And It Smelled of Onions

So our house is like 50 years old. And when I say “like 50”, I really mean 60. I’m pretty sure it was built in the fifties. It has since been repurposed into a duplex with thin walls. But it’s not the thin walls that have me right now, it’s the bathroom.

Our bathroom is small and poorly ventilated. As a result, there is mold growing on the ceiling, particularly over the shower.

It smells like onions.

That’s right, onions. And I know it’s not just me, because Kyle and I came to the same conclusion separately; it smells like bad onions. This is a recent development, so yesterday I began the war against onion-smelling bathrooms.

I replaced the moldy shower curtain and lining. It was grossing me out, and it was on my to-do list anyways. The shower curtain was kind of ugly and it’s been there longer than we have, which means I have NO IDEA how many grody bodies have showered behind it.


So, I now have a new, cheap, Wal-Mart shower curtain and lining that are both mercifully clean.


Now, the onion smell comes out mostly when the shower has been running and the bathroom is all steamed up, so I had to wait for somebody to shower in order to see if I had made a dent on the onion smell.

This morning, I woke up, turned on the water, and it seemed normal. I got in and hoped that all was well, and it was, until about ten minutes later when that icky yucky onion smell came back.

Curse you onion smell!

Next step: clean the mold off of the ceiling. I complained of shortness and assigned the job to Kyle. I purchased the spray bottle, we have the bleach and goggles (hooray for Chemistry, providing me with safety goggles), and he’s promised to do it tomorrow.

If that doesn’t resolve it, I’m considering taking the shower head off and cleaning it. It, too, is ancient of days and could use a good cleaning. I know it’s not the rest of my bathroom, because that’s all clean.

Onion smell, I will defeat you!


3 thoughts on “And It Smelled of Onions

  1. It’s probably not your older home or the mold. I live in a much newer home and I have the onion smell problem too! I believe it is the water itself! Not even the drain, but the actual water source. I am going to have our water tested for arsenic and things like that just to be sure. I am researching, which is how I ran across your page, and also trying to see if anyone else has this problem and what do you know, many, many people do! Good luck! I hope to figure it out soon.

  2. I think it’s S. Brevacaulis. you can sometimes get the same smell probably from people’s tennis shoes that have been dried out from a workout. This mold is bad, and it loves to live off the calluses and toenails of our feet. You can smell it inside of plastic trashcans sometimes, microfiber couches, rugs, sleeping bags, and backpacks. It can get into the cuticles of our feet and never come out, accept with Amprocilin b, which is taken orally for a year. Even then, the toe nails infected need to be removed or continually cut and treated with Clotrimazole (lotimin) or Tea tree oil for a year (minimum!). The calluses need to be smoothed out, with a pumice stone or using Eucerin on them on a daily basis. Even worse, there’s the probability that during this time, you will have to wear open toed shoes/sandals, because the enclosed environment of regular shoes, (however slightly humid or well ventilated) allows the mold to survive. People who have to under go this doctor prescribed humiliation in public can be seen wearing rubber sandals with like velcro straps, even if they are dressed professionally.
    From what I’ve been able to figure out about S. Brevacaulis (and it’s cousin Aspergillis-another super annoying smelly fungus) is that it gets assisted by other molds/mildews in digging into our skin or the substrates of materials. Once inside, it begins to grow by feeding off of either Keratin or arsenic present within the environment or materials/skin. Why those two things I have no idea why. As it eats arsenic, it releases arsine gas (gosio gas), which quickly kills most other molds around it, even the one that helped it! Next, it begins to completely devour its living area. Its colonies seem to smell like onions when they are dry or inactive. When they are warmed or wet they seem to smell, to me, like warm, pungent watermellon. That’s the gosio gas (arsenic gas) and some people may actually find it’s smell attractive, believe it or not, probably because it makes those sensitive to its smell a bit woosy, as if they were drunk. That’s just the arsenic’s means of debilitation. We can inhale it and we won’t keel over and die, yet there is mounting evidence that this mold is responsible for SIDS in infants that sleep facing downward, as this mold gets into the flame retardent (made with arsenic) of the child’s bed, where it releases the gas in force through the cussion fibers.
    Your bathroom probably got this mold from a person who lived their before. When they would run hot showers over their body, the S. Brevacalis on their feet would warm up, releasing spores. These small, tough, sticky, smelly spores would get lifted by the steam and air currents within the shower, sticking to the bathroom walls or ceiling just like mildew does. it probably colonied with regular mildew for a while, until it could take over.
    One thing you can do actually is to deny the mold air. That can be done by painting over it with mold proof paint. They say not to do this because it will spread under the paint, but the thing is that S. brevacaulis really isn’t adapted for being in a bathroom. It needs other molds to “grow up” also. It’s ideal environment in fact is complete darkness and eternal humidity. it hates light of any kind, I think, in addition to soapy or clorinated environments. So as long as you don’t let it infect you through a cut on your foot, it should die out in the bathroom once you’ve painted and replaced any (ALL) shower items that smell like it.
    Remember, its colonies get fresh conscripts from moisture heated feet, so if you don’t have an active infection by it on your toes, (or frequently warm parts of your body like waistline, belly button, ribcage, or head hair) then you can not spread it in the shower. Wipe down the entire bathroom with lysol wipes or soapy water and vinegar, let it dry, then paint over. Try not to dry scrape it out as this will release it’s spores into your face, and that’s asking for trouble, especially since it likes to eat keratin, which is what your hair and eyballs are made out of…so no sand paper.
    Lastly, there might be shower door railings, aluminum windows, or (worse of all) small ceiling bathroom vent fans that are completely gucked up with this mold and they will have to be removed. Be careful if you do this and clean them super good first. and protect your feet, toenails, and shoes from its spores as best you can, maybe work with some old shoes or boots that you will get rid of. Best off luck! –John Garcia

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