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Thread: Smelly toilet, tried many things

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member shonuff66's Avatar
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    Default Smelly toilet, tried many things

    Hi All,

    I have a Toto toilet (single flush, no gadgetry) thats about 5-6 years old in our masterbath. Its in it's own little room in the bathroom. We have a constant smell in there even with the fan running 24 hours a day and door shut. See some pictures attached.

    Setup:
    - there is about 1" between the back of the toilet and the wall. On the other side of the wall is a shower. Toilet is on the 2nd floor.

    Here's some history:
    Part 1
    - drain flies appeared and I noticed some water leaking behind the toilet. There was a smell
    - I removed the toilet to find a big brown slurry mess and the unifit adaptor. The rubber seal from the unifit stuck to the toilet when I lifted it off. That appeared to be the leak point, but hard to tell.
    - after cleaning I removed the unifit, cleaned more, scraped off the wax ring. cleaned more. Flange is metal.
    - replaced the wax ring with a #10 (not quite a double high ring) as the flange is slightly below the floor by about 0.5"
    - put the unifit back on. cleaned rubber seal, attached the rubber seal to unifit, seated the toilet.

    Part 2
    - waited a day for smell to air out, but it didn't. seemed to grow stronger as a few days went by. had door closed with exhaust fan running
    - removed toilet and took the rubber seal off. replaced the tie wrap with a similar heavy duty one. Tightened as hard as I could
    - reseated toilet

    Part 3
    - waited about an hour, no change in smell.had door closed with exhaust fan running
    - removed toilet, applied silicone caulk to the inside of the rubber seal where it attaches to the unifit. smushed it down
    - reseated toilet

    Part 4
    - waited 10-15 min, no change with fan running
    - removed toilet, applied silicon caulk to where the rubber seal meets the toilet, reseated toilet

    Part 5
    - waited 10-15 min, no change with fan running
    - bolted toilet down,
    - caulked around base of toilet, sealed off back of toilet (its open and exposed to the unifit) using tape (hard to tell how good a job I did), sealed side panels with tape (where bolts are),

    Part 6
    - waited 10-15 mins, no change with fan running
    - checked roof vents for apparent clogs , couldn't see down the pipe further than one foot.

    The room stills smells for the last 2 days, fan running constantly.

    Other ideas:
    - smell is seeping through bolt holes that fasten the seat down to the bowl.
    - some strange plumbing vent clog that is only causing smells in that toilet room. I don't hear any bubbling noises anywhere in the house.
    - the rubber seal has an inner lip and an outer lip. The unifit fits between the two. This is unlike the photo shown in this thread where the rubber seal is surrounded by the unifit. Am I right?
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...ak-from-a-TOTO

    What do you all think?

    Thanks again for this great resource for do-it-yourself home repair!

    Shonuff66
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  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I would bring the bowl outside and clean the underside well. If there had been leaks, you will want to make sure it's clean before resetting.
    I sometimes take toilets onto the lawn and use the garden hose on them. Water isn't going to hurt it.
    I would also replace the Unifit adapter if the seal has come off. It needs to be set with with wax to the flange, making sure there is compression on the sealing.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member shonuff66's Avatar
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    Default

    Forgot to mention I did a wipe down with bleach solution on the underside of the toilet and in the crevices from the back. Possible that I didn't reach every nook in there.

    Are those rubber seals supposed to hold on tight to the unifit? I can't see how they could. Unless they are supposed to fit entirely inside the unifit, and not have the outer lip hang outside of the unifit with the inner lip inside. That seems like an awkward fit.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The seal is installed tight. I've never seen one loose like that, and I've seen tons of them.

    Last edited by Terry; 03-22-2011 at 10:05 PM.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member shonuff66's Avatar
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    Resurrecting this old thread - we still have a smell. Here's what we did since

    1) brought plumber out back in March 2011. We cleaned the toilet. And he installed a new replacement unifit adapter. I asked him were he though the smell was coming from, he couldn't smell it (I think he lost his sense of smell), although admittedly it wasn't too bad at that time since the room was aired out. He said it could be coming from outside some how. I don't see how that's possible, unless its coming through the exhaust vent. He didn't think it was a problem with the flange/drain.
    2) A couple of days after he came out, we still had the smell. I hired a couple of guys to help me thoroughly scrub the toilet, floors, and walls of the bathroom with windex. No change after this.
    3) I removed the unifit, and plugged the drain with a test plug. I caulked around the test plug and around the flange just to be sure, no change. Test plug looks somewhat like this: http://s7.cdn.hardwareandtools.net/i...id=225&hei=225

    The test plug has stayed there since April 2011, sealed up. The unifit and toilet remain uninstalled. The smell never went away, but we aren't running the fan 24/7 anymore, more like once a week and we keep the door shut.

    Could it be any of the following?:
    - crack in sewer drain, gases slowly seeping out and through floor?
    - water damage under the floor, and its a rot smell going on for this long? Could the water damage smell last this long? If not, could it be the shower valve leaking (shower shares a wall with the water closet)
    - some other smell coming through the exhaust vent. As the plumber said, some smell coming from the outside? I don't understand this one as the exhaust vent is conected to the roof.
    - dead animal - although I think the smell wouldn't gone away by now.

    Any recommendations on what to do next would be appreciated. I'm considering opening up the walls and floor around flange and hiring a plumber to put a camera down the drain to look for cracks.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Probably totally unhelpful, but I'll try:

    Think outside the box -- I know you're trying to do this. I had a smell in my apartment bathroom in the City. Hadn't had it before, and the bathroom has an excellent vent fan. I assumed it was urine or something that had leached beyond normal cleaning. Toilet was well-caulked to the marble floor with no gaps. I cleaned everywhere, all the nooks and crannies, sniffed trying to find a more precise location, changed the shower curtain, only had clean towels in there, cleaned the medicine cabinets and sniffed everything in there. Rinsed off the toilet brush and plunger and plunger-holder. And still...the smell.

    It turned out to be the toilet plunger and the little holder it slips into. Rinsing, it turns out, couldn't kill that smell, even with a little soapy cleaner mixed in. It was kind of a rotting smell that I mistook for decaying urine. After about a month of this, I finally poured bleach, straight from the bottle, all over the plunger holder and plunger, let them sit for about 15 minutes, and rinsed thoroughly. I actually didn't expect this to do anything because I had had sort of cleaned them already. But...Voila! Problem solved. I have no idea why that worked, but it did. And the plunger (from Clorox, oddly) didn't dissolve. I would assume that Windex would have a similar effect (and you of course NEVER want to mix the two or the gas produced can be deadly), so maybe this little missive isn't helpful. But you might retry the simple stuff first. If there is *anything* in that room (the braided water supply tube?, the inside of the exhaust fan vent) that you haven't hit with something like bleach, maybe now's the time.

    One other thought. Again maybe a stupid question: Are you sure that the "exhaust fan" is actually vented to the outside? As with vent hoods on stoves, sometimes the thing doesn't actually vent outside but instead the fan just blows the air through a filter or some activated charcoal, which is supposed to reduce odor (or smoke in the case of stove hoods), and back into the room. This, of course, rarely actually does anything productive. If that's the case and you haven't cleaned the filter or changed the charcoal, that can get pretty nasty, and the smell would come out *more* when you run the fan. Just a thought.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by wjcandee; 10-28-2012 at 11:23 PM.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member kath529's Avatar
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    Default stink from urine trapped in Toto seat mounting hardware

    We have two Toto Drake toilets, which for the most part, I absolutely love. However, at some point after we'd had them for awhile, a strange smell started coming from one of them. It was the oddest thing - it was a distinct urine odor which would actually grow stronger just after the toilet had been cleaned. I finally followed my nose (yuck) and figured out that it was coming from the hinge area. So I removed the toilet seat and hinge covers. It turned out that these clear plastic (rubbery?) pieces in the mounting software seemed to have become soaked in urine (yep, we've a young boy w/ bad aim in the house). They were definitely yellow in color, not clear as when new, and smelled horrific. I tried various things to clean them, even soaking in bleach, but the smell never really went away. I thought that these parts were a key component of the softclose seats and expected the softclose feature to stop working, but that didn't happen, so I just left them out. Eventually the same thing happened with our other Toto. Finally tonight I've remembered to go online to order replacement [thingys] and am surprised and a little bummed to discover (1) nothing online about this problem, which I'd assumed would be commonplace if we'd had it on 2 out of 2 seats; and (2) no available part listing for ONLY the little part I want to replace. The Toto website parts store shows these as one part of something sold as a "MOUNTING HARDWARE SET" (for example, the one for the "COTTON For SOFTCLOSE TOILET SEAT" is part # THU518#01--in the photo, it's the item in the lower right corner; the mounting hardware set for a regular Toto seat looks like it has a similar part - at the bottom of the photo of part #THU 689, or "Mounting Hardware for Toilet Seat."

    The softclose set is $7 plus $10 shipping, which seems like a crazy amount of money to pay for these two little plastic or rubber thingys. ("So why replace them at all?" you might ask. Well, one of our two softclose seat lids recently lost its softclosingness & now bangs shut like pretty much any other toilet seat....no idea whether the missing parts could be a factor in that problem, but the banging has reminded me that I'd been meaning to address it. And, either way, I've noticed that the area at the back of the seat on each of the toilets now seems to be eternally yucky, staying clean for increasingly short periods of time--which leads me to wonder whether these parts are actually SUPPOSED to help soak up stray pee, in which case one would expect to be able to order them by the case, not as parts of some larger set.)

    So 2 questions: 1) Any suggestions for a way I might get ahold of these parts more cheaply? and 2) Does anyone know why my household might be having this problem (going two for two) when I can't find evidence online of anyone else having it? (Except possibly the originator of this post, though it sounds as though their problem is likely something completely different.) BTW, I do *not* have a particularly keen sense of smell - if anything, the opposite, actually! Help???
    Last edited by kath529; 02-24-2013 at 06:45 PM. Reason: forgot to include some pertinent info

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