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You take showers to get clean, so when you get in and there is a bad smell, it can be alarming. Your shower drain takes in a lot of random debris when you shower, so it is no surprise that sometimes things can get in there that should not be. Not only that, but there can actually be growths on the pipes. There are multiple things that could be causing your shower drain to smell bad.

  • Drain Strainer
    The drain strainer is right at the start of the drain and can be easily taken out. When you take it out, you will most likely notice that there is a layer of hair and other small debris on it. This obviously could be a cause of the smell, so you are going to want to clean this up.
  • Clog
    After a while of taking showers, there can be a buildup of debris such as soap, hair, dirt, and sand that can result in a clog. How do these small items clog a pipe? Well, when these items are all being washed down at the same time, they come together to build a more solid obstruction which can then pick up more debris as time goes on. With a clog, it is not possible for the water to fully drain. This sitting water will cause a gross and musty smell that is very unpleasant.
  • Dry or Dirty P-Trap
    Even worse than a musty scent is when the drain smells like sewage. When this is the case, there is probably a problem with the P-Trap. If it is doing its job, a P-Trap will contain water to prevent gasses from escaping and causing the smell of sewage. If this is the case, it will be hard to tell because the P-Trap is often concealed and if you can get to it, it will most likely be in your basement. When there are problems with the P-Trap it is best to call a plumbing professional to handle the situation.
  • Biofilm Buildup
    If there is a mildew smell emanating from the drain it could be caused by a biofilm buildup. Biofilm is a slimy substance caused by a buildup of bacteria. These types of buildups actually have negative effects on health if left untreated for a long period of time, so it is best to handle this issue as soon as it is identified. Luckily, dealing with biofilm is a fairly easy process. First you want to take a brush and try to break up the film as much as possible. After you do that, you want to take an antimicrobial chemical and apply it to the area you just brushed. If the biofilm is in the drain, you are going to need a longer brush most likely and stick it down the drain and rub it around while rinsing it often until you are not bringing up anymore biofilm.

If you are unable to identify a cause of the bad smell coming from your shower, it is best to call a plumber so they can come and check it out for themselves. They will be able to identify the issue and either advise you on what to do next or fix it themselves.