What Is that Strange Smell in My Bathroom?

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Chances are, you have walked into your bathroom, or by the bathroom, and wondered, "What is that strange smell?" You may catch a whiff of sulfur as you walk by the bathroom that appears to be coming from your bathroom sink. Fortunately, in nearly all cases, this problem is because there is not enough water in your trap, and the smell is actually coming from the sewer. The sulfur odor is caused when hydrogen sulfide gas escapes upward into your pipes. 

Root cause of methane odor in your sink 

You may not be aware of it, but your sink trap holds water all the time. Take a look under your sink, and you will see a drain that looks similar to the letter P. This is called a P trap and the water in that trap is keeping gasses from seeping into your home. When the trap is empty, which means the sink has not been used for a while, this allows methane to escape upward and cause the odor in your bathroom. You need not worry; there are some simple home remedies to eliminate the odor. 

Home remedies to stop methane odor 

The most obvious remedy to stop the hydrogen sulfide gas odor in your bathroom is to make sure the trap water has not evaporated. The easiest method is to pour water into the trap. You should pour about a quart of water into the drain to create a seal against the methane. In most cases, if this is the problem, you will find the smell dissipates in a few minutes, and your problem is solved. 

What happens if this does not help? 

There are a couple of other options you can try if this remedy does not work. First, try pouring one-half cup of bleach into each of your drains. Do not limit your usage to simply the sink in question; put it in all of the drains in your home for the best results. In most cases, this will help clear any bacteria and eliminate odors.  

For those who have a concern about using bleach in their drains, there is another solution. Baking soda and vinegar can also clean your drains. Simply pour one-half cup of baking soda into your sinks, tub and toilet and follow that with one-half cup of vinegar. 

When all else fails 

If you have tried these home remedies to eliminate the sulfur odor from your bathroom and it is persisting, you need to check the seals on your toilet. This is done by sitting on the toilet and moving lightly back and forth to see if it is rocking. Should you notice any rocking motion, you should replace the gasket on the toilet. This is a fairly simple process that can be done without the help of a plumber. 

Should the sulfur odor return in spite of these home remedies, you may need to consider seeking the help of a plumber. Remember, in some cases, the sulfur smell may be coming from contaminants in your water heater, a leak from the outside pipes into your home or a leak in the overflow pipe in your sink. Fortunately, in most cases, eliminating the sulfur smell in your bathroom is a quick fix that you can do yourself.


Doreen M. has an extensive portfolio of work that includes business titles, jobs and careers titles and legal titles. During the time she has been contributing to online sites, she has maintained a steadily growing base of articles on evergreen topics that continue to appeal to readers.