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How to Get Rid of Pee Smells in the Bathroom?

Maybe you’re arguing about toilet seats (Up! Down!). Or potty training a toddler. Or maybe it’s the holiday season and your endless eggnog has your houseguests struggling with their aim. All these scenarios leave you seeking ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom.

Fortunately, it’s a fairly simple task, so let’s look into it. Begin by finding the source of the smell. Surface stains are easier than fabric stains, but both can be easily dealt with. And fresh droplets are quicker to clean, so tackle those trickles as soon as they appear. Let’s get started!

how to get pee smell out of the bathroom

1. Detect the Scent

Although we pee in bathrooms all the time, a clean one shouldn’t have that tell-tale urine smell. And – of course – the scent can range from a few droplets left by grandpa to something pungent that could suggest an infection. Check whether the smell is stale or recent then troubleshoot for stains and causes. This will help you decide on the best pee fix.

2. Clean the Spot

Because bathroom tiles are often glossy and gleaming, it’s easy to see pee spots. And those tiny droplets can really raise a reek. So check the bathroom regularly and attack those lemon-colored stains as soon as they appear. It only takes a minute to wipe off those bits of pee. And if you catch them early, you can eliminate them with baby wipes or a bathroom sponge.

3. Try Vinegar

Most homes have white vinegar (or even ACV) in the pantry. It’s organic and affordable, and because it’s a mild acid, it won’t harm your fingers or damage the environment. Vinegar kills bacteria and its distinct aroma will cover up that pee smell nicely. Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle and point it directly at the pee. Let it sit for ten minutes or so then wipe it off.

4. Get Essential

Get Essential

Essential oils have tons of benefits – some real and some imagined. But they certainly smell nice, and because they’re so concentrated, you only need a few drops. Peppermint and lavender essential oils are particularly potent ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. You can spritz the spot directly or put a few drops of essential oil in your vinegar spray bottle.

5. Bake Some Soda

Well, not literally. But baking soda is one of the top ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom (and any other unwanted scent). You can use the baking soda solo by sprinkling some over the offending pee spots. Or you can make a spray or paste by adding vinegar to the baking soda. This will cause an instant fizzing reaction, soaking up the scent in minutes.

6. Do the Dishes – Sort Of

Dishwashing soaps like Dawn have uses beyond the kitchen. They’re mild enough for animals and kids, but strong enough to tackle the complex combinations of grease and spices in your recipes. So they can handle pee smells effortlessly. Put a few drops of the soap directly on the pee stains and let the soap sit for a bit before scrubbing and rinsing it off.

7. Play with Oxygen Bleach

Many animal rescuers swear by oxygen bleach aka hydrogen peroxide. It works great on cat pee and dog pee, so try it with your humans too! You’ll need about a cup of hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and some baking soda. The mixture fizzes and quickly goes flat, so make a batch in a plastic spray bottle and use it immediately.

8. Get Some Clorox Wipes

It’s always a good idea to have some of these in your bathroom. Especially if you have kids, holiday guests, or incontinent seniors. Get the kids (and grandparents) into the habit of wiping the toilet seat before and after use. You can then follow them in and wipe off any pee spots they forgot. Make it a habit to pass by the bathroom a few times a day, just to check.

9. Try a Urine Remover

Try a Urine Remover

Apart from its disinfectant wipes, Clorox has a specific product targeted at urine stains. Clorox Urine Remover comes in a convenient spray bottle and you can use it on hard tile surfaces or softer fabric ones. It’s a bleach-free product but if you’re using it on bath linens, do a small spot test to see if the fabric will fade. Other brands have similar anti-pee products.

10. Check the Pet Store

Commercial pee protection is big business in the pet world. Cat, dog, and gerbil lovers routinely have pee-cidents on their carpets and cars. So every pet store and vet clinic has a supply of strong pee-control products. It’s a good starting point when you want ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. If they work on pet pee, they can kill human scenters too.

11. Tea and Coffee

We’ve already mentioned essential oils. And if you’ve spent any time in the DIY bath product space, you know herbal tea bags are a top ingredient for bath soaks, salts, and home spas. So if you’re out of essential oil, hang an aromatic tea bag in the bathroom to absorb and mask that pee smell. Or use coffee grounds – they’re just as good at soaking up unwanted aromas.

12. Diffuse the Tension

Diffusers are a popular and highly aesthetic aromatherapy tool. Their pretty containers hold essential oils that are slowly released into the room. The containers themselves are a form of home décor. Diffusers can help you sleep and can be beneficial for respiratory issues. In the bathroom, they’ll get rid of those pee smells and let you relax as well. Get a refillable version.

13. Grab a Fragrance Lamp

However much we diss the French, we trust their taste in perfumes and pastries. So this Lampe Berger is a guaranteed way to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. It’s a device from France that was first used to scent hospitals in the 1800s. Today’s versions have more than fifty fragrance oil flavors you can experiment with. But be careful with that open flame!

14. Spray a Refreshing Spritz

Apart from bleach-based bathroom products, you can try getting rid of pee smells with hospital cleansers like Medline or enzyme cleaners like Nature’s Miracle or Rocco & Roxie. But you could go for something simpler like Febreze (and no, it was never spelled Fabreeze!) or Lysol. Lysol has disinfectant properties, so it will destroy germs as well as particulate smells.

15. Ammonia is Ace

For some reason, we assume ammonia is what gives urine its characteristic smell. It’s not. It’s urea. You only catch that ammonia smell if you’re unwell. That said, concentrated ammonia is a common cleaning ingredient, and it can help you mask bathroom pee smells. Put some in an open dish and place it somewhere protected to absorb unwanted pee scents.

16. Look for Oxidising Odour Digesters

If you’re in the toilet cleaning aisle at the grocery store, you can check out commercial anti-odor products in your quest to get rid of pee smells. Two top contenders are OxiClean and Nok-Out. These two are oxygen-based cleaners. You can try their laundry detergents on pee-stained bathroom rugs and drapes, or you could use their disinfectant spray bottles instead.

17. Check the Cistern

Check the Cistern

If you have toddlers or elderly parents, bathroom checks are built into your daily routine. But if the pee smell is old and lingering, get a blacklight to help you find those stale spots and splashes. Check the reservoir tank too. Sometimes, the water stagnates and gets smelly, so flush a few times to ensure the water is fresh and add some vinegar or scented toilet cleaner.

18. Go for Chlorine

Most household bleaches have chlorine as their active ingredient. It’s good at getting rid of stains and unpleasant unwanted aromas. And while some of us dash for the bleach bottle at every opportunity, others worry about environmental damage. So if you’re okay with bleach, try the oxidized versions we mentioned earlier, and only get chlorine bleach as a last resort.

19. Find Unexpected Pee Spots

You may have tried every method you can think of and your bathroom still has that lingering smell of pee. So wait until it’s dark, grab your blacklight and take another look around. You were probably focused on the toilet. But there might be splashes of pee on the blinds, shower curtains, skirting boards, stepping stools, laundry basket, bathroom rugs, toilet brush, or tile.

20. Look Under the Lid

This may seem silly, but bathroom wars never account for splashes. Even when the men in your life do the right thing and lower the lid, splotches of pee will still land on the toilet seat. So if they drop it without wiping, that scent will stick around because it’s the one place you’ll forget to clean! When you’re scrubbing the bathroom, clean the rim, cracks, and covers too.

21. Opt for Citrus

Lemon, lime, and lavender are popular scents for bathroom products. And these flavors are excellent ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. So if you’re in a pinch and you can see a fresh pee spot, a slice of citrus fruit could be your friend. For quick relief, use the slice to wipe off the pee. If the stain has dried out, try a thick lemon juice + baking soda paste.

22. Shaving Cream and Listerine

Technically speaking, any scented bathroom product can get rid of pee smells. But some cleaning hacks are more trouble than they’re worth. So yes, it’s possible to soak pee spots in aftershave, mouthwash, eau de toilette, or even shaving cream. But then you’ll need a double dose of cleaning to wipe off that dense foam or astringent. It works, but it’s twice the labor.

23. Hedge your Hinges

Another way to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom is to triple-check your joints and seams. These crevices make great hiding spots for splashes of pee so you want to get between them. Check the hinges that attach your toilet seat and lid to the toilet bowl. Clean the joining points between the bowl and the floor. Use Q-tips or an old toothbrush to scrub those spots.

24. Change the Toilet

In many homes – especially in areas with water shortages or strict conservation regulations – you don’t always flush after a #NumberOne. After all, urine is sterile, yes? (No!) Still, after a while, that smell piles up. So if you can’t afford to flush after every visit, consider swapping out your commode for a water-saving toilet with dual-flush features to keep it smelling fresh.

25. Bring the Baby!

Fats and lipids are excellent scent carriers, both in cooking and in perfumery. It’s why diffusers and essential oils are good ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. But if you’re sensitive to scent, try using a few drops of baby oil instead of essential ones. Drip some on your toilet roll once or twice a day to mask any lingering pee smells in the toilet.

26. Take it Off!

So far, we’ve looked at twenty-five ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom. If none of them have worked, you may need to grab a wrench and take the whole seat off. This lets you get at hidden residue that may have clumped down there for weeks, months, maybe even years! Use the same methods and products for this deep-clean, and do it every few months.

27. Get Incensed

Whether you’re into new-age meditation or you have close South Asian friends, you may have added scented candles and incense bricks to your home spa routine. But they’re not just bathtub buddies. You can burn incense for a few minutes to get rid of the urine stench. Better yet, keep incense matches in your toilet. Light one for a few seconds to dispel any pee smell.

Note: Whichever cleaning products you use to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom, you must NEVER mix ammonia or vinegar with bleach. Both reactions are explosive, and if you end up in the emergency room, you’ll have a whole new set of pee smells to worry about!


Children’s alphabet songs aside, that nasty pee smell doesn’t come from ammonia. It comes from urea. And it gets worse when the ‘water’ in the pee evaporates and leaves that sticky concentrated scent. So here are some effective ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom:

  • Spot-clean visible droplets.
  • Mask it with natural products.
  • Try a diffuser or commercial air purifier.
  • Use a scented soap disinfectant.
  • Burn incense in the bathroom.

What are your top ways to get rid of pee smells in the bathroom? Tell us in the comments!