Living in the desert has its challenges, one of the biggest is water. Both for indoor and outdoor use, water is expensive. Every time I need to buy to buy a new faucet, the flow rate is lower than the last faucet I bought and installed. This is tough on plumbing made for a higher water volume.
New faucets are very good at looking and feeling like the same amount of water is coming out of the faucet as the old faucet. However, the drains in the house know the difference. Not realizing this, I started to wonder if the drain in the shower was possessed.
It started with the shower drain having a slight odor. Almost unnoticeable by me, but obvious to anyone with a more sensitive nose. Scrubbing the shower walls and floor only helped for a day or two, then the smell would start up again.
Over time the smalls became worse of course. Really odd odors, nothing I could say was coming from a soap buildup or anything from the nearby sink or toilet. More scrubbing followed to no avail. The shower walls were about as clean as the walls could get.
I could not smell anything from the bathroom sink at first, and the toilet seemed to be working as it always did. I was running out of ideas. I was starting think somehow, someway, the walls behind the tile was rotting away and full of mold.
The walls when I thumped on them were as solid as they ever were. There was no obvious way for the water to get past the tiles into the walls that I could determine. The odor was now becoming noticeable as summer wore on.
I started to notice a slight odor coming from the bathroom sink too. Very slight odor, but oder all the same. It was smelling slightly like the drain vents smell at times. That lovely sewer smell. By now I was wondering if I would be replacing the sewer lines in the house.
I was putting bleach in the shower drain and blocking it with the bleach bottle. This stopped the odor in the shower. I knew the odor was from the drain itself. As long as I kept pouring in bleach and covering the drain, the shower smelled fresh and clean.
At this point I decided enough was enough. I pulled off the drain cover and looked into the drain. There was not much to see, but the odor was definitely coming from the drain. The u trap had the right amount of water in it, and no air was getting through from the sewer line into the house.
The problem had to be between the top of the drain and the u for both the sink and the shower. It was time to pull out the big guns. The smell of bleach is not all that great. Not to mention that continuous bleach odors can burn your lungs.
I remembered hospitals use Hydrogen Peroxide to clean with. Hydrogen Peroxide is a powerful cleaner, like bleach but without the smell. Hydrogen Peroxide leaves a faint oder, that in most cases goes unnoticed, unless you know what you are smelling.
The fix to the smelly drains was simple, once I figured out the reason for the problem. The problem was the lowered water flow in the shower and the sink. The lower flow meant not everything was flushing down the drain all the time as it did when the water flow was higher.
I bought a few bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide for less than a dollar each. I put a sprayer on one bottle, and set the second bottle to the side for a few minutes.
In the shower, I removed the drain cover. I sprayed the drain with Hydrogen Peroxide. Then I took the toilet cleaning brush and shoved it down the drain. Pulling it up and down as I sprayed Hydrogen Peroxide in the drain. Be careful with this step. At one point I thought I had the toilet brush stuck in the drain. You do not want to get Hydrogen Peroxide on your skin or eyes, or on your clothing.
It only took about thirty seconds of spraying and brushing and I was done. Using the spray bottle I started spraying the walls of the shower. I did this daily for about a week when the shower walls were dry.
For the sink, I poured Hydrogen Peroxide down into the drain and let it sit until next use. I also sprayed around the sink drain daily for a week or so. I thought the problem was solved.
After a few weeks I started to notice a slight smell again in the shower. So slight it was only occasionally noticeable. What I found was the drain needs flushing at the end of showering. What I do now is stand on the drain the drain after I have rinsed off until water in the bottom of the shower. Then I move my foot and it flushes the drain.
I still spray the shower and sink with Hydrogen Peroxide every couple of days, and have no further problem with odd smells from unknown sources. I hope this idea helps you too if you have this problem. Total cost is around five dollars a year for fresh drains.