7 things people with nice-smelling bathrooms never do

Below are 7 identified bad habits to fix to transform your bathroom smell

bathroom with statement tiles
(Image credit: Future)

A great-smelling bathroom is surprisingly difficult to maintain. Over time, dirt, grime, and mold can accumulate, especially in bathroom areas people forget to clean, leading to the development of unpleasant odors.

There's a difference between masking bad smells and actually addressing the root cause of the problem. Bathrooms are one of the most used rooms in the house so can be a prime target for bad odors and bacteria build-up.

Pleasant-smelling bathrooms can transform our daily routines, and knowing how to clean a bathroom correctly and steering clear of the bathroom cleaning hacks that don’t work all helps to provide a sense of relaxation and cleanliness.

7 things people with nice-smelling bathrooms never do 

In this article, we'll explore seven expert tips to ensure your bathroom emanates a welcoming aroma, making it a haven of freshness. Here are our consolidated expert tips to ensure your bathroom always smells its best.

guest bathroom in jen landon of yellowstone's home

(Image credit: Compass - Jessica Alexander)

1. Overusing air fresheners

One habit that people with nice-smelling bathrooms avoid is relying on and overloading their bathroom with air fresheners. While this may seem counter-intuitive, air fresheners merely mask bad odors for a short period of time and do not actively remove the source of the smells.

Adding a natural fragrance as opposed to a synthetic air freshener will more likely enhance the overall smell of the bathroom. Nature provides a wealth of natural deodorizers that can effectively combat unpleasant smells. 

People with nice-smelling bathrooms may use essential oils, reed diffusers, or scented candles to create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. We like the Olous Aromatique Room Spray from Aesop, which blends scents of citrus botanicals with cedar wood and cardamom to create a fresh and uplifting fragrance.

2. Ignore grout lines

bathroom with statement tiles

(Image credit: Future)

Neglecting the cleanliness of grout lines can lead to mold and mildew growth, causing unpleasant odors. To keep your bathroom smelling fresh, regularly scrub and seal the grout lines between tiles, using products like this STONETECH Mold & Mildew Stain Remover from Amazon.

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning suggests using a homemade alternative to clean the grout in your bathroom. ‘A mixture of baking soda and water can work wonders on discolored grout,’ Karina says. ‘You can add lemon juice as a whitening agent for grout as well. Avoid using vinegar or other highly acidic solutions as they can actually corrode the grout and weaken the tiles.’

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time. 

3. Keep dirty laundry in the bathroom

A large wicker laundry basket with a removeable lid in the doorway of a country bathroom

(Image credit: Anbôise)

While it may be convenient to toss your dirty clothes in the bathroom for a quick moment, people with nice-smelling bathrooms know that this can be a big mistake.

Dirty laundry can emit unpleasant odors and can also attract pests and bacteria. One way to keep your bathroom smelling nice is to move your laundry in a designated hamper or laundry room which can be treated separately when maintaining a nice-smelling home. Using a laundry hamper with a lid, like this one from Wayfair, will help prevent bad odors and smells from overpowering the bathroom. 

4. Forget the toilet brush

‘The toilet brush may not be the most glamorous item, but it is essential in keeping a clean and fresh-smelling bathroom,’ says cleaning specialist Prerna Jain. ‘Leaving a wet toilet brush in its holder can breed bacteria and odors.’

People with nice-smelling bathrooms make sure to sanitize their toilet brush after each use and regularly replace it when it becomes worn or dirty.  This not only helps with cleanliness but also prevents any lingering odors.

The SetSail silicone yoilet bowl brush and holder from Amazon has silicone brush heads, making it more durable, and longer-lasting than normal brush heads. The holder is ventilated with a fast-drying base.

Prerna Jain
Prerna Jain

Prerna Jain is the founder of Ministry Of Cleaning, a top-rated cleaning service with years of industry experience. 

5. Leave wet towels and bathmats

bathroom with statement tiles

(Image credit: Future)

Towels and bath mats are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning and maintaining a nice-smelling bathroom. When left neglected they can harbor musty smells and develop mildew if not washed regularly.

‘Those with a keen eye for detail understand the importance of laundering bathroom linens frequently,’ says Muffetta Krueger, founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants. ‘Ensuring that these essential items contribute to the overall fragrance of the space.’

Hanging towels and mats to dry after use can prevent this issue. The same applies to bath toys; if you have children who enjoy playing with them during baths, giving them a quick dry after each use can help keep things fresh and dry.

Alternatively, there are quick-drying bath and shower mats available, such as the MontVoo-bath mat from Amazon. These bath mats start absorbing dripping water within 0.5 seconds from when it starts to get wet. After only a few minutes has all the water been absorbed and the bath mat is completely dry. 

Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York. 

5. Allow standing water

bathroom with marble sink and blue tiles

(Image credit: Future)

Standing water can contribute to unpleasant odors in the bathroom. People with nice-smelling bathrooms make sure to address any leaks or drips and promptly dry up any standing water to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Standing water can occur as a result of plumbing problems such as pipe blockages or leaky faucets. Gaps or leaks in drain and sewer pipes can also give rise to highly unpleasant odors. Should you suspect such a problem, Julia Ivanova from New Era Plumbing & HVAC advises you to inspect and seal any suspicious areas, using products like this waterproof silicone pipe tape from Amazon, to prevent sewer odors from infiltrating the bathroom. If the issue persists then it is recommended you call in a professional to look at the leaks and pipes. 

Julia Ivanova

Julia Ivanova works for New Era Plumbing & HVAC, a company with 15 plus years of experience in serving Dracut and surrounding regions. They are a locally-owned and operated plumbing & HVAC company that specializes in inspection, repair, and replacement services. 

7. Overlooking the power of plants

Nature's air purifiers are an unsung hero in the quest for a pleasantly scented bathroom. Plants that thrive in humid environments, such as peace lilies, ferns, and orchids, add a touch of greenery and enhance the olfactory experience.

These plants not only add a decorative element but also naturally filter and freshen the air. Consider placing them in well-lit areas with indirect sunlight for optimal growth. Homemade pot pourri is another way to harness the smells of plants and fruits to create a harmonious blend of aromas.


What is the best homemade odor eliminator?

The most effective homemade odor eliminator is made from three ingredients; baking soda, peroxide, and dish soap. Grab a spray bottle and mix eight ounces of peroxide, three tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of dish soap. Wait a few minutes for the solution to combine then spray onto the affected area and allow to permeate for 15-20 minutes. 

By following these practices, you can maintain a bathroom that consistently smells fresh and inviting. It's important to remember that personal preferences may vary, so it's best to identify what bad habits you want to change. Ultimately, creating a nice-smelling bathroom is about finding a balance that suits your own tastes and needs.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.