Deodorizers can be expensive and even dangerous. They also may contain harmful toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found 884 toxic substances in a survey of about 3,000 chemicals used in artificial fragrances. The institute reports that the chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and reproductive disorders. Fragrances also can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.
It’s cheaper and safer to make your own with basic household items. Here are 10 ways to have a great-smelling bathroom:
1. Put small amounts of sweet-smelling essential oil on cotton balls, and place them in a small bowl on a shelf, or in a cup in the medicine cabinet.
2. A variation on essential oil on cotton balls: Push the cotton balls between the toilet paper roll and the holder. The essential oil scent will be released every time someone rolls the toilet paper, just when the perfume is needed most.
3. Before guests arrive, quickly freshen up the bathroom by grating some orange zest in there. A strong, pleasant orange smell will overpower bathroom odors.
4. For a more permanent (albeit more complicated) deodorizer, look for a miniature potpourri crock pot at thrift stores or garage sales. Then mix up your own potpourri with standard grocery store items, such as cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange peels and vanilla extract.
5. Harness the power of baking soda, as you probably already do in the refrigerator. Baking soda absorbs most odors. Simply fill a small bowl with baking soda, and replace monthly. Add naturally-scented bath salts to the mix., if you like You can also cover the bowl with marbles, flower petals or other “disguises,” as long as they don’t completely cover the baking soda mixture.
6. Vinegar also absorbs odors. To deodorize the bathroom quickly, wipe down the walls and other surfaces with white vinegar. Focus on the area around the toilet, where the walls may have absorbed smells and more. If toilets are flushed with the lid up, contaminated water vapor can spray several feet, and linger on surfaces.
7. An even simpler odor solution is to pour vinegar into the toilet and let it work for an hour or so before flushing. For extra deodorizing power, mix baking soda and vinegar in the toilet.
8. Fresh eucalyptus leaves are a very effective bathroom deodorizer. You can buy them from your local florist. Keep them in a vase above the toilet.
9. A squirt of hand soap into the bowl and a quick swish with a toilet brush cuts toilet odors. Do this instead of spraying the room with a room deodorizing spray.
10. Light scented or unscented candles in the bathroom. SAFETY TIP: Place candles on a secure surface and never leave a burning candle unattended. A small tray of incense on top of the toilet is also a good solution. You can simply leave matches out in an attractive container, and let users take care of their odors.
Another way to reduce bathroom odors? Hire a reliable house cleaner.
Updated December 20, 2017.