House Smells Like Sewer When Doing Laundry and How to Fix

You probably spend a lot of time in your laundry room. Sometimes laundry feels like it’s a never-ending battle and you’ll always have more clothes that need laundry.

When your laundry room smells strange like sewer, it makes it very difficult to carry out your daily tasks. Here is the complete solution to this problem in the house or laundry room.

Don’t worry, you are not alone in this experience. When there’s a foul smell around, it’s usually an indicator that something is wrong, especially if it smells like sewer.

You may jump to the conclusion that there is a problem with your plumbing, but it could be a bigger problem. It can also come from the sewer, so it needs quick action.

House Smells Like Sewer When Doing Laundry

Sometimes, running some water or using cleaning agents can resolve the odor. Other times, unfortunately, you need to have some professional intervention.

In this article, let’s unravel the mystery of smelling in laundry room. Once we get to the root of the smell, we’ll help you by providing ways to fix the problem.

I’ll also discuss how you can go about fixing a house that smells like sewer when doing laundry. As long as you pay attention to all the information, it should be possible to fix things. Keep reading to dig into all the details.

How Dangerous Is the Smell of Sewer for Health?

If you are experiencing the smell of sewage in your home, there are some important safety concerns you should be aware of.

You see, sewer gases are very toxic and they can be harmful to everyone in your home. Breathing in these gases can make you sick.

This is not something that should just be ignored it can also pose a serious threat to your home. These gases contain methane and are highly flammable.

When you’re having problems with sewer gases, your laundry room area and your entire home will be at increased risk of fire.

For this reason, you’ll want to do your best to solve this problem before it gets worse.

Sewer gas is made from natural human waste which contains gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Hydrogen sulfide is what gives it that awful smell.

While not highly toxic at low levels, when you are exposed to major levels of it, it can lead to sewer gas poisoning.

Hydrogen sulfide is toxic to the body’s oxygen system and can cause organ damage or death.

Exposure to ammonia can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. It can also cause organ damage or death.

Methane and carbon dioxide can be flammable with ammonia.

You may experience the following from sewer gas poisoning:

Vomiting or nausea
Poor memory and coordination

House Smells Like Sewer When Doing Laundry Causes

Most of the common causes of smelling in the laundry room are here.

1. Problems With Water Traps

One of the most common causes of sewage odor in the laundry room is dry traps. You might not know this but there is a water trap located somewhere below your floor drain.

It can also be located under your washbasin or some kind of laundry tub. If this water trap has dried up due to no use, it will not be able to function normally.

There’s even a trap in your washing machine’s drain pipe to prevent sewer gases from opening up the drain.

These nets are always believed to be full of water. When you don’t use your washing machine for too long, the water is going to disappear.

It will eventually evaporate and since you are not refilling it, it will stop doing its job.

When the sewer trap dries up, it can cause some real problems for you. Luckily, you’re going to be able to fix this problem where water is needed.

You can take a bucket of water and pour it into the trap where it needs to be. You will also want to check for leaks to make sure a leak was not the cause of the missing trap water.

If there is a leak of any kind, you may need to fix or replace your drain trap. In most cases, a dry trap is going to happen because you haven’t used the washing machine for a long period of time.

Just check things and add water to get things back where they need to be. If this was the problem that was causing the sewage smell, you should be able to fix things up and get back to normal in no time.

2. Drain Clogs

You may not have noticed that your drain is already clogged due to hair or soap from clothes. These wastes cause bacteria to build upon the clog which creates a foul odor.

If this is not taken care of, it will grow in size and produce a more pungent odor.

3. Venting Issues in House

Washing machines also require vent pipes. This is to avoid the smell of sewage gas in your home.

However, if it gets clogged, there will not be proper ventilation for the bad smell. This can cause odors to leak through the walls and vent pipes.

Venting issues are another common problem that leads to a bad smell in your laundry room. If your home’s sewerage system is not maintained properly, it is possible that sewer gases can become a problem.

These gases have a very noticeable odor and you’ll want to take care of things before they get worse.

Your vent pipes connect to your home’s main drain lines and you don’t want to clog things up or it could cause problems for other areas of your home.

The most common problem that leads to venting issues is clogs. When a clog is present, gases cannot flow properly into the venting pipe.

In a normal situation, the gases should go up the venting pipe and then be released into the air through an opening in the roof.

You should be able to see any blockages by looking down the pipe using the light so you may want to check things out thoroughly.

If there is a blockage, you may choose to call in the professionals. You may not have the right tools to deal with a blockage in the drain.

A plumber can also find out if your vent pipe setup has flaws or needs to make other changes. When you’re trying to determine what’s wrong with your laundry room, remember to check it out.

4. Washing Machine Drain Issue

The awful smell coming from the drain of your washing machine could be from dryness in the P-Trap.

Since the water in a P-trap prevents sewer gases from getting into your home through the drain, when it dries up, it can’t trap the gases.

5. Blockages in the Drain Line

Drain line blockages are another common culprit when the laundry room smells of sewage. Your washing machine’s drain line can become clogged over time.

This can give off an odor that is similar to that of sewer gas. Your drain doesn’t even have to be completely clogged for these odors to be a problem.

Partial clogs can be really bad due to built-up bacteria in the drain pipe. Things like clogged hair and soap smell the same as sewer gas.

Whenever the water comes down the pipe, this smell will go into the air. The best thing you can do in this situation is to clear the clog and then clean things up.

Clearing a drain line clog involves using a snake of some sort. If you don’t have the right tools to handle it, you can hire a plumber to do the job.

It’s also a good idea to pour bleach down the drainpipe to get rid of bacteria growing down there. As long as you take these precautions, it will sort things out for you.

6. Washer Issues

When you get rotten eggs through your nose from your laundry room, it could indicate that bacteria are thriving in your washer.

This can be caused by dirt, mildew and mold, lint, or soap accumulated in the washer.

7. Broken Sewer Lines in House

The most serious problem that can cause sewage odor in your laundry room is a clogged or broken sewer line.

This is going to be a big issue and it could become a big mess. This is not the most common cause of sewage odor in the laundry room, but it is something to consider if the above reasons are not to blame.

This isn’t something you’re going to be able to fix on your own, so you’ll want to call in the pros to take a look at things.

You may not even be able to locate the leak without the proper equipment. This is why some people go long with the smell of sewage in their laundry rooms.

They can’t determine the problem, so they ignore it for a while. This is not a good idea because sewer gases and odors are very dangerous for you.

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with your laundry room, take the time to call your local plumber.

They will be happy to assess the situation and have the right tools to do the job. You can fix your sewage problem fairly quickly if you go this route.

When you’re dealing with something potentially dangerous in the form of sewer gases, don’t wait to take care of things.

How to Fix House Smell Like Sewer When Doing Laundry

Here are the solutions to house smells like sewer when doing laundry.

1. Using Vinegar

If you use a front-load washing machine, you will need to unscrew the rubber seal and look closely for any trapped dirt.

Unused dirt can slowly decompose and leave a bad smell that can be unbearable at home. So, if you find some mess, it’s time to clean it up.

Next, clean the seal of the machine with a cloth. For this, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water (ratio 1:1). If you have bleach available, you can use that too.

Then run the machine on its hottest settings. For front-load washing machines, you can pour soda (1/3 cup) into the drum and white vinegar inside the tray for detergent.

If you have a top-load machine, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

After adding the ingredients, let the machine run, and finish the wash cycle.

2. Clean P-Trap

This is easy. All you have to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions when washing the machine and then wipe down the edges and interiors with the vinegar-water mixture.

But if the smell still hasn’t gone away, check the drainpipe. Use a gallon of water on the P-trap to remove dryness.

3. Clean Pipes with Wire

You can use a long hardwire to clean small drain pipes of the laundry room sewer. This will open the pipes of the laundry room sewer to end the smell.

4. Clean Drain System

If you have some experience using drain snakes, you may be able to handle things on your own. It really just depends on what kind of equipment you have and how comfortable you are with using them.

Either way, you need to take care of these sewer gas issues as soon as possible. An unpleasant odor is a nuisance but it can also be a danger to your home.

Take the time to thoroughly check things out so that you can proceed with confidence. Your laundry room will smell great once things settle in.

5. Clean Floor Drains

Many basements, garages, and laundry rooms have floor drains that carry wastewater from central air conditioners, washing machines, water heaters, and snow-covered cars.

Rent a power auger with at least 50 feet of cable. Begin by removing the strainer covering the drain hole.

Then, look for a clean-out plug on the side of the drain basin. Remove the plug with a wrench. This allows you to bypass the trap and feed the cable directly down the pipe.

If the conduit doesn’t have a neat plug, you’ll need to remove the cable through the mesh; This is a somewhat more difficult method.

6. Using Hot Water and Baking Soda

If you find yourself with a clogged drain line, hot water, vinegar, and baking soda can be an inexpensive way to unclog it.

Pour hot water down the drain first, then baking soda, then vinegar, and then more hot water while you leave the mixture down the drain for 10-15 minutes.

7. Using Electric Power Augar

For a very large clog or one that is far from stable, rent an electric power auger. This machine – basically a large cable auger driven by an electric motor.

It’s very effective at cutting down virtually any blockage, even tangled tree roots. Before bringing the power auger home, make sure the rental agent shows you how to safely remove and retrieve the cable.

8. Call to Plumber

Sometimes, you can’t do all the cleaning alone. There are certain types of washing machine issues that require training and expertise to solve.

Following are the indicators when you should contact professional help to remove bad smells from your washing machine or laundry room.

When the sewage smell persists even after filling the P-trap with water, a plumber should be called in to ensure proper installation of the drainpipe.

When you need to use a sewer machine to clean clogged washing machine drainpipes properly, contact a good plumber because sewer machines are too dangerous without proper usage knowledge.

When a vent pipe becomes clogged, a professional should be called in for the use of the proper equipment and knowledge to flush out any blockages in the pipe.

It would be easier to take action. If you don’t have the right tools to fix things, you don’t want to deal with issues like this alone.

Some of these improvements will be as simple as adding water to a drainpipe. If you need to clear some clogs from the pipe, you may need to call a plumber.

Final Words

If your home smells like sewer while doing laundry, it is a serious problem and you need to take it seriously. You always use the best smelling laundry detergents.

You most likely don’t want to risk your health, deal with an awful sewer smell, or spend a few extra bucks. So, be sure to clean your washing machine regularly!

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