Neutralize stinky boy bathroom smell with a homemade cleaner!
Are you embarrassed about the smell of your bathroom? Do you pray that guests won’t want to use the bathroom when they come over? Are you worried that your son’s bad aim (especially if you have a lot of boys like we do) has ruined your bathroom forever?
After 11 years of parenting boys, here are our best tips for neutralizing boy bathroom smell! (And preventing it in the first place!)
Tip #1: If you can reserve a hall bathroom for guests that your boys don’t use – do it!
When we moved two and a half years ago, my plan was for the boys to exclusively use their own bathroom upstairs. Then we needed to potty train Owen, and it wasn’t reasonable to ask a 3 year old to run upstairs every time. If your house layout allows for a hall bath that your boys don’t touch, I think I’d go for it…
Tip #2: Involve your boys in cleaning the bathroom.
You are not a mean parent for asking your child to help scrub dried puddles of pee off the bathroom floor. Use your judgement of course, but if he has the ability to use the potty, he can pay attention and avoid messes. After one such scrubbing session at our house, the aim suddenly improved drastically. See the next tip for a safe cleaner to use.
Tip #3: Use this cleaner recipe.
Before we started using this homemade cleaner, our bathroom really stunk. Then I would clean it. Then it would smell like chemicals covering up a urine stench. One day we mopped the floor with this homemade cleaner, and the bathroom smelled… fresh!
You can use this cleaner to mop tile or linoleum floors. We used it on linoleum at our old house and it works even better on tile at our house now. I wouldn’t use it on wood. I have also had good success using this cleaner to get vomit out of a stroller and out of carpet. Test any fabrics or carpet first – the borax may take the color out!
This cleaner does not keep and should be mixed up fresh each time. It does not need to be rinsed off the floor, but you can rinse if you want.
- 2 gallons hot water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup borax (optional)
Edited to add: a small squirt of dish washing soap (forgot this!). Use only a tiny amount if you have concentrated dish soap.
For especially bad stink, we do the following…
Mix baking soda and water to create a paste. Use a sponge to scrub this onto the floor and the base of the toilet. Scrub the caulk and tile grout. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then spray with a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture. Rinse with water.
Now, I know the science behind this – baking soda and vinegar react to form a salt and water. So the chemicals are both neutralized, which would make it seem like this wouldn’t work to clean anything. But I’m telling you… it really helps with the smell!
Tip #4: Remove the toilet seat and clean periodically.
Our downstairs bathroom has been smelling AWFUL lately. Since Janie was born, we have not cleaned the floors nearly as often as we should, although the bathroom does get cleaned once a week. This past weekend, we gave the bathroom a total overhaul!
We wondered if the toilet seat was harboring stink. When we took the toilet seat off, this is what we found…
When I was growing up, removing the seat and cleaning under the joints was not a part of the Saturday cleaning routine. But with a bunch of boys, it apparently needs to be done periodically. This toilet seat looked clean! But all this ick was hiding…
A new toilet seat is not expensive – they start at about $10. We decided to go ahead and replace ours since it had a lot of wear, and we paid a little more for one with a non-slam lid. Most of the seat options at Home Depot can be removed easily for cleaning with hinges that twist.
Here’s another tip from Jackie at Happy Hooligans – for regular cleaning, flip up the hinges and scrub with an old toothbrush. Great tip!!
Tip #5: Maintain the caulk around the toilet.
Caulk doesn’t last forever, and cracks in the caulk are just going to let the mess fester.
Here’s our bathroom after the overhaul… I just couldn’t end this post with that disgusting photo! In addition to the toilet seat and replacing the caulk, we also painted over the chalky builder grade white paint with a really nice blue paint in a washable finish. You know, in case we ever have to wipe off the walls…
So much better!