Bathroom Smells Like Pee: Expert Explains Why

A bad-smelling bathroom is high on the list of household problems that we all want to get rid of as soon as possible. Among the smells that could be causing problems in a bathroom, the most notable is that of urine, as it tends to stand out.

Why do bathrooms smell like pee? Your bathroom smells like pee because of traces of urine that are on the flooring that surrounds the toilet. Leakages of water that contain urine seep into your flooring due to a poor seal.

An expert plumber on the MrRooter website states that the toilet seal called the flange that has been improperly installed may leak from the bottom of the toilet.

Bathroom Smells Like Urine After Cleaning

A clean toilet that smells bad is quite common. It can be frustrating and embarrassing for you to clean your bathroom thoroughly and realize that it still smells like urine.

Most people judge how clean the occupants of a house are by the smell of their bathroom. Hence, most of us place a lot of effort into ensuring that our bathrooms are clean and smell as good as possible for a bathroom. I recommend the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner on Amazon, click here to check it out.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to how a bathroom smells, and how clean it is just one of them. Now, you might be washing and scrubbing your bathroom daily, and you might still perceive urine smells in your bathroom. Surprisingly, cleaning your bathroom every day is not enough to make the odor go away. Getting rid of a toilet smell goes beyond disinfecting or cleaning seen surfaces in the bathroom.  There are many reasons why your toilet may smell bad, and most of these root causes are easy to eliminate on your own.

Taking control of how your bathroom smells is however not a big deal; knowledge of the root causes of such smell, and learning to “deep clean” your bathroom is sufficient to get rid of the bad urine odor.

Here is a video showing some reasons why your bathroom might smell and how to fix them:

How Do I Stop My Bathroom From Smelling Like Pee?

The best way to remove the smell from your bathroom floor is by using an odor digester.

An odor digester is a bio-enzymatic cleaning product that contains bacteria and enzymes that penetrate organic stains, like those caused by urine.  The “good” bacteria from the odor digester will eat up the “bad” bacteria from the urine stain, thus getting rid of the smell. This is done through a process called biodegradation.

Most of the urine odor in your bathroom does not come from urine in the urinal or water closet, but from urine that doesn’t make it into the toilet seat. When a toilet is flushed without closing the lid, or a male pees in the toilet without aiming correctly, tiny droplets get released into the air and settle on the surrounding floor. This urine then sticks to the floor, gets trapped in gout, and that is where most of the urine odor in your bathroom comes from. 

Now, there are two common cleaning mistakes people make when cleaning bathrooms. The first mistake is believing that using a cleaner or disinfectant on a toilet seat and its surrounding floor is enough to get rid of the bathroom smell. The use of cleaners and disinfectant is not enough to get rid of a bathroom smell. It is not uncommon for a bathroom to smell like pee, even after cleaning and disinfecting. The use of cleaners and disinfectants is just one step into cleaning the bathroom.

The second mistake people make in their attempt to eliminate a bathroom odor is using an air freshener to get “rid” of the odor. An air freshener only masks the urine smell in a bathroom until the chemical in the air freshener dissolves when all the urine smell comes back.

Now, how do you successfully get rid of a bathroom smell? Urine is an organic substance, which implies it causes organic stain. Urine is made up of carbohydrates, protein, uric acid, and other byproducts that make it attractive to bacteria. When urine gets on the floor due to bad aim or splash from the toilet, it becomes a food source for harmful bacteria to feed on. The warmth of the uric acid combined with the humid environment typical of a restroom makes it easy for bacteria to keep growing and multiplying for as long as the urine remains. As the bacteria in the bathroom grows and multiplies, the smell grows only stronger, and there is only a little cleaner or disinfectant can do to get rid of the smell. 

An odor digester kills all the bacteria causing the odor in your bathroom, thus, getting rid of all unpleasant urine odor.

Table Illustrating How Homeowners were able to remove the urine smell that was in their bathrooms:

How homeowners were able to eliminate a urine smell that was in their bathroomsPercentage of total responses
Odorxit was used in some bathrooms. Even worked on the strong smell of dog urine. 18%
It is best to saturate the bathroom tiles with bleach that is around the toilet to get rid of a pee smell.45%
Some homeowners suggest changing the wax seal of the toilet if bleach and other tactics do not remove the urine smell27%
Spraying the bathroom with Natures Miracle can reduce the smell of urine in the bathroom10%
data derived from forums on home cleaning tactics

Wood Floor In Bathroom Smells Like Pee 

The wood floor in a bathroom might smell unpleasant when urine is allowed to dry on it.

Urine is typically acidic, and thus, it can break down the finish of a floor’s wooden surface, especially if the urine is allowed to dry up. When your bathroom is made of wooden floors, urine can come in contact with the wooden floor, and leave behind a strong repulsive smell. This smell can easily get stronger and take over the whole bathroom, making the entire room seem unclean and uninviting. If the urine is allowed to dry up, it might further leave a stain on the wooden surface and cause the floor cover to lose its shine, and cause discoloration.

To get rid of the smell left on your bathroom wooden floor, it is important to use a product that deodorizes and breaks down the enzyme and bacteria causing the smell, without eating the wood or causing damage to your wooden floor. This is best done with a cleaner made of inexpensive household items.

Here are five simple steps on how to remove urine stain from your wooden floor, and prevent it from smelling like pee.

  • Mix one cup of vinegar and a gallon of water thoroughly in a cleaning bucket.
  • Dip a cleaning mop into the bucket, and wring water completely out of it. (It will do your wooden floor no good to constantly get water on it)
  • Mop the bathroom floor with the cleaning mop. The vinegar naturally breaks down urine enzymes and disinfects the area.
  • Let the vinegar odor dissipate. Check to see if urine odor still persists; if it does, repeat the process over.
  • Let the bathroom floor air dry.

How To Remove Urine Smell From Bathroom Tile

The best way to stop the bathroom from emitting those unpleasant urine smells is to clean your bathroom tile instantly after every toilet use. 

Urine drops can gather on the tile flooring around a toilet floor which if not taken care of, can result in a stinking and persistent smell in the bathroom. When urine collects on the exterior of a toilet, it will eventually emit an unpleasant odor.

These five simple steps make it easy for you to remove urine stains from your toilet and get rid of urine smell from your bathroom tile using only natural cleaners –

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda and one ounce of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle.
  2. Add a few drops of liquid detergent and mix thoroughly.
  3. Spray the liquid on your bathroom floor, pay more attention to the stained area, and let it sit on the stain for about 15 minutes.
  4. Scrub the solution into the stained area before rinsing it well.
  5. Buff dry, then air dry the bathroom tiles.


  1. Sprain undiluted vinegar solution onto the stain.
  2. Let the vinegar stay on the stain for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing the area.
  3. Rinse and dry.

The above procedures are only effective when the urine smell in the bathroom is not persistent. If they are, a simple cleaning with household products is not enough; an odor digester has to be used in combination with daily bathroom cleaning procedures to ensure that your bathroom is completely rid of all unpleasant odors left by urine smell.

  1. Using a sprayer, apply an odor digester around the bottom of a toilet, on any surrounding grout around and behind your urinals, and on the bathroom tiles.
  2. Let the odor digester sit on the surface for time specified on the product manual or let it dry.
  3. Your bathroom floor is now rid of any unpleasant urine smell.

Toilet Smells Even After Cleaning

It is common for a toilet to smell unpleasant even after cleaning, due to reasons like a dirty toilet tank and a clogged toilet drain, etc.

We have earlier described many ways to get rid of the persistent and unpleasant urine smell from your bathroom. However, while urine stains are common causes of persistent odor in a toilet, several issues might arise to cause your toilet to smell even after cleaning. Some of those issues and viable solutions to them are highlighted below.

  • Evaporated Water In The P-Trap

A P-trap is part of the pipe behind the toilet. The p-trap is usually filled with water. This water, however, can evaporate if not frequently used, thus resulting in an unpleasant odor in your bathroom. If you notice a foul odor from a toilet that is rarely used, try flushing the toilet several times, then fill up the p-trap with water, this should get rid of any unpleasant smell caused by the evaporated water.

  • Dirty Toilet Tank

That your toilet bowl is clean does not guarantee that your toilet tank will be clean. Sometimes, your toilet tank absorbs the odor of urine and sewage and emits those smells even when your toilet bowl is clean. Cleaning a toilet tank, fortunately, is as easy as cleaning a toilet bowl. Add a few drops of vinegar solution to your toilet bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, and the unpleasant smell should be gone.

  • Clogged Toilet Drain

Your toilet drain might have a minor clog even if it is flushing correctly. This minor clog can cause your toilet to emit an unpleasant odor.  If you have any suspicion that a clogged toilet drain might be the cause of the nasty odor in your toilet, insert a snake drain down your toilet drain, and it should get rid of all minor clogs and odor in your toilet. I also recommend checking out the Green Gobbler Drain clog dissolver on Amazon by clicking here.

  • Leaking Wax Smell

There is usually a wax sealing ring underneath a toilet. This sealing ring keeps foul-smelling sewage gas from emitting from the toilet. However, the wax seal can get loose over time, leading to the leakage of sewage gas, and causing an irritating smell in the toilet. There is no DIY remedy for a loose wax seal. If you suspect the odor from your toilet is from leakage, employ the services of a plumber to repair the leaking seal.

Bathroom Smells Like Cat Urine

There are several reasons why your bathroom might smell like cat urine when you don’t even have a cat, or your cat doesn’t step into your bathroom. 

The distinctive “cat urine” smell might be a mold problem. If your bathroom floor is made of wooden cover, it might develop dangerous toxic black mold that has a repugnant smell like that of cat urine. If the cat urine smell in your toilet is due to mold, the floor should be remediated by a professional.

Sewer gases are a mixture of organic compounds and sulfates, and it is thus uncommon for sewer gases to smell like cat urine. Check every sink and drain in your toilet to ensure there are no clogs, however minor. Remove any gunk or clog. Use a snake drain to ensure there are no clogs in the drain. If the smell persists, we advise that you get an expert to check it out. 
Also, if the previous occupants of your house had cats, urine from their cats that encountered the wood floors can emit foul odors even long after the previous occupants are gone.  An effective and lasting solution to this is to completely change the floor cover of your bathroom, especially if it is made of a wooden floor. Also, invest in good ventilation and proper scrubbing of your bathroom floor.

Related Topics

why does my bathroom smell like sewage

why does my house smell musty

why does my house smell like burning plastic

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

Recent Posts