Why Does My Shower Drain Smell Like Rotten Eggs?


Person in a white shirt, pinching nose with right hand

If your shower drain smells like rotten eggs, you’re not alone. Smelly shower drains are a common plumbing problem that affects residential buildings as well as business premises. The awful, rotten egg smell can ruin your shower time and once you pick it up, it becomes hard to ignore. In this article, we talk about what causes this shower drain rotten egg smell and how you can get rid of it. We also share some tips on how you can prevent this nasty smell.

What causes the shower drain to smell?

If you catch a whiff of the smell of rotten eggs coming from your shower drain, what you’ll actually be smelling is hydrogen sulfide. This gas, also known as sewer gas, is produced by bacteria found in sewage or when it grows in your shower drain. The following are some reasons why you may end up with a smelly shower drain:

A P-trap that’s dry or dirty

A blue P-trap

A P-trap is a U-shaped pipe that attaches to drains in your home. Its shape is purposefully designed to trap water that will block gases from wafting into your home. When these gases leak into your home, this may be because your P-trap is dry or empty.

When there’s no water in the P-trap, stinky gases have no barrier that stops them from moving up the drain and into your space.

Contaminated water

If raw sewage sips into your house’s pipes, this can cause a nasty, rotten egg smell. Levels of sulfur in your water can also contribute to this problem.

High sulfate levels in your water can corrode your pipes. The sulfate can react with the rods in your water heaters. This reaction creates gases like hydrogen sulfide which give off a rotten egg smell.

A clogged drain

Hand with red glove holding a drain’s cover which has a tuft of hair attached to it. A hanger is lying on the floor

If you notice that your water is taking time to drain, there is a high chance it’s clogged. Dirt that has managed to find its way into your drain can be attached to the stopper or cover.

Several things can clog your drain. Hair and lint are the biggest offenders. Over time, residue from your bath products or the dirt from your body can build a film around the walls of your drain pipe. This can end up blocking your drain. Clogs also result in a build-up of bacteria that gives off the rotten egg smell.

How to get rid of the rotten egg smell in your shower

When you know what is causing the rotten egg smell in your shower drain, this makes it easier to find ways to get rid of it. Here are a few ways to consider:

Fix your P-trap

Check if there’s water in your P-trap. To do this, shine your flashlight down the shower drain. If you don’t see any water, pour a few cups of water down the drain. After an hour or so, check to see if water has collected in your P-trap.

If there is water, that means a dry P-trap isn’t the reason for the rotten egg smell. You should probably contact your plumber so they help you figure out what’s causing the smell. If you rarely use your shower, also talk to them about how you can ensure that water in your P-trap does not quickly evaporate and leave you with the stinky smell.

If dirt has accumulated in your P-trap, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain. Next, pour half a cup of white vinegar. Cover your drain and let the mixture sit for a while so it can dissolve the dirt in your P-trap.

Bottle with white vinegar next to a glass with soda. A wooden spoon with a heap of soda is on top of the glass

Treat contaminated water

Your plumber is able to test your water and help you determine the cause of the rotten egg smell. Once they do this, they can recommend ways to treat the water and get rid of the smell. Using chlorine is one way to go about this and remove hydrogen sulfide from your water. A chlorinator may be attached to your water system so it automatically adds chlorine to your water.

Remove the clogs in your drain

If the clogs are sitting near the top of your drain, you can easily use a hanger or tweezers to remove them. Dirt that’s located deeper into your shower drain may need you to use a plunger or drain snake. Check out this article for some ways on how you can remove any hair clogs from your shower drain.

Just like you would use soda and vinegar to clean out your P-trap, so too can you use this mixture to clean your shower drain. First, you’ll need to pour boiling water down the drain. This will loosen the dirt that has collected around your drain.

After this, pour one cup of white vinegar and one cup of baking soda into your drain. Let this sit for a while and rinse with more boiling water.

Tips to prevent the rotten egg smell in the future

![Hand wearing yellow glove holding a scrub over the cover of a shower drain ](https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/0c038f58-5685-4c63-8b10-f5578cc82f65/Scrubbing_shower_drain_cover.png) Hand wearing yellow glove holding a scrub over the cover of a shower drain

There are a few things you can do to ensure your shower drain doesn’t end up smelling like rotten eggs.

  1. At least once a week, pour hot water down your shower drain. It will dissolve and wash away any particles that may be collecting on the walls of your drain.
  2. Keep your bathroom clean. Properly get rid of hairs, lint, or any other debris that may end up in your shower drain.
  3. If you can afford it, make sure a reliable and experienced plumber regularly inspects your drainage system and ensures that all is working well.


Smelly shower drains are a common problem that can also be prevented. Once you determine what is causing your drain to smell like rotten eggs, you’ll be able to take the relevant steps to get rid of the unpleasant smell. There are do-it-yourself solutions you can successfully implement. In some instances, you’ll need to call your experienced plumber. We hope this article helps you to keep nasty smells in your drain at bay so you can enjoy your showers.

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