Why Is There A Urine Smell In My Bathroom? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Spending hours cleaning your bathroom only to have it still smell like urine? Even the most meticulous of cleaners can fall victim to this eternal battle with urine smell in the bathroom. So, where does it come from, and how do you get rid of it?

Urine odors generally come from a broken seal in your toilet, which allows urine to leak onto the floor surrounding the base of the toilet. Check the seals on your toilet, and ensure there are no accidents happening in the area. Fix any seals, clean the floor and wash any affected mats to kill the urine odor.

Thankfully, most of the ways to remove this unpleasant odor are budget-friendly and aren’t labor intensive. Let’s check out some problem areas and methods to eliminate urine smell in the bathroom once and for all.

Where Does The Urine Smell In The Bathroom Come From?

So you’ve scrubbed the bowl, wiped down the lid, mopped the floor and it still smells like urine; what gives?

Even if you aren’t having frequent pee-related accidents, urine can still be leaking from your toilet.

Toilet Seat Has Urine Smell

If you have an older toilet or just moved into a new home, it’s probably a good idea to purchase a new toilet seat. Toilet seats can harbor massive amounts of bacteria and unpleasant odors. Replacing your toilet seat is a cheap and easy way to get rid of that bad smell.

The underside of the toilet seat is frequently ignored when cleaning, but over time, urine can build up under there. After years of ignored cleaning–either you or past owners–the damage can be irreparable. The smell can soak into the material and cause staining and that tell-tale urine smell in the bathroom.

If you have been dutifully cleaning under the seat and still cannot remove the odor, it’s time to replace it. You can find a new toilet seat from any home improvement store, or online if you can’t find your exact model. Most will sell between $10 and $30, so it’s safe to say that this is a budget-friendly option.

The Base of Toilet Smells Like Urine

The toilet seal is under the base of your toilet. This seal keeps what you flush from leaking onto the floor.

These seals can last the whole lifetime of your toilet, between 20 and 30 years. Improper installation or a manufacturing issue can shorten the life of your seal.

When your seal is no longer working the way that it should, urine will seep through the seal and under your toilet.

Even if you are cleaning around the base of your toilet, there can be more underneath the toilet itself. This includes fecal matter as well, so replacing your seal can help with all the bad odors in your bathroom.

Toilet seals cost anywhere between $8 and $20 and can take a mere half-hour to install. This is an easy, cheap DIY project for your Saturday afternoon and will make a huge difference in smell management.

The Toilet Itself

Unfortunately, like everything else in life, your toilet will run its course and you’ll need to replace it. Replacing a toilet and the service needed to install it can be expensive, it is, however, worth the price tag.

Thankfully, the average toilet lasts between 20-50 years, so this shouldn’t be something that frequently needs replacing.

However, if you’ve checked all the problem areas and still smell urine, it’s probably time to replace the toilet.

There are lots of affordable models on the market today, and some could even save you money over time. Eco-friendly, low-flow models are able to use less water per flush, helping you save on your water bill.

Urine Smell In Bathroom Tile Grout

Deep cleaning your grout is often overlooked when it comes to cleaning your bathroom. Fortunately, scrubbing your grout doesn’t need to be a weekly task.

Grout is a porous material, meaning once a liquid has seeped in, it must be thoroughly cleaned to remove it.

This is why you can mop your floors a thousand times and still have bad odors coming from them. Even just scrubbing the grout surrounding your toilet relieves the majority of the urine stench.

Urine Smell In Bathroom Linens

Linens are one area that many fail to check for odors. After a certain smell has lingered long enough, your linens will absorb the odor.

Deodorizing sprays are a popular way to stop bad odors, but aren’t always the best option. Aerosols sprays are notoriously bad for the environment, but also for your health and your home. Overusing these products over a period of time can even damage your AC unit causing more expensive fixes.

The cheapest and best way to get the odor from your linens is to simply wash or replace them. There are many affordable detergents specifically designed to help remove urine smells from fabrics. After one wash with a strong detergent, you should have noticeably fresher linens.

Get Rid of Urine Smell in Bathroom

Now that we have covered the places that the smell of urine can hide, let’s explore some ways to clean it up.

Black Light Gets Rid of Urine Smell

This may seem like an extreme method but it’s actually very affordable. At just $14, you can purchase a black light created specifically to detect urine. This is great for finding your problem areas in the bathroom, but also great for finding pet urine on carpets and floors.

The benefit of using this method is that you are able to pinpoint the exact location of the urine. This could save you a lot of time and effort from cleaning areas that don’t need to be cleaned.

Homemade Cleaning Products

There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to “neutralize urine” or “brighten your floors after one use.” While some of the products work, some of the best cleaning products out there are likely already in your home.

  • Vinegar– Vinegar is one of the all time best cleaning products. It is able to neutralize the smell of urine and disinfect better than almost any other product on the market. The high content of acid is able to cut through grease and dirt the same as any brand name products.
  • Baking Soda– Another budget home cleaning product is baking soda. Opposite of vinegar, baking soda is a base and is great for cleaning and not leaving scratches. Baking soda also is a great deodorizer, absorbing the smells into the powder.
  • Vodka– As surprising as it may seem, cheap vodka is a fantastic cleaner. It’s great for disinfecting, deodorizing, and everything in between. You can even make your own air fresheners by soaking lemon peels in the vodka for a few weeks.

Shaving Cream Gets Rid of Urine Smell

This one may surprise you, but shaving cream is a fantastic way to get rid of urine smell in the bathroom. Generic Barbasol shaving cream is the popular choice, and it’s incredibly affordable.

All you have to do is spread the shaving cream around any areas that you suspect have a urine odor. The base of the toilet and the grout surrounding it are the best places to start.

Why Does My Bathroom Smell Like Urine After Shower?

If you have a shower door, there may be mildew buildup on the track. Furthermore, as disgusting as it may sound, surveys have revealed that roughly 70% of all people pee in the shower. If the urine is not properly cleaned away, it can become trapped, causing an ammonia odor to develop.

Why Does my Bathroom Still Smell Like Urine After Cleaning?

Don’t worry if you’ve thoroughly cleaned your toilet and there’s still a strong odor of urine.

In many cases, a persistent urine odor is caused by a leaking seal, which is located beneath the toilet and seals the connection between the toilet and the drain. The seal can leak due to improper installation and general wear and tear.

Unfortunately, whatever is in the toilet can slowly drip onto the floor behind or beneath the toilet when this happens. Fortunately, a Plumber can easily replace this seal.

Another area where seals can deteriorate is the silicon that connects the toilet bowl to the flooring. A Plumber, once again, can easily replace this seal.

Will Urine Smell Eventually Go Away?

Most chemicals or homemade cleaning solutions will continue to battle the bacteria causing the odor long after you apply it directly to the problem. However, you may need to continue to clean it a few times until it takes effect.

On the other hand, if the issue is a leaking seal, the smell should go away quickly after replacing the seal. You can expect the smell to disappear within three days after this.

If nothing you do seems to remedy the situation, you may need to hire a plumber to check the seals in your bathroom and toilet to ensure it’s not a hardware problem.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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