I live in a house of 3 boys (four if you count long-suffering Him Indoors). There are many upsides of being surrounded by all this masculinity and I love being a Mum of boys... however, one of the things that has been slowly building ever since my youngest two (recently turned 4-years old twins, the Shouty One & Chubby Cheeks One) potty trained last year is my realization that boys stink. There is no ignoring the fact. They pong and I'm not just talking about the whiffy socks and smelly toes that goes along with their age & gender!
Those of you with a delicate constitution may wish to stop reading now, because I am referring to the rather gruesome reality that is their bathroom. I have an ongoing daily battle with our downstairs bathroom (the one the boys use most frequently) which invariably stinks like a bus depot in the early hours of a Saturday morning. I clean that toilet and floor daily with a bathroom cleaner and bleach. I've bought extra mats so that these get changed out daily too. And yet, the malodorous stench is only temporarily held at bay.
It was really getting me down. Even to the point where I would beseech my newly independent little men to go back to sitting down for a pee, just to minimize the hose pipe effect (not that this made much difference)! My husband even worried that we had a leak around the base of the toilet until I explained to him that the recurrent puddles on the floor were simply the result of the boys' bad aim. Sigh.
Whilst we weren't quite ready to accept the title of 'Worst toilet in Texas' à la the film Trainspotting I needed to sort the situation out. The real problem was that the smell was deep into the porous surfaces in the bathroom... the grout around the tiles and the sealant at the base of the toilet bowl. So all the surface scrubbing and cleaning wasn't getting rid of the miasma!
The solution was easier than I anticipated. Pet stain & odor remover. Simple.
We sadly don't have pets at the moment as the mobile expat lifestyle isn't very easy for them, but several years ago we had a very elderly cat called Tabitha who came to spend her golden years living with us when my in-laws emigrated. Such a sweet little thing, but at the ripe old age of 21 she started to lose control of her bodily functions (sad, but it happens to the best of us). I therefore became very familiar with certain pet cleaning products... and while I would hesitate before calling my kiddos little animals, how different could it be?
I sprayed the solution (containing enzymes that actually consume the odor-causing bacteria) around the base of the toilet, onto the grout around the floor tiles, along the baseboards, and even on the wipe clean paintwork (you can even use it on carpets and upholstery). Allowed it to do it's magic for a few minutes and then wiped it up. Easy and perfect. Even days later, the lingering trace of urine that had plagued our bathroom has gone, leaving it fresh smelling and far more pleasant to use!
It hasn't cured my boys' lack of aim or stopped me having to clean up their messes EVERY SINGLE day, but it has got rid of the embarrassing whiff that had me cringing every time a visitor used our bathroom!