Have you ever noticed a foul smell emanating from your shower? It’s not uncommon to experience strange odours when running water, especially in the shower. You may be wondering why this happens. The truth is that the smell may be a result of a variety of factors. In this article, we will explore the reasons why your shower may be emitting an unpleasant odor and what you can do to get rid of it.

The science behind the smell

Before we dive into the causes of shower smells, it’s essential to understand the science behind the odour. The smell in your shower is caused by a build-up of bacteria and other microorganisms in the water. These microorganisms thrive in warm and damp environments, which is why the shower is a perfect breeding ground for them. When you turn on the shower, the water mixes with the bacteria, producing an unpleasant smell.

Common causes of shower smells

Now that we understand the science behind the smell, let’s take a look at the common causes of shower smells.

Stagnant water

Stagnant water is a common cause of shower smells. When the water in your shower sits for an extended period, bacteria and other microorganisms start to grow, producing a foul smell. Stagnant water can occur when you don’t use your shower regularly or when you have a clogged drain that prevents water from flowing correctly.

Hard water

If you live in an area with hard water, it can cause your shower to smell strange. Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can react with soap and other chemicals, producing an unpleasant odor.

Sewer gas

Another common cause of shower smells is sewer gas. Sewer gas is a mixture of gases that include methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. If there is a leak in your plumbing system, sewer gas can enter your shower, producing a foul smell.

How to fix the problem

Now that we know the common causes of shower smells let’s explore how you can fix the problem.

Clean your shower

One of the easiest ways to get rid of shower smells is to clean your shower thoroughly. Use a cleaning solution that contains bleach or hydrogen peroxide to kill the bacteria and other microorganisms causing the smell. Scrub the walls, floors, and fixtures of your shower to remove any dirt or grime that may be contributing to the odour.

Check for leaks

If you suspect that sewer gas is causing the smell in your shower, check your plumbing system for leaks. Look for any cracks or holes in the pipes, and fix them immediately. You can also install a sewer gas check valve to prevent gas from entering your shower.

Use a water filter

If you live in an area with hard water, consider using a water filter. A water filter can remove the minerals that cause the water to smell strange, improving the overall quality of the water.

Preventing shower smells in the future

Preventing shower smells from occurring in the future is essential. Here are some tips to help you prevent shower smells:

Use your shower regularly

Using your shower regularly can prevent stagnant water from accumulating in your plumbing system. If you don’t use your shower frequently, run the water for a few minutes every day to prevent stagnant water from building up.

Keep your shower dry

After using your shower, make sure to dry it off completely. A damp shower is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that cause odours.

Clean your shower regularly

Regularly cleaning your shower can prevent the build-up of dirt and grime that can contribute to odours.

DIY solutions for shower smells

If you prefer to use natural remedies to get rid of shower smells, here are some DIY solutions you can try:

Baking soda and vinegar

Mix a cup of baking soda with a cup of vinegar and pour the mixture down your shower drain. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes, then rinse it down with hot water.

Lemon juice

Squeeze some lemon juice down your shower drain. The acid in the lemon juice can help break down the bacteria and other microorganisms causing the smell.

When to call a professional plumber

If you’ve tried all the DIY solutions and still can’t get rid of the smell in your shower, it may be time to call a professional plumber. A plumber can inspect your plumbing system and identify any leaks or other issues that may be causing the smell.


A strange smell emanating from your shower can be unpleasant and even embarrassing. However, with a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can get rid of the smell and prevent it from occurring in the future. Remember to clean your shower regularly, check for leaks, and use a water filter if necessary. By following these simple tips, you can keep your shower smelling fresh and clean all year round.

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