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How to Remove Urine Smell From a Bathroom

Updated February 21, 2017

The smell of human and animal urine is strong and unpleasant, and when your bathroom smells of urine, it is both frustrating and embarrassing. There is more than one possible reason for your bathroom to smell of urine. If you can discover the cause of a stinky bathroom, you can remedy the situation more quickly. You might never determine the source of the smell, however. Regardless, you can take action to make your bathroom smell good.

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  1. Look closely at all the surfaces in your bathroom, especially near and behind the toilet. If you have a cat litter box in your bathroom, look at the walls and floor near the litter box. Check for urine spots or wet spots on the walls and floors. Also look for dried urine, which may have formed yellow crystals. One suggestion from Thriftyfun.com involves shining an ultraviolet light on bathroom surfaces to detect urine spots that you may not normally see.

  2. Clean any human or pet urine that you find. Use a disinfecting and deodorising cleaner or plain vinegar. Alternately, use a product made expressly for breaking down pet urine, which might be a better choice if you have a carpeted bathroom. If this step works to remove the urine smell from the bathroom, simply clean all the surfaces of your bathroom on a more frequent basis.

  3. Wash bathroom rugs, especially those that are near the toilet or litter box.

  4. Clean your toilet thoroughly with a stiff toilet brush, being careful to get up under the rim. Wipe the entire toilet down with a disinfecting and deodorising cleaner. Clean under the seat, around the seat bolts, the outside of the toilet and the base. As mentioned at Thriftyfun.com, dried urine can cling to the underside of the rim, to the outside of the toilet and under the seat.

  5. Pull back carpet, tile or vinyl flooring if the urine odour is persistent. It is possible that urine has seeped under the carpet, tile or vinyl and into the subfloor. If this is the case, consider replacing the subfloor and floor covering. If you cannot replace the sub floor, use a sealant such as Kilz on it, and replace the floor covering. The Fly Lady Network also recommends that if urine has seeped into the floor from the walls, you may need to paint the walls with Kilz as well and repaint your bathroom.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ultraviolet light
  • Disinfecting and deodorising cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Commercial pet odour remover
  • Stiff toilet brush
  • Toilet wax ring
  • Kilz
  • Paint

About the Author

Leslie Lane has been writing professionally since 2007. Her areas of expertise include landscape and garden design; trees, shrubs and perennials; plant care; and plant pests and diseases. An education in landscape horticulture from Lansing Community College is paired with several years experience working for one of Michigan's premier wholesale/retail nurseries and growing farms.

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