Let’s do a little exercise in imagination, shall we? Consider the most spectacular blockbuster film explosion: As a house erupts into a flaming cloud of flames and smoke, a woman dressed in black leather walks away.
Tell me you don’t feel that bad when you leave your restroom after, uh, doing your business. Yes? Okay, that’s all right! We can’t all be perfect, I suppose.
If you can relate and wish to decrease the less-than-pleasing, ahem, feces stench commonly left in your wake, there are a few scent-science-based solutions to consider. We spoke with Mark Coster, BSc, PhD, a chemist and the founder of STEM Geek, to get some answers and learn how to neutralize aromas that aren’t so great.
1. Do not close the door
It’s understandable that you’d want to close the door, but unless you have a window open, this will just make things worse. Methane makes up a large part of the after-the-deed stench. In addition to being a greenhouse gas, it has a foul odor and is lighter than air, according to Dr. Coster.
It’s critical to have good ventilation in your bathroom to get undesirable scents like methane out as quickly as possible. So, if you have a fan running and the door open, the odor-causing substances will spread more quickly.
According to Dr. Coster, the idea is to disperse the scents (and excrement smells) over a larger surface area (or outside), which will help to reduce odors.
2. Keep bathroom odors in the bathroom
This tip is more psychological than chemistry-related: Making your bathroom aroma one you only use in that room might help prevent it from spreading throughout your home. Dr. Coster says that absorption and ventilation, as well as odor masking, should be used together for the best results.
Sorry, but spritzing a thick layer of vanilla lavender spray won’t remove odors; instead, it will blend with them.
3. Baking soda is your most powerful ally
Another method for reducing the impact of odors is to utilize chemicals that absorb the odor. Baking soda is an excellent solution in this situation because it can reduce odors by absorbing them.
“The sodium in baking soda is what gives it its ability to absorb musty and other foul aromas,” Dr. Coster explains. Making a batch of “toilet bombs,” or buying a pack like this, can help absorb offensive scents.
Toilet bombs are little balls of compacted baking soda and other ingredients that can freshen up a bathroom. They can be prepared at home using a recipe or bought in large quantities. Baking soda can also be used as a dish to absorb odors, and he suggests adding a few drops of your favorite essential fragrance.
4. Use fire to combat odor. 5
Even though it’s a popular misconception that matches “absorb” the odor from a particularly awful bathroom, according to Dr. Coster, the smoke produces a musky sulfur fragrance that covers other aromas.
You can quickly get rid of any lingering smell from the bathroom by lighting a match and blowing it out. Make sure to wet the matches before throwing them away to avoid a fire hazard.
Everybody poops, as the children’s book of the same name suggests. So, when it comes to bathroom odors, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. But maybe, with these methods up your sleeve, you’ll feel less like you’re in an action movie on the verge of exploding.