6 Ways To Reduce Bad Bathroom Smells

In all my work talking about beautiful bathrooms, well-designed bathrooms and practical bathrooms, I can sometimes lose sight that the bathroom is also where we deal with our more... unsavory... human business.

Although it's not that big of a deal when it's just you and your family, if you have guests coming over, it can be a bit embarrassing. So here are some ways you can keep odors at bay so everyone can do their business without having to apologize.

  • 01 of 06

    Have an air freshener spray nearby

    Air freshener for your bathroom smells
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    Let's be honest here: air fresheners aren't the best or healthiest way to take care of bathroom odors. However, they are practical in a pinch, especially if the odor is strong.


    Only a short spray is necessary—no need to coat the floor with it. Think twice about using these sprays with pets around, too, as they can be harmful to animals.

  • 02 of 06

    Keep your bathroom well ventilated

    Bathroom vent
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    Nothing's worse for bathroom odors than a humid, badly ventilated space. Getting fresh air moving in and out of your bathroom makes a big difference in how much it smells... or not.

    Keeping good ventilation means two things in your bathroom: having a good vent, and keeping the door open when not in use. Vents remove humidity while showering or bathing, and bad odors when doing your business. Keeping the door open also helps clear out humidity and smells.

  • 03 of 06

    Keep towels clean and dry

    Bamboo bath towel.


    One lesser-known cause of bad bathroom odors is dirty, damp towels.

    Make sure to hang your towels to dry after every use, and to wash them at least once a week. (This includes hand towels and washcloths.) Use bleach if possible; if not, use the hottest water you can to kill the bacteria that finds its way into the folds.

    Never hang your towels at the back of a door—this will slow the drying process and let bacteria multiply, causing bad smells.

  • 04 of 06

    Light a candle

    Candles in the bathroom
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    The heat and smoke from a candle can help neutralize odors in the bathroom. And contrary to popular belief, unscented candles work just as well as scented ones.

    Remember to have a lighter or matches handy so you can light it whenever you feel it's necessary. However, never leave a candle unattended. Snuff it out before you leave the room.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Clean up your bathroom

    Photo © Getty Images

    Sometimes odors are just a way for your bathroom to tell you: "Hey! I'm dirty! Clean me up!" Gunk that accumulates in the bath or shower, stains in the toilet bowl and a dirty sink and countertop can cause odors if not cleaned regularly.

    We suggest you clean your bathroom once a week, with an in-depth, thorough clean once every month or two. Not only is that good general maintenance, but it'll also help reduce odors on a day-to-day basis.

  • 06 of 06

    Take out the trash

    Trash bathroom
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    Maybe the source of your bad bathroom odors is the trash can. Although it doesn't contain food scraps like in the kitchen, things can smell there too (like feminine products, wet wipes, etc.). 

    Emtpy your bathroom trash can regularly, not only when it's full. If you want to save on trash bags, you can always empty can into your bigger kitchen trash when you take it out.

Fight the smelly

A smelly bathroom is not pleasant, either for you or your guests. Although there's some unpleasant business happening there on a regular basis, it doesn't mean your bathroom has to smell all the time.

By having a few odor-fighting techniques like those above, you can ensure that your bathroom smells nice... most of the time.