DIY Home Garden


11 Surprising Things That Cause Bad Bathroom Odors

It’s a delicate subject, but let’s talk about a real issue for many. Bathroom odors. Try as you might to fix it, you will only cover up the stench unless you find the cause of the, shall we say, aroma. If you struggle with a lingering bad smell in the bathroom, here are eleven things that might be causing it.

11 Surprising Sources of Foul Bathroom Odors

Aside from the obvious (going to the bathroom), here are the less-obvious causes of those funky smells.

1 – A Dirty Toilet

When you clean your commode, you should not scrub only the bowl. Bacteria hide under the rim. After you finish cleaning and flush the toilet, use a mirror to look under the rim. Re-cleanse if needed. That is a common hidden spot that harbors bad smells.

2 – Your Toilet Brush

Over time, the head of your toilet brush collects particles of all kinds of nastiness. To clean it, add bleach to the toilet bowl and soak it for fifteen minutes. Conversely, you can toss it and spend a couple of dollars on a fresh one.

3 – Your Bathroom Trash Can

The trash can in your bathroom can host myriad bacteria, mold, and mildews. Each of those can cause disgusting bathroom odors. On occasion, take it to your outdoor hose or utility tub. Swish around a cup or two of undiluted white vinegar to coat the surfaces. Let it sit for ten minutes. Come back and scrub it and rinse away the yuck with hot water. Wipe down the outside, with vinegar, too. Now the trash can will smell fresh and new.

4 – A Lack of Ventilation Can Cause Bad Bathroom Odors

If you do not have adequate ventilation in your bathroom, foul smells cannot exhaust from the area. Although an exhaust fan is the current building practice, older homes may not be equipped with a fan. Open the window, instead. Better yet, consider budgeting for an exhaust fan installation in the future.

5 – Damp or Wet Towels

Besides exhausting bathroom odors, good ventilation helps to air dry wet towels and washcloths. Thus, you are more likely to have wet towels become a cause of bathroom odors in that case. However, anyone can have this problem.

Wet towels host mildew and become sour-smelling faster than you think. Remove them and wash them in hot water with a white vinegar rinse to kill the odors.

6 – The Laundry Hamper Can Cause Nasty Bathroom Odors

Fabrics are porous. So they absorb and retain odors. All it takes is one post-workout t-shirt in the hamper to cause a b.o. stench to permeate your bathroom. As with the towels, launder dirty clothes asap if you suspect they are the source of the problem.

7 – Soap Dish

If you use bar soap, the “slime” that builds up in as the soap softens and melts can be a breeding ground of smelly mildew and even bacteria, especially if your soap is not “anti-bacterial.”

Rinse the dish under hot water to loosen and use a scraper to peel through any noticeable build-up. If it sticks, use the scrubbing side of a sponge. Dry it off, put out a fresh bar of soap, and you will be odor-free.

8 – A Clogged Sink Can Cause Bathroom Odors

If you notice a bathroom odor along with a slow-running drain, you might have a clog forming in the trap. This blockage dams up the water, emitting a sour smell.  By the way, this can happen before your sink totally stops draining. So heed this early warning sign to save a headache later.

If you have basic plumbing DIY skills, take a look. However, most people should just call their plumber to deal with the clogged sink.

9 – Dirty Loofah or Body Sponge

How often do you clean your loofah or body sponge? If you think that it is “clean enough” without some effort, you are dead wrong.

In fact, these items accumulate dead skin cells, yeast from your body, and soap residue that can sour over time. Besides that, they remain in a moist bathroom where mildew quickly breeds. If you use a synthetic loofah, toss it in the laundry with your towels every time you wash them. On the other hand, you might use a natural loofah sponge–replace that every three weeks or so.

10 – Mildew Forming in the Shower or Bathtub May Cause Foul Bathroom Odors

You might call the red staining around the rim of your shower or bathtub “hard water stains.” They might be. On the other hand, they could also be stinky mildew forming due to the humid environment of your bathroom. Scrub this out using a stiff brush, a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water, and baking soda to deodorize. Don’t forget to check the grout lines of your shower, too, if you have tiled walls!

11 – A Leak Under the Sink

A leak under the bathroom sink–even one so small you don’t notice it–can be a source of foul bathroom odors. You’ll begin to notice a smell of “rot” as the moisture begins to eat away at the cabinetry.

This fix is not a DIY project for most unless you happen to be very handy. It will require a plumber to find the leak and fix it. You might need to replace the entire base cabinet, depending on the extent of the damage.

This problem is the most costly of the entire list.

By getting rid of the bad smells, you can transform your bathroom from a place you dread to the oasis you wish for it to be. Now, aren’t you glad we had this open discussion about those embarrassingly bad bathroom odors?

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