Understanding How to Remove Odors in the Bathroom

Health / Life

                                                                                                 Cozy bathroom / Photo by Getty Images


In 2015, a flight headed to Dubai had to land only 30 minutes into the flight because of a really bad-smelling stool in the bathroom. One of the cabin crew on the flight explained that it was a serious concern for the health and safety of the passengers, the BBC reported.

According to Popular Science, however, even if the stool had smelled particularly foul, it doesn’t exactly pose health risks, explaining that the landing was unnecessary. Medication, vitamins, and certain medical conditions can make your stool smell bad, but this doesn’t mean that they can be transmitted through breathing in its odor.


Why should you remove odors in the apartment bathroom?

While it might be true that particularly foul-smelling stool are harmless, there are also cases when those foul odors in the bathroom becomes a threat to your health. One of the most potentially dangerous ones is a sewage smell from the bathroom.

This can be caused by a lot of things but some of the most common causes involve the P-trap. If you look under the sink, you would see a U-shaped pipe that connects your sink’s drain to a larger pipe in the wall. This is the P-trap and its main function is to trap some of the wastewater that have recently passed through it to prevent any sewer gases from entering your home. This mechanism is also present in your bathtub and toilet drainage systems.

When a problem occurs in the P-trap, like when the water that’s supposed to be trapped is all drained instead, a very foul odor may occur as a result. But aside from being smelly and inconvenient, this can also cause a serious problem.

When this happens, the dangerous gases in the sewerage system can leak into the home, including methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide.

According to the American Chemical Society, hydrogen sulfide is the cause of that rotten egg-like sewage smell. Exposure to it can lead to nose and throat irritations, loss of appetite, headaches, eye irritation, coughing, and loss of smell. At higher concentrations, it can also cause eye damage, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, loss of consciousness, or even death.


                                                                                                 The stench coming out from the toilet bowl / Photo by Getty Images


How to remove odors in the bathroom

There are many different ways on how to remove odors in the bathroom depending on what’s causing it in the first place. The first thing you should do is to figure out what’s causing those odors in the bathroom. Has the smelly bathroom been used recently?

Sometimes, when a bathroom hasn’t been used for some time, the wastewater that’s supposed to be in the P-trap evaporates which causes those sewer gases to seep in.

In this case, simply letting the water run in the sink or tub should fix the problem. You can also use a water-safe antifreeze if simply running the water isn’t doing much to fix the problem. If the problem is coming from a recently used bathroom, you should check for leaks in or around the P-trap.


                                                                                                 Running water in a white sink / Photo by Getty Images


How to remove the smell of urine in the bathroom

Sometimes it feels like no matter how much you scrub, you still can’t remove the smell of urine in the bathroom. Shortly after cleaning the toilet, the strong chemical smell of the cleaner you used would linger and mask the remaining smell of urine so you think you succeeded but then the smell goes away and the smell of urine is still there.

This can be caused by problems in your toilet’s seal or caulk. Sometimes, when the seal on your toilet is broken, water and urine can seep underneath its base and grow bacteria that causes a foul odor. In this case, it can be fixed by caulking the base of the toilet.

In some cases, the wax ring that is supposed to seal the drain of the toilet is damaged when the toilet bowl becomes loose. This causes water to seep under the toilet and cause that ungodly smell. Since fixing this requires taking the toilet out and replacing the wax ring, it might be better to hire a plumber to help you with this problem.


                                                                                                 Woman cleaning the toilet bowl / Photo by Getty Images


How to remove the smell of cigarettes in the bathroom

If someone in your family smokes, chances are they often do so in the bathroom. Even if they turn on the exhaust fan while smoking, the smell of cigarettes can still linger in the bathroom, causing discomfort to anyone who wants to use the bathroom, especially those who don’t smoke or those who have difficulty breathing when exposed to cigarette smoke.

In some cases, the smell of cigarettes seep into the walls and everywhere else, making it linger long after someone have stopped smoking in the bathroom.

One of the things you can do to remove the smell of cigarettes in the bathroom is to start cleaning the areas where the smoke residue had built up. This includes the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and mirrors. Sometimes you might also need to replace drapes, blinds, and light bulbs, all of which had been exposed to the cigarette smoke and may have had smoke residue build ups.

You can also place a shallow bowl of white vinegar in the bathroom, which would get rid of that lingering smell of cigarettes in less than a day. You might also want to consider using an air purifier in your bathroom, especially if you have a smoker in the family.


                                                                                                Using air purifier to get rid of bad odor in the bathroom / Photo by Getty Images


How to remove odors in the bathroom drain

Another possible cause of odors in the bathroom is a clogged drain, which can become quite smelly. In this case, you can call try getting rid of the clog or hire a plumber to help remove the P-trap completely to get rid of the clog.

You can tell if your bathroom drain is clogged by observing if the water is too slow to drain when you shower. If that is the case, the buildup of bacteria and decomposing debris in the drain is the cause of the foul odor.

This buildup is called biofilm and the bacteria in it has a sticky substance that allows it to stick to almost any surface. The problem is that your bathroom drain is the perfect place for this bacteria to thrive: the debris that’s clogging your drain is essentially keeping the bacteria from being flushed away while also feeding it.


                                                                                                 Dirty clogged bathroom sink / Photo by Shutterstock


Hiring a cleaning service to remove odors in the bathroom

As you can see, there are many different causes of foul odors in the bathroom. How you deal with them should depend on what is appropriate for the problem.

While you can easily do some of these by yourself, you may want to hire a plumber or a cleaning service to remove odors in the bathroom if you aren’t confident that you can do it by yourself. This is especially true for cases where professional work is necessary, like for replacing the wax ring in the toilet.


                                                                                                 Plumber at work in a bathroom assembling and installing the sink and toilet bowl / Photo by Getty Images