Bad smell from shower

I’m hoping that someone on this board has run across this problem. We are renting a house that is about 60 years old. Recently the shower began leaking into the basement because of loose tiles, and cracked grout. The shower is now emitting a smell that I can best describe as a urine type of smell. I can spray bleach in and around the affected area, and it will knock it down for a bit, but comes right back. Does mold emit that kind of smell? It’s really quite sickening, and it won’t go away no matter how much we scrub. We’re not sure if the Landlord should be contacted or if this is our problem. Thank for any assistance you can offer.


If you haven’t already contacted the Landlord, I would. You may have something as simple as a plumbing/cross-connection problem that occurred during some previous plumbing repairs by the Landlord. It certainly won’t hurt, and you could be exposing yourself and family to harm, if it is something more serious. You won’t know till you have it checked.

Thanks Greg, I’ll give him a call. This is a ranch style house, and the basement is unfinished giving me a clear view of the shower’s underside. All the plumbing is exposed and is leak free. There is evidence of past leaks as the wood is stained black. Hopefully the Landlord wil do something about it, he hasn’t been to quick to act in the past.

Hi Mike,

If the shower is leaking, you may not be using it and the drain trap may have dried out letting septic/sewer smell up into your living space. You may try filling the trap back up with water or with vegetable oil (to prevent evaporation) if it is not going to be used for a while, and see if that helps eliminate the urine smell.

Quit peeing in the shower.

You could also have some decaying material stuck in the trap under the shower drain, hair etc… try pouring a cup or two of bleach into the trap for a few hours then flush it through with clean water. If you have an auger, shove it through a few times to ensure no blockages. If the shower is being used the trap should not have dried up, so that should rule out the dry trap scenario.

It could be little green men from Mars! :slight_smile:
However, I assure you that it is decay and associated components inside the wet wall. Replacement is the only repair.

I have replaced more tile bathrooms than I care to remember and it stinks in there when water intrusion occurs.

Im betting no “P” trap at all and sewer gas is coming straight up. If so, the methane will make a tiff 8800 go off. Seen it many times before, even on new houses.

Also…without question tell your landlord about it regardless…I believe David is right on this one…chances are it is water and rot build up and the smell is coming from that. WHile John make a great point…can you see below it…is their a “P” trap on it.

However…since you are renting…and it their is cracked tile, missing grout and so on…I would make the landlord very aware of it…because at some point it will need replacement…if not now…BUT if you know about it and let it go on…and on…and get worse…I would say so long to your security deposit and quite possibly more…if they say YOU should have told us so we can fix it…now it will cost MUCH more to fix the entire floor under it so to speak.

Thanks for the replies. Yes, I can see below the shower and it does have a P trap. I’ve tried bleach in the trap as well with no improved results. I also blocked off the drain, faucet and shower head with plastic wrap just to eliminate those sources. It certainly sounds like we have rot behind the tile like David said. I’ll contact the landlord and let him determine how to fix it.