Abandoned Bathroom Smells Moldy

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by saabturbodrivr, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Hi guys,

    My master bath is currently not usesd as it awaits a renovation.

    The sink has not been used (water shut offs closed) for almost 2 years.

    The toilet has not been used (water shut offs closed) for about 6 months.

    The shower stall has not been used for about 6 months.

    The bathroom did not smell very much when we stopped using the shower/toilet. I try to keep water in the traps. It really smells moldy and not sure where it is coming from...I would only suspect the traps, since we're not using it, not like a shower leak has developed. I tried baking soda/bleach/hot water in the sink, to no avail.

    Any ideas? This bathroom is about 8 feet from our bed, and my wife is pregnant, so the moldy smell is extra concerning to me. Our bathroom contractor quit before the job started, so we may be waiting another few months for the job to begin, so it will remained abandoned in that time.

    Thanks!! :)
     
  2. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    That other spirit that inhabits my skull wrote a boo-boo.

    Sorry about that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Is there water in the toilet bowl?
     
  5. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Yep. When I checked recently it was almost empty, so I filled it.
     
  6. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Take the grate off the shower drain and look at the inside of the pipe leading to the trap; is there a build-up of material on the inside wall of the pipe (soap residue, etc.)? If so, that's probably the source of the odor. Use a long scrub brush and cleaner to remove the residue on the inside of the pipe, then flush the drain with a few buckets of water.
     
  7. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks, I will give that a try
     
  8. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Occupation:
    Electrical/Embedded Software Engineer, Retired
    Location:
    Des Moines, WA
    Any mould inside the toilet tank?

    The smell may not have anything to do with the plumbing. It could be that periodic cleaning used to mask a problem that is now being allowed to become noticeable...
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2021
  10. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Are you saying to literally cover the drains and fixtures with the plastic? The plastic would gain a smell eventually?

    It seems to be a little improved after my cleaning of the drains the other day, but still there.

    One possibility is that it always had a slight smell. When it was in use, the door to it was essentially always open. Since we abandoned it, we keep the door shut, constantly. Going in and out of it the other day, I didn't notice much odor after the door was open for a bit. When the door is shut for days at a time, and I go in there, that's when I get a hit of the moldy, musty smell.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I don't know. After it does its job of separating spaces for separate smell detection, you lift the plastic and stick your nose in there. If you can borrow a younger nose, you can get a more sensitive reading. You then throw the plastic away. It might take a couple days or a week to do the job. It might take less.

    That is very possible. When you first saw the place, it had just been cleaned with a cleaner with its own smell, and/or a bleach solution. As that gradually went away, your nose adjusted.

    An ozone generator might help if the smell is not coming via plumbing. One that is strong enough is too strong for an occupied space. So you would run it, set the timer for 2 hours if the generator has one, close the door, go away for a day. Then hold your breath, go in, open a window or turn on the exhaust fan, and close the door again until the ozone smell is gone. Click Inbox above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  12. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Sewer fumes are highly carcinogenic and in some cases flammable

    The reason for a trap is to prevent these dangerous fumes from entering a structure such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, esters , carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to name a few.

    If a fixture is not being used it has to either have the trap replenished or the waste line capped or plugged.

    Also many times sewer fleas are present when the trap seal is compromised

    Bleach is one of the worst things to place in a drain where anyone can inhale the fumes. If one is concerned about bacteria growth then hydrogen peroxide will normally kill smell causing bacteria and it is not on the green peace watch list as being dangerous to inhale
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
    Terry likes this.
  13. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Hi Sylvan...not too worried about sewer gasses and I am keeping water in the traps. So, the smell is coming from something else.
     
  14. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    Don't matter if it's in town or out in the woods, running water is always safer. Water doesn't sit well.
     
  15. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Fairmount, North Dakota
    Is the door always shut? If you dont have an exchange of fresh air you will get the stale smell. What is the humidity in there? High humidity will promote mold growth. That is why you need the fresh air exchange.
     
  16. saabturbodrivr

    saabturbodrivr New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    Yea, the door is almost always shut now since we stopped using it. I don't know about humidity, but that room does of course have its own hot water radiator, and its a tiny room, so likely gets warmer than it normally would.

    I think it's a combination of the smell "accumulating" due to the door always being shut, and like you mentioned, the stale air smell factor.

    -All traps have water in them, I manually dump a pot of water in every so often.
    -Toilet has water in it, same procedure as above.
    -I cleaned the sink and shower drains well, cleaned shower door where I saw some mildew, nothing out of the ordinary though.

    I'm guessing there could be a mild mold issue in the shower wall..we'll see when the room gets redone. And always having the door open just made it very subtle, not a "BAM", in your face like now when the door is opened 1 time a week. Don't see how that kind of issue (shower wall mold), if there is actually that issue, would suddenly get worse now in the absence of the shower walls getting wet.

    The good news is that I found that a simple HEPA filter removes mold spores from the air. While we don't detect a smell in our adjacent bedroom, I think we'll run it in the bedroom as a precaution for my pregnant wife until we redo the bathroom.
     
  17. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Location:
    Fairmount, North Dakota
    We use concrobium mold control spray in bathrooms with mold issues where I work. You might want to check into spraying everything down in there with something like that.
     
Similar Threads: Abandoned Bathroom
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Need advise on finding abandoned septic tank Jul 7, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Using an abandoned water heater vent for my plumbing stack May 3, 2020
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Sink drain/vent question due to abandoned piping Jun 11, 2018
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice What to do with abandoned drain/vent line? Nov 22, 2017
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Capping abandoned vanity service lines Nov 13, 2017

Share This Page