6 causes and cures.
Here’s a scenario: you walk through the front door after a long day and your house smells like rotten eggs. The Rolodex of all your recent activity starts flipping in your mind: Did you leave something rotting in the fridge?
All perfectly sane questions, considering the range of consequences possible. When you smell the dreaded rotten-egg-sulfur-odor wafting around your house, caution is king. And we’ll just say this now: If there’s even the slightest chance that you could have a gas leak, leave your home and call your utility company or the fire department right away.
Let’s break this sulfury, nasal punishment down in more detail. We’ve got 6 odory culprits and their fixes:
- Gas Leak
If you have any gas or propane appliances, that rotten egg smell could be a gas leak. This is serious, so take three seconds to get over the initial shock and call your utility company or the fire department immediately. The smell could be coming from any number of things including a gas line issue with your stove, your furnace, or your water heater.
While gas is odorless, what you might be smelling is mercaptan, a chemical that gas companies inject manually so that you can detect when there’s a problem. This is a moment where over-caution is key. Get out of your house and leave it to the professionals.
Once you’ve ruled this issue out completely, proceed to our next remedies.
- Drain Pipes
If you have a bathroom that isn’t getting used a lot, you might be smelling methane from your sewer gas filtering inside. In the plumbing biz, it’s a situation they call “a dry p trap.” The p trap is a u-shaped pipe under your sink or tub. Typically, there’s a small amount of water sitting in it, which prevents the sewer gas from getting inside, but if it’s been a while since you used said sink or tub, the p trap is dried up, and that sewer gas may be flowing on in.
Thankfully, the fix is often easy. To isolate the problem, use your nose. Wherever you’re smelling the rotten egg scent the strongest is the place to start. Simply run the water in the sink or the tub for ten minutes to let that p trap get some water in it. That’ll block the sewer gas from getting inside again. If the problem persists, call your plumber.
- Well Water
About 13 million households in the US rely on well water instead of treated water from a municipal system. If you’re one of them, the rotten egg smell might be coming from a buildup of hydrogen sulfide in the water. Usually, this comes from decayed vegetation in the ground. It’s certainly not dangerous, but the smell can be unappetizing.
To confirm that your problem is, in fact, hydrogen sulfide, shut off the water in your home for six hours to allow the gas to build up, then fill your sink up with several inches of cold water. If the scent is strong, you’ve probably found the culprit.
To know for sure, send a sample of your water to your local extension office. Request a testing kit from them at a minimal cost, and have your water analyzed by their experts. If tests come back positive for hydrogen sulfide, they may send instructions on how to get the issue resolved. Usually, they’ll recommend a type of hypochlorite, which treats the water with chlorine and reduces the production of hydrogen sulfide.
This may be a process you have to repeat every six or so months, so you can also consider installing a carbon filter on your drinking faucets or having a plumber install a reverse osmosis unit under your sink to remove the odor.
- Literally. Rotten Eggs.
One of the more obvious reasons your home might be smelling like rotten eggs is that you have rotten eggs or another kind of spoiled food in your fridge.
Thankfully, the fix is pretty easy. Throw out the gross food (and promptly take out the trash), then take any surrounding food out of the fridge so you can treat the affected area. We recommend using a Multi-Purpose Cleaner so that you can easily wipe away the mess while also killing germs.
If somehow you’re still smelling remnants of your unintended science experiment, use an air freshener with a light odor—nothing too perfumey that’ll just smell weird in your kitchen. Febreze LIGHT Air is a solid solve that cleans away odors without heavy perfumes.
- Dry Wall
If you’re living in the southern parts of the US and your house was built between 2001 and 2009, there’s a chance that the sulfur smell is coming from your drywall. After a series of damaging hurricanes, these areas experienced a shortage of drywall, and drywall imported from China was frequently used instead. Unfortunately, it contained excessive amounts of sulfur, which can cause an off-gassing odor in your home. Not exactly a dream situation.
Experts recommend checking the copper coils in your fridge and air conditioning units. If you’re noticing black ash, it’s likely the result of corrosion caused by off-gassing. The only real fix here is to replace your drywall, which is a major bummer. Check your homeowner’s policy to see if you can offset some of the costs.
- Sewer line
If all else fails, you might actually have a broken drainpipe, which allows sewer gasses to invade your home. One sign that this is your problem is if the smell is even stronger outside than it is inside. If this is the case, call a plumber immediately to inspect the issue.
From gas leaks to off-gassing drywall (seriously?!), the rotten egg smell in your house is usually a sign of trouble somewhere. So just remember, the person who first smells a rotten egg in their home and acts quickly and accordingly, is, in fact, not a rotten egg. And that is at least an encouraging irony.
- Step1: Arrange Cleaning Supplies. ...
- Step 2: Apply detergent on the surface. ...
- Step 3: Wash Properly. ...
- Step 4: Remove any blockages from the sink. ...
- Step 5: Use Hydrogen Peroxide. ...
- Step 6: Remove Accumulated Junk in Water Treatment systems. ...
- Step 7: Wash the filter.
Wherever you're smelling the rotten egg scent the strongest is the place to start. Simply run the water in the sink or the tub for ten minutes to let that p trap get some water in it. That'll block the sewer gas from getting inside again. If the problem persists, call your plumber.
This smell is probably septic gas, unless you have a carton of eggs hiding in your living room. Septic gas has a strong, naturally occurring odor that smells like rotten eggs. The smell is hydrogen sulfide, which comes from sewage and indicates a potential issue with your plumbing.
Exposure to hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide usually breaks down in air in about 3 days and is dispersed by wind. Therefore exposure is only likely to continue if there is an ongoing source.
Raining often causes atmospheric pressure changes, which can lead to the air becoming heavy. As such, the methane gases typically found in the septic tank don't flow through the vent as they normally would. Instead, they stay low to the ground, causing a foul smell similar to rotten eggs.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best ways to get rid of the egg smell in your home. All you have to do is damp a little vinegar on a cotton cloth and rub the egg stain to remove the odour. However, this has to be done every three hours in the day for the smell to vanish.
Taking medications with enzymes like galactosidase (lactase) and alpha-galactosidase (Beano) helps reduce gas and bloating. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) taking tegaserod maleate (Zelnorm, Novartis) can also relieve foul-smelling gas.
If you are detecting foul sewer odors inside the house, this means that there is a weak link somewhere in your plumbing system. Possible sources include bathroom sink drains, toilets, kitchen drains, basement drains, old cast iron piping, or even the vent stack that goes out through your roof.
Ordinary household water softeners do not remove sulfur odors from water. In fact, softeners easily become fouled or clogged, reducing their softening capacity.
If you have a shower, tub, or sink that gets minimal use, the odor could be caused by sewer gas filtering into your home through an empty plumbing trap. Sewer gas contains methane, which has a distinctive sulfur smell. The drains from your fixtures all connect to the main sewer pipe that exits your home.
If the sulfur level in your drinking water is not too high, it shouldn't lead to any health issues. However, too much sulfate could lead to the following problems: Diarrhea and dehydration: Drinking water with a high sulfate content can have a laxative effect and lead to diarrhea, which can then cause dehydration.
Pouring hot water mixed with vinegar and baking soda down your smelly drains is an effective way to get rid of the sewer smell. Leave the mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes before running any water through the pipes.
- Consume Ginger.
- Try Some Peppermint.
- Read Labels.
- Combine Lemon & Baking Soda.
- Fart Pills.
- Eat More Probiotics.
- Give Activated Charcoal a Shot.
- eat smaller meals, more often.
- drink or chew food slowly, with your mouth closed.
- exercise regularly to improve how your body digests food.
- drink peppermint tea.
During digestion, gut bacteria produce sulfur-containing compounds like hydrogen sulfide that create a stench in your gas, Dr. Raymond noted.
A slow-draining sink clogged with ordinary hair and soap scum can build up bacteria in the P-trap until your bathroom sink smells like rotten eggs. This smell can also happen in sinks that haven't been used for a long time. Clear the clog by using a combination of baking soda, white vinegar and hot water.
The principal risks and effects associated with exposure are: Hydrogen sulfide poisoning. Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide causes irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Other symptoms include nervousness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and drowsiness.
Activated carbon filters at the tap or for the entire house can remove small amounts of hydrogen sulfide, so these are best for water in which the sulfur smell isn't too strong.
Ozone, chlorine, aeration, and peroxide injections are some common processes that are used to get rid of the sulfur smell by boosting the oxidizing properties of the water being treated. Liquid chlorination: Using 5% – 10% chlorine (over 6 mg/l) can effectively remove medium to a high level of sulfur in well water.
Frankly unless you're an expert we recommend staying away from hydrogen peroxide for water softener sanitation. Run the water softener through a normal or manual regeneration cycle. This will cycle the bleach-solution out of the brine tank and through the resin tank.
Natural gas has no odor. Gas companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell. All natural gas and propane pipeline gas in Connecticut is odorized. If you smell gas near an appliance, it may be just a pilot light that has gone out or a burner valve that is open slightly.
The typical bathroom mold or mildew found growing between shower tiles don't typically smell like rot, but severe mold growth on walls and ceilings — especially after a flood or leak — can make room smell like rotting wood or fermented cheese.
It's often described as musty and earthy, and may even smell like rotting vegetables or plants. You might notice a musty smell, but not be able to see any mold growing. In this case, you should look for areas that might be exposed to water.
Rotten Egg Smell
Natural gas and propane have a distinctive smell for a reason. For safety purposes, utility companies use an additive called mercaptan that gives the colorless and odorless gases a smell that is hard to miss. Most people describe this smell like something like rotten eggs, sewage, or sulfur.