How to Eliminate the Urine Smell in the Bathroom

How to get rid of that nasty urine smell in the bathroom!

If you’ve got boys, then you just may be like me and have an underlying funk smell in the bathroom.  And what can be discouraging is that no matter how much you scrub, that nasty smell may go away for a few hours, but then return by the end of the day. I got fed up with it enough to do some research to figure out a solution that will work!  What I found is something that leaves the bathroom looking AND smelling clean! If you have a smelly pee odor in your bathroom, you’ll want to get started on this today!

What I love even more about this is that it only takes a few basic (and natural) ingredients AND it’s friendly on your budget!  Easy peasy!

Deep Cleaning Toilet Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Measuring Cup

Deep Clean Toilet Paste

  • Use a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice into a bowl
  • Add baking soda to the lemon juice to make a paste. The paste should not be runny, but more like a thick cake batter consistency.
  • For this next step, if you’re feeling a little squirmish about it, use some rubber gloves!
  • Rub the paste along all areas that have spray or noticeable buildup including the seat, along the bottom of the toilet where it meets the floor, along the back of the toilet, tank, and underneath the rim of the stool area. Allow to set for 15 minutes.

Deep Clean Toilet Tank

  • Remove the lid to the toilet tank and add 1/2 cup vinegar to the water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes as well. The funky smell in your bathroom can actually sit and permeate the tank of the toilet so don’t skip this step.

How to get rid of the urine smell in your bathroom.

  • While the baking soda and lemon paste is setting, clean all areas around the toilet: walls, cupboards, sink, and bathtub. You can use a spoonful of the lemon paste to clean with a washcloth.
  • If your toilet is next to a bathtub with shower curtain, toss the shower curtain in the washer and add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle to freshen that up as well. After giving everything a good scrub you should notice a difference in the smell already. It’s amazing to me how far and WHERE there seems to be urine in the bathroom….leave no wall unscrubbed or tile unwashed. 🙂
  • After 15 minutes, flush the toilet to wash out the water from the tank. Flush 2-3 times, then add in another 1/2 cup of vinegar and allow to sit while you are finishing up the cleaning process. If there is visible build up along the tank walls you’ll need to scrub down the tank….but please make sure to wear a pair of gloves!

Deep Clean Toilet Srub

  • Next, grab a toothbrush, pour vinegar over it, then scrub at the areas where the baking soda & lemon paste is around the toilet. Scrub all areas well with the toothbrush, then pour small amounts of the vinegar over the paste and wipe away with a washcloth. If you see a residue build up along the water line in the toilet bowl, a pumice stone is a great way to scrub it off. I use this one and feel like it is very effective.
  • Flush the toilet another 2-3 times to once again flush out the vinegar in the tank.

Deep Clean Toil Finished

Once all of those steps are done, you will not only have a sparkling clean toilet, the bathroom will be smelling MUCH better!


Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 8oz – $3.73

Check out all of our other amazing homemade cleaning recipes!

How to get rid of that yucky urine smell in the bathroom


  • Anita

    Great idea!! I have 2 small boys and I soooooo needed this advice. As soon as I get off work I am going to the store to buy what I need. Question do you do this deep scrub once a week or more than once a week?

    • Cathy

      I only do it as needed….rather than once a week. But I would assume if you do it as a bi-weekly deep clean that would be more than sufficient to help cut the smell. But it really depends on the usage, cleanliness of the kids, and regular cleanings.

  • juliet bumstead

    the best way to prevent urine smells and stains in a bathroom is to not let a man in to use it lol.

    • Betty Ramsey

      That’s what I do. No boys or men allowed in the main bathroom…ladies only! If men would clean up after themselves, this would not be necessary, but they don’t.
      If we are going to have a male visitor, my husband has to clean his bathroom before they come.

      • Surrey Mum

        i love this! i have 2 daughters and its my husband that’s the problem. unfortunately we only have 1 toilet in the house which is usual in england! i am fed up of sitting down and having a wet bum, he doesn’t even lift the seat !!!!!!!!

    • Sātra

      Absolutely agree 🤣😂

    • Penny

      I’m one of the lucky ones, my husband won’t stand to urinate in a toilet he says that urinals were designed for standing at, toilets weren’t. He says that when urine hits the water surface when standing it ends up spraying all over, it’s literally like urinating all over your bathroom. I can tell a huge difference in how much cleaner and better smelling my bathroom is from when I lived with 3 brothers and a father who didn’t get this concept.

  • Tina

    Kids grown up and moved away, but the husband, yuck! Just went and found a pool of pee at the back of the lid, yuck again! so using your method of getting the smell away as I tried with commercial sprays and it still lingers, thank you so much for the hints!

    • Cathy

      You’re welcome!!

    • Jennifer

      Heck, that’s when you teach that grown-up-boy to clean up behind himself! (Put up one of those signs that say, “If you sprinkle…” LOL)

      • FedUpWithUrine

        Right?! My 4 year old boy will not pay attention and pee on the floor and after the 5th time of cleaning it up he gets a pair of gloves and he gets to clean the bathroom anytime I see that he’s peed all over the floor. Last time I told him if he does it one more time he’s gonna start sitting to pee like a girl lol. Needless to say it rarely ever happens anymore. It’s seriously enough to make a woman lose her mind lol.

  • Jessica

    This is great ! Can you make this paste ahead of time and store it ? And if so how long can you store it for?

    • Jennifer

      Jessica, I doubt the paste can be made ahead. However, you could always squeeze several lemons in advance. In fact, pour the juice into ice cube trays, then pop into freezer bags. As needed, thaw out as many as you might need for the week and refrigerate in a mason jar. This way, the paste is halfway made – and still fresh!

  • Kelly

    What a wonderful idea! Tried this on Friday and the bathroom still smells great! Worked like a charm!

  • Vicky

    Thank you! I’m definitely gonna try this! I’m a Mom to 6 boys. So the bathroom is always my sore spot!

  • Nana

    Tape brown paper bags all around the toilet and toilet area so you can easily see who is making the mess. Time to teach them how to clean a toilet and toilet area!

  • Kim Vincent

    I just tried this today, and there is a noticeable difference in the smell in our guest bathroom. Thanks for the great tip!

  • Rose

    Hello- Do you have to use fresh lemons or can you use lemon juice from a bottle?

    Thank you

  • Linda

    I have a friend that lost his wife when their sons were 7 and 8. He said the first time he had to clean the bathroom he was so disgusted he taught his boys to sit when using the toilet!

  • Amy Miles

    I am going to try this for sure! I wish this article was printer friendly.

  • Laura Miller

    Is this paste ok to put at the base of the toilet with hard wood floors? That was not my design, and trying to figure out how to rid this 1/2 bathroom of the pee smell! I can’t take it anymore. Thanks!

    • Lisa

      Laura, have you tested this yet? I am dealing with the same problem. I inherited this stink when I purchased our home, so I have NO IDEA just how long or just how deep the issue goes. I can clean the bathroom, and it freshens it for a couple of hours, but then we are back to public restroom stink. I really need something, but I am afraid of ruining the floors…however, not TOO afraid since in my book they are already ruined. Please let me know how it worked out. I’m desperate here.

  • Christinr

    My girlfriend has one household rule. Everyone must sit to pee. Her brothers, guy friends, my boys they all listen. So I started implementing the same rule at home. Only problem is…. my husband and we only have one bathroom at home. It’s gross to have to sit and smell dry urine. I told my guys. You want to stand? You clean!! Thank you for your recipe. My husband better get started

  • Cathy

    That’s hilarious!

  • Cathy

    @laura – I think that would be just fine… but test it out on a small area first. Good luck!

  • Charlie

    I am blessed with 3 boys (12 year old twins…and my 42 year old husband)…..we have 3 bathrooms that all constantly smell like a public men’s urinal (yes I have been desperate enough to have to use the men’s!!). I’ve tried all the products and nothing works so I try to use Jedi mind control to convince myself that the smell isn’t there (told you I live with boys!!). Sadly that doesn’t work either….especially when we have guests!! I’m super excited (as excited as one can be about cleaning urine from every possible part of the bathroom) about trying this lemon, baking soda, white vinegar concoction. “THANK YOU”…..I will report back. To those of you who also live in a male dominant house……wish me luck xx

  • Cathy

    Ha ha – you are so awesome Charlie! Please do let us know how it goes!!! BEST WISHES to you!

  • Nicole

    Oooooooooooo this is a lovely tip thank you, i have two brothers and it’s a nightmare and scary I hate the smell of pee, I have to wear shoes just to use the bathroom, I will be using this tip this weekend thank You…..

  • Rhiana Fontenot

    Can I substitute the lemon juice for lime juice?

  • Mister Linstrum

    Thanks for the deodorizing tips and recipe, I have a cat who occasionally uses the bathroom sink.
    Ladies! Stand BAREFOOTED in front of the toilet like men do and pour a thin stream from a full glass of water held at waist height into the bowl, and the tops of your bare feet will tell you that men’s aim is only part of the problem! I’m 67 but when I was 25 I became responsible for cleaning my own bathroom and I IMMEDIATELY became a sitter at home!

  • Sam

    I will share this article with my husband. He cleans the bathrooms as I am allergic to so many cleaning(and non cleaning) items. He is not the culprit. We have an elderly lady staying with us. Since she has been here there are many odorous problems. I am hopeful this will work. I have not been in the main bathroom in almost two months. Unfortunately, the bathroom door was left open earlier, now my house has the odor of urine and it is affecting my asthma.

    • Cathy

      How nice of you to care for her! Yes I’m sure this will be much better for you than chemicals. Best wishes! Let us know how it goes!

  • Erik Isch

    Girls are gross too. As a dad of two of them, 2 and a 4yr. They can drip and get messy with their potty seat.

  • Jennifer Vickrey

    This is great…”marinating” now but seems like it is working! My LO left a puddle this weekend that I didn’t discover for a few hours. Revolting. 😛 People should know this mixture will foam big time. Just keep adding baking soda till ya get the batter consistency!:) thank you for sharing this!!!

  • Ann

    I really appreciate this. I’ve never had a problem with my husband but my little guy is still learning. I’ve tried just baking soda and vinegar without success. Hoping the lemon will help. Also going to try washing the shower curtain. Wish me luck!

  • Cathy

    You are welcome! Such a fun job 😉

  • Jayd Hiley

    I have two very lazy boys and have spent months and months steam cleaning every inch of my bathroom (or so i thought) with no joy of removing the stale urine smell…. I came across this article and thank god I did! Lifted the cistern lid followed your steps and hey Preston the smell has vanished! No need to apologise to guests anymore about the smell of pre I cant get rid of!!

  • Hong

    This worked GREAT! Between my son and husband with one bathroom, it was not pleasant! Thank you for posting and my daughter thanks you too!

  • AL

    If you’ve scrubbed and scrubbed and still can’t get rid of the smell, there’s another possibility. If there is a heating vent in your bathroom, lean down close to smell the air from the vent. If the urine smell is coming from the vent, you probably have MICE in the air ducts. Check all vent openings for mouse droppings in the ducts (look like black rice grains). Learn more about cleaning up mouse droppings (so you don’t catch Hanta virus): — and then use traps in the vent openings to catch any mice (don’t poison them, or they’ll die in the air ducts). You’ll also need to check under the house to seal off entry points around pipes and ducts.

  • Melissa

    I am so glad I found this!!! Being the only female in the house, my 1 &only bathroom always smells like urine!!!! My husband & son think I’m crazy & im the only one that can smell it!!! So I’m glad other people actually have this problem! I faithfully clean my bathroom every 4 days & the smell leaves for about 10 hours & comes back! I’ll be doing this tomorrow!

  • Mae

    Just signed a lease for a new rental and after the first day or two, the urine smell began. It is disgusting! So here I am after finding your article and I can’t wait to try! I also thought about using essential oil and diffuser until I can get get down and dirty. Wish me luck. 🙂 Thank you!

  • Kristina

    I will be trying this today!!! I live in a household with a 16 year old male, 9 year old male, 40 year old male and a 5 year old male dog… I am surrounded by men who pee everywhere. Can not wait to try this today>

  • Art

    Whew!! (No pun intended 😉 Thank you for publishing this article – I am a 31 y/o single male and have miraculously avoided this pee smell issue until last week. I cleaned every corner and was so proud, until moments ago when it somehow snuck back in. Now, I’m headed to the grocery store so I can stand tall with pride (pun intended, 😉

    • Cathy Yoder

      You’re hilarious Art! Good luck with that. 😀

      • Art

        Your comment reply game is as strong as the Spring fresh smell of my now-clean bathroom! Question: do you continue to dip the toothbrush into the vinegar when scrubbing the lemony paste off the toilet? Or is that just a one time thing? Thanks again, Cathy!

  • Franklyn


    Is there a way to get rid of sewage from within the toilet? Even with a clean and recently flushed toilet, there is a bad odor coming from the toilet. Tried to stop it using deodorant yet nothing seems good about it

    • Cathy

      Hi Franklyn,

      That sounds rough! I’m not sure what would be the best thing to do for that. I’d call a plumber if I were you. Good luck!

  • pam

    HI Cathy

    i have the same problem with the urine smell…its just me and my husband…we live in ga and we use a septic it same to use these problems along with the chemicals that we use in our septic tank from our septic company that pumped it out..this sounds like a great idea..thanks for the helpful hints.. Pam

  • May

    Oh me word, I need to try this. My 3 y o has been sitting to pee up until last week when he became a “big boy” who needs to stand. The smell in my bathroom…… I am beyond undone.
    Can folks chime in with how this has worked for them? Most of the comments are from folks like me who discovered this article and are going to try the cleaning recipe. I am squeamish to a fault and I really disdain bathroom yuck, so I really need a solution that will help. We only have 1 bathroom and I cant stand to go in there now. – Desperate woman with two kiddos.

    • Cathy Yoder

      Oh man, that doesn’t sound fun! Please let me know how it goes for you! Unfortunately, if the prior commentors didn’t subscribe to comments they won’t see your request for feedback. 🙁

  • Esther Martin

    My 29 year old special needs brother came to visit last week with my Mom. He is currently using a walker while recovering from knee surgery. I think he was having a hard time balancing on one leg while using the restroom. The odor was overwhelming! My son washed the bathroom. Then I scrubbed the bathroom ! Then my husband scrubbed the bathroom! It still stinks! I am eager to try this!

  • Allison Hutchens

    So, I came across this post in desperation, like the rest of the commenters it seems! 😊 2 young boys and a husband. I bookmarked it and just tried it yesterday. Well, kinda. I forgot to buy a lemon at the store but knew I had lemon essential oil. So I concocted my own version. I took the baking soda and added 20 drops of lemon essential oil to it. Then added enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. I really have no idea if the peroxide was necessary but my logic was, when you put it on a booboo, it bubbles, killing the bacteria. Maybe it would help. So I rubbed that paste all over the floor and toilet and let it sit. Then I scrubbed it up. I did that almost 24 hours ago and the smell is still gone! I’m curious how long it’ll stay away, but for now, I pee in peace! Thank you!

    • Cathy Yoder

      Allison, that’s so awesome to hear! Way to modify and make it work! Please come back and let us know how long it stays away!

  • Vanessa Frank

    This is great advice. It drives me insane to walk into the toilet just after it has been cleaned, but there’s still remnants of a bad urine odor. I have 3 boys btw 😤. I want to scream. But I’m gonna give this a try. Tx a mil 😍

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