Background: Started detecting a fairly strong odor in the bathroom a few weeks back. Couldn't place it, and had a hard time telling whether it might be mold, or sewage, or something else... pretty bad, but didn't smell exactly like sewage, so we thought maybe a mold issue. Anyway, tried cleaning, checking toilet, etc., but still couldn't tell where it was coming from. Some days it was stronger, others weaker, but still couldn't place source.

Detected: Today while I was cleaning the shower, I finally detected what I think to be the source of the smell: the flooring along the side of the shower has come mostly unsealed, and when I put my nose down next to the crack, I got a strong whiff. So I'm thinking there is probably mold growing in the crack and/or under the flooring.

What to do? So now my question is what to do? I'm not really very handy at all, but am just wondering if there's any way to do anything that might kill the mold, or potentially manage the issue for a while, or if I just need to get someone in to pull up and replace all the flooring. And is the issue urgent? I know that some mold spores can be toxic, but presume that this mold may be okay based on the fact that we haven't died yet? :D

Oh, and I live in Corvallis, Oregon, so it is pretty damp.


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  • That joint should have been caulked to prevent water from getting in there in the first place. Best bet for now is bleach. But just in case, when you notice the smell again whiff the shower and sink drains just to make sure clogged venting isn't causing one of those traps to get sucked dry and allowing sewer gas into the house.
    – topshot
    Oct 11, 2016 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


The fact that you can smell the mold is pretty alarming. I've seen some fairly bad mold in bathrooms and I don't recall it smelling particularly horrendous. The big problem you've got is that you simply don't know how much mold is there (I'm guessing "a lot") and that it will NOT go away by itself. In fact, it will simply get worse and eat into more and more material.

I simply can't see any other option than to start removing tiles ASAP to identify where exactly the mold is (I.e., under the shower tray or under the riles) and then looking to replace or repair as appropriate.

  • Thanks for the input. Am getting this investigated, and will plan to post back here once the extent of the problem is determined. Oct 18, 2016 at 0:47

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