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Old Stall shower drain

smitch's picture

I have a stall shower that I haven't used for years because a prior owner ruined it by bad caulk job and resulted in mildew and backing board saturation. I had to remove some tiles near to the floor and spray with bleach solution. So it has been dormant ever since. I just recently realized that the drain having been unused may present an issue with vent gases being allowed into the house and nearby bedroom. Someone told me to just run water down the drain for about a minute (in case of leaks), then a 50/50 bleach solution for another minute, then clear water again. I don't know if this would be the recommendation here, and I am a bit worried that the drain having been unused may have dried out seals somewhere and cause a leak that it did not have before. There may be some "drain flies" that seem to point to the suspicion that the drain trap has dried out. This someone told me. I don't want to turn this into a further disaster. Any suggestions/corrections?

just add water (post #207124, reply #1 of 5)

You can just add water, a few cups will fill the trap. But due to evaporation you'll have to repeat that on occasion.

Or buy a jug of RV antifreeze and use that. It won't evaporate.


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who do not.


Yep, first just add water, (post #207124, reply #2 of 5)

Yep, first just add water, maybe 2-4 cups.  If that seems OK, pour in a similar amount of RV antifreeze (the stuff used to "winterize" recreational vehicles).  Or simply "float" about two tablespoons of cooking oil on top of the water -- not as good as the antifreeze, but it will reduce evaporation considerably.

But it's unlikely that seals have "dried out" to the point that it will leak (though rot can cause the drain to shift enough to leak).

You can run bleach down the drain if you want, but there's really no point.

The other thing you can do is simply remove the grate and stuff something (rag, tennis ball, etc) into the opening.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Great input - thanks! I feel (post #207124, reply #3 of 5)

Great input - thanks! I feel much better about proceeding. Just curious if you can expound on what you mean by "rot"?

Do you mean from the current situation of not using the drain?

By "rot" I mean precisely (post #207124, reply #4 of 5)

By "rot" I mean precisely that -- rotten wood, due to leakage from the shower or whatever.  This can allow the pipes to sag or shift and pull joints loose.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I understand now. Thanks. I (post #207124, reply #5 of 5)

I understand now. Thanks. I don't know about what is hidden under the flooring. Water seemed to wick up the wall and I removed tiles and board there, but I don't know what seeped downward. The floor tiles never seemed compromised. I tried pouring 2 cups and then another 2 cups of water into the drain and had no leakage. So I think the leakage aspect is a non-issue. Thanks for your help.