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A given bathroom will be home to the occasional bad smell from time to time, but some home and business owners find that their toilets are creating a consistently foul odor. This odor often originates from the toilet, and there might be a few different reasons why this is happening.

At Whipple Plumbing, we can help you figure out why your toilet is giving off such a rotten smell. Here are three potential reasons we often see.

Not Enough Usage

If toilets aren’t used often enough, it’s common for the water inside them to evaporate over time. Without this water, foul-smelling odors that generally linger in the drain pipe are no longer blocked by a buffer – they can make their way up into your bathroom unabated. This is common in homes with a toilet in the basement, or in buildings with a given bathroom that’s rarely used.

To help prevent this, try to keep water in the bowl at all times even if a toilet isn’t regularly used. Plan to have someone flush the toilet once a week or so just to ensure there’s enough new water.

Broken Seal

Every toilet has a wax ring inside its base that’s meant to help seal in water and odors. This seal can become damaged or broken, however, and it can allow air and sewer odors to be pushed out every time you flush the toilet. If this goes long enough without any attention, water can begin to escape and can lead to major water damage issues. If you ever notice the toilet rocking back and forth when you sit down on it, this could be a sign that your seal is damaged.


Another common reason for foul toilet odors is blockages in the pipes. Some blockages form over a long period of time, while others are due to a single incident. In these cases, you’ll often be able to smell the odor every time you flush the toilet. Be sure to get this checked out in a hurry so you don’t deal with recurring clogs or overflowing toilets.

For more on what a negative odor from the toilet might mean, or to learn about any of our residential or commercial plumbing services, speak to the pros at Whipple Plumbing today.