Why Does My Toilet Stink Even After I Clean It?

Have you recently cleaned your toilet thoroughly only to realize that your toilet is still stinking?

Well, stop wondering about what died in there?  and look out for these common toilet problems.

Evaporation in the P-Trap

Evaporation in the P-TrapMost toilets today are P-trap type. And, for those who are unaware, P-traps can usually be found under your sinks, under your showers and under your bath tubs. For sinks, shower, etc, the P-trap is a part of the sewer lines but only in the toilet is the P-trap a part of the fixture itself. Just like a water pipe, the P-trap in the toilet holds water and creates a kind of physical barrier that prevents sewer gases and odors from wafting into your bathroom. It doesn’t really help with drainage but the pool of water keeps the smelliest gases from moving up into your bathroom. In fact, the P-trap is generally considered to be more effective and consistent in carrying out this function compared to the S-trap.

However, the problem with this trap is that if the toilet is not used frequently, the water in the trap will fall to a level (i.e., evaporate) where the water is not blocking the pipe anymore. And, that would result in the sewer gases coming out and filling your bathroom with the worse smell ever.


If you are coming back from a long vacation and you’ve noticed that your clean toilet is giving off bad smells, try to flush it several times. It would fill the toilet’s P-trap all over again with water and the foul smell would dissipate.

And, if this issue persists despite the frequent flushing, I’m afraid you may need to call a plumber.

Damaged Toilet Seal

Damaged Toilet SealA wax seal or a wax ring is made out of a very tacky type of wax which helps in forming a watertight seal at the point where the top of the sewer pipe and the bottom of the toilet meet. The wax ring seals the toilet to the drain properly so as to keep the sewer gas from filling the bathroom and it can also prevent the seepage of water out of the connection while the toilet is flushing normally. Some wax seals even have a neoprene reducer molded into the wax. And, therefore this will help in slowing down the flush to let head pressure (.454 PSI per vertical foot of elevation) build up to assist with the flush either through head pressure or siphonic action.

Now, I’m sure you are wondering about how long the wax seals on a toilet last. Well, there is no accurate answer but according to some experts, if you’ve used a good wax seal, it should last for at least 10 years. But, a cheap plastic one is going to break earlier. And, sometimes, the wax ring is not sealed properly and with time, it can get loose, leading to urine or water seeping under the toilet. This by itself will promote the growth of bacteria and lead to unbearable smells in the bathroom.


Call a plumbing expert to check the wax seal and if it needs replacing, he will do the necessary. Furthermore, you’ll find several DIY fixes on the net which are less expensive than hiring a plumber. But, remember to remove the toilet and clean the area first before replacing the wax seal.

Bacterial Growth

Bacterial GrowthThere’s no denying that lots of nasty bacteria live in our sewer pipes. But, the problem is there’ll be times (especially during the hot and humid season)when these colonies of bacteria will make their way up into the toilet bowl and right under the rim – that’s the place they choose to live, grow and multiply. And, as they multiply and thrive under your toilet, a reek of sewage smell is given off.


The best way to fix this problem is by pouring some bleach into the cistern and flushing it a few times to make sure the bleached water goes all the way around the rim.

Why Does My Toilet Stink Even After I Clean It?
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