Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Help! I have sewer odors...
Have you ever walked into your bathroom and smelled an unusual odor? Well, that’s probably happened a few times, actually!

But have you ever clearly noticed a sewer smell in the bathroom that is just undeniably strange? If so, it could be coming from an external source – from the actual sewer itself. And if that’s the case, it’s important to act as soon as possible to get rid of it.

There are a few reasons this smell could appear out of nowhere in your home’s bathroom. It could be a smell coming from the toilet, or it could be something else. Check out our guide below to get a better idea of where exactly this sewer smell in the bathroom could be coming from.

Reason #1 for Sewer Smell in the Bathroom: Water in P-Trap Has Evaporated

The first reason you could be noticing a sewer gas smell in the bathroom has to do with the water in your bathroom’s P-Trap evaporating, which leaves the room susceptible to odors. So, what is a P-Trap and why do you need it? It’s the section of piping underneath your sink that is shaped like a “U.”

In normal plumbing circumstances, when everything is working well, a little bit of water remains in the P-Trap after you do the following: flush your toilet, turn off the faucet, or empty the bathtub in your bathroom.

This bit of water that regularly remains in the P-Trap basically acts as a barrier. The water prevents sewer gases from entering your bathroom.Here’s something you can do on your own. Try pouring about a quart of water into every drain in your bathroom. This should do the trick to fill the P-Trap and block the odor. It’s normal to hear gurgling sounds after you do this. If the odor doesn’t go away shortly after, there may be something else causing the smell.

Reason # 2 for Sewer Smell in the Bathroom: Improperly Installed or Cut Vent Pipe

Another thing that could be causing the sewer smell from the toilet could be a poorly installed or cut vent pipe. The vent pipe is supposed to send gas odors outside your home so you don’t smell them; however, sometimes a contractor vents these pipes to the wrong place, which is why you notice the smell. See if you can identify where the smell is coming from. If it seems like it’s coming from the wall, it’s most likely an issue with the vent pipe.A vent pipe can also have a crack that allows the odor to spill out. To find this crack, professional plumbers can use a smoke machine (don’t worry, it fills your pipes with harmless smoke); once the smoke leaks out, your plumber can locate the leak and fix it.

Reason # 3 for Sewer Gas Smell in the Bathroom: Buildup in Your Sink’s Overflow

And here’s reason number three that could be causing that annoying sewer smell. Check to see if your sink has an overflow mechanism. This hole provides a bit of relief if the sink is overfilled. Like most appliances near water, it can build up grime in no time, so it could be contributing to the smell. Using a small bottle brush, try cleaning out the overflow hole to wipe away any buildup. You can also use a turkey baster to mix a solution of half chlorine bleach and half water. This will help clear out any grime (never mix chlorine bleach with anything else but water!)What if These Do-It-Yourself Solutions Don’t Eliminate the Sewer Odor?If none of the above-mentioned quick fix solutions get rid of the sewer smell, it’s wise to call a professional plumbing company to investigate more thoroughly. Professional plumbers will not only pinpoint the exact cause of the odor; they’ll also have the knowledge, experience and professional tools to eliminate it for good.

Help us stop the Clog!

Bacon grease, chicken fat, vegetable oil are just a few examples of FOG.  It tends to clump together with other FOG washed down drains or flushed in toilets, slowly congealing and reducing flow capacity in the sewer pipes.  Much like too much fat in your diet can cause clogged arteries and lead to a heart attack in humans, the result of many households washing FOG down their drains can also be disastrous causing backups in your home or your neighbors home with extensive and unpleasant damage.

Fats don't dissolve in water.  Washing FOG down the drain with hot water may take it past your sewer connection, but as the water cools, the fats and grease harden in sewer pipes.  Detergents dissolve fat enough to clean your dishes or laundry, but not enough to keep it from congealing in the sewer.

Put it in the trash.  If a FOG will solidify, let it.  Placing it in your refrigerator or freezer can speed up the process. Simply spoon it into a container (preferably not anything recyclable) and put it in the trash, once it is solid.

Scrape plates into the garbage using a rubber or silicon spatula.

Before washing pans or anything containing FOG, pour it into a container to solidify.  Then wipe the pan with a paper towel before you wash it to absorb as much FOG as possible and discard the paper towel in the trash.

Don't put liquid oil in the trash.  Instead, place it in a sealed can and add kitty litter, coffee grounds or other absorbent material.






What ARE you supposed to do with the leftover cooking oil and grease from that turkey you fried? 

  • Do NOT put it in the trash
  • Do NOT pour it down the drain
  • Do NOT pour it on the ground
  • Turkey Frying Facts 

    Eliminating Fats, Oils, & Grease


    Instead, take it to a recycling drop off site:

    Recycle Depot
    5507 S Cedar St, Lansing

    How to recycle Cooking oil  


    Unused prescription and over the counter medications that are put in drains or flushed down the toilet, pollute the environment.  Please take as prescribed and dispose of unused portions properly.

    Most medications in pill, tablet & liquid form are accepted every day at most of the local police depts and some pharmacies.  Call ahead to verify that your local police dept or pharmacy has a drop off location. 

    For more information, visit: Lansing Area Take Back Meds


    When it comes to garbage disposals, drains, toilets, and trash cans, they are not all the same.  Disposing of trash down drains and toilets can cause harm to human health and our local environment.  Using drains and toilets as trash cans may create sewer overflows into streets and water bodies.  Treatment plants effectively remove toilet paper from wastewater; all other garbage should go in the trash can.

    Let's Talk Trash!