Un-Doo: How to Stop the Stink with Natural Bathroom Spray

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Make a natural bathroom spray like poo-pourri to cover bathroom odors
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Home » Un-Doo: How to Stop the Stink with Natural Bathroom Spray

Bathroom odors just might be the bane of any moms existence, especially to those of us with lots of littles and a bathroom that gets lots of action. It’s enough of an accomplishment to keep the bathroom clean, but in our home I find a natural bathroom spray is a must for my sanity!

Do You Have a Stinky Bathroom?

I’m not talking about general boy pee smell (that’s a whole other discussion). I’m talking about when you’re done doing your thing … uh … you know!

Just the other day, one of my kids was gasping for air and being overly dramatic upon entering the bathroom after a sibling had exited. We cracked a window and moved on … but it made me think about the popular poo-pourri spray and if there was a way to make a homemade version. The basic idea is that you can spray toilet water with this natural spray before using the restroom to cover up any odor. The Poo Pourri commercial that explains how it works is hilarious!

This is an innovative alternative to conventional bathroom sprays that just target the air itself. These bathroom sprays are commonly used to cover up odors, but are they safe? Recent research says they aren’t.

Harmful Ingredients in Conventional Bathroom Spray

Air fresheners are everywhere. You know them by their strong, synthetic floral or fruity scents, and you can’t miss them anytime you walk into a public bathroom.

But should we keep them around our homes? In a word, no. They’re harmful to our health and a major source of indoor air pollution. In fact, studies have shown that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air! Common ingredients you’ll find in air fresheners include at the very least two dangerous toxins.


Often found in synthetic fragrances, phthalates may be responsible for a number of health problems, including infertility. While many companies these days are formulating their products without phthalates due to education about the health problems they cause, it’s hard to know if a product actually contains them without laboratory testing.

If there is “fragrance” on an ingredient label, the product may contain phthalates.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council:

Phthalates are used in many common consumer products—to soften plastics in children’s toys, as sealants and adhesives in nail polish, and in perfumes and air fresheners. When people use air fresheners, the phthalates are released into the air where they may be inhaled or may land on the skin and be absorbed. Once these chemicals enter the bloodstream, they can alter hormone levels and cause other health problems.

Phthalates are known to interfere with production of the male hormone, testosterone, and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities. Numerous animal studies have linked prenatal exposure to certain phthalates with decreases in testosterone, malformations of the genitalia, and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates—including one that we found in air freshener products—are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” Phthalate exposure in indoor environments has also been associated with allergic symptoms and asthma.


A known human carcinogen, formaldehyde is often found in plug-in fragrance warmers and air fresheners, as well as cleaning supplies and other household items. (Although you can help cleanse the air of formaldehyde with common household plants!)

According to this fact sheet from the CDC:

Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer. The cancer of greatest concern is cancer of the nose and throat. Scientific research has not yet shown that a certain level of formaldehyde exposure causes cancer. However, the higher the level and the longer the exposure, the greater the chance of getting cancer. Exposure to formaldehyde might increase the chance of getting cancer even at levels too low to cause symptoms.

With the above in mind, let’s look at some of the health conditions air fresheners may contribute to.

Effects of Artificial “Fresh Air”

Real fresh air found in nature is essential to health and the benefits of nature are well documented. Artificial chemically scented “fresh” air is an entirely different animal and may be linked to some big problems:


One of the most common health conditions associated with artificial fragrance use is asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems.

The problem is when we spray these toxic fragrances into the air, they release tiny chemical particles, which we breathe in. These particles can lead to inflammatory reactions in the lungs and other parts of the body.

Over time a build-up of inhaled toxins weakens and compromises the lungs. Not only does this increase susceptibility to asthma, but it opens the door to frequent respiratory infections and allergies.

Skin Conditions

Whenever toxic chemicals are sprayed into the air to cover up bathroom odors and other stinky stuff, those particles eventually land on our skin, on the floor, on the surfaces we touch.

Repeated contact with harmful chemicals can cause eczema or other skin irritations. In addition, when our body is exposed to harmful chemicals, our immune systems become overactive, creating perfect conditions for more skin irritations. It’s a vicious cycle.


As I mentioned, many synthetic fragrances contain formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

Routine exposure to sprays used to cover up bathroom odors (think several times a day, every day, for the average family), may cause cell death and toxicity. This can eventually result in the formation of cancer cells. Will being around air-freshener one time cause cancer? No. But repeated exposure may be harmful over time.

Birth Defects & Infertility

The chemicals in conventional air fresheners can disrupt hormones, particularly testosterone. This can lead to infertility in both men and women.

In addition to infertility, toxins like phthalates can cause birth defects such as malformed genitalia and undescended testicles.


Many of us are more sensitive to toxic fragrances than we realize.

It’s interesting  that when people switch to using only natural fragrances like essential oils for a while, they frequently seem to become even more sensitive to strong artificial smells. I know for me just walking down the cleaning aisle or perfume counter in a store can make me feel queasy or even result in a headache.

In fact, it’s now being said that “fragrances are the new secondhand smoke” because it’s clear that so many of us are sensitive to them. If you get frequent headaches, you might want to examine how many sources of artificial fragrances you’re using in your home or otherwise exposed to on a daily basis.

DIY All-Natural Odor Spray Alternative

We can’t avoid bathroom odors (that wouldn’t be healthy!), but we can find better ways to resolve them. While synthetic fragrances just cover stinky stenches with overpowering chemical smells, we can use natural scents to gently remove smells.

Enter natural bathroom spray!

This spray works just like poo-pourri to seal the water in the toilet and keep out of the air. Poo pourri is actually natural as well and free of harmful chemicals, so it is a great option if you don’t want to make it. It doesn’t just target the air like many sprays, but makes a physical barrier to seal odor in the toilet where it belongs.

How to Make a Natural Bathroom Spray

If you prefer the DIY (like I do), here’s the recipe I use:

Bathroom Spray Ingredients

Note: You can use any essential oils of your choice (aim for around 24-36 drops). Citrus and pine are another nice combination for a fresh, clean scent.

Bathroom Spray Instructions

Combine the ingredients in a glass spray bottle like this one (essential oils don’t do well in plastic bottles) and spritz on the toilet water before you go. To stop bathroom odors before they start, shake spray before each use. Spritz directly into the toilet bowl to create a film over the water. This will help trap stinky smells below the water after you (I mean … your kids, of course!) do your their business.

One Small Change!

When you’re working to raise a healthy family, making one small change at a time makes all the difference.

Swap out harmful artificial fragrance sprays for a healthier, cheaper DIY solution like this Un-D00 bathroom spray and it’s one more step toward a healthier home.

Do you use a bathroom spray to cover up odors? Any favorite tricks or products? Please share in the comments!

Conventional air fresheners are loaded with toxins. Find out how to make an easy natural bathroom spray that works just as well and smells even better!
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


29 responses to “Un-Doo: How to Stop the Stink with Natural Bathroom Spray”

  1. Shaples Avatar

    Maybe I’ll just do Citronella in a diffuser in the bathroom instead of plug in or sprays. Because of the Corona I now only clean with bleach and water in the bathrooms and the overall smell is very clean.

  2. Sheridan Jackson Avatar
    Sheridan Jackson

    Un-doo spurs some thoughts:
    Healthy stools, while never appealingly fragrant, are also not overly offensive. When they are, a look at the diet and the gut ecology is indicated. ubiome.com could be a resource
    Enzymes in ODORMUTE are completely effective at eliminating the source of odors if they contact the source. Perhaps you’d like to contact them and explore the possibilities of using the enzymes as a bathroom pre-blocker. I don’t imagine spraying enzymes where they might be inhaled would be a good idea, but applying them to the bowl could be a workable approach.
    Applying essential oils could conceivably create conditions for biofilms to proliferate, at least until the next sterilization. A microbiologist with a public health background could advise.

  3. Jen Avatar

    We were advised by the pump out guys that no one should use any oil based substances that would end up in the septic system. The oils inhibit decomposition and cause solid materials to float rather than sink and turn to sludge. Drainfield damage can occur as floatables might not allow liquids to drain properly. Many products say they are septic system safe but few receive endorsements from the guys who have to deal with the consequences after they are used. Oils from cooking/eating and natural oils from our bodies, lotions, salves, etc., are already having to be dealt with by the decomposition process in a septic system. Use at your own risk….expensive repairs may apply.

    If bowel movements smell putrid something is not right with the digestive system(usually sluggish). While all excrement has an odor that is not pleasing, it should not be majorly over-powering and should diminish quickly. Speed up elimination, eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains and watch protein consumption, especially meats; get exercise. Drink lots of clean water. Also, there is a reason for that lid on the stool! Close it as soon as you are done making your deposit; flush immediately. Of course, every so often you want to look at your deposit to be sure it looks healthy and clear of blood.

    Try using a heated essential oil disburser. Plug it in(or turn it on) when entering the bathroom to make a deposit. Unplug or turn off when mission accomplished. (You can purchase a plug in outlet switch at most hardware stores.). Or, use reeds with essential oils….but remember they must be filled rather often and it may be a bit expensive. Potpourri is another possible fix for smells. You need one a bit stronger than normal and it will need to be refreshed with oil regularly….be sure to use orris root (holds the scent longer) or an acceptable substitute.

    Keeping it healthy all the way through!

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