How to Eliminate the Urine Smell in the Bathroom

How to get rid of urine smell in bathroom

How to Get Rid of Toilet Odor For Good

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!

Ingredients for toilet odor remover

Here’s what you’ll need:

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

Urine smell removing paste

Make & Apply the Odor Removing 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.

Pouring vinegar into toilet tank

Freshen the Toilet Tank

  • Remove the lid to the toilet tank and add 1/2 cup vinegar to the water. Allow that 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.

Applying paste

Clean In & Around Toilet

  • 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!

Scrubbing paste off with vinegar

Scrub with Vinegar and You’re Done!

  • 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.

How to get urine smell out of bathroom

Goodbye Urine Smell!

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

Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 8oz

Best way to neutralize urine smell in bathroom

Other Homemade Cleaning Recipes:

How to get rid of toilet odor


  • 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?

    • 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.

      • Would this method of cleaning be okay for septic tanks? Vinegar going into the toilet and after rinsing the cloth and toothbrush into a bucket of water and the water would subsequently go into the septic tank system?

      • I am outnumbered. We have 4 daughters making it 5 to 1 in my house and yet I am somehow always cleaning up wee from the floor when I go into the bathroom. I have girls, how is this possible? I recently fitted a new bathroom and when I ripped up the lino there was 3 layers of linoleum with years (possibly decades. The lino was down when we bought the house 5 years ago) of urine stained between the layers. I have now installed a tiled floor and used a chemical water sealant on the grout to prevent any ingress of any liquid for at least the next 20 years. It was extremely strong and toxic (wife and kids stayed with parents for a couple of days whilst I had to wear a chemical rated respirator everytime I went into the bathroom). It is worth noting from my experience that these odours can be caused by urine seeping into unreachable places (ie beneath lino and into floor boards). Hopefully the tile floor and my constant moaning will now see an end to the problem! I wait with baited breath!

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

    • 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.

      • 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 !!!!!!!!

        • I have male cousins and my aunt taught them to sit down and use the bathroom, they are not allowed to stand up and urinate. she also taught them 2 start flushing the toilet when they start urinating if they were visiting someone’s home

          • Smart lady!!

          • Why would you sit your backside on an actively flushing toilet ??? When you flush, water droplets with urine and fecal matter are released into the air. I know it’s called a “courtesy flush” but to who’s detriment ??? That’s disgusting, I hope they just tell you they do it but don’t.

        • Buy an outhouse for him! lol

        • You should put the toilet seat down before flushing. Always! There is a fine mist of toilet water and its contents that spray out into the air each time you flush. For your health, close the lid. It can be breathed into your lungs and cause infections. It can get onto you or your tooth brushes. If you both are closing the lid, for your health, then you both have to do some lifting. So there is no excuse he can give you like why do I have to lift the seat and you don’t have to lift anything?

    • Absolutely agree 🤣😂

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • You’re welcome!!

    • 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)

      • 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.

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

    • 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!

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

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

  • 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!

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

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

    Thank you

  • 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!

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

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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

  • That’s hilarious!

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

  • 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

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

  • 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…..

  • Can I substitute the lemon juice for lime juice?

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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!

    • My 83 year old mother is living with me and I have the same problem.

      • Yes, it’s a common problem with old age people. Bcoz of mobility they stand and urinate on bath room floor itself. Once the urine is affected by bacteria it starts smelling v bad bcoz of certian chemical process. Any surface cleaner (disinfectant) would clean the same and leave the area fresh.
        Here at Mumbai (India) I use Lizol, which is excellent. After my mom urinates either she or me (if I am at home) put half cap (the stopper provided for Lizol bottle) of Lizol in a medium size mug of water then pour all over the bath room floor and fafter 5-6 min lush out with plain water.

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

  • 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!

  • You are welcome! Such a fun job 😉

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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>

  • 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, 😉

  • Hi,

    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

    • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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. 🙁

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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 😍

  • My husband & I inherited my grandmas home, where she lived with my step grandfather who had urinary issues & a colostomy bag. The bathroom stinks so bad & I’m at my wits end! My 46yr old husband thinks I’m nuts & doesn’t smell a thing. When I’m “using the facilities”, I about gag it’s that strong. I have all the ingredients except a fresh lemon so am hoping my refrigerated lemon juice will be adequate, or the lemon or tangerine essential oil I have kicking around. I’ve tried every type of store bought toilet cleaning product on the market & so far nothing has fixed the issue for more then a day. Nothing upsets me more then having this beautiful home that my Mom grew up in, as well as where I’ve shared all of my happiest memories, & being embarrassed when family or friends have to use the bathroom. Fingers crossed-I hope this works! Thanks so much for the info!

    • Let me know how it goes. That sounds like a pretty intense problem. I wonder if it got down into the floorboards… You may need to seal those off or replace if all these other remedies aren’t working. Good luck though! Please let us know how it goes!

  • You should put the toilet seat down before flushing. Always! There is a fine mist of toilet water and its contents that spray out into the air each time you flush. For your health, close the lid. It can be breathed into your lungs and cause infections. It can get onto you or your tooth brushes. If you both are closing the lid, for your health, then you both have to do some lifting. So there is no excuse he can give you like why do I have to lift the seat and you don’t have to lift anything?

  • Great ideas! I’m using other brands for this urine smell yet it is useless. Your post might be worth trying for, thanks for sharing your tips with us!

  • Hello. Male here. I often Sit on the toilet, cause I’m lazy! The only time I stand is if i’m in a public bathroom, and most of those seem to be closed any more (Pandemic times)!
    My question is. I am diabetic. And I know, when I lose control of my sugars, my Urine has a standing odor that’s horrific when I first walk into house. Doesn’t matter how many times I’ve previously flushed, or cleaned the toilet, keep bathroom door closed, etc. When I first come home, and I open either back door or front door, I’m covered by this horrible Urine smell from the bathrooms. Very pungent, sour, and disturbing smell.
    Apparently when I urine in the toilet, if my sugars are higher than should be, and my Urine is concentrate with Sugars and Ketones, those linger in the toilet some how even when I flush. That odor builds up, time after time of using the toilet. I can’t seem to keep it gone. Even when I clean bathroom, the smell gone for couple hours, but comes back.

    I know some are gonna say… “keep your sugars in check” etc etc. Well. No one is perfect. Unless you are diabetic, that’s much harder to do than you think. For those whom are diabetic, you either understand my struggles, or you are able to handle it better than I, but you should know that not everyone can handle it the same way! So… with that out of way, knowing the smell will be there for a Diabetic’s home, how can I ride my home of the smell?! It’s embarrassing to invite anyone over, even for maintenance/service calls.

    • Hi Derek, sounds like you’ve got an issue over there! Did our method help at all? Have you considered using a pumice stone on the upper rim of the inside of your toilet?

  • Surry, every time you sit in your hubby’s mess make one for him. Put some Vaseline on the seat- just a little you don’t want him to slide off LOL and listen to him fuss when it’s his turn to sit! He will fuss a lot you can be sure of it. Let him have to wash and see how he likes to clean after someone. Hope it works for you, heard it from a friend.

  • I moved into a house that had been filled with boys…the smell of the toilet made me want to be sick. I tried all the smelly removal and germ killing products I could to no avail. After using this method omgosh I am so grateful. that stench has gone. Thank you… Thank you… Thank you!!!

  • I thought this was an exclusive phenomenon to only my toilet i our new rental house . I’d heard the last tenants were pigs .We’ve lived with this smell in our wc for over a year. No amount of scrubbing and bleach made a difference. One day a plumber suggested urine could be under the tiles or soaked in the grout . The landlord paid $300 to have the floor tiles replaced.. we also replaced the wax ring and inner parts of the toiet tank flush valve and screws and rubber washers . With cooler weather too, the stench was gone … or so we thought. Now it’s coming out inside the toilet instead of the room . There is an extremely tight space under the rim so any discolorismor visible ..i even covered a wire coat hanger covered in cleaner under the rim and saw chicks as black bits wash out .. i thought this was the end of the story . now i wish i had just bought a new$100 toilet , but i’ve blown the repair budget . The smell no longer smack s in the face but it’s there lurking and returning a bit more subtly. I’ll try this remedy .if it doesn’t work i’m throwing out th e toilet . Already spent $50 in replacebmrnt parts . And my german husband always sits down . The toilet is original to the 26 year old house . They should self destruct after 6 years . Thanks for letting m e discover it’s not all in my head 🤔

  • I just did this and it worked! We have two bathrooms and the guest bathroom is primarily my husband’s bathroom. We have no kids so there shouldn’t be much to clean right? Wrong! The guest bathroom smelled so bad I couldn’t even walk past it to get to my office!

    What a freaking mess it was. But it is all shiny now and has NO odor!!! I just asked him to night to PLEASE sit when he uses it because I spent an hour cleaning it. THANK YOU FOR THE AWESOME TIP!

  • Hi!

    Would these steps be the same thing for the shower too?? Because the urine odor smells near the drain or around the corner walls somehow.

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