Why Does My Toilet Stink?

If you’ve noticed foul bathroom smells recently, and although you have a clean toilet, it doesn’t have a clean toilet smell. The foul odors are likely to come from your toilet bowl and can be annoying and hard to eliminate.

Why Does My Toilet Stink?

This statement is especially true if you don’t know the cause of why your toilet smells.

Continue reading to find out more about the possible causes of a smelly toilet and how to get rid of the bad smell.

The Most Common Reasons Behind a Bad Toilet Smell

While there’s an array of things that could lead to a foul smell from your toilet, some problems are more common than others.

Here’s a list of a few possible reasons that could make your toilet smell so bad you’d wish you knew about them sooner.

If your toilet smells like rotten eggs, sewage gas, or any other gross smell, it's time to investigate what's going on

Not Using the Toilet

Did you come home from a long vacation and notice your bathroom smell is unpleasant?

If you have a toilet you didn’t use in a while, it’s likely to develop bad odors and get a sewer gas smell. When a toilet bowl goes unused for a long time, the water from it will evaporate, causing the smelly sewer gases to leave the sewer pipes.

The solution to this issue is relatively simple. To eliminate the sewer odor, refill your toilet bowl several times until the scent disappears.

Buildup of Mold

If there’s a foul odor comes from your bathroom, even when you clean your toilet frequently, there might be an issue with mold buildup. Mold can get into small areas of your toilet bowl, which can be hard to clean.

Scrub your toilet, using toilet bowl cleaners. Don't forget to clean the whole toilet, including the toilet seat

While it may look like a good idea to call a plumber, this is an issue you can resolve quickly.

To get rid of a lousy mold smell coming from your toilet, use a toilet brush to scrub the toilet bowl. Remember to be thorough and wear rubber gloves for protection.

Clogged Toilet Drain

If you have a clogged toilet drain, you’ll also have a smelly toilet, so paying attention to signs of clogging is crucial. Usually, when clogged, your toilet will need more time to refill and drain water.

When this happens, the toilet bowl stays underfilled, causing the sewage gasses to produce awful odors.

A clogged toilet is a more serious issue, so you might want to reach out to a licensed plumber. However, if you have some basic plumbing skills, you can try to fix the issue yourself.

Damaged Toilet

If you have a damaged toilet, you’re likely to experience bad smells. Foul smells typically happen when the wax sealing ring is broken, leading to leakage and bad odors.

If your wax seal is broken, you'll need help from a professional plumber. They'll replace the wax seal, which will eliminate odors

When your wax sealing ring is broken, you’ll need to contact a professional plumber to fix the wax ring.

It’s also not uncommon for a toilet to have a crack causing a sewage gas smell in your plumbing system. This issue might require you to replace your toilet to remove the smell of sewer gases.

Growth of Stinky Bacteria

While the water in your toilet’s tank is commonly clean, it can develop bacteria, leaving your bathroom smelling like rotten eggs. If your toilet smells bad due to the bacteria inside, pouring bleach or white vinegar into your overflow pipe might be helpful.

You should allow the fluids to sit for a couple of minutes and then flush. The water will go down the drain, removing the odors and the bacteria.

Issues With the Vent Pipe

All toilets are connected to a vent pipe that extends to the roof, and that’s how they drain. The pipe removes the sewer gas and allows proper airflow so the water can reach the main sewer line.

So, if your bathroom smells bad, there could be an issue with your vent pipe.

If your vent pipe is damaged or clogged, the sewer gas won’t have a way to escape, leading to foul smells in the exposed area. A pile of leaves, a bird nest, or other waste could clog the vent pipe, and you’ll need help from a plumber to clean it.

Low Water Level In the Toilet Tank

Your toilet needs a lot of water to flush properly. If the water level in your toilet tank is too low, your toilet could clog. To check this, lift the toilet tank lid, and look for a mark to see how much water your toilet should have.

Toilets can smell bad when there's not enough water in the toilet tank

If there’s not enough water, you might need plumbing services. However, before calling a plumber, check the flush valve yourself.

Adjust the float and flush valve if needed to allow the water to flow adequately.

How To Maintain Your Toilet Bowl To Eliminate Foul Odors?

Sometimes, even with our best attempts to keep our bathrooms clean, the toilet can still have a bad odor. However, if you follow simple regular maintenance tips, you should lower the chances of your toilet smelling bad.

Here’s what to do to prevent stinky odors from occurring in your toilet:

  • Clean the toilet frequently and thoroughly

  • Add disinfectants after cleaning

  • Check plumbing and ensure there’s no toilet damage

  • Clean pipes to prevent clogging

  • Maintain an adequate water level in the toilet tank

  • Watch out for mold and mildew

Practicing regular maintenance will reduce the chances of possible scents coming from your toilet.

However, if there’s a persistent problem that won’t go away, reach out to a plumbing professional to investigate the issue.


Problems with stinky toilets are pretty standard, even when you take proper care of your bathrooms. That’s why it’s crucial to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve it efficiently.

You can try fixing some of these issues on your own, but if there’s a deeper problem, don’t hesitate to contact a plumbing specialist for help.

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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