5 things people with nice-smelling half bathrooms always do

As one of the most used rooms in your home, your half bathroom may need a little help to achieve an inviting and welcoming smell for you and your guests

small bathroom with sink
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Bathrooms are versatile spaces. In the morning, they're where we prepare for the day ahead. In the evening, they become a sanctuary for relaxation and unwinding. This adaptability makes them essential for both our practical and emotional well-being. 

A half bathroom, also known as a guest bathroom or powder room is a bathroom that contains two out of the four elements usually found in a bathroom. In most cases, half bathrooms contain a toilet and a sink while leaving out the shower and the bathtub. 

Being a guest bathroom, half bathrooms are usually located on the first floor of a home to make it easily accessible for homeowners and their guests. In fact, a half bathroom is often the first place visitors will use, and it sets the tone for the rest of the house in creating a nice-smelling home.

How to have a nice smelling half bathroom

Having a nice-smelling half bathroom can make a significant difference in the overall ambiance of your home. Our experts have shared the 5 best methods that people with nice-smelling half bathrooms often use, from bathroom cleaning tips to scented products.

small bathroom with sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Introduce plants

Incorporating plants into your half bathroom is a great way to add a natural fragrance to the space, as natural fragrances often evoke a sense of freshness and cleanliness. Not only do plants add some visual interest to a half bathroom, but they also help purify the air.

Consider placing small potted plants, such as lavender or eucalyptus, on a shelf or windowsill. These plants not only add a touch of greenery but also release natural scents that can contribute to a pleasant and calming environment.

For an alternative to plants, Fred McGill, a home improvement expert, suggests a bowl of natural potpourri, as they can work wonders. Combine dried flowers, citrus peels, and a few drops of essential oil. This not only acts as a decorative element but also releases a gentle fragrance every time someone enters the bathroom. If you are looking at making potpourri for decorative gifts this festive period you can learn how to make potpourri at home.

Fred McGill
Fred McGill

Fred McGill is a home improvement expert and Founder of the website Next Modern Home which specializes in creating unique and functional spaces for clients.

2. Use scented products

People with nice-smelling half bathrooms often use scented products to add a pleasant aroma. A popular and effective way to create this in your half bathroom is by using scented candles or diffusers.

‘Opt for scents like lavender, vanilla, or citrus, as they are known for their refreshing and soothing properties,’ says cleaning expert Prerna Jain. ‘Lighting a scented candle or using a diffuser not only masks any unpleasant odors but also adds a touch of elegance to your space. 

For the festive period, we like the Plum & Ashby Festive Spice & Clementine Glass Reed Diffuser from Anthropologie. Another way to maintain a fresh scent in your half bathroom is by using air fresheners or sprays. These products are designed to eliminate odors and leave a pleasant fragrance in the air, like this Muse Bath Apothecary Room Ritual - Aromatic and Relaxing Room Mist from Amazon, which is infused with natural essential oils including aloe, eucalyptus, and lavender.

Choose a scent that suits your preferences and follow the instructions to ensure a long-lasting effect. Just be mindful not to overuse these products, as an overpowering scent can be overwhelming.

Prerna Jain
Prerna Jain

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

3. Ventilate and circulate the air

small bathroom with sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Good airflow is essential for keeping a bathroom smelling fresh. According to Muffetta Krueger, founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants, those who achieve this often make use of ventilation systems, like exhaust fans or open windows, to reduce humidity and circulate air. 

Keeping windows open when possible or utilizing exhaust fans helps to remove moisture and minimize the growth of mold and mildew, which are common sources of undesirable smells. After using the bathroom, leave the fan running or open the window for a few minutes to ensure proper air circulation and to remove any odors. This will help to keep bathroom ceiling mold at bay, too.

Improved air circulation not only keeps the air fresh but also prevents the accumulation of stagnant odors. Make sure the room has a functioning exhaust fan or window to allow fresh air to circulate more freely.

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. 

4. Maintain your drains

Those with fresh-smelling half bathrooms understand the importance of maintaining plumbing fixtures and drains to prevent the buildup of odors caused by clogs or stagnant water. Drains can accumulate unpleasant odors over time, and it is essential to maintain and clean one of the dirtiest places in a bathroom.

Leaks under the sink or around the toilet can lead to unpleasant odors and water damage. Regularly cleaning drains, checking for leaks, and addressing any plumbing issues promptly can help eliminate the source of odors.

Doing so helps ensure that the bathroom retains its inviting aroma. Conducting routine maintenance not only prevents potential odors but also promotes a hygienic and fresh bathroom environment.

5. Have a regular cleaning routine

small bathroom with sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Having a regular bathroom cleaning routine is crucial in order to maintain a nice-smelling half bathroom and this is especially true for half bathrooms which tend to be smaller and more prone to odors.

‘Regular cleaning not only addresses aesthetics and odors but also promotes hygiene and health,’ says Karina Toner, cleaning expert at Spekless Cleaning. ‘Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and pathogens if not properly maintained. Surfaces that are touched frequently, like faucets, doorknobs, and light switches, should be cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene.’

Those with nice-smelling half bathrooms establish a regular cleaning routine, including wiping down surfaces, cleaning the toilet, and changing the hand towels frequently. The trash can is often overlooked when it comes to keeping a half bathroom smelling nice. Regularly empty and clean the trash can as part of your cleaning routine, and consider using scented trash bags, like these from Amazon, to prevent any unpleasant odors.

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is a cleaning expert at Spekless Cleaning, a house cleaning service based in Arlington or Washington D.C.


Where is the best place to put an air freshener in a half bathroom?

The two best places to put an air freshener in a half bathroom are close to the entrance and also as close to the source of any smells, creating a fresh scent as you enter and masking any areas prone to odors.

Having a nice-smelling half bathroom is not only pleasant for guests but also adds to the overall ambiance of your home. By incorporating these habits into your bathroom routine, you can create a consistently pleasant and nice-smelling environment for yourself and your guests.

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.