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Sweet Odor in the Bathroom: Reasons & How To Fix It

Many people complain about foul, bad-smelling odors in their bathrooms. But sometimes, the opposite can happen where your bathroom develops a sickly sweet-smelling odor. This can be a rare occurrence, but for those that are affected by this situation, it can become quite annoying.

There are many causes of a sickly sweet smell in your bathroom, and some of them may surprise you. Luckily no matter what the cause of the odor is, there is something you can do to get rid of it.

sweet odor in bathroom

This article will go over the causes of this sweet smell in your bathroom and give you solutions on how to get rid of this annoying issue. Tips to maintain a fresh-smelling bathroom are also included.

What Causes a Sweet Smell in the Bathroom

A Lack of Use

Your bathtub has a p trap which creates a water-tight barrier that stops the smell of sewage from rising up into your bathroom. If your bathroom is not used for a long period of time, the water in your p trap may evaporate. Without any moisture in your p trap, sewage gases and smells will seep into your bathroom. You may be surprised that some things in the sewer can smell disgustingly sweet, similar to antifreeze.


Mold is a common enemy of bathrooms everywhere. Of course, any mold found in your bathroom should be taken care of immediately as it can cause damage to your home and health effects. But some strains of mold do give off a sweet-smelling odor. Other strains of mold have musty, earthy, pungent smells to them, but they are no less dangerous than the sweet-smelling variety.

A Clogged Drain

Drains can get clogged with a variety of things like dirt, hair, and even soap. When your drain is not regularly unclogged and maintained, things can get stuck in your drain for a long time. When stuck in a drain, certain things like soap, conditioner, and detergent will begin decomposing. When these items decompose, they let off a sickly sweet smell.

Drug Use

Though rare, it is possible that drug use may be the cause of the sweet smell in your bathroom. Certain drugs such as methamphetamine and crack cocaine let off a sickly sweet odor when smoked. This odor can linger in your bathroom for hours or days. So it is possible someone in your household is using drugs in your bathroom, or it could be one of your neighbors if you live in an apartment complex.

Solving drug use goes beyond the scope of this article, so no fix for it is included in the next section. Solving this issue is best left to your own discretion.

How to Fix Sickly Sweet Smell in Your Bathroom

Regularly Using Your Bathroom

If you have a bathroom in your home that does not get used often, you should run the water in that bathtub and sink once a month to keep the p trap moisturized and able to do its job.

If you are leaving your home for a long period, there are certain precautions you can take. You can use a house sitter or trusty neighbor to come over and run the water in your bathroom while you are gone.

Getting Rid of Mold

To get rid of mold, you must first find it. Mold can be black, blue, or green and can most easily be found with a visible inspection. There are tests you can purchase that analyze a surface or the air itself, searching for mold spores.

Once you have found mold, there are many ways to get rid of it. You can use a natural home remedy like vinegar or lime juice. A solution of bleach and water can also do the trick. There are also many other chemical products you can purchase that can eliminate mold.

Unclogging Drains

Unclogging your drain on a regular basis keeps your bathtub and plumbing in good working order while removing funny odors. There are liquid products you can pour down your drain that can devour whatever is clogging it up.

In addition, there are tools you can use like an auger, drain snake, or the good old plunger. If your clog is severe, you may need a combination of liquid chemicals and tools to unclog your drain.

Tips To Maintain a Fresh Smelling Bathroom

  • Keep your bathroom clean.
  • Use aromatic soaps.
  • Make sure to keep your bathroom ventilated.
  • Use natural air fresheners like essential oils, mint leaves, orange juice, or even coffee beans.
  • Cover all trash bins.
  • Remove any laundry hampers.

James B. Parker

I was taught carpentry at a young age by my father. After highschool I worked with my father as a Union Carpenter for six years.

Though I no longer practice carpentry professionally I still do projects at my home and for family and friends.