How to Get Rid of Sewer Odor

Sewer odors can be pervasive, stinky and downright persistent. Finding the source and fixing it will bring you peace of mind, so here are some quick fixes for smelly drains.


  1. 1
    Find the odor source. This can be simple sometimes. Look for floor drains in the basement, and plumbing fixtures that don't get much use like guest baths, and laundry sinks. Over time the trap under these fixtures can go dry, thereby letting sewer gas in by losing the water seal. The fix is as simple as pouring a few cups of water in the trap. Now you know why the "U" shaped pipe under the sink is called a "trap"––it traps sewer gas in the drains!
    • Dry traps are sometimes hidden by carpets.
    • Consider infrequently used sinks in basements. These can be a source of odor, so run water through them more regularly.
  2. 2
    Look for other possible sources of the odors. Here are some typical odor source areas in the house (you may be able to check for these yourself but in some cases, it's best to ask the plumber to do it, especially if you're unsure).
    • Check old laundry drains no longer used. These should be capped off.
    • Get your HVAC equipment serviced. If it's not working properly, it can be a source of odors.
    • Check the shower drain. Odors can be caused when hair hangs on the strainer and touches the trap water.
    • Look at the toilet. When the toilet wax seals have gone bad between the piping and the toilet base, odors can emerge.
    • Consider vent areas. Clogged vents on the roof or in the yard can cause gas backup.
  3. 3
    Request a plumber's assessment of the installed plumbing fixtures. Improperly installed plumbing fixtures, such as no trap, can cause sewer odors.
    • Check for broken or leaking pipes in the basement or walls. A plumber can do this for you.
  4. 4
    Let air flow through your home. If you can, open the house to get the smell out, then close everything up and start in the basement and work your way up to find the where the odor begins.


  • Another symptom of sewer gas are "sewer flies". These tiny flies with big wings show up when a drain seal is broken somewhere in the system and they escape from the sewer.


  • Stinky sewer gas can be more of an issue then just the smell alone. Sewer gases may include hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. You don't want any of these in your house, or in your family!

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Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents