Abandoned Bathroom Smells Moldy

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saabturbodrivr

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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!! :)
 

FullySprinklered

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That other spirit that inhabits my skull wrote a boo-boo.

Sorry about that.
 
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Jadziedzic

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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.
 

Bluebinky

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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...
 

Reach4

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Cover suspects with cheap thin plastic drop cloth and masking tape. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Husky-Plastic-Drop-Cloth-0.7-Mil-3-Pack/17217856 See which side of the plastic the smell is strongest.

Suspects would not be just fixtures, especially if you find the smell is not stronger under any of the plastic covering fixtures.

husky-drop-cloth.jpg
 
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saabturbodrivr

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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.
 

Reach4

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Are you saying to literally cover the drains and fixtures with the plastic? The plastic would gain a smell eventually?
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.

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.
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.
 
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Sylvan

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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
 
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saabturbodrivr

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Hi Sylvan...not too worried about sewer gasses and I am keeping water in the traps. So, the smell is coming from something else.
 

saabturbodrivr

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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.

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.
 
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