In my shower room, there's a hole that's always filled with disgusting, slimy water.

What I've tried

  • I've sponged it out a few times to clean, but that didn't really help.
  • I've poured bleach-containing laundry detergent in. Didn't help.
  • I've poured vinegar in. Didn't help.

My questions

  1. Is it safe to put a chlorine pill in there? I've already done this. The smell hasn't improved. I'm worried about the fumes.
  2. Should I put a cap over it? Or is there another way to make it smell better?
  3. I've heard there's a connected vent outside that may be clogged. How do I find this? What does it look like (add a photo if possible)?
  • 1
    Unused P-traps will lose their water seal through evaporation. You need to make sure there is water in it or sewer gas will back up into the house. Are you sure this is not the actual issue? We have a shower at work that gets used in like never. We have to remember to pour a bucket of water in the trap every couple months. – Fiasco Labs May 27 '14 at 14:39

Safety point: Never mix chlorine and other chemicals unless they're intended to be mixed with it. If you want to try a chlorine pill -- or chlorine laundry bleach, which is essentially the same thing -- run lots of clear water through it first to rinse it out, and do the same after bleaching.

Yes, a clogged vent may force sewer gasses to escape by bubbling through the trap. Typically, drain vents look like a pipe sticking straight up out of the roof for a foot or more.

  • This info is very useful. Update: after a couple days, the smell of chlorine reduced significantly, and the other smell is gone. Perhaps rainfall caused the stench in the first place, though? – Wolfpack'08 May 29 '14 at 1:35
  • If rainfall has been heavy recently... If you're on public sewers, ask your town if they have a combined storm/septic sewer system. Some still do, and heavy rain can put some back-pressure on the drains. Groundwater rising can have similar effects on a septic system. This is why you need vent stacks, and why this symptom suggests yours are blocked and need to be cleared out. – keshlam May 29 '14 at 2:24
  • Yes, there's a combined system. I happen to have gleaned this information somewhere. – Wolfpack'08 May 29 '14 at 4:43

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