fan, too much humidity will lead to such mold and mildew growth.

Apart from poor ventilation, leak under the sink, dirty surfaces, problematic toilet flange, etc. can encourage the growth of mold.

With mold and mildew in the shower, it may feel like living in a sewer!

  • Blocked Sewer Roof Vent

When did you check the sewer roof vent last time? If there is any blockage to the sewer roof vent from frost, fallen leaves, or bird’s nest, deflated balloon – icky sewer smell will develop pretty soon.

Such obstruction also causes slow draining and makes smelling issue worse.

Keeping Your Shower Smell Nice And Refreshing

shower drain smells like sewer

You don’t need to many reasons to have such sewer like or poopy smell in your shower. Only one of the reason is more than enough!

Finding out the reason is the most important step to get rid of such smell. Usually, you can follow these tips to keep your shower smells good:

  • P-Trap Smell Fix

It’s the easier one to fix; so let’s start with that. Just run some water through the drain and the P-Trap will have enough water.

When it has the required water automatically, you should not have any P-Trap smell anymore.

  • Fix Other Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems bring poopy smell in the first place. If you are not a handyman, hire a professional plumber to thoroughly check your entire plumbing system.

When the plumber gets rid of all the blockages and fixes all the leaks, you won’t have poopy smell anymore due to damaged plumbing issue at least.

  • Deep Clean Your Bath More Frequently

You should give your bathroom, especially your toilet a deep clean at least once in every week. Do it more often if you have children or a large family member.

If you have a black staining problem from hard water, you should not let any muck or residue left while cleaning. So, don’t leave any hard-to-reach areas while deep cleaning your toilet.

That means deep cleaning every nooks & corners around the seat’s hinges, under the toilet rim, crevices under the toilet seat, etc.

  • Keep Your Shower Well-Ventilated

At least that will keep your shower free of mold and mildew. And the best way to keep your shower well-ventilated is by installing a shower ventilation fan.

Than fan alone will remove all the humidity and keep your bathroom nice and dry. So, the mold and mildew won’t have a chance to flourish there.

  • Use Odor Eliminators

Using PooPourri to keep the toilet smell out and keep your bathroom fresh is always a good idea. It prevents the foul poopy smell from escaping the toilet bowl.

This is how it works…

Sprays like PooPourri is infused with essential oil. Such oil creates a film on the water of the toilet bowl. That creates a barrier to prevent the smell come out.

Other than PooPourri, you can use Airwick V.I.P., One Drop, Air Sense, etc. All of them work the same way.

  • How About Scented Candle?

That’s not a bad idea! Your bathroom needs extra attention to keep it smelling nice. Alternatively, you can just strike a match.

Burning a scented candle helps a lot to fight the stench. The smell will be still there but the burning candle will mask the odor perfectly.

The sulfur dioxide from striking the match will neutralize the odor as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why does it smell like poop in my bathroom?

A burst pipe, no water in the P-Trap pipe, broken seal around the toilet, etc. may be the cause of happing poop-like smell in your bathroom.

Can poop clog a shower drain?

Yes, there is a possibility where it may happen. The strong force of water derived from the flushing toilet can remove the feces but a shower drain is much more complex with lots of junctions and bends.

Can I pour bleach down my shower drain?

NO! You should not pour bleach down your shower drain considering its toxic nature. Reacting with your plumbing and pipework, it may create more problem than doing anything good.

What is good to pour down a smelly drain?

You can pour any good quality drain cleaner that is commercially available. Other than that, you can pour baking soda and lemon juice as well. Then plug the drain for a while. Lastly, flush running hot water down the drain.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there could be plenty of reasons why your shower drain smells like poop. I also described what to do in case your shower drain smells like sewer.

It always starts with a small sign. Having such foul smell in shower is such small symptom. You need to act FAST before it gets serious and damage your plumbing and other stuff.

Just make sure your plumbing system works and deep clean your toilet more frequently. That alone should keep the odor out of your shower.

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box.

Clyde Mitchell

I run a hardware store nearby Court Anaheim, CA. Over the last 7 years, I have been blogging about home improvement and yes, I own From me and this website, you can expect some useful tips on great ideas for a modern bathroom.

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