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Published Apr. 4, 2022

To keep your bathroom scent in check, you needn’t go with any old spray or rely on time to, well, diffuse odors the old-fashioned way. As the market for odor eliminators has expanded, the products themselves have become more refined and specific to individual users’ needs, whether they prefer neutralizing the bathroom’s scent over a period of time or spraying into the toilet bowl to eliminate any stink beforehand. There are even gel beads filled with essential oil that emit fragrance into your lavatory for months, and there is always the budget-friendly aerosol can. 

No matter where you stand on talking about number two, leaving a fragrance out by the toilet helps everyone feel more comfortable. For the bathroom, a simple spray or set-and-forget option can tackle tough odors — and eliminate awkward situations. Lots of bottles are also as aesthetically pleasing as they are efficient in zapping or preventing stinky smells with only a few spritzes. Read on to learn more about the most reliable fresheners available now.

How We Selected These Products

As longtime renters in cities with a love of hosting guests, we’ve had our share of experiences with different odor eliminators. We researched more than two dozen products across old and new brands with a focus on ingredients, uses per product, and design. 

Ingredients: While not all brands will reveal the exact composition of their odor-eliminating products, many claim to use only naturally-derived or environmentally friendly ingredients. Many people today prefer essential oils as a base for their sprays, so we identified several with them listed as primary ingredients.

Frequency of Use: Some bottles on this guide are tiny — which is deceiving given the total time they’ll last in the average household. The number of uses was a key distinction for ranking products, so the options available were chosen with the goal of maximizing your purchase. 

Design: Not every odor eliminator comes in pretty packaging, but many do. Beyond aesthetic, design also encompasses manual or passive power sources. This element of an odor eliminator is important for ease of general use.

The Best Odor Eliminators For the Bathroom: Reviews & Recommendation

Best Overall: Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray

Poo-Pourri

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Why It Made The Cut: Poo-Pourri stands out from its competitors thanks to its fierce brand loyalty and reputation for being a pioneer in preventing smells from disturbing the bathroom peace. 

Specs:

  • Size: 4-ounce bottle
  • Uses: Up to 200
  • Distribution: Manual

Pros 

  • Wide range of scents 
  • Offers longevity in odor masking 
  • Very easy to use 
  • Made with essential oils

Cons 

  • Brand is vague about exact ingredient list 
  • Might not meet the needs of larger households

Fans of Poo-Pourri love that they can spritz a compact bottle into the toilet bowl and then avoid odor that often comes with doing one’s business altogether. To further the allure, some of the scents available for purchase have witty names such as Ship Happens (coconut and citrus) and Trap-a-crap (cedarwood and citrus), along with the more straightforward Citrus and Vanilla Mint. Other notable features are the lack of aerosol, alcohol, and parabens as well as synthetic fragrance, according to the brand. 
For those who use the loo in the middle of the night, have no fear: the bottle glows in the dark for easy location. And as a potential sign of the company’s continuing odor-elimination success, it is expanding its odor-fighting technology into other common sources of bad smells, including shoes, fabrics and pets. 

Best Design: Squatty Potty Pootanicals Toilet Spray

Squatty Potty

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Why It Made The Cut: The Squatty Potty spray delivers on its promise to mask foul smells while doubling as a decorative piece that adds character to any bathroom.

Specs:

  • Size: 4-ounce bottle 
  • Uses: Up to 200
  • Distribution: Manual

Pros:

  • Attractive, hand-painted print 
  • Original scents including Cherry Blossom
  • Environmentally conscious packaging 
  • Made with essential oils

Cons: 

  • Some consumers say scent is too synthetic
  • Might not meet the needs of larger households

While the pre-potty spray space has grown increasingly crowded in recent years, Squatty Potty has designed a product that distinguishes itself with aromatic scents such as Cherry Blossom and Lemon Drop, a focus on sustainability, and a gorgeous bottle that enhances most decor. The company behind this spray is best known for its toilet stool and has earned its consumers’ trust with consistent reliability in the bathroom. Like other pre-potty sprays, users can simply spray this one into the water of the toilet bowl, and upon finishing up their number two, expect to leave the bathroom smelling lovely. 

You’d think it doesn’t get much better than that, and yet it does. Every Pootanicals spray features watercolor artwork from Amanda Customer on one side of the bottle,. For those who want their odor killers to be as hidden as the gross smells themselves, this one is a no-brainer.

Best Budget: Febreze Air Freshener Spray

Febreze

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Why It Made The Cut: Febreze’s name recognition and wide variety of products are engineered to tackle intense odors at the molecular level and leave behind a pleasing scent you can’t possibly ignore.

Specs:

  • Size: 8.8-ounce bottle  
  • Uses: Variable as it’s an aerosol spray
  • Distribution: Manual 

Pros:

  • Can be used in many rooms
  • Three cans in one pack 
  • Long-lasting fragrance 
  • Made from one of the most recognizable household brands

Cons: 

  • Some users feel the scent is too bold 
  • Lack of transparency on ingredients 

If you want a basic workhorse that will save you from adding to your cart for a while, go with this crowd-pleasing pack of Febreze Air Freshener Sprays. The design of these aerosol sprays is nothing fancy, but the ability to tackle even the worst of stenches is undeniable. Instead of preventing an odor or layering a different smell on top of it, Febreze claims to alter the unwanted scent at a molecular level — leaving your bathroom smelling like “Paradise” instead of poo. With a scent power upgrade, this product is designed to leave your bathroom smelling fresh for up to three hours after the initial use. 

The bottles can easily be stowed away under a cabinet, and with this value pack, you can stash additional products in your office, kitchen, or workout space to keep the whole home smelling like a laid back beach. Plus, if it’s recommended for a smelly gym, it can get the job done in your bathroom and leave you with a pleasing fragrance that’s enjoyable as it is light. 

Best Diffuser: Air Wick Freshmatic Automatic Spray Kit Dispenser

Air Wick

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Why It Made The Cut: This kit is perfect for people who prefer an automatic option with a pleasing fragrance.

Specs:

  • Size: 5.89 ounces (each)
  • Uses: Up to 60 days
  • Distribution: Automatic 

Pros: 

  • Ongoing fragrance
  • No manual use required
  • Easy to purchase refills

Cons: 

  • Some users feel it’s more effective for background odors 
  • Could be quieter

Set it and forget it. The low-maintenance Air Wick sprayer includes two refills and the chance to switch out the fragrances over time for scents including linen, lavender, and gourmand. With only two twists — to open the gadget and pop in the refill — this attractive-looking device will provide ongoing fragrance dispersion that keeps your bathroom smelling fresh between uses. The frequency of spray bursts is also adjustable; you can choose between intervals of nine, 18, and 40 minutes.

This warming oil diffuser is ideal for many rooms, too, so don’t be surprised if you end up plugging them into the living room and kitchen. This Air Wick doesn’t require an outlet, giving you more flexibility on where you place it; it requires two AA batteries. If you’d prefer a more subtle option, Air Wick also makes oil refills that neutralize odors rather than enhance fragrance, plus devices that automatically mist

Best Gel: Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel

Fresh Wave

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Why It Made The Cut: The Fresh Wave gel can tackle stubborn scents that linger as well as one-off odors 

Specs:

  • Size: 15-ounce container
  • Uses: Up to 60 days
  • Distribution: Automatic  

Pros: 

  • Effectively absorbs unwanted scents 
  • Gel is refillable and includes bulk options
  • Hands-free

Cons:

  • Some users say smell can be too bold in smaller rooms 

There’s a certain genius to this low-release gel that tackles yucky smells during the evaporation process. For users, it certainly makes life easy and provides a level of transparency about its ingredients that exceeds its competitors. The Fresh Wave jar is easy to replenish every 30 to 60 days as you notice the gel loses its efficacy. And there’s a specific creativity to the full ingredient list, which includes water, aniseed, and lime — gentle extracts that together form a powerful odor reducer. This option is especially recommended for households with pets that might make general freshness more difficult.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Odor Eliminator

Household Size and Lifestyle

How many people live in your household, and how often are you hosting? A person who lives with a family of six versus a person who lives alone with frequent guests will naturally be making distinct decisions on what odor-eliminating products make the most sense for them. These questions will determine the most economic and convenient choice for you, whether it’s buying a set of aerosol sprays that’ll last for months versus a pre-poo spray that lasts roughly 200 uses.

Allergies or Sensitivities

While some companies can be opaque about the ingredient lists for their odor eliminators, others are more transparent. If it’s unclear whether a certain product will trigger a negative reaction for you or any member of your household, pause before you buy and ask questions via Amazon or do further research to determine which product might contain the right ingredients to meet your needs.

Automatic vs. Manual

If the idea of spraying before or after using the bathroom appeals to you, then keep an eye out for the bottled odor eliminators. If you’re constantly on the go and prefer a more passive option, then a diffuser may be more your speed.

FAQs

Q: What is the most powerful odor eliminator?

Our favorite odor eliminator for the bathroom is Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray. While its compact size is not ideal for every household, we find that its natural ingredients paired with a preventative approach to odors from the toilet bowl outward make it an outstanding product in the air freshener space.

Q: What can absorb bad odors?

A gel or gel bead product can be your best bet in absorbing odors or excess moisture from the bathroom, which can ultimately help prevent musty towel smell as well as stench from using the toilet. As far as everyday ingredients, baking soda can be a miracle worker in the odor absorption department. A good tip is to keep a box in the back of your fridge to reduce bad odors that can result from old food or leftovers exceeding their expiration.

Q: How do I make my bathroom smell fresh?

There are lots of reasons a stinky smell can build up in the bathroom that don’t even involve the toilet. A lack of ventilation can lead to a buildup of mold in the shower or on linens, and cleaning products that are past their prime may no longer be effective in zapping soap scum and other buildup from surfaces. Remaining vigilant to these factors is key in keeping the bathroom smelling relatively neutral. As for further enhancements, products including sprays and gels can diffuse, prevent and control the spread of unwanted scents.

Final Thoughts

Once upon a time, the only way to take care of foul odors in the bathroom was to layer a mildly pleasant floral scent on top of them and hope for the best. The market has come a long way with products that suit a range of preferences, whether it’s ongoing odor reduction or a hefty spray in discreet packaging. The Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray exemplifies this shift and is a cult favorite because it’s reliable, low-effort and simply makes the everyday act of using the toilet a more seamless experience.

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