Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesdays 411 on Cleaning: Anatomy of a (Dirty) Toilet

When Your Bathroom STINKS

It is hard for me to imagine living in a house with little boys. I grew up in a house full of girls. I do have one brother, but he is the baby of the family. When I moved away from home, he was only eight years old. I don't remember having a stinky bathroom, at least not from little boys tinkling everywhere.

Tinkling...that's a good word.  Sounds better than some of the alternative words for the subject at hand. This post will probably be a little gross, but there are just not that many polite ways to describe cleaning a dirty toilet that smells terrible. The least I can do is use words that are not ....offensive.

My first experience with a bathroom that smelled like someone had tinkled and forgot to flush, was in the big, yellow house.  Before we moved in, it was occupied by a large family with boys under the age of twelve. I don't know who lived there before that, but there must have been 20 boys and they all must have used the master bathroom. Maybe they were too lazy to go upstairs.  Maybe they liked sitting in a little water closet alone.  I don't know, all I know was IT STUNK.

I let my husband claim that throne.  I used the spare bathroom, downstairs.  It smelled nice there. The only time I went in the master bathroom "toilet room" was when I was desperate, or I had to clean it. It got the same weekly cleaning as the rest of the house, but no matter what I did, two days later, the toilet smell was back.

After a few months of trying toilet drop-ins, air fresheners, and just about every toilet bowl cleaner on the market, one day I went in with rubber gloves, a bucket of water and a bottle of Clorox Bleach Spray. I cleaned it top to bottom, inside and out, or so I thought.  I wiped down the walls, the floors, the trash can, even the plunger got a bath. I was sure I had the problem tackled.  But I didn't. I didn't until until I found the secret tinkle hiding place a few weeks later. Until I found that spot, the smell kept returning.

Before I show you where the tinkle hides, I think it best to show you how (and where) I clean a toilet area.  I don't clean this thoroughly every week, usually it is just the basics. Wipe down the seat, scrub the inside, wipe down the outside base. But, once a month, I tinkle tackle.
Here's how I do it:

First, I use bleach spray or bathroom cleaner on the walls, baseboards, floors, and around the seal at the bottom. (Sweep before you start cleaning). Then, I wipe down the outside of the toilet bottom including the curves.

Note the "curves". I wipe behind the toilet near the wall also.  And the bolt covers. I lift them off, it is necessary. Gross, I know. I keep rinsing my rag or get another. Then comes the really fun part....

 Yes, you have to clean the toilet seat attachment thingy.

You didn't believe me?

Well, now I should have a clean toilet and the smell should all be gone. That's what I did the first thorough cleaning, but the smell DID come back. I couldn't believe it. Where was the smell coming from? I am not sure how or why I thought about it, but one day, I found out.

Right under here. UNDER THE TANK!  How in the world......?

Here is a more specific photo.  It is clean in this picture, but the first time I wiped this spot in the master bathroom in the big yellow house, I ended up holding a big yellow rag.  Or maybe it was golden colored.  Actually...it was orange.  I was so totally grossed out!  How did all that tinkle get under there?  Never mind, I don't want to know.  All I know is that when I found and cleaned that spot, that bathroom never smelled like tinkle again.  Another thing, it never showed up at my own home again either.  The only time I find the yellow stuff under the tank, and behind it, is in a home with little boys.  Go figure. So, at least once a month, I wipe and I gag and I wonder again: How in the world.....?

So that was my secret tinkle hiding spot.  One other thing I thought I'd share:  Several months ago, I found this link on Pinterest: "Getting Rid of that Boy Bathroom Smell". She gives great tips on what to use to get rid  of the smell.  I tried her method, and it seemed to work fine as a cleaner, but as far as smell I don't know if it helps.  My bathroom doesn't stink anymore.  If you try getting all the spots clean and you still have the smell, you may want to try her method.  She doesn't tell you where to clean, or how, just what to use.

Now, I'd like some help from you.  See this toilet? (below) See the brown?  These are stains I've tried to get rid of.  See the green?  These are the stains from Lysol Cling Gel Toilet Cleaner.  The stains have been there for over a year.  Used it ONE TIME.  Poured it on, scrubbed immediately, it did not sit for more than a few seconds, and it stained the bowl.

I've tried so many things, including bleach, Barkeeper's Friend, Ajax, other Toilet bowl cleaners.  Any suggestions on how to remove the stains?  Leave a comment here or on facebook.  I'd love to have some feedback.  My only consolation in creating the (green) stains is that the owner of the home bought the cleaner.  I simply used what she bought. She isn't upset, I just wish I could get rid of it all.

Next Tuesday, the rest of the bathroom.

P.S. Other Lysol toilet cleaners seem to work great, it was the cling gel in the green bottle that stained that particular toilet. Maybe it won't stain another...who knows?

Where I've shared this post: 

Linking Up:


  1. Having 5 sons, I must admit I never knew about this hidden spot. Now I can't wait to find out how to remove those streaks!!

    1. I'll have to to a follow up about the toilet streaks. I have 2 suggestions so far. I will keep you posted :)

  2. I am glad to know about the hidden spot... one bathroom, four boys/men and me... I may never win

    1. Teach them to do it. It will either get better....or worse! :)
      Let me know if it helps (finding the spot)