UPDATED FOR 2020
A few years ago I asked all of you how to get rid of the urine smell in my kids’ bathroom. I have consolidated those comments into a list and now bring you 9 ways to get rid of the pee smell in your bathroom.
1. Use a black light specifically made to detect urine.
✓ Searching for pee is soooooo easy by using a small black light in the dark bathroom. Done.
2. Clean the area around and under the base of the toilet.
✓ I had the same problem and sprayed Scrubbing Bubbles, the kind that foams up, all around the base of the toilet and let it foam up there for a while. Then I scrubbed around it with an old tooth brush and it did the trick. Wish I could say it was my son’s fault, but I’m pretty sure it was my husband! Guys just can’t aim.
✓ There might also be icky gooey pee under the toilet. I use a plastic knife to clean under there and scrape that stuff out. If it’s still there, I’d have dear husband move the toilet and scrub. Then I’d seal it.
✓ Shark Steam mop the begeebers out of the area and spray with Urine Out Pet Odor Remover or vinegar and water.
✓ After doing everything you can to clean and you still have that horrible strong pee odor, use a little Snuggle Fabric Softener on a tissue to wipe all over the toilet seat, bowl, rim, etc. No need to rinse, just let it air dry. It immediately gives a fresh clean scent to the bathroom and toilet.
3. Wash the walls AND the molding.
✓ We used to clean the men’s restroom at our church when I was little and I will never forget how much better it smelled after we spent some time cleaning all the walls. Also make sure that they flush the toilet with the lid down. That will help so it doesn’t spray out at all after they are finished.
✓ I have 4 boys. If the bathroom still smells like pee after I clean the toilet, I know it’s the walls.
✓ Do you have molding along the floor of the bathroom? I finally figured out that there was urine dried underneath that! Gross. I’d never really bothered to try and clean under it before.
4. Beware of step stools, laundry baskets and garbage cans.
✓ I have been struggling with the same problem recently. It was driving me crazy, until I finally discovered that the smell was not coming from the toilet, but from the wooden stool in our bathroom. The bottom step doubles as a lid for a storage compartment, and the storage compartment was full of dried pee! That was no accident! So gross. We had to throw it out, and my husband and son spent the day building a new stool together. Here’s hoping pride in workmanship will deter a repeat performance.
✓ If they use a stool to stand on, you might want to get rid of it. My son never misses because he’s so short it barely makes it over the side of the bowl. There is nowhere else for it to go when he’s so close to the target.
✓ I had the same problem. Someone mentioned a shower curtain. Mine was actually the wicker basket next to the toilet that my young son was peeing on when he missed his target (YUCK!). I replaced it with a plastic garbage can that I wash each week when I clean the bathroom. Smell is gone! So, investigate other objects in the room!
✓ Unbeknownst to me, one of my young men was using the plunger and putting it back on the stand, soaked and unwashed. When I finally figured it out, so much relief… I had been washing the outside of it, moving it out and washing the floor, but I did not even know my son knew how to use it.
5. Use powerful cleaning agents (carefully of course).
✓ I wipe down the toilet first to get all of the big yuckies off, then I put one cup bleach straight into the bowl. With a gloved hand and a sponge I scrub the entire toilet inside and out with the bleach water out of the bowl. Flush and let let dry to kill all germs. It always gets rid of the smell!
✓ There is a product out there called SKOE 10x. You can only buy it online as far as I know. It is AMAZING!
✓ Nature’s Miracle for pet stains and odors was also effective for getting bathroom smells out of porous grout.
✓ I have been asking this question forever!!! The teenage boys or husband think I’m nuts. They say they don’t smell anything. I found the product OUT in the pet aisle works perfectly! After thorough cleaning of course. I then spray everywhere around the toilet.
✓ We got rid of the pee smell in our toilet. The rim was very stained and ordinary cleaners just wouldn’t do the job so I used oven cleaner! We sprayed the rim and were sure to get it onto the under side also. The under side of the toilet seat was sprayed also. Let it work about 20 minutes and then put on latex gloves and use one of those green scrub pads to scrub it clean! No more pee smell!
6. Wash the rug.
✓ A bit of an obvious answer is to wash or permanently remove the rug you might have in front of the toilet. My two boys still sit most of the time but still manage to pee out the crack between the seat and the bowl leaving pee running down the toilet onto the floor.
7. Tell the boys to sit down (or get more creative).
✓ Teach them to only pee sitting down at home and to only pee standing up at public restrooms. Works like a charm here.
✓ I have four boys and a husband and hated cleaning after them. I had a cute little urinal installed and no more pee everywhere! Still no mess and it sure has saved on water too.
7. Clean the cracks and crevices on the toilet.
✓ Really, it is probably coming from the wax ring under the toilet. Plumbing is the culprit most of the time, for continuing odors.
✓ Also be sure to clean under the toilet seat hinge caps-lots of pee hides there as well…and yes, I did have my two boys pee sitting down until they had decent control! Now that they are teenagers, guess who cleans the toilets every Saturday?
✓ Check the little crack under the tank and above the seat area. Dental floss the heck out of it. It is absolutely DISGUSTING!
✓ There is a wax toilet bowl gasket under your toilet that wears out over time and it causes your toilet to leak with every flush! In order to get rid of your urine smells you must replace that wax gasket and re-caulk your toilet after replacing the gasket. These gaskets need replacing every few years.
✓ I had the same problem. I finally figured out that even though there is a wax seal between the toilet and the floor it wasn’t doing it’s job. I had the toilet replaced and had new caulking done around the toilet. Problem solved. It hasn’t smelled since.
9. Teach kids to clean the bathroom.
✓ The only other suggestion I have to add to the excellent ones already posted is to start teaching your boys to clean the bathroom. They are not too little to learn to take a piece of toilet paper to wipe off the toilet if they dribble a bit or to take a Clorox wipe and wipe around the floor. Both of my boys were in charge of cleaning their bathroom completely at the age of six (after being helped and taught by me). At 13 and 16 they are really good with their aim, in part, I believe, because if they aren’t good they know they are the ones who will be cleaning it up.
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Kathy Waite says
Hi, Thanks for all the great tips! I had never thought of using the same products we use for the cats’ littler boxes around the toilet. The only thing I wonder about is caulking around a toilet. Plumbers have always told us NOT to do that, as it can cause buildup and more problems later one. Otherwise, I have lots of new things to try!!
Thomas James says
Useful information! Thanks for your great sharing
Your bath room suggestions is what I call a person with a P.H.D. ( Parent Healthy Decision) ❤️🥰 Thanks, and spraying Lysol on the floor around the toilet then wipe with a damp towel helps keep the pee smell away.
The fishy smell in the bathroom always bothered me and I was always looking for ways to get rid of them. Thanks for your awesome sharing, now I don’t need to bother with removing them. Thanks again!
Sad that she only had 2 boys in tip 9, when previously had 4.
They were the 2 that shared in her love of cleaning. Not everyone listens and pay attention, those 2 guys made Mom proud.🥰🤗
These were comments gathered from our readers, so all have different families, as mentioned at the top of the article. Glad you found the time to pick apart the article though!
Dawn Estelle-Hodgson says
I Know! I thought, “ but these tips are a result of this Lady’s compilation of all the ‘Hacks and Tips ‘ she has put together from other posts! She asked a question on this forum and received Loads of Great ideas for cleaning, and she took the time and interest to compile a list of it all and pass it on to the rest of Us!”
Doesn’t Anyone Read and at the same time Comprehend anything anymore?
Anyway Melody, Thank you sharing All this Brilliant advice! Dawn xx
Jennifer J. Harmon says
Thanks for your article
Suhana Morgan says
Thanks for your great tips. Here are you describe the valuable tips and tricks to clean my toilet. This is the best solution for DIY washing my bathroom. Is baking soda harmful for bathroom surface?
Marcia Keeler says
How do you get rid of pee out of ceramic tile?
Margo Garner says
I boil a big pot of water, take it to the bathroom with a coffee cup and use it to pour hot boiling water over the toilet. It will get in any crack or crevice urine will get in. Not only does it get rid of any smells, but it actually sterilizes too. I pour some in the toilet and quickly close the lid to steam anything loose. I use the cup to splash a little along the walls and wait about 20 seconds and then dry everything very well. My mother-in-law actually taught me this, she had 3 very messy boys.
Gail Mills says
The best and cheapest way to get rid of the pee smell is hydrogen peroxide. I keep a bottle of the cheapest peroxide I can buy in the bathroom. Anytime I smell that pee smell in there I squirt peroxide all around the base of the toilet and the floor around it. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then wipe it up. The peroxide “eats” the enzymes that cause the smell. Once they are gone so is the smell. This also works for pet accidents on my wood floor. Caution, may discolor some surfaces, test in a hidden area first.
Andrea Stoeckel says
Be careful with that..you know the bubbling action with HP? It’s dissolving stuff and could be doing a number on your commode “seal”: think old fashioned mason Jar seal.
I have a floor heater and really s stink
* Oxyclean & Baking Soda, disolved in hot water
We had a pregnant cat that peed on my Brand New couch 😱 Almost everything I read said it was impossible to get rid of pet smells with a regular cleaning agent. Bc urine contains enzymes, You have to use a cleanser with enzymes. I used a mixture of Oxy clean, baking soda, and water on my medium brown, micro fiber couch and It Worked!! No stains. Smell, or discoloring! I’ve never known anything that would get cat urine out.. So I used it in my bathroom as well.. 4 “boys” in my home and my bathroom stays fresh 🤗
What ratios do you use? Thanks SO Much!
Rebecca Wood says
If you have a wooden toilet seat, replace it. As it ages, it will have a tendency to absorb any liquid that may land on it (even bamboo).
Any tips on getting the pee smell out of a vent? Our vent is located right next to the toilet and youngest peed over the toilet and into the vent. I’ve tried peroxide with blue dawn dish soap, bleach, and pine sol. No luck.
Rebecca Wood says
Out! Stain and Odor. Find it in the pet aisle.
Men/boys miss. First they should clean the entire toilet…walls..base boards and floor twice a week.its their urine ..you will have to go behind them..lol….buy (2) rugs for around the tiolet..which will catch the urine…plus you can wash it..
I have removable toilet seats that come of with an easy turn on the top of the screw placement. Pee gets under it and cleaning it with bleach water and an old toothbrush does the trick!
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): https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/cleaning/index.html — 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.
Clorox foaming bleach spray is AWESOME! I use it along with a long handled scrub brush. *I’m not crawling all over the bathroom floor!
So much awesome information! And I thought I was the only one obsessing over the smell… I can’t wait to try these out, I’m currently covering any lingering scent with a B&B wallflower 🤓
What would you clean the walls with around the toilet that is safe for the wall and little kids?
Clorex wipes or Lysol wipes. I have a bottle in every bathroom and everyone knows to wipe down Toilet after every use.
I use them for Everything!!! Walls, door knobs, counters, sink and the floor around the toilet.😆
Janet Miller says
Peeing in the sink is so gross. If any guy did this at my house, they would be in big trouble. Just aim and quit being lazy!!!!
Heather Lewis says
I have a simple remedy Make them sit down to pee What gives males the right to stand up and pee and have it go every where ?? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr
My husband claims that only makes the problem worse. He’s disabled, and there’s always urine everywhere. It’s so disgusting.
To make matters worse, he must have a rug to step out of the shower so he doesn’t fall down. And of course, urine gets all over that rug! It’s like living in a house full of cats with no litter box.
I feel like I live in a nursing home.
Always caulk around the toilet!
No! Then you can’t tell if it is leaking
Lee Ann says
My three boys were responsible for cleaning their own bathroom. Since the two older boys were budding clean freaks, and all were responsible, I knew it would be cleaner that way. The two older boys complained about the youngest one very often leaving drips on the unlifted toilet seat. Rather than nag I got creative plus dramatic, pulled aside the youngest (about 6), asked the other two boys to please leave the room, and whispered that we had a problem and I needed someone to be a Secret Detective for me. I told him the problem and asked if he would be willing to accept this special assignment, which was to check the bathroom and report to me who had just come from the bathroom, leaving icky drops on the toilet seat, so we could have that person do some extra cleaning, because that would only be fair. Being the youngest of 6, I played to his need for once to be the hero. It was hard to keep a straight face when he puffed up his chest, stood at attention, and with the biggest ear to ear grin, saluted me, saying, “Yes Ma’am! Thank you ma’am!” I could hear the other boys just around the corner trying to keep their giggles quiet. When the youngest went off to sort of ‘hang out’ in the hall outside the problem bathroom looking for the offender, the other two came to me with red faces from holding back their giggles and we all gave each other a high five. You know what? There were no more complaints and evidently no more drips because no one ever had to do any extra cleaning. Problem solved. :’)
love this I thought I was the only one that smelled urine. ewwww
My problem is we are leasing a home and the bathroom in the hallway has beautiful rust colored walls. But the wall next to the toilet is splattered with urine, which is the color of white spots. I have wiped the wall numerous times with a towel soaked in bleach water to no avail. And now I’m seeing the wall paint on the rag. Any suggestions? My husband sits down on his toilet out of respect for me.
My other suggestion is baking soda AND vineger around the base and use a ” magic eraser” type product on the walls BEHIND the toilet, wall or tub next to toliet. And wash shower curtain bi weekly w/ vineger in the machine.
Best of luck getting ahead of the smell.
Help! My man and his many, many friends pee out the back door! I cannot even use my backyard because of the awful rotten stench of urine on the door frame, the cement step and garden along the house…. The terrible smell is only going to get worse as the weather gets hotter. How can I clean these areas without ruining them????–Desperate Housewife
Heather Lewis says
They are soooooooooooo disrespectful They have to stop it !!
Jesse James Bond says
Men detest moth balls and used feminine pads. Simply spread a few moth balls and drop a few ketchup filled pads. He shall be filled with shame as the homeless are now using his backyard as a bathroom, or so he thinks. You may even get a new house out of this. If it continues, you must take strong action. Health departments get called over adult men acting like children
Don’t forget to wash the shower curtain if it’s so close to the toilet it gets splashed on..
Lorie Cwikowski says
Try Listerine on the floor to clean up urine spills! Learned this from a friend who works in an old folks home/facility! Works like a charm!!!