How to Get Rid of Bathroom Odor

Over time, even with regular cleaning, a bathroom can develop a range of different odors. These combined can make a bathroom smell mildly unpleasant to very bad. In this article, I will explain how to eliminate all the sources of bathroom odors, so your bathroom smells fresh and perfectly clean.

In general, pour baking soda into all the drains, and then pour vinegar. This kills any bacteria and eliminates odors there. Use disinfectant on all the surfaces, which also kills mold and mildew. Wash and dry towels using laundry detergent and vinegar. Finally, use enzyme cleaner around the toilet.

Baking soda is a bit of a miracle odor remover for bathrooms. It can be used in a range of different ways. There are, however, certain issues that require a special fix, and that won’t go away with the cleaning methods explained. Below, I will cover each of these steps in detail, to eliminate all sources of bad odors in a bathroom.

a man holding disinfectants

Sources of Bad Odors in a Bathroom & How To Get Rid of Them

Virtually all surfaces in your bathroom can cause bad odors. This includes the walls, floor, and fixtures. In general, provided you use an antibacterial or disinfectant cleaner, it will kill all of the bacteria that are causing bad odors. 

Specifically, around the toilet bowl, the smell of urine can linger. It can be present around the base of the bowl, the walls, and the water tank. Even if the toilet is used correctly and no accidents happen tiny droplets of urine can get on the area surrounding a toilet.

As bacteria begin breaking them down, it can cause a very bad smell. A urine smell can be removed using an enzyme cleaner. These specifically break down urine odors and remove them completely.

Here’s a really good video that shows how to clean a toilet super effectively to remove any bad odors:

In some cases, even after cleaning the toilet, a sewage smell can remain. This is caused by the seals at the base of the toilet failing. In that case, you need to get a plumber to repair your toilet.

Steam cleaners work extremely well on the floors and will kill any bacteria, mold, and mildew due to the very high amount of heat it produces. Once you’ve covered all your bases have used disinfectant such as Lysol or Dettol on the:

  • Floors
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Walls
  • Vanity
  • Toilet brush
enzyme cleaners on a table
Image from Enzyme Wizard

Have used enzyme cleaner around the toilet. And put the towels through the laundry, using laundry detergent and a cup of vinegar. Then open all the windows and doors in your bathroom and areas around your bathroom and let your bathroom fully ventilate your bathroom for a few hours.

After that, come back to it and give it a sniff test. If any bad odor remains, try to sniff out where it’s coming from. There can be hidden mold in places like under the vanity, or on the shelves on the inside of your vanity. 

The ceiling can also need to be cleaned with a disinfectant to remove invisible or very small mold that is producing a bad smell.

This covers everything there is to clean in a bathroom. Therefore, if a bad odor remains, it can be an issue with the plumbing. According to the plumbing company Mr. Router, odors can be caused by blockages in the drain pipes. These need to be inspected and repaired by a plumber.

Other tricks to make your bathroom smell amazing

different air freshener scents
Image from

There are also a few tricks that can stop odors, and provide a really nice smell to your bathroom. One is to spray the inside of a new toilet roll with an air freshener. It gets absorbed into the cardboard and slowly releases a nice scent.

For bins, put a tablespoon of baking soda in the bottom of a new bag. Baking soda will break down odors, and greatly reduce any odors in your toilet. Lightly mist your entire bathroom using an organic and natural air freshener once a week or so.

What Causes a Bathroom To Smell Bad When It’s Clean

After a bathroom is perfectly clean, it can still have bad odors that linger. This can be a bit confusing because it’s hard to know why and where the smell is coming from. Here’s why it happens, and how to remove all odors from a bathroom.

yellow mold at the corner of the bathroom

As a general rule, the drains, a broken seal around the base of the toilet, urine, or mold can cause a bad odor in the bathroom even after it’s clean. Urine smells can remain when clean and need an enzyme cleaner to remove them. Below, is how to stop drains from smelling.

The shower drain, vanity drain, and drains on the floor can accumulate bacteria that begin to smell. Wastewater or pouring clean water down the drain won’t remove them. To remove them, pour dry baking soda over and into the drain. Use about half a cup. 

Then pour vinegar. Both of these will kill any bacteria and stop your drains from smelling. The seal around the base of a toilet can be broken, or pipes in the walls and under the floor. These need a plumber to repair them. This will generally produce an almost unbearable sewage smell.

man replacing faulty toilet base seal
Image from One Stop Services

What Causes the Sewage Smell in a Bathroom

A bathroom that is in perfect working order won’t have a sewage smell. A bathroom can be perfectly clean but there is a consistent sewage smell. Here’s why this happens, and how to fix it.

Generally, it’s because the seal around the base of the toilet is cracked. Or, a pipe in the walls, or under the floor is cracked or broken. If you have a persistent sewage smell in a bathroom you should call a plumber to identify the cause and fix it.

The sewage smell comes from a pipe or the toilet not being air-tight. And causes sewage to leak, or air and odors from the sewage pipe to be present in a bathroom.

Leave a Comment