Five smells I can’t stand as a plumber


This post has been written in collaboration with Scholl

I once knew a tradie who had no sense of smell and as a result had no sense of taste. He became a painter and at the time I thought what a waste. He should have become a plumber because he would get paid more and wouldn’t smell some of the crap plumbers come across in their job.

You would think being a plumber, my nose would be accustomed to strong smells but unfortunately it’s made my nose even more sensitive to bad odours. Being pregnant heightened my sense of smell to a new level. If a blocked toilet was 20 meters away, I would smell it as if it was 1 meter away.

There are so many rotten smells that you come across as a plumber, and since being a mother, I’ve smelt even more disgusting pongs that have sometimes churned my stomach.

Here are 5 smells I can’t stand as a plumber (and mother)

1. Blocked Toilet. Well this one is self explanatory. No one wants to smell a blocked toilet. The hole in the floor I had to aim in when I was in Africa was an experience and gave me a little of what to expect when I started my apprenticeship.The smell and site of sewerage is enough to make anyone dry reach. What I don’t get is when it’s pretty obvious a toilet is blocked and someone still decides the toilet is good enough to catch more contents. I guess if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go even if it makes the toilet overflow. *spew*

Would you use this toilet?
Would you use this toilet?

2. Grey water pump. If you want to empty your stomach, get a whiff of the insides of a grey water pump and you will be guaranteed to lose 200grams. Every grey water pump I’ve come across holds some sort of food items that have been washed down the sink. Add a bit of milk, yogurt coffee granules and let it sit in a hot cupboard and you have got yourself one heck of a reek. It’s pretty gross and up there with a blocked toilet smell.

3. BO. I can’t deal with bad BO. There was one plumber I would work with as an apprentice who had dreadful BO. I know that some people have conditions where their body secretes more sweat than normal and they can have a body odour problem. But this plumber did not make any effort to hide or camouflage the problem. I would sometimes groan internally if I had to work alongside him. Other plumbers who worked alongside him gave him the name BO Brian* (Brian was not his name).

Smelly armpit

4. Smelly Feet. The first thing plumbers do before entering a residential house is take off their boots and sometimes they release a not so nice aroma. I had sweaty feet during pregnancy and they swelled. I used Scholl shoe spray during pregnancy to keep any foot odours at bay. Once I finished having babies, those work boots were promptly sent to the dump.


5. Vomit. I’ve smelled more vomit as a mother than a plumber. Milky vomit is the worst. When I was covered in black sludge while pregnant with Esther, it smelled like vomit, even though it was fermented waste water.

A projectile baby vomit. So gross.
A projectile baby vomit. So gross.

And now that I’ve listed these, I’ve thought of more, but it’s best to protect both your stomach and mine.

What smells can’t you stand? What’s the worst smell you’ve ever smelt?

This post has been written in accordance to my disclosure policy.