Foul Toilet Smell

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by hulka, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. hulka

    hulka New Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    We follow of the "If it's yellow let it mellow..." (urine gets no flush or a "half" flush) system and have never had a problem with it until we until we moved recently.

    In this house anytime urine sits in the toilet for more than a few hours, a strong sewage smell comes from both of our toilets. We accidentally left some "yellow" in one and went out of town for 5 days recently only to come back to a toilet with a brown film over the top and an awful smell filling the bathroom and attached bedroom.

    I don't notice any smell if the toilets are always flushed. The toilets seem well seated and there is no noticeable water damage around them.

    Any thoughts?
  2. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Nov 27, 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    in the previous house there was minor leakage letting new water into the bowl. That diluted the urine and eventually made it practically disappear. In the new house, the toilets have no leakage between the tank and bowl, so the urine acts as any stale urine does. It turns bad.

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  4. hulka

    hulka New Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    Diluted in a toilet for a couple of hours? I'd be surprised if that causes a noticable stench for most people, but I'd love to hear what others have to say.

    If we leave it overnight and it smells worse than most public restrooms (that don't get regular cleaning). It really seems like something else is going on...
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    I think David may be onto something.
    If the flappers on the old toilets were bad, you may have been having clean water go through.

    Urine does go bad, or maybe the word is ferment.

    That's why waterless urinals smell so bad.
    You can smell them before you enter the mens room.

    You may want to consider a dual flush toilet.

    Here is a toilet drain from a home where the toilet was rarely flushed. The fairly new toilet was thrown away. Not flushing the bowl meant that salt was depositing in the trapway and closing down. Here is a picture of the drain below the toilet and the salt deposits.


    Salt deposits in a toilet drain
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    It is possible your new house has older toilets and there may be bacteria that reacts strongly with the urine. This bacteria may be coming from the part of the toilet trapway that you can't see but comes in contact with the water/urine mix when the bowl is full via a non glazed trapway.

    Toilet replacement may correct your problem.

    If you decide to purchase new toilets, Be sure the trapway is glazed and check out the toilet section of this forum B 4 deciding on what brand.
  7. hulka

    hulka New Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    Thanks for the responses guys. I never noticed that the old toilets were significantly diluting whatever was left in the toilet, so Cass' explanation makes more sense to me.

    I'd love to replace the toilets with dual-flush models, but it isn't in the budget right now. Is there anyway I can rinse/disinfect/kill whatever bacteria may be living in the cistern or trapway?
  8. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Didn't you post pics in the last 6 months or so of someone's copper drain pipe which had been eaten away by urine being left in the toilet overnight over a period of months/years?
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