Is your laundry room smelling a bit funky lately? Does the odor remind you of rotten eggs? If so, you could be smelling sewage, indicating a serious problem somewhere in your home’s sewer system.
If you are experiencing foul sewer odors in your laundry room, fear not. This is a common problem that is often easy to fix. Below, we’ll explore some of the reasons a laundry room can smell bad and what you can do to fix the issue.
- Laundry Room Smell Like Sewer
- 5 Reasons Your Laundry Room Smells
- The inside of the Washer Smells Like Sewage
- Getting Rid Of Smells in The Laundry Room
Laundry Room Smell Like Sewer
Laundry rooms are often located in the basement where dampness can be an issue as well as sewage backup from time to time. This might explain why a laundry room located in the basement smells of rotten eggs.
On the other hand, a laundry room located elsewhere in a home can also emit foul smells like sewage if there is a blockage somewhere in the home’s sewer lines. Your first chore if you smell sewage in your laundry room is to figure out why it is happening. Once you figure that out, you can take the appropriate action to remedy the situation.
Sewer Gases In The Home
Sewer gases in the home can smell like moldy cheese or rotten eggs. If you smell these odors, you need to identify the problem and get it fixed as soon as possible as sewer gases are dangerous to your health and the safety of your home.
Sewer gases are very toxic. Every person and animal in your home breathing in these noxious gases can become violently sick if the problem isn’t addressed quickly. Common symptoms of sewer gas poisoning include headaches, loss of coordination, and possible suffocation.
In addition to being toxic, sewer gases contain methane, which is highly combustible. As long as you are smelling the rotten egg odor in your laundry room, your home is in danger of catching fire at any moment.
This issue isn’t something you can ignore or put off fixing for a later date. You need to figure out what’s going on and resolve the problem immediately.
Rotten Egg Smells From Dirty Pipes
Sometimes, the sewer smell can be caused by dirty pipes. You may not realize your laundry room’s drainpipes are dirty, but over time, bacteria can build up inside them causing foul odors. While this isn’t dangerous like breathing in actual sewer gases, the problem will continue to grow as more and more bacteria builds up in the dirty pipes.
5 Reasons Your Laundry Room Smells
Like I said earlier, you must first figure out why your laundry room smells like sewage before you can fix the problem properly. Below, I outline several of the common reasons your laundry room smells like rotten eggs.
1. Leaking or Dry P Trap
One of the most common reasons a laundry room smells like sewage is when the washing machine’s P-trap runs dry. The P-trap is usually located beneath the floor or in the plumbing under a sink or tub. Its job is to keep sewer gases from coming back up into your home. A P-trap must contain water to do this. If the trap runs dry, the gases can freely travel back up through the drain.
A dry P-trap can happen if you don’t use your washing machine for a long period of time. The inactivity allows the water in the P-trap to evaporate over time. A P-trap can also become dry if it has a leak.
2. Venting Problems
Sometimes sewer smells in a laundry room can be traced back to a clogged vent pipe. Your home’s sewer system has to be vented properly to allow sewer gases to flow up and out of your home. The vent pipe is typically located on the roof, which can make it difficult to diagnose.
If the pipe gets clogged, though, the gases won’t be able to escape as they should, causing them to be released into your home instead. This is another common reason laundry rooms might smell like sewage.
3. Blocked Drain Line
An obvious reason for foul smells in a laundry room is a blocked drain line that carries your washing machine’s wastewater away.
Your washing machine expels lots of dirt, grime, lint, hair, and soap down its drain. These things can become trapped in the pipes, which can attract bacteria growth that mimics sewer smells. The drain doesn’t even have to be completely clogged for foul odors to be a problem as partial clogs attract smelly bacteria, too. As water flows past a partial clog, its odor is released into the air and wafts up the drain into your laundry room.
4. Broken or Cracked Sewer Lines
An uncommon cause of sewer smells in a laundry room is cracked or broken sewer lines. This can happen for several reasons, but it’s not a common problem. If none of the issues listed above turns out to be the cause of your laundry room’s foul odor, you may need to call in a plumber to investigate further for a breach somewhere in your home’s sewer lines.
This isn’t likely something you’ll be able to identify and fix on your own. You need special tools and equipment to figure out if and where a pipe might be compromised. If you can’t find a cause for the bad smells in your laundry room, don’t wait too long to call in a professional as sewer gases can be harmful to your health.
5. Bacteria Build up In Washer or Dryer
Finally, bad smells in your laundry room may not have anything to do with sewage gases at all. They could be caused by bacteria growth instead.
Because your washer and dryer are constantly exposed to water, hair, lint, and a host of nasty things, they present ideal environments for bacteria. Where there’s bacteria growth, there are foul odors.
Apart from causing your entire laundry room to smell like a sewer, a washing machine that’s riddled with bacteria can leave your clean clothes smelling anything but clean. If you are wondering why your clothes come out of the washer smelling mildewy and funky, it’s likely your washer could use a good cleaning.
The inside of the Washer Smells Like Sewage
If your washing machine isn’t giving you fresh, clean vibes when you use it, there is likely some bacteria buildup that needs to be taken care of, especially if you aren’t in the habit of routinely cleaning your washing machine. Follow the steps below to try to get rid of the sewage smell coming from your washing machine.
Run a High-Temp Service Cycle
Most washing machines have a service cycle that uses high-temperature water to clean and spin grime and bacteria away. Bacteria cannot survive high temps, so it’s a good idea to run this cleaning cycle at least once a month to keep smells at bay.
Clean the Machine’s Seal
The seal on your washing machine is made of rubber, and it makes a good home for mold, mildew, and stains. If left unchecked, these nasties can permanently damage the seal and make it seem like foul odors are coming from inside the machine.
Take a few seconds after running a few loads to wipe the seal to remove any water and/or gunk that’s accumulated there.
Clean Out the Detergent Dispenser and Filter
The laundry soap dispenser and the filter on your washing machine can get gummed up quickly, especially if you use too much soap in your loads. Once every two weeks, remove the soap dispenser and the filter and use a scrub brush and hot water to clean both before reinstalling them.
Leave the Washer’s Door Open When Not In Use
When you’re done washing laundry for the day, leave the washing machine’s door open to allow air to flow freely inside and dry it out. A dry washing machine is less likely to smell like sewage.
What To Do If It Still Exists After Cleaning
If your washing machine or laundry room still smells like sewer after conducting the cleaning steps above, it may be time to call in a professional. There could be a bigger problem at play that you have yet to identify. Either a licensed plumber or your machine’s manufacturer can tell you the next steps to solve your odoriferous problem.
Getting Rid Of Smells in The Laundry Room
Sewer smells in the laundry room can be unpleasant, to say the least. Depending on the cause of the odor, actual sewer gases can be dangerous to your health and home, too. If you smell sewer in your laundry room, it’s best to address it right away.
The solution may be as simple as a washing machine that needs a good cleaning or a dry P-trap that needs to be filled to prevent gases from coming back into the home. On the other hand, if the problem is more serious like a cracked or broken sewer line underground somewhere, you will need a licensed professional to correctly identify and rectify the issue.
Some people are self-proclaimed DIYers, so if you have the tools and know what the problem is, such as a clogged drain, you may be able to take care of it yourself using a drain snake. If you feel comfortable tackling such a project and you have the right tools for the job, by all means, fix the issue yourself and keep your money in your wallet.
Ultimately, if your laundry room smells like sewage, don’t ignore it or put off fixing it. The issue could be simple and not dangerous at all, but if the cause of the foul odors is actual sewer gases, the issue is a health and safety hazard that must be dealt with right away.
Take the time to figure out the cause of the smell and fix it right to return the clean, fresh smell you’ve come to expect from your laundry room.
Having renovated two homes and completed countless repairs, it was time to share this experience with the world. From repairing kitchen appliances to remodeling entire homes, my 30 years of experience will hopefully help you on your journey to a beautiful and functional home