Offensive Toilet Odors: Causes and Solutions

While regular cleaning definitely minimizes toilet odor, there is still a good chance that your toilet is leaking noxious fumes despite your best cleaning efforts. Offensive toilet odors can cause your entire home to smell like a sewer, so here are a few tips on how to identify the source of your smelly toilet and how to hopefully correct the problem.

An offensive smelling toilet is more often caused by a lack of cleaning. In order to thoroughly disinfect your toilet you should pick up a strong disinfectant (Lysol and Clorox are both very efficient). Spread the disinfectant around and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then scrub vigorously with a scrub brush and flush the toilet once or twice. If this does not solve the problem then your offensive toilet odor is probably the result of a mechanical problem.

A major cause of offensive toilet odor is a burst pipe below the toilet. In this event you should call a plumber right away as a burst pipe can cause severe water damage in your home. Another possible cause is a crack or leak at the base of the toilet itself. This problem should be easy to diagnose, as you will notice water pooling around the toilet.

The last common cause of offensive toilet odor is a defective wax ring at the base of the toilet. The wax ring seals the toilet to the to the waste pipe below it. In order to replace the wax ring you must first turn off the water supply to the toilet and then remove the toilet by unscrewing the bolts that bolt it to the ground. Take caution because most toilets weigh at least 50 pounds. Then remove the old wax ring and scrap off any remaining wax. Then place the new wax ring around the drain port. You don’t want the toilet bowl to sit directly on the floor so you should place plumbers putty around the wax ring. Then gently lay your toilet back in place and put the bolts back in.

This process is a little complex so don’t be afraid to call a plumber if you feel uncomfortable.