Musty smell in toilet bowl

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by mlarocque, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. mlarocque

    mlarocque New Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    San Leandro, CA
    I live in a two bed two bath condo on the second floor of a four floor building. My master bathroom started smelling odd about 3 months ago. Somtimes it smells like a sweetly-laced must; other times like a chlorine bleach. It's hard to describe, but it's not your typical sewer/sulfur odor. In the preceding months, I retiled my bathroom floor and painted the bathroom.

    The smell waxes and wanes in intensity. It’s only occasionally a strong smell but almost always present to some degree. I’m not able to detect a pattern to the smell; I’ve asked neighbors in my condo stack with bathrooms immediately above and below me and none of them smell what I’m smelling.

    I am relatively confident that I have traced the smell to my toilet bowl, a smell which my second bath toilet does not have. When I cover the toilet bowl in plastic for a few hours, the smell dissipates. I have also smelled around the walls and my flooring, but cannot detect a smell emanating in those places.

    Things I have done:
    • I had a plumber pull up the toilet to examine and replace the wax ring. He reported that the original ring was in working order and that he found no leak. There are no other visible leaks in my bathroom. Water drains fine and the toilet flushes fine.

    • I cleaned the toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda and also put vinegar in the toilet tank. On a separate occasion, I also tried bleach. The tank, unlike the bowl, does not smell.
    Neither of these steps eliminated the smell.

    Other possibly relevant information:
    • After not flushing for a few hours, tiny bubbles the size of poppy seeds collect in my toilet bowl around the drain hole.
    Any ideas about what I or a plumber should try next?
  2. plumber69

    plumber69 In the Trades

    Jun 20, 2014
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    The only thing that is possible here is that, sewer gas is being pushed thru your toilet bowl from bad venting.
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Oct 28, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    As plumber69 suggest, I agree. Someone is using bleach to clean their toilet or if there are washing machines in each condo, a discharge of bleached wash or perfumed detergent is being pumped into the drain system. I would say someone above your unit. As a slug of water travels down the pipe it is pushing air downward and without proper venting this column of air is escaping to your bowl. This toilet maybe the closet fixture to the main stack. You should ask the condo association to have the vent pipe from the roof checked out. A varmint or bird may have fallen into the pipe. Usually totally blocked vent you would get very slow drainage and gurgling sounds.
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