Toilet Water Smells Bad: What You Should Do?

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: May 31, 2022

Normal bathroom odors can be fixed by deep cleaning, but when your toilet water smells bad, you might need professional help. This type of plumbing problem is frustrating because it leaves your entire house stinking.

The major causes of stinking toilet tanks are unused toilets, clogged drains, cracked toilet bowls, and bacteria growth. Homeowners can resolve this issue by disinfecting the toilet tanks and fixing the blocked drainage. Scrubbing the tank can also remove mold.

If you can’t detect the cause of the problem, hire qualified and experienced plumbers. Select those with expertise in clogged drains, and ensure they do toilet and bathroom installation and repair. To get easy access to professional plumbers like Clover Services, visit this site.

Reasons Your Toilet Smells Bad

Toilet Smells Bad

The bathroom is the least ventilated room, making it vulnerable to odors. However, most homeowners are cautious about any weird smells in the bathroom and will do everything to keep the room clean.

Nevertheless, sometimes you will notice a smell that stays around even after deep cleaning your bathroom, and you wonder what the problem is. You probably should check your toilet tank and clean it too.

Toilet tanks become overly dirty and make the water stink. The smell spreads to other rooms, and you can’t hide it. It can be embarrassing when you have visitors, but there is a solution. Before looking at the solutions for a smelly toilet, check out the reasons first.

Toilet Not Being Used

Toilets in the guest rooms are the least used in the house. With time, the water in the tank evaporates, causing the sewer gas smell to escape from the plumbing pipes. As a result, the toilet tank starts stinking, causing a bad smell in the water.

Black Mold in the Tank

If you open the toilet tank, and there is a black substance on the inner walls of your tank, that is black mold. It is a health hazard and causes a bad smell, which comes from the water when you flush the toilet.

Clogged Toilet Drain

The tank takes longer to drain and refill when the toilet’s drain clogs. Half-filled toilet tanks cause sewer gas to escape, leading to odors in the water. The problem can be hard to detect because you can still flush the toilet.

Poorly Designed Vent Pipe

Plumbers fix toilet vent pipes from the toilet and pass them through the roof to release smelly sewer gasses. If your plumber did shady work fixing the vent pipe, there will be a smell of rotten eggs in the toilet.

When the vent pipe does not work efficiently, there will be no fresh air in the bathroom. Also, the plumber should inspect the line and ensure there is no blockage.

Cracked Toilet Tank

When there is a crack in the toilet bowl, it causes water leaks. The amount of water in the toilet drops, allowing smelly sewage gasses to escape. The foul-smelling gas makes your toilet water stink and causes discomfort in the home.

This is a big hindrance, especially for shared bathrooms. A great way to ensure an efficient toilet that won’t easily clog with the constant flushing and plumbing would be to install an upflush macerating toilet.

Bacteria Growth in the Toilet Tank

Hot and humid summers are favorable weather conditions for unwanted bacteria growth. Bacteria grows in your toilet tank and pipes and often causes a foul smell. Besides the smell, many types of bacteria are health hazards and can cause severe infections to your family members.

What to Do When Your Toilet Bowl Smells Bad?

What to Do When Your Toilet Bowl Smells Bad

A smelly house is uncomfortable for the homeowner and family members. It is also embarrassing if you frequently get visitors. The good news is that this is a fixable problem.

If you have clogged pipes and incorrectly installed vent pipes, you should hire a professional plumber to fix the issue. Some of the solutions to smelly toilet water are;

Disinfect the Toilet Tank

Disinfect the Toilet Tank

One of the causes of bad smells in toilet water is bacteria growth. The black bacteria in the sewer line release smelly gas, which besides making the toilet smell, can lead to health complications.

Use white vinegar and chlorine bleach to clean and disinfect the tank and pipes. The vinegar neutralizes and kills the bacteria, and your toilet water should have a normal smell. You can use chlorine bleach if you don’t have white vinegar.

Ensure you also clean the toilet bowl, and any other parts bacteria are likely to hide. If the smell is not going away, consider calling a plumber to fix the problem.

Unclogging Pipes

When you have clogged pipes, the toilet takes a long time to drain and refill. The half-filled bathroom can lead to the release of sewer gasses, but you can prevent that. If you have clogged drains, pour baking soda and vinegar into the toilet and toilet tank.

The baking soda and vinegar kill bacteria and remove all the dirt in the clogged pipes. You should first fill the half-full toilet tank with water. Pour the two ingredients and let them fizz for about 20 minutes. Flush the toilet to remove any bacteria and clogs.

Fix the Toilet Vents

Another cause of toilet odors is improperly installed toilet vents. When the toilet vent is clogged or does not work correctly, a professional plumber must reinstall it. Also, if the pipe is old and cracked, you need to replace it as soon as possible.

Use Essential Oils

You can reduce your toilet’s unwanted smells by using essential oils. Add a few drops of the oil to the toilet tank and let it mix with the water. Flush the water down the drain and check if there is a change in the smell.

Some popular essential oil scents you can use are clove, cedar, clary sage, and lavender. Stock the different scents in the bathroom and restock them to ensure consistency. Besides the smell, these oils also contain antifungal and microbial properties, which help with bacteria.

Final Words


If your toilet water smells bad, it is essential to check all the possible causes. Some causes are fixable with DIY projects, while others need to be addressed by a professional plumber. Hopefully, this guide will help you determine the problem with your toilet water and fix it.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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