Unless you have been out to sea recently or your toddler has left fish in your shower, it really should not smell like fish. So, what’s going on? If your shower drain has a distinctly fishy odor (and not a more like a rotten egg smell) then that may be a sign of a few different issues. Here are some potential issues that might cause your shower drain to smell like fish and what to do about it.

Electrical Issues

Naturally, because the issue is in your shower, you assume it is the drain making this smell. But the most common source of a fishy smell in your shower is actually damage to the electrical insulation in the wall behind it. Sometimes improper wiring or damage to the shower can cause the electrical components to be too close to the hot water pipe. You run the shower, it burns the insulation, and that gives off a kind of fishy smell. If this could be the problem, your plumber can assess what’s gone wrong behind the wall and make the repairs it needs.

Bacterial Growth

If they are not cleaned regularly, showers can grow all kinds of bacteria. Some may create a fish-like smell. You can get rid of the bacteria that is making the smell by using a strong bathroom cleaner and scrubbing down the whole thing. However, if you give the shower a good clean, you ventilate the bathroom, and it still smells fishy, there is probably a different cause. If it were bacteria, the smell would resolve quickly.

Sewage Problems

Depending on what you have been putting down your sewer, it could smell fishy. It’s more likely to smell overwhelmingly bad. However, if you suspect that your fishy smell leans a little like sewers, then it could be that sewer smells are coming up from your shower drain. That is absolutely an indication of a problem, likely a clog somewhere in your drain line or your sewer. You should get your plumber resolved right away.

Water Quality

Are you sure it is not the water itself that smells like fish? Run the showerhead and find out. If indeed, it is your water that smells like fish, then you should get the water quality investigated right away. If this is a new property for you, don’t start drinking the water until you’ve been assured by professionals who have tested it that it is safe. If your water is normally fine but has begun to smell like fish, you should stop drinking it and contact whichever authority is responsible for treating your water.

It Isn’t Gas, Or These Other Issues

A gas leak smells distinctly like rotten eggs. It is unlikely that you would mistake this smell for a fish-like smell. Other less distinct smells, like a rotting mouse, an old bird’s nest in a plumbing vent, or other issues, are more likely to be mistaken for a fishy smell. The bottom line is that you should get your plumber involved as soon as possible so that they can determine what the smell is and resolve the issue.