How to stop a shower drain from stinking

Updated April 17, 2017

A shower drain can be a breeding ground for mould, bacteria and build-up along the lining of drain pipes. In addition, a shower drain can be difficult to clean because of the permanent hardware that acts as a cover. Over time it can begin to stink, and if not cleaned properly the odour will only get worse. It is important to kill the mould and bacteria that has grown, then deodorise and clean the pipes. Fortunately the problem can usually be solved with just a few common household items.

Carefully pour 1/4 c. bleach down the drain and let stand for 30 minutes.

Run hot water down the drain for one minute.

Sprinkle 1/4 c. baking soda down the drain.

Pour 1 c. vinegar down the drain.

Let mixture fizz and bubble for 15 minutes.

Run hot water down the drain for one minute.


Don't wait until your shower drain begins to stink. Use this easy and inexpensive method once a month to keep your pipes deodorised and free of odour-causing build-up. After each use, open the shower door or curtain to let the entire area air-dry. This will help prevent the growth of mould and other bacteria. Do not put a drain-stopper in the drain immediately after showers. Damp, moist pipes with no ventilation are a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, keep the drain opening unobstructed. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar is a safe and effective way to also clean grout, tile and the entire shower area. The combination of items has natural cleaning and deodorising properties.


Always be careful when using bleach. Pour it directly into the drain to avoid splashing. If the bleach makes contact with your skin, wash the affected area immediately with warm, soapy water. The combination of baking soda and vinegar will create a foaming reaction. Do not be alarmed. This means it is working to clean your pipes of germs and minor clogs that may be causing the foul smell. On occasion, a shower drain odour may indicate a plumbing problem. If the odour doesn't go away and is accompanied by slow drainage, consult a plumber.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 c. liquid bleach
  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. distilled white vinegar
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About the Author

Emily Meyer is an accomplished writer and contributor on matters of business, lifestyle, and current trends. A graduate of University of San Diego, Meyer runs a Southern California based consulting firm. Her work has been published in leading publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Elle, San Diego Magazine and Self.