Why Does My Laundry Room Smell Like Sewage? [+Tips to Fix It]

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If your laundry room smells like sewage there could be a serious problem lurking below! Read on to learn why your house smells like sewer when doing laundry and how you can fix it.

Why Does My Laundry Room Smell Like Sewage?

Your laundry room is an area of your home that absorbs odors with frequent use.

If you notice a sewage-like smell coming from your laundry room, then there may be an issue with the drainage system underneath your home. The sewage smell occurs when bacteria and microbes build up in the drains or your washing machine and create an unpleasant smell. Some causes of this include flooding, blockages, and leaks.

This is a more common occurrence in small laundry rooms because small spaces trap odors more quickly.

The key to eliminating this problem is to first identify the cause. Once you know why this is happening, you can take the necessary steps to fix it.

5 Causes of Sewer Smells in the Laundry Room

1. Sewer Problems

Sewer problems can cause a sewage smell in your laundry room, so if you’re experiencing any backups or issues with drainage, then that’s probably the culprit.

You may have a cracked or broken sewer line, which can allow sewage to seep into your laundry room.

Sewer gases may also be entering the drain through a broken or cracked line under the floor of your home, and if you see any cracks in the grout around the drains, then this is most likely why.

Sewage problems are very dangerous and should not go ignored because they can cause mold and mildew issues as well.

2. Leaking Pipes

If your washing machine has a leak, then that can cause sewer smells in the laundry room because water from the drainpipe mixes with bacteria and microbes to create an unpleasant stink.

This is even worse if you have hardwood or laminate flooring underneath your washer – those types of floors are very difficult to clean and may need replacement if you have a leak.

3. A Clog in the Drain Line

A clog in the drain line can allow water to back up and sit inside, which can create a very bad smell. If this happens, then you’ll have to take steps to clear out that blockage, or else it will continue smelling unpleasant in perpetuity.

Even a partial clog can cause sewer smells since there will be a buildup of bacteria due to the clogged organic material.

Your drain can clog from many sources, including hair and soap scum.

Related: Does a Laundry Room Need a Floor Drain?

4. A Lack of Ventilation

Laundry rooms that are poorly ventilated can trap odors more quickly. This is why it’s important to install an exhaust fan in your laundry room if you don’t already have one.

A lack of ventilation only exacerbates the problem, which forces smell to linger for longer periods of time.

Your laundry room will likely have venting problems if there is a clog since this prevents gases and fumes from moving into your washing machine’s venting pipe.

5. A Dirty Washing Machine

If your washing machine is dirty, then that can cause sewer smells as well, because the soap scum buildup provides an excellent environment for bacteria and microbes to grow.

You would be surprised how quickly these small amounts of soap scum can accumulate in your machine, so make sure to clean it out regularly.

If you have bacteria or mold growth in your washing machine, it may be lurking in areas such as the lip of the basin or the crevice of the door.

The sections of your washing machine that hold bleach and fabric softener are also likely to develop mold and bacteria if they aren’t cleaned out regularly.

This is common because it is hard to reach into these crevices unless you remove the various parts of your machine.

How Do You Get Rid of Sewer Smell in the Laundry Room?

If you notice the smell of sewage in your laundry room or any other part of your home for that matter, then there are a few steps to take before calling an expert plumber.

Read on for a few tips on how to get rid of sewer smells in your laundry room.

Clean Your Washing Machine With Soap and Water

This will help get rid of a mold or bacteria problem in your washing machine. The first thing to do is clean it out thoroughly.

You can use a scrub brush, soap, and water to get rid of any grime that’s built up over time.

Be sure not to mix chlorine with ammonia because this mixture will create toxic fumes that could cause health problems for anyone inhaling them.

Be mindful to clean out crevices and hard-to-reach areas as well. This is usually where debris and scum accumulate and is probably the cause of the sewage smell.

Clean Your Drain Line With Baking Soda and Vinegar

If the smell is coming from your drain, then you may need a deeper cleaning of that area. You can use baking soda and vinegar in order to do this properly.

Simply pour one cup of baking soda into the clogged drain line then follow it up with a cup of vinegar.

The mixture will cause a bubbling reaction that helps to clear out any clogs or debris, which should help get rid of the unpleasant smell as well.

Sanitize Your Washing Machine With Bleach

The first thing you need to do is run a hot cycle with bleach or another heavy-duty cleaner in order to eliminate odors and bacteria from the machine itself.

This can be done on a regular basis to prevent the smell from accumulating in your washing machine.

Take a Look at Your Pipes and Drains

Next, check all of your pipes and drains for any cracks or other damage that may have occurred due to weathering over time.

If you find anything, make sure to get it fixed immediately so sewage doesn’t seep into your home again. You can do this yourself if you know what you’re doing, or hire a professional plumber to do the job for you.

Focus on Ventilation

If you notice that there is a sewage smell in your laundry room, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is open up any windows as well as turn on an exhaust fan for ventilation purposes.

If your laundry room doesn’t have an exhaust fan, then make sure that it is installed as soon as possible so that gases and other odors can be vented outside of your home instead of just sitting inside.

This will also help with ventilation problems that can lead to sewer smells in the first place.

Remove Build-Up with Vinegar

Vinegar is a super-effective way to remove soap scum and other buildups from your washing machine. Simply pour vinegar into the detergent section of your washer and run a hot cycle to get rid of excess residue that is built up over time.

This is helpful for hard-to-reach areas that may be creating this odor. It’s also a great technique for maintenance over time.

Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating when your laundry room smells unpleasant since this is a cleaning station in the home. Nobody wants to say “my washing machine stinks!”.

With a little bit of elbow grease and some upkeep on a regular basis, you can keep your washing machine smelling fresh over time.

If you feel there is a larger issue in the structure of your home that is causing the sewer smell, then it’s time to call a plumber. It’s better to invest in a professional now rather than wait for further damage to take place.

Sewage smells in laundry rooms are often easily fixed with some of these simple tips and tricks. How do you manage the cleanliness of your laundry room? Let us know in the comments below!

Read next: Why Does My Laundry Room Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

About Emma

Hey there! I'm Emma. When I'm not wrangling kids I like to walk aimlessly around hardware stores and watch HGTV for hours on end.

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