How to get rid of urine smell in the bathroom

How To Get Rid Of Urine Smell In The Bathroom

The quick solution to get rid of urine smell is applying a mix of vinegar and water (50/50, water at room temperature is fine). This mix is effective in most cases, although we’ll also discuss a stronger mix for the more persistent odors. The smell of urine is uncomfortable and penetrating, specially when you’re doing unrelated activities like brushing your teeth or washing your face. In this guide we’ll look into how to get rid of that smell in your bathroom for good.

How To Get Rid Of Urine Smell In The Bathroom

The general principle we’ll follow is that if the bathroom smells like urine, it means there’s urine somewhere in there that hasn’t been cleaned up, the trick is in pinpointing where and how to clean that specific area. We’ll look into the most likely (and cheapest) places first and then we’ll move into the trickiest (and more expensive) ones:

Fix #1 – Clean the floor around the toilet

The smell of urine appears when pee evaporates and releases urea into the air, which then becomes concentrated and our noses detect it. You probably noticed public restrooms have a strong urine odor when they are not cleaned regularly and this is because some people end up spilling pee in the floor, it dries up and urea of multiple people is released. So first we’ll make sure the floor around the toilet and any item that could come into contact with urine, like drain plunges, are thoroughly clean. Usually water + vinegar or a combination of water, chloride and Fabuloso is enough to get rid of the smell.

Fix #2 – Clean under the toilet seat

One of the common places people forget to clean is under the toilet seat. Pee can easily get stuck there, and if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while it’ll certainly be a gross view. To clean this, water + vinegar or water + chloride and Fabuloso should be enough, although if you can’t remember the last time you cleaned it, it’s recommended that you unscrew the toilet seat to give it a thorough clean with a stronger combination: 8 fluid ounces of peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish detergent. Caution: this mix can discolor some types of floor tides, so be careful when using.

Fix #3 – Deodorize the water in the tank

By now all visible parts of the bathroom have been cleaned, so if the smell still hasn’t gone away the culprit could be the water in the toilet. To fix this, take the lid off the tank and add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the water in there. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then flush it. If you want to be extra thorough you can also clean the lid and the tank.

Fix #4 – Clean the shower drain

If all the previous areas are clean, the next most likely part is the drain in the shower. If the drain gets obstructed by dirt, hair or pieces of soap, pee may get stuck in there and release smell. To clean this part, unscrew the lid of the drain and remove all the obstruction items you can. To clean the parts you can’t reach, mix a cup of boiling water with detergent and pour it down the drain. Don’t use baking soda or vinegar as that is for the most part ineffective to wash away what gets stuck in a shower drain.

Fix #5 – Check under the toilet bowl for a leaking seal

At this point if the smell hasn’t cleared off it may be worth calling a plumber. It’s likely that the seal under the toilet, which connects the toilet and the drain, is leaking and the urine keeps accumulating under your toilet or the space behind it. This can be due to improper installation or over time with use. The fix for this is changing the seal and ensuring it’s not leaking after installation, if you don’t want to do this yourself the recommendation is that you call a plumber that changes it for you and reinforces the silicon that unites the toilet with the floor after finishing.


As you can see, urine can accumulate in multiple places and now you know where to look to keep your bathroom smelling good. It’s always a good idea to develop a maintenance routine to do periodic checks and clean whenever is necessary, as a bathroom that smells like urine is one of the grossest places one can enter.


Why does my bathroom smell like rotten eggs or sulfur?

If you smell rotten eggs or sulfur in your bathroom it means there’s bacteria in the water. To determine if the smell is coming from one drain or from all the water in your house, fill one glass with the water that is most likely the culprit and another one with water from the tap in a different room. Take both glasses to a third room and if only one glass smells it means the culprit is the water from that one pipe, but if both smell most likely all the pipes have water with bacteria.

In order to fix this, the recommendation is that you call a plumber who will either replace the drains or disinfect them.

Why does my bathroom smell like urine after I shower?

The most common reason for this is because people pee in the shower and the urine gets trapped in the drain due to accumulated soap or hair that was not cleaned and obstructs the way. Urine accumulates there and when the water removes some of the obstruction, the smell is released. To fix this, be sure to clean thoroughly your shower drain.

What neutralizes the smell of urine?

For mild odors combine vinegar with water (50/50). For very strong odors, use a mix of: 8 fluid ounces of peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish detergent.

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