Help! How Can I Stop My Bathroom From Smelling Like … Well … Pee?

Does Your Bathroom Smell Like
Image adapted from Flickr/ esseous

As a Mom, is there any job that you hate more than cleaning the kids' bathroom? The dried blobs of toothpaste that are near-permanently glued to not only the sides and bottom of the sink, but also to the counter top, the fronts of the cabinets and sometimes even the floor? And please don't even get me started on the potty situation. I've got two words for you … FOUR BOYS. Enough said. I truly believe that the public restrooms in Grand Central Station are cleaner than my kids' bathroom. And they certainly must smell better.

And here's the thing- our six kids share one bathroom upstairs near their bedrooms – which is where they shower and generally get themselves ready for the day. But they also regularly use the “powder room” downstairs too. Because seriously- who wants to run upstairs all the time to use the potty? Sure, when they are outside they'll just pee onto the nearest tree (when will they grow out of this phase?) but when inside they head over to the main floor powder room. The same one that “guests” use …

It used to be that when a friend or neighbor stopped by, and I could hardly pay attention to whatever it was that we were chatting about because all I was thinking to myself was Please God … don't let this person ask to use my nasty bathroom. Please. I will give up on yoga pants, chardonnay … anything … just don't let them need to pee.”

But now that's a worry of the past! I am now a woman with a game plan. To battle back of the scent of pee. To return our tile floors and accompanying grout lines to their original clean color. And to fling open the doors to my home and invite guests in … for coffee, tea, or to pee!

Here's how I was able to stop my bathroom from smelling like pee:

Image via Flickr/ Evil Erin

Step 1: Deep Clean EVERYWHERE!

Arm yourself with a good solid (but good to the environment) bathroom cleaner and a roll of paper towels and start scrubbing. Most of the time the reason the bathroom smells so bad is that someone has managed to miss the potty (again) and somewhere back there in the curves and crevices of the porcelain is something that needs cleaning.


I suggest spritzing down the entire toilet, and then the surrounding area of the floor. This includes the inside of the toilet bowl, the tank, seat, and lid, as well as the area at the base and back of the toilet. Allow the cleaner to sit for a minute and then wipe away using the paper towels. This is a hands and knees scrubbing job (plastic gloves are optional)

Next, lift up the lid of your toilet tank — does it smell bad inside of the tank? Then you'll want to clean it too! Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the tank and using a scrub brush, scrub down the walls of the tank. Flush. Add another 1/2 cup of vinegar and flush again. Wait a few minutes and flush one more time. That should eliminate the smells inside of the tank.

Next it's time to tackle the floors. Good old fashioned white vinegar in water will do the job as well as a commercial cleaner, but pick the potion of your choice, then spray, sit, and scrub.

{ MORE: Can You Have the Kids at Home AND a Clean House? My Summer Experiment }

And if perhaps your bathroom has carpeted floors … well, then all I can say is that you need to get that outta there! Kids and carpeted bathroom floors are a very poor match!

A return to cleanliness is the first step is re-gaining control of your bathroom. You'll want to repeat this deep-clean-everywhere process once or twice a week.

bathroom- wipes
Image via Momof6

Step 2: Set Yourself Up For Daily Cleaning

Normally I pride myself in being a very “green” household. We use cloth napkins and refillable water bottles. We wash in cold water. It used to be that I never wanted to buy disinfecting wipes — because the very idea of using something once and then tossing it into the garbage just feels all wrong. Bad for the planet. Filling up landfills. That sort of thing. But here's the thing — if you own those giant plastic tubs of disposable disinfecting wipes, you can walk into the bathroom once or twice a day and give everything a quick wipe-down and then discard the wipes. Boom. Done. Clean.

And the best part? They even make the whole room SMELL clean! That's reason enough to use them right there. So find other places to “do the right thing” and for now, while you are in the throes of raising young kids, buy the wipes!

P.S. Wipes are also a great way to get your kids to clean the toothpaste mess in the sink. Just make sure that they throw the used ones in the trash can and don't try to flush them, which can lead to a whole other mess!

bathroom- air freshener
Image via Momof6

Step 3: Air Freshener

Scented air fresheners are very personal. Some folks like the spray cans that make a room smell like fresh flowers, others prefer the plug-in kind that gently releases the scent of fresh linen all day long. But whatever your preference, the kids' bathroom is a top candidate for air freshener placement in your home. If you have young kids, just make sure that it is something that is well out of their reach. If your kids are older, well then for heaven's sake, make sure you teach them to “freshen the room” after they've spent time on the potty!

{ MORE: Marker Mess? Remove Marker with These Household Items You Already Have }


bathroom- fan
Image via Momof6

Step 4: Make Sure Your Bathroom is Well Ventilated

Nearly all bathrooms come with an exhaust fan, but for some reason kids do not come hard-wired to ever turn it on! But one of the reasons a bathroom can smell unpleasant is because it is never fully drying out from the moisture caused by baths and showers. Make sure that you use that exhaust fan every single time you give your kids a bath, and of course be sure to wash and thoroughly dry those towels and bathmats at least weekly.

If you find that you are still forgetting to regularly turn on the exhaust fan, you could always wire it to come on with the light switch. It might seem a little annoying at first, but if it resolves a smelly bathroom problem then it's worth it!

Image via Flickr/ Jason Lam

Step 5: Bad Air Sponge

My older boys play sports, and all I can tell you is the smelly cleats by the front door can immediately stink up an entire house! The best solution is to put those stinky shoes in a closet with a container of Bad Air Sponge. I have no idea how these little tubs of magic actually work — but they absorb bad odors instantly! Truly a miracle product that you can find right in your grocery store!

And they aren't just for smelly soccer gear … they are perfect for stinky bathrooms too! You just open the top of the tub and place it up high where the kids can't reach it. Easy-peasy.

What's your best tip for making your bathroom smell pretty (or least clean!) again? Please leave us a comment and share!

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Help! How Can I Stop My Bathroom From Smelling Like … Well … Pee?

My name is Sharon and I am the busy Mom of six children ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. People often ask me "How do you do it?" I tell them that my key to success lies in planning ahead, with a whole lot of creativity and organization thrown in! ... More

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1 comment

  1. Gina says:

    I find that the old school brown lysol…Lysol Original Scent Disinfectant that you may only be able to get now at hardware stores or online is very effective at getting rid of that odor.

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