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How To Get Rid Of Toilet Odor

Bathroom odor, by any other name, is just as off putting, and possibly dangerous. When there’s a buildup of bathroom smells and your basic air freshener is not knocking out the bad odors then it may be time for either a deep clean, where every crack and crevice has been touched; this is one way to address that foul smell. There could also be a deeper plumbing problem that is causing the toilet odor and you’ll need more than a DIY solution like baking soda, bleach, lemon juice, essential oils, white vinegar or a cup of vinegar and hot water, and will need to be addressed by a professional.

The odors could be from mildew  on the grout that you clean

What’s Causing the Foul Odor? 

Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer because there can be a number of causes and without being there, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the foul odor.

Aside from the odor being unpleasant, the methane in sewer gas is not only flammable in large quantities, but it’s not good to breathe it in either, and is commonly associated with bathroom odors and that “bad smell” that the exhaust fan is not able to get rid of.

The good news is that once you identify the cause of the bad smell, it shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive to correct. Essentially, if there’s a sewage smell in your bathroom, it means that something in the plumbing system isn’t working right. If you’re lucky, it’ll be a quick fix, a deep clean and deodorizer or a few drops of essential oils.

Possible culprits:

  • The water in the P-trap (sink, tub, or shower) has evaporated
  • A leak in or around the P-trap
  • Clogged Drain
  • Broken seal (toilet)
  • Blocked roof vent
  • Improperly installed a vent pipe
  • Cracked vent pipe


Common Causes of Toilet Odors 

You know you have a plumbing problem in Kansas City. When you walk into your bathroom, you crinkle your nose because you detect that unmistakable foul odor…the sewage smell in the air, and it’s coming from your toilet. Your toilet is sparkling clean and so is your bathroom, you’ve followed all the cleaning tips and there’s no explanation for the sewage smell.

We all know that occasionally bathrooms will have foul odors, but when the smell of sewage won’t go away, that’s not a good sign, and means it’s time to look for deeper problems.

At first, you thought it was just a “temporary” issue, but after you investigated all of the possible culprits – the tub, the shower, the sink drains and the toilet – you realized it’s coming from the toilet. You squeezed some toilet bowl cleaner down the toilet, gave it a little scrub with a spray bottle and toilet brush, wiped down the toilet seat,  and sprayed some room freshener/deodorizer. It masked the smell for a few minutes, but the sewage smell returned with gusto.

So, why does your sparkling clean toilet smell like raw sewage?


What Could Cause the Sewage Smell?

Unfortunately, the cause of the offensive odor can be any one of a number of things, so without inspecting the toilet, it’s difficult for us to pinpoint the source of the foul odor.

Aside from the unpleasant smell coming from the toilet, the methane in the sewer gas is not only flammable in large enough quantities, but it’s also not healthy to breathe the vapors.

We do have good news for you though: Once we’re able to identify the sources of the odor in your bathroom, it should be a relatively simple fix. 

Here common causes of toilet odors:

  • The water has evaporated from the toilet bowl. This commonly occurs in rarely used toilets, such as those in a basement or guest room.
  • If you have a damaged wax ring located at the bottom of the toilet, underneath, it can allow some airflow and sewer gas to leak into the bathroom. If you have a rocking toilet, this can be the cause of the odors and urine smells.
  • Sewer organisms that seep into the house side of a toilet trap.
  • A clogged plumbing vent. A vent can be clogged by leaves, a bird’s nest, frost, etc.
  • An internal crack inside the toilet bowl can cause the water level to drop until sewer gas enters the bathroom.


Tips For Getting Rid of Toilet Odor

Deep Clean– Doing a deep clean can sometimes remove the mildew or mold that can cause foul odors.

Treat the toilet tank – Perhaps you have one of those nice, clean toilet tanks if so that’s great. On the other hand, lifting up the lid of the tank may have revealed something else – you may have found that it’s filled with rust, a moldy substance, or another fuzzy gunk that has you asking yourself, “Should I be cleaning my toilet tank?” Usually, the culprit behind a dirty toilet tank, and ultimately, a moldy and dirty toilet bowl is hard water. You can put on your rubber gloves, spray some nice antibacterial cleaner in the tank and begin scrubbing away with a scrub brush for a quick fix, but over the long haul, cleaning the tank is only a Band-Aid solution.

Check for hard water – A large percentage of America’s homes have hard water. Hard water simply means that there’s a lot of calcium and magnesium in your household’s water supply. You may have hard water if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Your toilet tank is dirty due to mold or rust
  • Your dishes are cloudy or dull after being washed
  • You have a yellow-white crust that has formed on faucets and pipes
  • You see the yellow-white crust inside your coffee maker or tea kettle
  • Soap scum has developed on shower curtains and tiles


Is There a Permanent Solution? 

For starters, you would definitely want to clean out the tank by hand. You can squirt a cleaning solution in it and scrub away the rust, mold and fuzzy gunky substance, but if you want a permanent solution, we recommend installing a water softener in your home.

If your toilet tanks are not clean and full of rust, mold or mildew, or if you are having another plumbing problem resolved, then look no further and contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call! Having a professional service investigate, track down and repair the cause of toilet odors gives you peace of mind that it was done right the first time, and may even come with a warranty. 


A-1 Sewer & Septic has the professional plumbers, training and tools to take care of nearly any plumbing issue in the greater Kansas City Metro. Call 913-359-8622 or contact us for a FREE estimate from a Kansas City plumber! 

Call A-1 To Get the Job Done!