For months, I have been embarrassed by the smell of our hall bathroom. It’s the only bathroom that the boys use, and the only bathroom that we have to offer guests. Even after I clean it, it still smells like pee. Well, actually, pee covered up by cleaning chemicals. Yuck!

We started using a recipe that I got from a friend for a more natural floor cleaner made without harsh chemicals. It is VERY inexpensive to make. We had been using it on our linoleum floors in the kitchen, but my husband decided to clean the boys’ bathroom floor with the leftovers, and boy were we glad we did! We have linoleum in the bathroom as well, and 6 days later, the bathroom still has a fresh smell! I was amazed.

Here is what you need to make it:

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup vinegar

1 T dish soap or baby wash

2 gallons hot water

Add the dish soap at the end so that the mixture won’t be too sudsy. You can also add 1/2 cup of borax to make a disinfectant floor cleaner.

One thing I don’t know is how well this keeps. We have been mixing it up each time, but for the bathroom (which is about 5 square feet), I don’t need very much. Does anyone know if a cleaner like this would break down?

Find more frugal ideas on Frugal Friday at Life as Mom!


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  1. Taneil Lawton Sep 3, 2010

    I do believe a cleaner like this will breakdown. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar is very reactive (think of homemade volcanoes). So, it would seem that it would need to be mixed fresh each time. You might get away with making a mixture of the borax and baking soda to leave for future use.

    I will try this...


  2. Abby Sep 5, 2010

    I am a mom of three young boys too. I totally can relate to the "boy stink" in their bathroom. I used your recipe and loved how it works! I love your web site - you don't find many website specifically geared towards boys!

  3. jamie Sep 11, 2010

    I am going to try this also. Now I need to find a good way to actually clean the toilet that is frugal and doesn't involve all kinds of harsh you think this would work?

    1. Jenn May 30, 2012

      If you use the borax on the toilet, and let it sit for about 45 minutes, it will be all kinds of pretty white and not smelly. :)

    2. Becky Aug 21, 2012

      Dryer sheet for the toilet. It worked for me.

  4. Amy Sep 13, 2010

    Looking forward to trying out...was thinking that I needed a male friendly smelling bathroom cleaner (my husband doesnt like the strong odors of typical stuff) so..Thank You!

  5. Venus Aug 19, 2011

    I so love you for this. I have drove myself crazy, and yes even made my son do the dirty job. However nothing has killed the smell! I will be making this to try! I have 3 sons, one nephew and the DH all sharing one single bathroom in our home! OH the shame, when company comes! Now to fix it, thanks again!

  6. Debbie Aug 20, 2011

    I'll be trying this too!! One Husband, Two Sons, One Son-in-Law,
    4 Grandsons!! I feel your pain, girls!!

  7. Bridget Feb 12, 2012

    I am going to try this today, I have 3 bathrooms in my house and the "boys" bathroom is the worst. I have 4 boys and 3 of them use the same bathroom so I am going to count my blessing this works because it just stinks in there!!

  8. Katie Feb 16, 2012

    This should be fine for some time, maybe like a month. I use the vinegar and baking soda together for laundry softner and it lasts well. It's only fizzy for a bit then I put it into a smaller container and use as normal, simply give it a gentle shake before each use to re mix the soda as it does settle just a little. going to make this now for my boys to clean with... THANK YOU!!

  9. Kara Jun 4, 2012

    Just found your site trying to find a way to clean my bathrooms (I have two boys) and I love your blog! Added it to my RSS feed and I am looking forward to reading your posts! Thank you for sharing! :)

  10. Linda Wills Appell Jul 22, 2012

    Can you use this cleaner in laminate floors? You use water & vinegar to clean the floors

  11. Michelle Hildebrand-Roberson Aug 30, 2012

    I'm going to try this in my bathrooms as well as my kitchen and back room; they are all tiled areas. I use denture cleaner in my toilets. We are on a septic system and the denture cleaner is safe for septic. I drop 2 tabs in let it sit and then give it a swish. At first, you have to use it daily. After about a week, you can cut down to using 1 and do it not as often as daily.

  12. Tina Fraser Oct 7, 2012

    I remember seeing this tip some time ago and finally was overwhelmed by the boy smell in the bathroom. Typical harsh cleansers from the store were not cutting the smell and they cost a fortune! Finally I searched google until I found this tip again. I used it. That was 1 1/2 hours ago. I've been cleaning with this stuff ever since. Once the bathroom was clean I mixed more up to wipe down a few things. It works so well I've been wiping down things all morning. It smells nice and it works well. I actually wish I had more time this morning for cleaning! This stuff is brilliant!

    1. Sarah Oct 7, 2012

      I'm glad it worked so well! We actually tried it this week on the carpet on a LARGE throw-up mess. I'd never used it it carpet but figured I had nothing to lose as the mess was pretty bad. It worked! After we scrubbed the carpets, I sprinkled some dry borax on the carpet, waited for it to dry, and then vacuumed it up. I was surprised at how well it dealt with the smell. I would definitely try a small area of the carpet first. We've also used this cleaner to freshen up our stroller fabric. Worked well on that too!

  13. Caitlin Nov 1, 2012

    Thanks for the post on Money Saving Mom with this link. I use something similar to clean with, and it does work!! I make a cleanser in a spray bottle that is 1/4 c. vinegar, 1/8 c. dish soap 2 tbsp borax, fill bottle with cool water, and then I put in 15 drops of "Germ Fighter" essential oil. Smells like eucalyptus, cinnamon etc. We love it :)

  14. tarra Apr 11, 2013

    Thank u so much for posting this. My kids bathroom smells like urine so horribly bad. I am so embarrassed to bring ppl over. I have to light several candles because no cleaner ive found does the trick... I am so excited to try this, just got all the supplies!! Fingers crossed. Thanks again!!

  15. Jacque May 8, 2013

    I am a momof three boys and yes they have stinky boy bathroom. I clean it daily but it has that boy smell. Moms you know what I mean. I have tried everything down to actually removing the toilet bowl to scrub underneath. I will definately give this a go. Thanks for sharing.

  16. CK Jul 28, 2013

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST! This could easily be called "Resolution of ManBoy Bathroom Stink." You have made my day and will be using this everywhere in the house from now on. Thanks again!

    1. Sarah Jul 29, 2013

      LOL! Thanks for your comment!

  17. K Sep 2, 2013

    My husband has always sat down so that the pee spray never ends up in the air. He always insisted that our son sit too. However, now that our son is a teenager sitting isnt cool and hard to prove that he isnt. For the first time in 25 years of marriage and kids, I have now experienced that smell. So, son is now in charge. He hasn't done a good job so hoping this works. Thanks!

  18. Danna Nov 5, 2013

    I mix this up in a bottle and it doesn't break down at all! It keeps very well! I love this cleaner!

  19. Vicka Apr 6, 2014

    Hi girls! I only have two boys at home (my bf and my dad), but have a lot of pets, and there are places where I just can't get the smell out -I'm SO familiar with that pee-covered-with-chemics smell. Do you think it will also work? Thanks!!!

  20. Renita Jul 16, 2014

    I see Borax in the photo but can't seem to find it listed in the ingredients. Is Borax included, and if so how much? Thanks!

  21. Tonya J Sep 13, 2014

    Hello, Borax is in the photo but not listed in the ingredients, is Borax included? If so how much? Thanks

  22. Tonya J Sep 13, 2014

    Never mind, I do see where you mentioned 1/2 cup of Borax, thanks.

  23. help! Dec 1, 2014

    I'm a mom of girls so I never even knew about the boy bathroom stink... Until this weekend when my nephews came over. Now I've got a smell that I just can't get out. The problem is that I've got really dark hardwood floors... Has anyone tried this on their wood?

  24. Susanne Knight Aug 8, 2018

    I love using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, but for toilets I use store brand denture tabs. Just drop one in and wait a few minutes then swish. There is something about the blue or green color and the fizzing that I like.


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