Whiskers in the sink? Damp towels on the floor? Sour aroma drifting from the bathroom? You may have what's commonly known as a "husband." Don't worry; it is possible to enjoy all of his good qualities while having a fresh-smelling bathroom. Here are some strategies to try.


If your bathroom has a built-in fan, use it. Check to make sure it's functioning well and is clean. If there is no fan, crack a window whenever the weather is reasonably nice, and keep the bathroom door open, according to howstuffworks.com.

Check the window

Does the window's seal show any signs of leaks or mold or mildew? If so, get the husband to re-seal it.

Purify or dehumidify the air

Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr writes that the Bad Air Sponge is a good bet for absorbing odors, or you can try a small, plug-in air purifier. To get rid of excess moisture, she suggests using a "desiccant," such as DampRid.

Light a candle

Don't reach for your exotic scented candles; they'll just add a layer of fake food or floral smell to the old sour scent underneath. A plain candle will neutralize the bad smell. Even striking a match can help (keep a few handy in your purse when you travel and have to use a nasty public restroom; the sulfur will "dispel" the odors, according to WikiHow).

Clean your towels

First, you might have to pick them up off the floor. Keep them hanging so they can dry, and wash them regularly. Better yet, get some towles (and a bath mat) that are odor-resistant.

Clean your washing machine

Front-loaders are great in many ways, but tend to get some gunk and even mold built up around the rubber door gasket, which makes your laundry, including towels, less than fresh. You'll need to wipe these down regularly and run the machine through a cleaning cycle with either baking soda, bleach or a cleaner sold specifically for the job.

Put a cup of vinegar in the shower

No, it's not potpourri, but try it. Put a cup of vinegar in the shower or tub and close the door or curtain, according to howstuffworks.com. The vinegar will absorb those yucky odors.

Wash or replace the shower curtain

If you have a fabric curtain, take it down and wash it (I know " how long has it been?). And just throw away the plastic liner and replace it every six months, says veteran home cleaner Shannon Creegan.

Thoroughly clean the toilet

How often has your throne gotten the royal treatment? Kerr says to pour vinegar in the tank and scrub the walls with a brush. Flush, add more vinegar to the tank, then flush again. WikiHow says to then "pay particular attention to the outside of the bowl and the cement base of the bowl. The concrete absorbs the urine. A good, firm wipe with bleach should neutralize any recent urine." Then if it really needs it, replace the wax seal under the toilet.

Check the grout

If you have tile on the floor (or even walls), give the grout a good scrubbing, also with vinegar, Kerr says. That will neutralize the smells that can get absorbed in the grout.

With a little work, your bathroom can smell fresh and clean again. Kick back, treat yourself to those fluffy towels, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

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