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There are few things more unpleasant than catching a whiff of the bathroom as you walk by, and the problem is magnified a hundred-fold when the bathroom is attached to your bedroom. With so much warmth, moisture, and use for such a small space, the bathroom can be a hotspot for foul odors to gather and percolate.

How to Deal with a Stinky Bathroom

(Pixabay / jarmoluk)

So what can you do about all of that stink?

You might think that getting rid of those odors would require a lot of time and effort, but with a few small adjustments to your normal routine, your bathroom can smell just as fresh as the rest of the house.

Prevent: These small tasks can help you avoid big problems in the future. They are well worth the minutes or seconds upfront to save you hours of cleaning later.

1. Ventilate: The first thing that you need to make sure of is that you have proper ventilation, whether that be in the form of a bathroom fan or an open window. Don’t wait for things to get smelly or musty before letting some air into your bathroom. Instead, crack the window or flip the fan switch for a few minutes after each bathroom use—especially if you are taking a hot shower.

2. Keep It Clean:

  • Spritz the Shower: Stop those smells in their tracks with this DIY shower cleaner. Simply mix the following ingredients in a new spray bottle and then spray the shower after each use to help prevent gunk from building up in the tub.
    • 1 cup white vinegar (use 1 cup rubbing alcohol if you have a marble or stone shower)
    • 3 cups water
    • 5-7 drops essential oils of your choice
  • Clear the Clogs: Clogs in your shower and sink drains can collect stinky gunk like you wouldn’t believe! Use a drain snake if you notice that your drain is clearing slower than usual. You should also use this all-natural DIY drain cleaner during your weekly cleaning to help get rid of any foul odors:
    • Pour 1 TBS baking soda down the drain
    • Pour 1 cup vinegar down the drain and let sit for an hour
    • Flush the drain with hot water
  • Remove the Mold: Mold is not only unsightly, but it can cause a lot of health problems if it’s not taken care of quickly. The bathroom is the perfect place for mold to proliferate, so it’s important to clean it as soon as you see it. The walls and ceiling around your shower and the space under your sink are common places for mold to multiply. Mix this mold cleaner in a clean spray bottle, spray it on the affected area, and then wash it off with a clean, damp cloth.
    • 1 cup white vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 10-15 drops essential oil (Melaleuca and Lavender are natural anti-fungals)

3. Other Tips: This may seem like a no-brainer, but simply emptying the garbage regularly can cut down on a lot of bathroom stink. Make sure to use a liner so that your trashcan doesn’t hold onto any bad smells even when it’s empty. Additionally, closing the lid to the toilet before flushing can help stop odors from escaping or being sprayed around the bathroom.

Deep Clean: These problem areas don’t need to be cleaned regularly, but you should attend to them at least twice a year for optimum freshness.

  • Toilet Tank: Your toilet’s tank is most likely out of sight, out of mind, but did you know that it can hold onto stubborn smells in your bathroom? You should deep clean the tank at least once every six months by dumping one cup of vinegar into the tank and scrubbing it out using a medium-bristled brush.
  • Wash the Walls: The high moisture content in the bathroom can encourage mold to grow, but it’s not always easy to see. During your bi-annual deep cleaning, wash down the walls using a one part vinegar/one part water spray to help get rid of mold that you may not even see.
  • Freshen up the Fixtures: Your showerhead and faucet can grow gunk, so it’s important that you freshen them up every few months. If you can remove them, put them into a bag of vinegar to soak overnight before rinsing them out with warm water. If you can’t remove the fixture, secure a baggie of vinegar around the fixture using a hair tie. The vinegar will get rid of the goo as well as banish hard water deposits in your showerhead and fixtures.

Freshen: Sometimes you just have to acknowledge the fact that bathrooms generate bad smells by their very nature. To help you combat the odors, you can use a desiccant or air freshener.

Desiccants dry the air out, which makes it really difficult for smells to stick around. Things like a container of baking soda or silica gel actually wick moisture out of the air, so it can’t turn into mold or mildew. Plants are also great desiccants, and they bring a nice pop of color to your bathroom.

If you are going the traditional air freshener route, make sure that you get an odor eliminator instead of cover-up spray. Odor eliminators actually have chemicals that bind to the odor molecules in such a way that our noses can no longer smell the stink. Air fresheners that aren’t specifically odor eliminators tend to be heavily perfumed, which creates a strange (and often more unpleasant) smell.

To get the most bang for your buck, you should probably use a combination of preventative measures, deep cleaning, and air freshening tactics.