Combat the Silent but Deadly Scourge of Bathroom Odor With These 7 Tricks
Posted on: January 12, 2018, by : Amy Pecoraro

bathroom-smells

yipengge/iStock; realtor.com

There’s a reason you shut the door when you go into the bathroom. It’s called privacy. 

But unfortunately, closing the door can’t always conceal whatever it was you were doing in there. The moment you emerge, there will quite possibly be some telltale signs of what went down on the porcelain throne.

If you’re bashful about the toxic cloud you left in your wake (and let’s be honest—who isn’t?), you’ve probably tried a truckload of tricks to erase the noxious smell. But do they even work? Or are you just making it worse?

We consulted with highly qualified experts (thank you, science!) to get the straight poop. And along the way, we uncovered some truly fascinating facts about how to combat bathroom odors—the tactics that work, the ones that don’t, and the ones that will make your stomach churn even more.

1. Open a window

“The solution to pollution is dilution,” quips Bill Carroll Jr., an adjunct professor of chemistry at Indiana University.

In this case, you need to disperse the not-so-great-smelling odors in the air. Send that stink bomb outside! No window to crack? Turn on a fan. Just make sure to be proactive—this strategy works best if you flip it on as soon as you get into the bathroom, Carroll notes. Not on your way out.

2. Try a courtesy flush

Standing over the toilet and flushing compulsively won’t do much except make people outside the bathroom think you have OCD.

“Flushing won’t help get rid of a smell in the air,” Carroll says.

But if you’re using a low-flow commode and things, well, haven’t gone as expected? That’s a different story and could be exacerbating your odor issue, Carroll says. In that case, please do flush again—and maybe once more, if necessary—until you don’t see any waste. The person coming in after you will appreciate the gesture.

3. Spray the air

Despite what you may think/hope, the average spray can of air freshener doesn’t gobble up gross odors like Pac-Man: “It simply masks odor,” Carroll says. And often times, not very well.

“Pine scent,” Carroll says, “simply makes it smell like you’ve crapped in a forest.”

What makes it so hard to clear the air already? Basically, it comes down to the intensity of the smell you’re trying to hide or eradicate.

A quick science lesson: “A good portion of digestion is controlled rotting,” Carroll explains. A lot of the bathroom odors you smell—or try your darnedest not to—are due to gut bacteria. (You have about 500 different types living inside your large intestine.)

The end result is far more odoriferous than, say, cigar smoke or burned toast. (Plus, you have to factor in that we humans are reflexively grossed out by the smell of poop—a neat evolutionary trick that keeps us away from the potentially dangerous germs that it harbors.)

And, of course, the severity of the smell depends on what you eat. Foods high in sulfur compounds—such as garlic and onions—or nitrogen-containing compounds (think: protein) will give off odors that are especially tough to tame with an aerosol onslaught of perfume, no matter the scent.

Take heart, though. Toilet smells are a short-term issue.

“They’re not going to soak into the wallpaper and be there forever,” Carroll assures us.

4. Spray the toilet

Prefer to pre-empt any potential issues? You can always keep a bottle of toilet deodorizer handy and spritz the toilet bowl before nature calls.

Most of these sprays contain essential oils, which promise to “trap” odors in the water. (A dubious claim, Carroll says.) Unicorn Gold Poo Spray—a popular before-you-go product by the folks who brought us the Squatty Potty—even contains gold nanoparticles, which formulator Mark Harris says “are a catalyst in neutralizing odor-causing molecules to eliminate unpleasant smells.”

While it’s easy to be skeptical about any product with “poo” in the name, you should know that gold is known to bind to sulfur. And that’s worth something, right?

5. Light a match

The problem with lighting a match is, well, everyone knows why you lit it. And while it may feel like a subtle—nay—even classy move, “you’re just adding another smell,” Carroll says.

In principle, lighting a match can consume methane, the gas given off in waste.

“But methane has no odor and the concentration [humans give off] is very low,” Carroll explains. “If there were enough methane to truly burn, either the match would get brighter or the room would explode.”

Talk about making an exit!

6. Use baking soda

You know how a box of baking soda or bowl of coffee grounds can get rid of a rancid smell in your fridge? The same principle applies in your bathroom. Place a small bowl or vase of baking soda or white vinegar somewhere in the room, suggests Lily Cameron, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Services.

“They’ll absorb most of the smell in the air,” she says.

The problem with this method? Because there’s not much time for contact between the baking soda and the air, it won’t quickly dissipate a one-off toilet incident. But if you’ve got generally icky smells (see below), it’s worth a try for the long term.

7. Give your toilet a deep clean

Got a chronic bad smell in your bathroom—meaning it never goes away, regardless of who just came out of there? It could be time for a hardcore toilet clean.

Cameron recommends dismantling the seat and applying a paste of baking soda and water on all the target areas. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub away.

“Do it on both inside and outside, and pay extra attention to the areas under the rim,” she suggests.

For additional freshness, drop two antacid tablets into the bowl. Let them fizz for 20 minutes, and your bathroom should smell like, well, nothing. And that’s a good thing.

The post Combat the Silent but Deadly Scourge of Bathroom Odor With These 7 Tricks appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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