Loo Academy

Fishy Smell in the Bathroom: Causes & How To Fix It

It is not the smell of what we leave behind in our bathroom that becomes an issue for some of us. But instead, a scent similar to a fish market plagues our bathroom. 

This fishy smell in your bathroom can have different causes, some of which will be shocking or simply disgusting. Therefore, it is crucial that you find the cause of this foul odor so that you can permanently rid your bathroom of this revolting aroma.

This article will help turn your bathroom back into a fresh-smelling environment, which you can enjoy spending your time in. We will cover what causes a bathroom to smell fishy in the first place and how you can fix these problems.

Let’s get started.

woman holding fish

What Causes a Fishy Smell in the Bathroom

Sewage Gas

Sewage gas is created from decomposing human waste and is made up of things like methane and ammonia. This gas often carries a rotten egg or fishy type smell. Long-term exposure to this gas can cause health effects such as sewage gas poisoning.

There are many ways sewage gas could enter our bathrooms. For example, improperly placed plumbing or cracked pipes create an opening for sewage gas.

A lack of use for both your toilet or shower can cause your system to go dry. Meaning the water that sits in your plumbing acting as a barrier against sewage gas evaporates, allowing the gas to enter your bathroom.

Loose toilet and pipe connections can create an entryway for sewage gas. And clogged drains can create a sewage backup.

Electrical Wiring

When electrical wiring overheats due to it becoming loose or just old, it will produce a few distinct odors.

When your wiring overheats, it can create a burning rubber odor that can smell quite fishy for many people.

You should fix overheating or faulty electrical wiring immediately because besides causing a foul odor, it can become a serious fire hazard.

Rat and Mouse Corpses

When a mouse or rat dies within your walls or under your home, its decaying corpse produces ammonia similar to sewage gas which can create an odor similar to rotting fish.

As disgusting as this sounds, having a mouse or rat that chooses its final resting spot within your home is not uncommon.

Besides causing an unwanted stench, a decaying rat can bring about health concerns. For example, if the rat died near a cracked water pipe, your water supply can become contaminated, leading to certain diseases.

Clogged Plumbing Vents

A plumbing vent acts as another barrier against dreaded sewage gas. Plumbing vents work by using ventilation which carries sewage gas and other bathroom odors outside of your home.

These vents can get clogged by bird nests, animal carcasses, leaves, and other debris. In most cases, you can find your plumbing vent on your roof.

If your vent is clogged on the outside, you can usually fix the issue by getting up on your roof and removing the debris. But if your vent is clogged on the inside, you will need the help of a professional plumber.

How to Fix a Fishy Smell in Your Bathroom

Removing Sewage Gas

There are many reasons you could be experiencing sewage gas, so it’s vital to figure out the exact cause.

If you have not used your bathroom in a long time, simply running your bath and flushing your toilet can moisturize the system creating the water barrier needed to keep the gas out.

More complicated fixes involve entering your basement or crawlspace and inspecting your pipes and connections. Look for anything that is loose, cracked, or seems to be installed incorrectly.

If you notice any serious issues with your plumbing, you may need to hire a plumber to resolve them. Otherwise, tightening or replacing pipes on your own is an option.

Fixing Electrical Wiring

If the fishy smell in your bathroom also has the odor of burnt rubber, your electrical system is the most likely cause.

In most cases, you would be best off calling an electrician. But if you possess knowledge about electrical systems, you may be able to solve the issue yourself.

This fix revolves around finding the faulty wiring and replacing it. Before attempting this job make sure you turn your home’s electricity off.

Removing Rat or Mouse Corpses

Removing rat and mouse corpses can be a tough and disgusting job. Yet you can do this dirty work on your own with no need for professional help.

Rats and mice seek out warm places such as near heaters and hot water pipes. As the animal’s carcass may be inside your walls, you may have some trouble accessing it.

But once you have found the corpse take sanitary measures such as using gloves or preferably some type of grabbing device along with a face mask to remove the animal carcass safely.

Unclogging Plumbing Vents 

Unclogging your plumbing vent can be an easy or complex job, depending on where the clog is.

If the clog is on the outside of your vents, such as a bird’s nest or leaves, you can get on your roof and remove the clog by hand. However, be careful not to let any debris fall into your vent, which can create an interior clog.

If the clog is inside your plumbing’s ventilation system, you will have a complicated job on your hands. Removing this type of clog requires you to take apart your ventilation system to access the clog and is a job that is best left to a professional.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle from Kyle Tucker Plumbing is a certified plumber with over 20 years of professional experience installing plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, as well as installing gas lines and water pipes, performing bathroom repairs, and more.

Kyle knows how to deal with every plumbing issue that modern homeowners encounter, and he shares his lifelong experience with readers in an engaging and easy-to-digest way.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

About Loo Academy

At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

We work closely with qualified experts and follow a thorough editing and fact-checking process before publishing content.

Published content is regularly fact-checked and revised so that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date.

Legal Info

Loo Academy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate Loo Academy is compensated for referring traffic to Amazon.com.

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.

The inclusion of links from this site does not imply endorsement or support of any of the linked information, services, products, or providers.