Make your bathroom smell less like poop

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Bathrooms: you poop in them, and therefore sometimes they smell like poop. There’s no real getting around it, unless you want to install some sort of industrial-grade carbon-filtered fan system, which would probably work but honestly? It’s poop. We all make it, and it’s not like a stinky bathroom is a surprise. (How dare this place where people poop smell like poop?!)

That said, there are a few common sense ways to make your bathroom stink less after its gotten a fecal workout. Stop snickering for a couple seconds, and let’s talk about it.

So, of course you should make use of all technology available to you: turn on a fan and open a window. Yes, duh. But there are a couple other things too.

Minimize Particulate

Flushing toilets are an awesome joy of modern life, but their method of swirling the water around actually sends a misty geyser of water (AND POO!) into the air. Here’s a choice quote from a guy named Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at University of Arizona in Tucson: “Polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and it can take several hours for these particles to finally settle — not to mention where.”

I’m not a germphobe at all, so I’m actually not worried about where the particles might finally settle, but I do hate the smell of poop, and those “polluted water vapors” smell like poop. So regardless of how you feel about germs, shutting the toilet bowl can minimize poop smells. Heck, you can even flush the toilet while still sitting down, using your own body to prevent the poop air from circulating. (Although your butt may get wet.)

The ol’ “light a match” trick

It’s an old trick for a reason, but you can make it a little more snazzy by having your own DIY matchbooks on the back of the toilet.

Excuse to clean!

If the bathroom smells particularly bad, use the odor as an excuse to do a couple minutes of cleaning. Take out your cleaning product of choice and take literally two minutes to wipe down the bathroom sink, or clean the bathroom mirror. By the time you’re done, the bathroom will smell as much like clean sink as it does like poop … which is better than just smelling like poop.

Surely you’ve got a trick you’ve learned that we’ve missed. Don’t leave us in the stink! What’s your freshest-smelling idea?

Comments on Make your bathroom smell less like poop

    • There’s a product called PooPourri that apparently works better than air fresheners. Apparently they make it smell like you never pooped at all. Not to mention they have a HILARIOUS commercial that went viral recently. It got amazing review on amazon. Has anyone tried it?

      • I don’t use any of those products you all mentioned. I like to seat in the toilet and smell my fresh poop. There is nothing better than the smell of fresh poop in the morning. I can seat in my toilet and get the aromatic smell of poop deep into my lungs. If you are suffering from a nagging cold this most certainly will unplug your nasal cavities. Believe me, I have done it. You all should try this before you go to the extremes of disguising something so pure, good and god given.

    • Chlorine bleach poured directlyintothe bowl eliminates 90% of the odors. This is great at home and someoneelsecan enter the bathroom afterwards without gagging. Second best would be products like poopouri and just a drop which are designed to eliminate poop odors before they start. These are great for traveling and being discreet. Chlorine bleach is the most effective by far!

      • Unfortunately, I can’t use things like chlorine bleach because it makes my lungs burn and gives me horrible headaches…but I have used Dr Bronner’s Peppermint in a pinch and it immediately got rid of the poo smell. I also sometimes use my homemade tub and shower cleaner that’s made of vinegar and dish soap, which works pretty well at eliminating the smell.

    • Essential oils are just fab but have you seen this little beauty? – the advert alone is hilarious

      It’s a bit pricey so I made my own brand of ‘Bog Mist’ with Lemongrass, Bergamot and Grapefruit essential oils, vodka and water and it really works – I found the DIY recipe after a quick Google.

  1. I made my own room-spray with water and essential oils…

    picked up a pretty blue glass spritzer, wrote ‘bad ju-ju be gone’ on it, taped on a magazine cutout to the outside and left it on the sill.

    although this is pretty damn funny on the sill, too:

    • Poopourri is hilarious, but it really does work! My wedding coordinator got me some and it’s awesome. (I guess she thought he should really think that my shit doesn’t stink.)

      • Yes I agree – Happy Flush just before toilet freshener is brilliant. I have tried this and Poo Pourri and I have to say Happy Flush is my winner. For a start it has a trigger spray. The Poo Pourri spray stopped working when it got to half full but the Happy Flush Trigger spray gets every last drop out. Happy Flush is also much cheaper than Poo Pourri but every bit as effective, perhaps even more so. It isn’t sold as a gimmick but as something we need and its made in Britain. I like supporting British brands to help create jobs and reduce carbon footprints. For me – Poo Pourri v Happy Flush – 7-10. Happy Flush is the winner!

    • When I was a wee tot, I’d imagine monsters using the toilet-lid-shut opportunity to start coming up the pipes and hiding in the loo until the next person comes along to do their business. Then they’d give whoever opened the lid a good scare and it’d be super dooper scary!

      And that’s why I don’t like putting down the lid. Seriously.

      • Glad I’m not the only one… but seriously, supposedly sewer rats sometimes wiggle their way up the pipes. Could be a urban legend, but I still check every time (partially because I’d feel bad to poop on an animal).

        • I thought it was an urban legend too until my co-worker came in one morning with the story of her husband killing a wet rat with a plunger in the middle of the night…

        • Its not an urban legend…we own a beautiful 100 year old home in the city, and at some point someone installed a toilet, just free-stylin there in the middle of the basement. We have never used it. (ick/weird) But I was doing laundry down there and heard some squeeking. I freaked and told my husband…and he went down there and determined it was in the toilet..yup, a HUGE FREAKING sewer rat. I’m not sure what happened down there, but he told me to get out of the house. I’m pretty sure I looked hilarious as I took the dog and went running down the street. Since then, the toilet has been sealed and 30 pieces of heavy tile stacked on top. He just said it was horrific, and I didn’t ask for details.

        • I am totally afraid of a scared rat biting my ass in the middle of the night. I’ve read first hand stories that tell me this is not an urban legend. But the ass biting might be just my imagination run wild…

          • Rats?? What about SNAKES. You know…those wiggly disgusting creatures that are SHAPED JUST LIKE PIPES ARE? Yeah. I saw a show one time at my grandmother’s where they opened the lip and there WAS A GIANT ASS SNAKE STUCK IN AND DOWN THE PIPES AND…*excuse me while i go vomit*.

        • A customer told me he had just woken up greeted by a rat in the bathroom. This does happen in older homes. I don’t know the right words but I’ll do my best to explain. Now they install somewhere in the drains leaving the house a `”door” that only opens one way. So when you flush, things go out into the sewer, but nothing can come in your home that way, rats by example. It is possible to install one later on, I think it is rather cheap, and it avoids meeting creapy creatures (and the possible monsters) out.

          • No rat story’s but I had the delightful experience of finding a green tree frog clinging to my butt after sitting on the throne, I must say I jumped up with a start – I thought my turd was attacking me. The residents of the place assured me it was all ok the little fellow had been hanging around for ages, they considered him to be a pet, more like a pervert if you ask me – thanks very much guys!

    • When I lived back with my mum I used to do this until she yelled at me enough times .. she’d plonk herself down in the middle of the night and hurt her ass or something :-/ . It removes the unfairness of who has to lift/shut the toilet seat too if you’re annoyed by it, since then both men and women have to do it, plus it stops the aforementioned poop-aerosol from going all over the place.

  2. I have one of those automatic sprayers on a timer and it helps a lot (Since the cat box is in there, too). I skipped the artificial smells and got the scent eliminator refill and it smells pretty much like cleaning product, so every half hour it smells like I’ve been cleaning! And a really fast wipe down of the sink and toilet once a day or so helps and it takes no thought and hardly any time. I just do it as part of my morning routine.

  3. Since air sprays are officially not recommended by many doctors in baby’s room, I try to stay away from them period. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but eh, I’m like that, hehe. Here’s what we do at home:

    -Light a candle. Especially when there’s visit over. The candle will purify the air.
    -Have a small bowl of white vinegar open somewhere. Seriously, this is the ultimate trick for getting rid of cigarette smell as well.
    -Have good ”smelly” soap. When people wash their hands immediately after poop the sent will cover up the major out breaks!

    • I love a nice scented candle in the bathroom. We have one upstairs and one down and light them about an hour before we have company. Much nicer than aerosol spray.

    • Totally agree with the candle and the closing the lid when flushing. But I love the Vinegar idea! I am a smoker and am always looking for ways to make my house not smell like candles and smoke. Thank you!

    • Yes! We call it the Courtesy Candle, and it lives on the toilet tank along with its faithful companion, the bic lighter. I personally hate sweet scents or anything that might be construed as food-related in the bathroom, so I swear by “clean linen” scent.

      • Fabric softener used to be one of my favorite smells, but since we’ve been using the Clean Linen scented spray it no longer is b/c it makes me think of poo smell.

  4. I’m a fan of lid closing (also so the cat doesn’t drink out of the toilet) and the right kind of spray (if you ARE a germophobe, try Ozium, which claims it actually kills the odor — and worked like a charm when I accidently overboiled eggs, resulting in that awful sulfur smell).

    On another note, the Mythbusters ( proved that lighting a match doesn’t do anything to the odor except cover it up — a spray would do a better job! My favorite are the various Orange Mates (which also come in Lemon, Cinnamon, and Grapefruit)!

  5. I use an Odor Absorbing Molecule (OAM) gel from the company For Every Home. You open them up just a wee bit leave it on the back of the toilett and there’s no smell. AND! we use them in the cat box closet, and everyone that comes to the house seems suprised when they see the cats but can’t smell “them”. When you have multiple cats, that’s amazing!! They also come in a spray form for use on couches and such, very nice!


  6. I make my own spray as well, but use 1 cup of white vinegar, and about 2 cups of ‘tea’ aka smelly plants that I love simmered in water. Usually basil, rosemary or lavender.
    I also close the lid on the toilet to flush, plus keep cloth wipes around and use the spray I made to clean the counters and toilet about every other day. Vinegar is a good cleaning agent.

  7. I think this is a great article! I love Ariel’s no-nonsense approach (as usual)

    I do shiver though, at the thought (and usage) of food scented air freshener sprays. It usually goes, something like, “hmmmm smells like vanilla. Is someone baking cookies? Oh. No. Someone just took a dump.” puts a girl off her cookies, ya know?

  8. My fiance and I are avid “closed lid” people. That lid has always been closed, and I close all lids wherever I go. Ever since I saw a thing on TV where when you flush a toilet, piss/shit particles are launched 6ft into the air.

    I just wish I could put a sign on my bathroom door saying, “Hey, close the lid before you flush. I don’t want piss/shit particles on my toothbrush. KTHXBAI”, for when we have guests.

    Also, I recommend a smelly soap. Bath & Body Works sell some awesome foaming anti-bacterial soap in amazing scents. We use cucumber melon or apple for the bathroom.

    • The only problem with the smelly soap thing is that some people have sensitivities to artificial fragrances. I am allergic to smelly soaps and lots of other things that smell fantastic, so if all a friend has when I go over to visit is something that will give me a rash, I am forced to use the sensitive-skin antibacterial wipes I keep in my purse instead.

      • Yeah, anything scented like sprays and soaps and candles are a migraine trigger for me. Make sure and ask about sensitivities to smell before you have guests!

          • Yes, it’s my sensitivity, not yours, but I’m also not expecting to be assaulted by strong scents the minute I walk into your house. Depending on the degree of the sensitivity, it might not seem worth mentioning, but strong-smelling candles or sprays could still be a big issue. I can’t think of a time when I’ve warned someone that I’m scent-sensitive before visiting their house, because I don’t have a major problem — but if they used a lot of scented candles and sprays, I’d still need to make my excuses and get out of there.

            If your guests have a strong scent-sensitivity, it is certainly their responsibility to tell you, but with any degree of scent-sensitivity, they’ll certainly appreciate you asking before putting out your smelliest (especially non-naturally-scented) soap and candles.

  9. I stumbled across this stuff in a boutique in town called poo pourri. It was punny so I had to buy it! You spray it in the bowl BEFORE you go and your bathroom never smells like poo! It rocks – and best of all they sell travel sizes so you don’t have to embarrass yourself at work or on an airplane anymore 🙂

  10. I keep a diffuser in each bathroom. Instead of spays it’s a pretty glass jar with ‘essential oils’ (madagascan vanilla) dipped in bamboo sticks.

    The bamboo sticks are turned over over every day or two. it looks lovely and smells fabulous – nothing like vanilla cookies but still fresh, unique and clean

  11. On the note of spraying – I read the craziest thing on this other blog I frequent and I thought there is no way that will make a difference, until I tried it and I was shocked. They suggested aiming the spray at the toilet bowl itself (well just above I suppose) just before you flush. That way it actually neutrualizes the smell better and doesn’t leave an over powering aroma of air freshener (which generally tends to smell more like poo and air freshner half the time, which isn’t that nice). It sounds a bit silly but I tried it and they were actually right – I would have never thought of that. Of course give the seat a quick swipe with a tissue incase it gets wet from the spray 😉 this would be a great alternative for places that don’t have lids, I’ve seen a few! I like those Air Wick non-aerosol sprays myself, they are usually lighter to start with too. Another thing I’ve really been enjoying is having a reed diffuser with my favorite scented oil in it. My place is so small it not only keeps my bathroom smelling amazing but my whole apartment!

  12. I haven’t seen anyone suggest this, but a little dollop of shaving cream in the toilet does wonders. Maybe a little odd, but if you’re trying to cover it up quickly, it’s no different then hanging something in the toilet.

  13. Has everyone forgotten the awesome power of PLUG-INS!?!?! They sell a snazzy line of oil-based scents that are much more effective than older plugin designs. The best part is you can control how strong it smells with a little dial. Guests are coming over and you want a nice aroma? Set it to 1 for just a hint of scent. Just took a massive poo? Turn it up to 11! People will think you fart bouquets! If you hate the idea of sacrificing an outlet, just use it for special occasions.

    • I’m so glad people have forgotten the awesome power of Plug-Ins! I’m sensitive to artificial fragrances, and those are among the worst. I can’t be anywhere near those things.

      • Me too. Last time I stayed in a hotel, the room had one of those plug ins. I had to hunt it down and air out the room before I could be there without my nose going haywire. I hate plug ins and artificial scents in general.

        Tip: If you have to get rid of a strong perfume, put out bowls of coffee grinds to soak up the smell. I learned this by working at Tim Hortons. We were told to never pre-open the coffee grinds because they’d soak up the scent of everything in the air and it would make the coffee taste weird.

    • Aaaannnnd also a lot of artificial fragrances are chock full of endocrine disruptors and other things that mess with our delicate human hormone systems. FUN! Actually anything that says “fragrance” is likely chock-full of those little bastards. Don’t you love the rules in the US for labeling things? “well, we have to put all the nasty shit that goes into our products on the label…unless it smells nice! Then it’s ALL just ‘fragrance!’ WE ARE GENIUSES”

    • Have the current versions stopped staining tiles and grout above where they are plugged in? The last time I saw one used, it had stained the tile really badly.

  14. I read on Crunchy Betty that putting a couple drops of a strong essential oil (like eucalyptus) in the toiler bowl right BEFORE you go can almost eliminate the smell and I just tried it recently and IT’S TRUE! It’s like a miracle!

    Better than any air freshener I’ve ever tried. (Although I like the match trick because matches just smell good to me.)

    • Seriously. You could keep a little drop bottle in your purse and that would eliminate SOME of the fear of pooping in public places. Although, I still prefer not to do it, but if you HAD to go, use your portible poopysmell be gone, and drop a couple drops in the toilet before you go! GENIUS.

    • I think this is basically what “Poopourri” is, only a bottle of essential oil would take up less space in a bag.
      I have a bunch of essential oils in my medicine cabinet, I have to try this out.

    • We do a combo using a product called incense matches. The incense is in the match. You light it let it burn a moment then blow it out and the smoke fills the air. They are the best in the bathroom. It’s really the only room we use them and it’s great. Once a year we have a huge pig roast 100 plus people add a bleach drop in to the toilet tank with a scented candle and my room smells fine. When I didn’t it took days to smell ok again.

  15. Not related to spraying, but I hear if you put some toilet paper in there before pooping, it usually helps keep the poop from smearing in the bowl as you flush. Also, I like the word poop.

  16. Okay, I usually refrain from talking about the unexpected benefits of being vegan for fear of sounding preachy… but seriously, two reasons vegan poo is superior: 1. It doesn’t smell as bad as shit that’s made out of digested meat. Yes, it smells. It’s just not QUITE as much of a punch in the face. 2. Vegan diets in general equal more fiber, which means quicker, easier shits. Seriously, it takes me about thirty seconds to poop, wipe, and flush, meaning much less time the poop has to just hang out in the bowl, stinkin’ up the place.

    • I have to respectfully disagree with that – I share a bathroom with a pair of vegans and they eat a lot of beans and cabbage. However, as we tend to be connoisseurs of our own odours, I can see why you think your poo smells better than most.

      • Yeah, I can’t really say one smells better than the other, they just smell *different*. I suppose it’s natural to be less disgusted by the one you’re used to.

    • Vegetarians smell so much worse than omnivores in my experience. I can’t speak for vegans though, but considering the rotting veg smell of a vegetarian I can’t imagine vegans are much ‘better’, if you can say such a thing about faecal matter.

    • Yes, I have to disagree with this too – when I tried a vegan diet (and whenever I eat vegan meals generally) everything smells bad – and to make it worse I also get the worst gas ever! (sorry for the oversharing) maybe it works for some people’s bowels, but not mine!

    • I can tell by the odor who has pooped. Very useful when potty training kids. Really freaked when I came home one day and the house smelled different. Evidently, my teen had a friend over and their mommy didn’t work so hard at toilet training. I walked straight into my daughters room and said, ” hey, kid, go flush the toilet.” Kid was so embarrassed my daughter said that even when she was at her own home, that kid never forgot to flush. Really, stranger poo is just the worst.

  17. I had a weight loss surgery called Duodenal switch and one of the biggest complaint people have about it is digestive and “bathroom smell” issues.
    I hope you wont mind if I link this onto my WLS journal
    I will also try some of these, I do use the room freshener sprays from Walmarts candle department mostly because they have one of my fave smells (cranberry-mandarin)and because I can get a small sealed bottle to carry. But since i seldom have pockets I am going to try the “few drops of oil in advance” idea, I will use the peppermint oil I have and if that does not do it try orange.
    I also get large cheap air freshener gel containers from the dollar store and scoop some into a painted jar that I drilled some holes in the lid of and put it on the back of the toilet, this helps as well and since I have a very small loo it is less over powering.
    Also my bathroom has an odd lay out, it has the toilet and the tub/shower in one half with a wall and door between it and the very small sink/vanity area, which also has a door into the rest of the Apt. I am now very glad for this layout, I use clear plastic shoe bags on the wall for holding stuff and we put our toothbrushes upside down in them which I am hoping helps with germs a bit.

    • so I sprinkled Spearmint oil in the bowl…. WORD OF ADVICE do NOT get it on the seat, at first it feels like you sat in something cold, then it starts to burn a bit, thankfully it was just my thigh.
      Think I shall invest in orange oil…LOL

  18. I have a product in an open jar on the back of the crapper called ENVIROZORB All Purpose Natural Deodorizer – The label is in French, i can’t tell you more about it, other than it apparently absorbs smells over the course of an hour or two. here is a hand written note on a sticky stuck to the bottle I have that says, “you can put some of the granules in a dish you have or an artificial plant. A good safe deodorizer without masking the smell – it eliminates it. Give it a try, as well for your carpet.” I don’t think English was the originators first language. Maybe Canuckian? Anyway! It seems to work, but then, I live alone :-/

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