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Toilet Bowl Smells Like Urine

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

It can be very frustrating when no matter what you do, you cannot budge that smell of urine coming from your toilet.

If you relate to this, then you have landed on the right article because we will cover what may be causing that stubborn smell and what you can do about it. 

Urine Underneath The Toilet Seat

The first issue is by far the most prevalent since many individuals unwittingly pee on the toilet seat. It only takes a split second of distraction to spill a few drops of urine on your toilet seat.

Drops of urine easily hide behind, making it impossible to notice especially in a dark restroom. You may check for pee traces by lifting the toilet seat. Yellow stains are easily visible, therefore it’s time to take action.

The solution to the toilet seat problem is simple. It’s only a matter of properly cleaning your toilet seat, and that horrible pee stink will go. We recommend removing the toilet seat to make the job easier.

It is attached to the toilet by a pair of bolts, which must be unscrewed with a screwdriver.

Counterclockwise twist the bolts until they are loose enough to spring out. After that, clean the seat as well as the entire bowl to get rid of the stench.

Urine Around The Bowl

Urine on the toilet seat by accident is not the only possibility. On the contrary, there might be some stray pee on the floor.

This is especially true for families with boys who lack the patience or height to properly target.

All you have to do is clean the bathroom floor and instruct your children to pee in the bowl. Keep an eye on the area around the toilet since pee can go in all directions.

The Flush Isn’t Strong Enough

Every toilet should be capable of flushing urine, but occasionally the flush system is insufficient to accomplish so. It signifies that some pee stays in the bowl after flushing, causing your toilet to stink.

If you have a low-flow toilet, it may be time to replace it.

A low-flow toilet cannot be converted to a high-flow toilet, but the flush system may be strengthened by elevating the tank to enhance water input, unscrewing the fil valve, and relocating the cylinder float in the toilet tank.

Not Enough Ventilation

There may be no pee stains or residues in your toilet, yet the urine odor remains due to insufficient ventilation. This is especially true in bathrooms with small windows and no exhaust fan.

Adding windows to your toilet is a significant bathroom renovation effort, but you can install one of the finest exhaust fans. It’s a useful instrument for removing smells and keeping dampness at bay.

Urine Is On Other Things

You may clean the toilet on a regular basis, but the scent of pee remains. The most common cause is that you fail to clean anything around the toilet, including the toilet brushes, shower curtain, and laundry baskets.

Sometimes the same issue affects other items in the bathroom. There might be pee on the walls or the trash cans for example. Because all of these objects are close to your toilet, a few droplets may get up there.

Once again, the remedy is to clean everything in the vicinity of the toilet. Wipe each part with your preferred cleaning agent – this should be sufficient to erase urine odors from your toilet.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your bathroom when your toilet bowl smells like urine seems unpleasant. It’s never fun dealing with odd, stinky substances, especially in such a spot. Fortunately, there are techniques to accelerate this process.

Use A Backlight

One of the finest methods is to utilize a black light to pinpoint the specific location of pee stains.

There are black lights that are particularly intended to detect pee. They may be used in a dark bathroom. Urine stains will glow brilliant blue, letting you know which areas require additional care.

Start With The Base

Whether or whether you used a black light, a good place to start is around and beneath the toilet.

Because children can’t really aim, your smaller child may have missed the bowl a few times. However, the same may be stated for certain grownups.

Any excellent cleaning solution will suffice. Simply pour it into the toilet bowl and scrape it with a little scrub brush. If you don’t have one, save money by using a toothbrush instead.

When your toilet bowl smells like urine, the source of the odor may be coming from underneath the bowl.

Despite the fact that toilet bowls (see also ‘How to Remove Brown Stain in Bottom of Toilet Bowl?‘) are usually attached to the floor, liquid can occasionally seep beneath them. Because a brush will not reach this region, try scraping below the bowl with a plastic knife.

If your toilet still smells after cleaning, consider removing it and then scrubbing. This is not a simple task, and you will most likely require assistance.

Use The Right Cleaning Agents

Urine may easily slip between the bathroom tiles and appear to be permanent. Knowing how to extract pee out of grout surrounding a toilet, on the other hand, does not need any particular abilities.

All you need are some powerful cleaning products, which you can get online or at your local grocery. Just use them with caution, as they may destroy porcelain dishes or burn your hands.

Another viable option is to make a bleach solution from one tablespoon of bleach and one gallon of water. Again, avoid using this in sensitive locations.

Clean The Toilet Water Tank

Cleaning the water tank may not be directly linked to the issue of the toilet bowl smelling of urine but it is definitely worth doing.

This is because over time, the water tank can become quite smelly which may be contributing to the overall odor. This build-up can also lead to components within the tank getting damaged. 

Remove the lid and look inside. Pour about four cups of vinegar into the tank if you see any mineral buildup or gunk. Allow up to an hour for this to soak. Next, turn off the water to your toilet and flush it. 

This will completely empty the tank. Whilst the tank is empty, scrape the tank walls with a toilet brush or sponge. Reconnect the water supply, let the tank fill, then flush the toilet several times to rinse out the tank.

Clean The Rest Of The Bathroom

If you’re still experiencing unpleasant odors, it’s possible that you overlooked the source of the pee. Even if you blame the toilet bowl, the odor might be originating from somewhere else.

Mold and mildew odors can occasionally be confused with urine odors. As a result, make careful to wipe the walls of any mold that has accumulated.

Not to add that mold thrives in areas where urine has dropped! This will only make matters worse.

Urine may stain not just the walls, but also anything within the bathroom near the toilet bowl! This is exacerbated if you have children since boys can occasionally play in the bathroom, resulting in accidents.

A standing stool is a popular location for pee to end up. Because little boys are short and can’t always reach the toilet bowl, they may need a stool. This, however, implies that the pee frequently falls on the stool.

Shower curtains near the toilet bowl can potentially be a source of urine spillage. The same is true for laundry baskets, carpets, and trash cans.

Also, if you use toilet paper instead of a bowl, the latter requires extra care. Also, if you’ve just cleaned your toilet with a plunger, this might be the source of the odor.

How Often Should You Clean Your Toilet?

A deep clean once a week is preferable, however, the frequency depends on how many people use the bathroom and how unclean it is.

If you share a place with a spouse or a group of roommates who are regularly forgetting to flush, agreeing to clean it more frequently than that is a smart idea.

Having said that, it never hurts to clean the area in between cleanings. Andres recommends wiping down the toilet with an antibacterial wipe at the end of the day to remove germs from the seat and handle.

This is also a good idea if you or anybody in your household is ill. Simply place the wipes on the back of your toilet and wipe down everything after each usage.

This routine will also help prevent filth from accumulating, making weekly deep clean much faster and easier.

Urine Smell Still Won’t Go Away After Cleaning

If your toilet still smells after cleaning, you may have a more significant problem. Still, clean any nooks and cracks in the toilet first, just to be sure.

Faulty Wax Ring

The unpleasant odor is most likely originating from the wax ring under the toilet (see our guide on how to replace a toilet wax ring). Finally, the most prevalent source of foul odors in the bathroom is faulty plumbing.

To minimize water splashes and flushing events, first, turn off the cutoff valve. Turn the supply valve clockwise to do this. Unscrew the bolts and screws that connect the supply hose and tank to the toilet bowl.

Now that the bowl is the only thing on the floor, you must remove it from the base by unscrewing a few bolts. It enables you to relocate the toilet bowl, so raise it and set it against the wall.

The wax ring is most likely flaking off, but you may scrape its remnants from the bottom of the bowl using a putty knife.

The toilet should then be completely cleaned and a new wax ring installed. There will be no more pee odor.

After that, you may begin reassembling the toilet. Replace the bowl, then replace the tank and the fill hose. Turn on the supply valve so that your toilet may receive water once again.

However, your toilet wax ring may not be the only problem. A cracked, fractured, or otherwise deteriorating toilet flange is another possibility.

This might indicate that urine is gathering and reeking from the base of your toilet, as well as sewage gas odors rising and escaping through the flange.

Faulty Flange

If your flange breaks or begins to fail, you’ll need to replace it, much like the wax ring. However, unless you have extensive plumbing knowledge, you should definitely leave it to the pros.

They’ll have the equipment, expertise, and experience to get the work done quickly and cheaply, usually for less than a couple hundred dollars.

Most significantly, a professional plumber will be able to inspect your subflooring for any water damage.

If the flange has leaked and caused water damage on the subfloor, fixing it promptly whilst the toilet is turned off can avoid more damage and additional time and money spent on repairs later.

You’ll also get rid of those soiled, odor-producing boards.


It might be a sign of a bad plumbing problem if your toilet bowl always seems to smell of urine no matter how much you clean it.

Leaks can produce foul odors that cause people to vomit. The most prevalent problem, though, is poor aim, especially if you have children.

The most effective method is to thoroughly clean everything. This includes the entire bathroom, not just the toilet.

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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