Best ways to eliminate bathroom odors?
November 15, 2004 7:57 AM   Subscribe

We're having a houseguest for a few days. Said houseguest has a digestive problem that results in WAY-stinky bathroom visits, which embarrass her, so she relies on an aerosol air freshener after every visit. Is there a spray that we can provide that's especially effective?
posted by MrMoonPie to Society & Culture (28 answers total)
i'm afraid i can't recall the name, but there's one for "neutralizing pet odors" it's called air neutralizer, not air freshener, but otherwise looks just like the same spray. i think the aerosol bottle is white and green. it's not scented. friend of mine with CF (which also results in toxic bathrooms) swore by it.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:05 AM on November 15, 2004

Light a match, blow it out. Repeat as needed. Burning sulfur smell is helpful. Scented candles in the bathroom provide an excuse for lighting matches, and more nice smell. Be careful of flames, etc.
posted by theora55 at 8:05 AM on November 15, 2004

You could install a kick ass exhaust fan too.
posted by trbrts at 8:22 AM on November 15, 2004

My wife's encountered similar situations. She uses something called "Lemon Mate Mist" (warning, link to online store). It's quite effective...
posted by daver at 8:26 AM on November 15, 2004

I have found the new Febreze air freshener line quite good at eliminating bad odors (though never in practice with the specific odor in question).
posted by benjh at 8:26 AM on November 15, 2004

Neutra Air gets my vote, being the first such product I've bought a second time. I won't go into too much detail for fear of Google, but it works.
posted by revgeorge at 8:39 AM on November 15, 2004

We use this great misting air freshner that just sits on the back of the toilet. It mists out a quick spurt of lemony-smelling stuff every so often. It has 5 settings. We usually just keep it on the low setting, but when we have large groups of people over we'll turn it up to 5. It works great - the bathroom never smells bad. What I particularly love about it though is that it's never obvious when someone's used the can either - there isn't this big plume of lysol smell or burnt match or whatever that signals that someone's just taken a dump. I think this makes folks feel more comfortable using the facilities at our place.
posted by soplerfo at 8:45 AM on November 15, 2004

soplerfo - can you say anything more about that product, to help hook up other folks? It sounds idea. Product name, manufacturer, model #, where purchased?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:51 AM on November 15, 2004

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:51 AM on November 15, 2004

At the public library we use a little gadget from the folks at Time-Mist that keeps our heavily used and poorly ventilated public restroom smelling like lemons most of the time. They have some other options that might also be worth looking in to.
posted by jessamyn at 9:08 AM on November 15, 2004

1) A door that closes
2) A window that opens
3) A candle, scented or unscented

Jerking the door open with the window open will force a lot of the stinky air right out the window in one stroke. Close the door quickly behind you and let the rest trickle out the window.

Combine with froofy sprays as desired, but bear in mind that some of them just deaden your olfactory receptors. Most others just add sweet smells to the smell of shit. Overwhelming your sense of smell with something stronger can be effective if the smell is already faint. But few sprays, if any, can actually remove a stinky smell from the air.
posted by scarabic at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2004

Lampe Berger. You could maybe even finesse this by giving her a lamp as a gift so she can use it at your house, then take it home.

The deal with these is that they really do improve the air and totally kill certain odors. If you have a retailer in your area they can probably do a demonstration, but I'd recommend actually purchasing one from eBay because it will be cheaper and you could afford to get a nicer one. (Expect to pay $20-40 for a relatively nice starter lamp and $10 or so for a fragrance on eBay.)

They rock and are well-worth the money. If that's too much, though, I second theora55's candle idea above.
posted by littlegreenlights at 10:17 AM on November 15, 2004

I second the Neutra-Air suggestion; it's really wonderful stuff. I suggest the "Fresh" scent though; the Citrus is pretty overpowering in a small room. They also have a continuous action thing that you can put on the wall. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to!
posted by headspace at 10:37 AM on November 15, 2004

Back in boarding school, "Ozium" used to be very popular for getting rid of "unwanted" odors--the bathroom kind, as well as the kind that could get you suspended. It does a pretty impressive job of getting rid of smells, although it does have its own distinctive, kind of sharp odor. (It got to the point where you could get in trouble just for having a dorm room that smelled of Ozium...)

If you google the name, you'll find a bazillion hits for buying little cans online.
posted by LairBob at 10:58 AM on November 15, 2004

Second on the match suggestion. Amazingly effective and utterly simple. Of course the person using the toilet needs the instructions. Just make sure that match is fully out before tossing it in the waste bin!
posted by Dick Paris at 11:14 AM on November 15, 2004

Oy. All you people with your fragrances? I hate you. I can't hardly visit a restroom anywhere without my allergies kicking in about two seconds later. All of it: hand soap, bar soap, decorative soaps, candles, shampoo, conditioner, air fresheners, potpourri, floor cleaner, tub cleaner, some kitty litters, toilet paper, tissue: all scented. Plus any cosmetics stored there, and towels and washcloths with that "freshly-drenched in poisonous chemicals" smell.

So I'll second the match notion, and the air purifier notion, and the ventilation notion, and hope that somewhere, some time, the connection between the increased use of fragrances in America and the rise in allergies will be made by a reputable researcher, and then the whole lot will begin to be rejected by the American consumer.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:41 AM on November 15, 2004

Careful with the matches. Some people (e.g. me) are sensitive/allergic to sulfur and can have serious asthma attacks when exposed to its fumes, especially in an enclosed space, like a bathroom.
posted by TimeFactor at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2004

Found it! Glade Whisp is what we've got - I actually think we picked ours up at home depot, of all places.
posted by soplerfo at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2004

take a matchbook and dunk the matches in perfume or cologne for added effect /heloise
posted by Fupped Duck at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2004

Burning those chemicals can't be good.
posted by anathema at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2004

I'll second the Ozium nomination. Not only does it work well on natural odors, but its amazing for eliminating chemical smells as well.
posted by thewittyname at 2:00 PM on November 15, 2004

I have never in my entire life smelled an air "freshener" that didn't smell worse than the worst shit or piss smell.

I vote for having the matches and a candle available (assuming that nobody is allergic to sulfur, of course--though if someone was allergic to sulfur, I suppose a cigarette lighter and a candle would work, too.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:00 PM on November 15, 2004

Mo Nickels - not allergies specifically, but there's increasing amounts of evidence that air fresheners are harmful. (Apologies if this is going slighly off-topic).
posted by chrispy at 2:17 PM on November 15, 2004

Ozonium (not "Ozium")

Has worked well with cigarette smoke, in my experience.
posted by mecran01 at 2:27 PM on November 15, 2004

Most air "freshners" work by stunning/killing the olfactory nerves, don't they?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:50 PM on November 15, 2004

Since all your immediate needs are covered, this is for your friend: Sharper Image has an air purifier that's highly touted and comes with free bathroom-sized and car-dash units to boot, thus faithfully covering all the most embarrassing stink-zones of one's life.

I'm with Mo Nickels et al -- I've never met an air freshener that didn't make me gag. Whenever possible, don't mask -- cleanse.
posted by melissa may at 7:13 PM on November 15, 2004

Alternatively, learn to relax and enjoy conversations that begin "Jesus wept, who had their name on that one?"
posted by biffa at 6:26 AM on November 16, 2004

And your guest should start saying "It ain't supposed to smell like roses."
posted by terrapin at 7:55 AM on November 18, 2004

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