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Okay, so here is the long and short of it. Basically I'm an idiot my shower head was spraying all over the place due to buildup on the plastic part of the shower head. So instead of going out and buying something that was meant to clean a shower head I used "The Works" which is an apparently highly corrosive toilet bowl cleaner. Shortly after that I started to notice rust in my water when I would turn my bathtub faucet on. Just a little bit and usually only after it's sat over night or say over the weekend while I'm out of town. Now all of the sudden I'm noticing a mildew smell in my bathroom. I'm worried that the toilet bowl cleaner has caused a leak. Before I did that I had no problems at all with the plumbing. I've felt the floor around my tub I didn't notice any leaks or soft spots in the floor. I'm not sure if the rust and smell are related at all or just coincidences. I'm even more suspicious now that I'm not noticing any rust in my water because like I said I usually only notice the rust first thing in the morning when I shower. After that the rest of the day no more rust. So I'm starting to think it's leaking somewhere which is doing away with the rust buildup I'm used to seeing.

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Bathroom Smells Like Mildew

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Mold Smell In Bathroom

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RE:

Why do I suddenly smell mildew in my bathroom?

Okay, so here is the long and short of it. Basically I'm an idiot my shower head was spraying all over the place due to buildup on the plastic part of the shower head. So instead of going out and buying something that was meant to clean a shower head I used "The Works" which is an...

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Hi, Dustin. Backing up a bit to when the shower head was "spraying all over the place", check out the areas that it was wetting down that it shouldn't have.

That might be at the top edge of a tub/shower surround, a wall-to-tub caulked seam anywhere around the tub, or (especially) just outside the tub, where the tub meets the floor, and where the floor meets the wall just outside the tub, possibly hidden by baseboard trim. If the head was really soaking the wall its on, water may have gotten into that wall past the shower arm (the short pipe it's mounted on), behind the knobs, or just behind the spout. Spritz a solution of bleach and water into and along all such seams, let dry, and recaulk anything suspect. Idea is to disinfect what's "blooming", then seal it from getting wet again.

If I follow you correctly, the rust is localized at the spout. Last two times I attended to such, turned out that someone had used a black steel nipple to mount the diverter spout on, rather than spend the money for brass. (The first few ounces of water would pick up rust from the inside of this short pipe/nipple, which quickly flushed clear.)

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This is a bit late but I have just tried everything, including lavender oil (which costs a lot) but worked temporarily. Thought I would post to help others looking for a solution (no pun intended lol). I just bought some Domestos which is like a thick gel cleaning fluid which kills germs. I basically poured it down into the drain in the sink but made sure it coated all around. This is more or less like the concept of using a toilet gel cleaner around your toilet bowl (don't use toilet cleaner though). The smell was gone immediately and hasn't returned at all. Fresh and clean smelling house again! :) Hope this helps people surfing in looking for answers.

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ISSUE: RUST: Caused by - well - rusting pipes. Likely you have galvanized pipes for plumbing. Even if you have copper you can still have brief rust caused by a galvanized pipe (nipple) coming out of the wall where the toilet and sinks connect to the plumbing. I had the same problem in my house.

SOLUTION: Remove and replace the galvanized pipe with brass pipe. While you're there also replace the shut-off valves. It's likely the rust has damaged the sealing surfaces and when you need to shut them off you won't be able to.

WHY DO GALVANIZED PIPES CAUSE RUST? It's a chemical reaction between the chemical composition of the galvanize, the iron and the interaction of being in contact with the copper. Rust won't happen if you have brass nipples (the pipe coming out of the wall).

ISSUE: DIRTY SHOWER HEAD: Caused by high mineral content in the water.

SOLUTION: Water softener. Some people here will tell you not to get a water softener because it causes slime. NO IT DOESN'T. Soap softens water. The harder the water is the quicker soap is dispersed. When you shower in hard water the soap is rinsed off very quickly. Soft water doesn't remove the soap as quickly. Hence, the need for longer rinsing. And if you don't completely rinse the soap off you THINK you feel slime. But it's just not true that soft water causes slime. It doesn't.

ISSUE: MILDEW SMELL: It can be something you're mistaking for true mold and mildew, but from here I can't exactly smell what it is you're smelling so I can't say for sure.

SOLUTION: Clean everything with bleach.

CAUTION: DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH AMONIA, IT CAN KILL YOU FAST.

That being said, here's the last answer to your questions: IS THIS COINCIDENCE? Yes. The rust may have been there for a long time but you never noticed it until you began smelling odd smells. Once you start looking you will find all kinds of problems. Cleaning the shower head will be absolutely unrelated to the rust, and probably the smell too. But if the smell continues even after a thorough cleaning then you may have a leak somewhere. And it will show up sooner or later, depending on how bad the leak is.

If you have a basement or crawl space underneath the bathroom in question go there and inspect for signs of water damage or wetness or mold. If you find mold you'll want to have it inspected. If it's just a small amount of mold you can probably handle the fix yourself. But if the mold is extensive you'll need a professional who is trained in Mold Remediation. That's important. Someone who doesn't know what they are doing can send mold spores throughout the house spreading mold and illness. Yes, you can get very sick from mold. Especially the elderly and little children.

I'd start with identifying whether there is a mold issue since that's the most problematic. If you discover mold then there is moisture associated. You'll next need to figure out where the moisture is coming from. That may require stripping out the shower and repairing the structure behind the shower. Remove and replace affected wood - especially if it shows significant signs of rot. But if the mold is just on the surface and minor in nature, bleach will kill it. Just don't get a spray bottle and go crazy. The wind from the nozzle can spread mold spores too. Spray lightly. Better yet, get a paper towel and place that over the mold and spray.

If you have water leaks it can be from a leaking plumbing (water supply) line. It can be the line that goes from the valve up to the shower head. Since you messed with the shower head you may have caused a slight leak. Since you used caustic cleaners you may have damaged the drain plumbing. It may be leaking, and the source of moisture for mold to grow.

If the house is old then there's a good chance you've experienced these problems. The copper pipes with galvanized fitting (rust), POSSIBLE leaking water inside the wall caused by messing with the shower head or burning a hole in the drain pipes.

But there's one last possibility for the source of water - cracked or missing caulking around the tub/shower surround. When you shower you splash water about. It can get out and on the floor. If the caulking is not in good condition water can seep into the floor and walls just from splashing (or steam from hot showers). If your mirrors fog up then you have a humid environment - right for growing mold. That's why exhaust fans are recommended in bathrooms. NOT to get the unpleasant smells of someone who sat and took care of nature, to get the humid air out and allow things to dry out.

Well, there's a lot of information here. I hope this helps you discover the various and unrelated problems and solve them.

Good luck.

'')

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