Clean a smelly shower drain au naturel Bubbablue and me

How to clean a smelly shower drain

Thankfully stinky shower drains aren’t that common in our house. But we had a problem we had to solve with my mum’s house and had to work out how to clean a smelly shower drain the natural way.

It was our first time trying to sell a house and it wasn’t even ours.  Well, it was ours by default after our mum died. We tried to sell my mum’s house for a year.  It was gutting because we had an offer a few months after it went on sale that we turned down – the listed price was way too high thanks to an incompetent estate agent deluding themselves (and obviously us) into believing that’s how high prices were in our area.  The offer was insanely low compared to that price, and even though we then moved estate agent and the house had been on at a reasonable market price for a while now, we just weren’t getting offers in (well, only one that was the price of a 3 bed house in that area!).

With hindsight we should have taken the earlier offer (if we’d gone for the estate agent I liked, the house would have been on at a more realistic price in the first place).  We had to reduce the price down again to quite a bit below that initial offer.  It was very annoying, especially as we were paying out for council tax by then. My brother was going round to clean it, and it was getting to the stage that the garden needed to be done.  We just wanted rid, and thankfully we did sell it for not far under the asking price…it all happened very quickly in the end.

Empty houses start to get smelly drains

Because of the time the house was empty, the bathrooms weren’t getting flushed through on a regular basis. It meant the shower drain was getting smelly.  So we had to go round and clean the stinky drains out.  Bleurgh.

Clean a smelly shower drain au naturel Bubbablue and me

While I’m happy chucking down lots of chemicals, I’m all for trying out some natural remedies in the hope of flushing the bad shower smells away.

I knew that bicarbonate of soda is pretty good for reducing nasty niffs (that works brilliantly sprinkled in trainers or dance shoes, left overnight to absorb the smell before tipping out the next day…a bit gritty when you wear dance shoes bare feet though!), and vinegar’s usually mentioned in lots of cleaning methods too.  Somewhere in my mind it was telling me they’re also the ingredients you use to make volcanoes that erupt.

So I traipsed over to the house with my white vinegar and bicarb to get to work.

To clean smelly drains you need

(I’ve used cup to indicate the measure, but you could literally use a small cup)
1 cup of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda for those US readers)
4 cups of white vinegar
Boiled, or hot running, water

The how to clean the smelly shower drain:

  1. Remove the drain part if it comes out.  Give the drain hole a quick scrub with a toothbrush or similar.
  2. Pour down the bicarb (I did it in stages because I didn’t want to create an over flowing, fizzing mess), then 2 cups of the white vinegar. Watch the fizz
  3. Leave for about 20 minutes
  4. Pour down the boiled water, or in our case, just leave the shower running for a while.
  5. Scrub again afterwards if you want it really clean.

Simple and cheap, although I could smell vinegar for ages afterwards! It’s quite hard to buy plain white vinegar in the UK – most in the shops is white malt vinegar, so look out for the plain stuff.

What cleaning tips do you have for cleaning a smelly shower drain or sink?

Why not take a look at these similar posts.

cleaning standards
kon mari method
summer garden ready


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  1. Wow these are great advice, and I am very interested in trying this baking soda followed by white vinegar method for cleaning a smelly drain! Very helpful, thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m definitely going to try vinegar and baking soda this weekend on my bathroom sink. It has always smelled awful, and I just assumed it was coming in from outside or something. Hopefully this takes care of it so that I don’t gag while brushing my teeth anymore!

  3. I didn’t know that baking soda had another name. Thank you for specifying to people like me who didn’t know. It wouldn’t have been a lot of fun looking for bicarbonate of soda in a US store.

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