Foul-Smelling Toilet? Here’s Why – and How to Fix It

Toilet troubles are never fun to deal with – especially if they’re causing an unpleasant odor! If your toilet is emitting a foul smell upon flushing, you’ve likely tried taking a look inside the toilet bowl itself to see where the problem is coming from. But the most common cause of this issue doesn’t have much to do with your toilet itself – rather, how it’s affixed to the floor.

Foul-Smelling Toilet? Here’s Why – and How to Fix It

To fix a foul-smelling toilet, check the wax ring surrounding the toilet base. When the wax ring is not sealed properly to the toilet or floor, air from within your plumbing is allowed to seep out from beneath the toilet upon flushing. This is especially common when the main vent is clogged as well. 

Each time water is flushed down a drain, it needs to push any air in the pipe out of the way. When the wax seal and vents are functioning properly, this air moves through the pipe and out through the vent without issue. However, when one or both of these components are in a state of disrepair, the air has nowhere to go but out through the toilet’s base. 

How to replace the wax seal

First, you will have to determine how badly the seal is broken to fix the wax seal on your toilet. In some instances, fixing the seal with silicone or caulk can be enough to be an effective short-term fix. However, to properly seal the toilet, you will need to disconnect, empty, and move the toilet. 

  1. Empty the toilet. To empty the toilet, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush water from the tank until it is dry. You will likely also need to use a sponge or towel to absorb any remaining water that flushing doesn’t remove. Some also find success in plunging the toilet to ensure all the water has passed through the pipes.
  2. Detach the toilet. With a bucket nearby for any residual water, remove the water supply hose from the toilet tank and remove the hardware from the mounting bolts that anchor the toilet to the floor. Exercise caution while completing this step, as heavy force can break the toilet anchor flange.
  3. Move the toilet. Place the toilet somewhere out of the way of your work area. We recommend placing a piece of lumber or similar blocks on the floor beneath where the toilet will be placed to protect the toilet drain. Keep the toilet base parallel to the floor while moving the toilet to prevent any sloshing from the drain trap.
  4. Remove the wax ring. Wearing a pair of disposable gloves, remove the wax ring and clean around the area using a putty knife or mineral spirits. Be sure to plug the drain during this step with an old towel or rags (large enough so that it doesn’t fall inside the pipe). This is important to prevent sewer gas from entering the room. 
  1. With the toilet flange removed, attach the new wax ring. Press the new wax ring firmly into place, being sure not to press it so hard that it changes the ring’s shape.
  2. Replace the toilet, bolt it to the floor, and reconnect the water supply. Give the toilet a few flushes to check the new wax ring. 

Toilet repair in New Haven and Fairfield County

If this sounds like a large project to tackle, you’re not wrong. Replacing a wax seal can be time-consuming and has the potential to get messy. 

Instead of doing it yourself, bring in the experts from Rick’s Plumbing. Whether it’s replacing the wax ring or inspecting the drainpipe vent, we’ll make sure your toilet is working correctly and not producing a foul stench with every flush. To schedule an appointment, call us at (203) 874-6629 today.