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10 reasons why your clean toilet smells + how to resolve

Does your toilet smell bad after even though you just gave it a thorough cleaning? Don’t worry too much, this is not as uncommon as you might think. Sometimes it’s not even your toilet at all.

1. Inadequate cleaning of toilet + surroundings

Sometimes, even a clean-looking toilet might not have been cleaned thoroughly. Use a toilet bowl cleaner or use an equal mixture of vinegar and water. But you’ve probably already done this.

You also don’t want to forget the exterior, including the bolts, base, and behind the base. Grime buildup in these areas can produce odors.

And lastly, have you thought about cleaning the surface around the toilet? Unfortunately waste can end up outside the toilet. The tricky thing is, you cannot see it.

A ”fun” way to discover if there is human waste on the surfaces outside your toilet is to use a UV light. You should clean this biological waste with an enzyme cleaner. Et voila, the nasty smell is gone.

Your bathroom won’t smell like a porterpotty ever again!

2. Clogged drain

A clogged toilet drain can cause sewage odors to seep back into the bathroom. Clear the clog with a plunger or learn how to snake your toilet yourself.

When you flush the toilet, wastewater and sewage move through the drain pipes and into the sewage system. Normally, water continually flows through these pipes, carrying away waste.

However, if the drain becomes clogged the wastewater and sewage can become trapped in the pipes. This leads to stagnant water. Stagnant water can emit foul odors as it sits and decomposes.

3. Wax ring seal damage

The wax ring acts as a barrier to seal off sewer gases from entering your bathroom. When it’s damaged, foul-smelling sewer odors can permeate your bathroom, making it an unpleasant space. Replace the wax ring to fix this issue.

4. Dry P-trap

If your p-trap is dry bad odors may arise from your toilet. Flush your toilet a few times and/or pour some water inside the bowl to restore the water seal.

Here’s what happens: The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe located beneath the toilet. It’s designed to hold a small amount of water in the bend of the “U.” This standing water serves as a seal, blocking sewer gases and odors from traveling back up through the drain and into your bathroom.

When the P-trap becomes dry, either due to infrequent use or a slow leak, that water seal is broken. Without the water barrier, sewer gases, and unpleasant odors are free to rise up from the sewer or septic system and infiltrate your bathroom.

5. Faulty toilet flange

The flange plays a role in sealing off sewer gases from entering your bathroom (together with your wax seal ring). When it’s damaged, sewer odors can permeate your bathroom, making it an unpleasant space.

6. Mold and mildew in your toilet tank

Mold and mildew can grow in the toilet tank. Clean your toilet tank at least once a year to prevent this.

7. Faulty flapper

A malfunctioning flapper can cause water to constantly leak from the tank to the bowl. Replace the flapper to prevent continuous odors. Fortunately, flappers are cheap.

When the flapper doesn’t seal properly, it can allow water to leak from the tank into the bowl continuously, a condition known as a “running toilet.” This continuous flow of water dilutes the water in the bowl and prevents it from effectively flushing waste and odors down the drain.

8. Improper ventilation

Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated. Use an exhaust fan or open a window to circulate air.

Inadequate ventilation can create negative pressure in the plumbing system, potentially allowing sewer gases to enter the bathroom through the drains. These gases contain foul-smelling compounds that contribute to unpleasant bathroom odors.

9. The caulk around your toilet is dirty

The caulk seal between the toilet and the floor may deteriorate, or become dirty allowing odors to escape. When the caulk is dirty it’s most likely due to a faulty wax ring. First, check the seal and then redo the caulk.

10. You’re still using that old toilet brush

And last but not least, not your toilet, but your toilet brush is the perp.

Dirty or old toilet brushes can retain odors. Replace your toilet brush regularly or clean it thoroughly to avoid that nasty smell in your bathroom.

Why does my toilet smell bad even though it’s clean?

After this big list, your problem must be in there somewhere. But, where do you start? What are the most common problems?

Your toilet smells bad even though it’s clean because of these common problems: incomplete cleaning due to not seeing any hidden waste, a dry p-trap, or a faulty wax ring seal. Check these issues first before exploring other options.

After you check these weren’t the problem, go down the list and explore the other options.

The benefits of using an enzyme cleaner

As mentioned before in this article, you might want to use an enzyme cleaner to get rid of foul smells. An enzyme cleaner will eat up urine particles getting rid of that awful smell.

They are usually sold at pet stores as they are often used for animal urine.

Disclaimer: is not responsible for any damage caused to your toilet and surroundings by (wrongly) interpreting information found on this site. Please seek custom advice from a professional to evaluate your current situation.

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