Why Does My Toilet Smell Like Urine? & How to Solve?

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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why does my toilet smell like urine

You’re here because your bathroom smells so bad that you must put on nose plugs when entering. Now, like other troubled homeowners with the same problem, you wonder, “why does my toilet smell like urine?”

Most of the time, the reasons for a strong urine smell in the toilet is due to lack of cleaning of the bathroom itself, clogged drains, toilet leaks, poor bathroom ventilation, and more.

We are going to dig deeper into this, so keep on reading.

Reasons Why Your Bathroom Smells Like Urine


Clean toilets are essential to a healthy environment and body. It is where we defecate, pee, wash, and maybe even fix our appearance in front of the bathroom mirrors.

But if our toilets have a strong urine smell or the toilet seat is poorly sanitized, we can get exposed to bacteria build-up. It is undoubtedly uncomfortable to use a place with a foul odor.

So, we created a list of reasons why your bathroom smells terrible, together with simple tips on how to get rid of urine smell.

1. Dirty or Unsanitized Toilet


<strong>Toilet Seat</strong>

According to a microbiologist named Dr. Chuck Gerba, the toilet seat is home to 50 bacteria per square inch. You can get E-coli, common influenza, and other infectious diseases if exposed to a dirty toilet seat.

The reason is obvious—this is where we sit while we do toilet-y things. And if there is more than one person in your house or you get a lot of visitors, then it is probably the cause of why the downstairs toilet smells of urine.

<strong>The Rim of the Bowl</strong>

If your toilet bowl smells like urine, most likely that it also has brown or yellowish stains. While this is not caused by urine alone, it is part of the chemical reaction when it mixes with toilet water.

This is called a “urine scale,” and it happens when the lime in the flush water mixes with the urine. It is powerful enough to stain the bowl.

Of course, this can be cleaned (easier if you do it immediately) by using bathroom cleaning products with a scrub.

<strong>Stains Outside the Toilet</strong>

If you have kids at home or can’t shoot your pee straight into the bowl, you will notice stains on the toilet’s outer body.

This will cause a urine smell in the bathroom. Avoid peeing outside the toilet; clean that part regularly if you have kids.

2. Lack of Bathroom Cleaning


The strong urine smell doesn’t always come from the toilet. If you don’t spend the time to clean your entire bathroom on a regular basis, then it will stink. Here are some things you can do to solve this problem:

  • Empty and change your garbage bag regularly
  • Clean the bathroom walls and floors, especially the edges
  • Replace and wash your mat and curtains
  • Check if none of your bathroom commodities produce a bad smell

3. Peeing in the Shower


Don’t be ashamed if you pee in the shower; there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, 52 percent of Americans do this.

But if you don’t wash the pee from the floor right away, then that is no doubt the reason why your shower smells like urine.

So, definitely wash your urine and double-wash the floors after showering. Also, keep it a habit to clean your bathroom regularly to prevent your shower from smelling bad.

4. Clogged Drains


If your toilet smells like urine or a sewer even after cleaning, you might want to check your:

  • Shower drain – hair, soap, or other debris may cause clogging
  • P-trap – the pipe under the drains or sink may smell like sewer when dry; pour warm water to hydrate
  • Septic tank – a mixture of urine and other foul sewer smells can be indicators of a full septic tank

5. Toilet Leaks


Another possible reason your toilet smells of urine despite cleaning is a leak.

This leak can be from the damaged wax seal or the sealing ring of a toilet. If you don’t know where this is, the gasket below the toilet prevents waste or liquid from entering the floor.

If the sealing ring of a toilet is broken or loose, this will cause a urine smell in the bathroom combined with a stinky sewer odor.

Observe the part under the toilet and if there are water leaks, contact a plumber.

Read more: Reasons for leaking toilets from the bottom.

6. Poor Ventilation


If you don’t have the first five reasons we listed, but your bathroom still smells like urine, then it is probably because of poor ventilation.

After using the bathroom, open its windows and door. This way, the bad odor of pee or poop won’t be trapped inside.

Read more tips to get rid of odor in your toilet here.

How to Solve Your Smelly Toilet Problem


This depends on the cause. That is why we suggest observing your bathroom with the help of the reasons we listed in the previous section about a toilet with a strong urine smell.

Dirty Bathroom (including the toilet)

  • Regularly clean the bathroom—walls and floor—and the toilet using tools such as a scrub and a brush. Cleaning products with bleach will be effective in this case.
  • Wash and change your curtains and bathmats. Check your bathroom items to see if they are dirty or just smelly.

Clogged Drains

  • Prevent soap, gel, shampoo, hair, and other debris from the shower drains.
  • Keep the P-trap hydrated by using the sink. If the sink is rarely used, pour warm water since a dry P-trap causes a smelly bathroom.
  • Consult a professional plumber if you believe your septic tank is why your bathroom smells like urine.

Toilet Leaks

  • If your toilet’s wax seal or sealing ring is broken or loose, immediately consult a professional plumber. That way, sewage water or water from your toilet will not seep through the floor.

Poor Ventilation

  • Ideally, your bathroom should have windows. Open those after using the bathroom, together with the door. This is for the odor inside to come out.
  • If you’re not using the bathroom, you can also just leave the door open or put a thin curtain in it.
  • Installing an exhaust fan is also a good idea to prevent bathroom odor, especially a strong urine smell, from being trapped inside.

How to Keep Your Bathroom Smelling Fresh


Remember, you can’t achieve a fresh-smelling bathroom if you don’t address why it smells in the first place.

That is why before continuing in this section, you must ensure that your bathroom doesn’t have the six reasons it will smell like urine.

1. Ensure a Good Ventilation

We have mentioned this many times, but good airflow will eliminate humidity and create a pleasant smell in your bathroom.

You can keep the windows slightly open together with the door or turn on your bathroom exhaust fan to achieve this.

2. Use Bathroom Fresheners


There are a lot of products in the market aimed at giving different bathroom scents, such as fruity or sophisticated smells. Glade is popular with these kinds of products in gel and spray form.

Use a freshening spray after using the bathroom (especially if it is number two), combined with good ventilation to avoid bad odor being trapped.

3. Use Potpourri

This is a mixture of dried flowers and other plants, such as herbs. Put some in a jar combined with essential oil, and your bathroom will have a natural flowery scent.

4. Use a Diffuser


Diffusers are a trend nowadays, and you can also keep one in your bathroom to make it smell fresh.

Aside from your wide options for essential oil scents, diffusers purify the air by killing airborne bacteria.


You entered your bathroom and felt nauseous, so you asked, “Why does my toilet smell like urine?”

There are varying reasons, but the most common causes why a bathroom will smell like pee are poor sanitation, clogged drains, toilet leaks, and poor ventilation.

It is possible to solve this problem by being hygienic and calling a plumber when necessary or if you can’t perform the solution yourself. After successfully eliminating the cause of the smell, we can keep the bathroom smelling fresh by using fresheners from good market brands.

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