Why Does My Toilet Smell Like Urine? [Probable Cause & Solution]

Even if you are diligent about cleaning your toilet, there, unfortunately, can still be the overwhelming smell of urine. There can be many causes of this, and in the following article, we will be going over what the cause may be, and how to remedy the situation.

Before you can solve the problem, it is important to keep in mind that the cause may seem like it is not the problem, but best practice is to check every possible reason why your toilet may be smelling.
Why Does my Toilet Smell Like Urine?

cleaning smelly toilet

Additionally, another thing that is worth mentioning that a lot of individuals miss is that there can be build up on the underside of the base of the toilet; this is an easy fix and is the first possible cause that should be looked into. Other common causes can be:

  • A Leaking Wax Seal

This is the seal that goes at the base of the toilet and attaches to the plumbing in your floor. If this seal is broken or loose, this can cause the urine smell.

Although this usually is not the culprit, as the urine will get fairly diluted when you flush, it is still something that should be looked into; just to rule out the possibility.

Unfortunately, due to where the wax seal is located, the only way to check to make sure it is not leaking or in need of replace is to lift the toilet off and manually check the seal.

Keep in mind that if the wax seal has been leaking for any length of time, the urine smell may have been absorbed by the underlying subfloor and will be a much larger repair.

  • A Broken Flange

The flange, or the screws that come up from the floor and connect to the base of your toilet may be broken. This can happen when they are screwed on too tightly, and over time can break and cause issues related to the smell that you are experiencing.

In some cases, individuals have reported a foul smell coming from their toilet due to this reason. One way to check the flange is not damaged is to remove the ceramic caps and look for any cracking or liquid coming up from the bottom.

Although this cause may seem insignificant and not worth looking into, there have been numerous reports that this is the culprit of the smell that others have faced and dealt with.

  • Floor Vents

If you have a vent on the floor for heating and cooling near the toilet, it is possible that urine may have gone down in the vent. If you have taken a look at the wax seal and the flanges don’t seem to be the problem looking into cleaning the vent and air duct may help to solve the urine smell.

Sometimes a simple spray and wipe with a bleach cleaner can solve the issue, but if the vent is the source of the smell you may need to have a professional clean the air ducts.

If you do not have any vents on the floor, but do on the ceiling, it is also possible that there may be a rodent that has taken up residence in your ceiling. Again, checking the ducts may help to ease the situation.

  • Improper Caulking

If after thoroughly cleaning the toilet and checking the above mentioned possible causes, you still smell urine, it can be coming from the caulking surrounding the toilet. Taking a look at this and re-caulking may help to solve the issue you are experiencing with the smell of urine.

This is especially true if there are males living in the house, as there is always a possibility of missing the toilet.

One reason why this can be the culprit is that improper caulking surrounding the toilet base can cause the liquid to go underneath the caulking, thus getting trapped and causing the smell, no matter how often or thoroughly you clean the toilet and surrounding area.

Even if it is determined that this is not the cause of the smell, it would be a good idea to make sure that there is adequate caulking at the base of the toilet.

This will not only make sure that the toilet is properly anchored to the floor, but will keep any kind of liquid from finding its way underneath and rotting away the subfloor.

  • Bacteria May Be Trapped Under The Seat Hinges

In some cases, urine can get trapped under the seat hinges on the back of your toilet, no matter how much or how often you clean. It’s even true if you have a bidet toilet seat installed on the toilet. This is an easy fix, however. In order to deep clean the area surrounding the hinges, you will just need to reach underneath the plastic screws and begin to unscrew.

Once loose enough, you can now remove the seat and clean the ceramic bowl, as well as the underneath of the hinges. In some cases, you may need to use an old toothbrush in order to thoroughly clean.

If you have noticed that this is the problem, and it seems to be recurring, it is worth noting that there are several toilet seat options available that make it easy to remove for cleaning and replace when done.

  • Well Water May be Causing the Smell

This possible cause is a little rarer but is also worth looking into. In the spring and summer when the well water rises, some wells can pick up extra minerals (such as sulfur) that can cause the toilet water to have a foul smell, similar to urine or sewage.

Obviously, if you do not have water coming into your house from a well, this possible cause can be skipped.


We hope this article was helpful, and that you are able to take away the necessary information in order to diagnose and fix the problem with the urine smell that you are dealing with. It is important to keep all of these possible causes in mind in order to find the solution to the smell.

Clyde Mitchell

I run a hardware store nearby Court Anaheim, CA. Over the last 7 years, I have been blogging about home improvement and yes, I own ReliefInBath.com From me and this website, you can expect some useful tips on great ideas for a modern bathroom.

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