Natural Bathroom Spray: How to Deodorize the Bathroom

allergies asthma bathroom brain cancer child development cleaning eyes hormones immunity lungs nervous system nose obesity reproductive health skin Dec 07, 2018

By Angela Cummings


Going #2 (as the kids say) is a natural, healthy occurrence for all humans (and animals), but we’re often embarrassed by the smell left behind.

We tend to reach for toxic sprays to cover-up those embarrassing smells.

However, there are nontoxic alternatives that can be used!

In this article, we’ll discuss how conventional sprays can be toxic, and how to make your own natural bathroom sprays for a nontoxic home environment.


What Are the Harmful Ingredients in Conventional Bathroom Sprays?

1. Phthalates

Conventional bathroom sprays contain phthalates to help fragrances last longer. In addition, they’re added to plastic packaging (e.g. spray bottles, squirt bottles), to soften the plastic. Phthalates have been linked to birth defects. In addition, they may be linked to obesity, infertility, and developmental abnormalities. These chemicals are easily released from products.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:

They are typically colorless liquids used to make plastics more flexible and resilient, and are often referred to as plasticizers. Because they are not a part of the chain of chemicals (polymers) that makes up plastics, they can be released fairly easily from these products.

2. Synthetic Fragrances

Fragrances can be made of any number of chemicals. Synthetic fragrances are made of petroleum byproduct and man-made chemicals. Often times, labels will say “fragrance” without listing the specific ingredients. This makes it difficult for consumers to know exactly which chemicals have been used.

The Environmental Working Group states:

Makers of popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays market their scents with terms like “floral,” “exotic,” or “musky,” but they don’t disclose that many scents are actually a complex cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals – often petrochemicals.

3. Formaldehyde

Used as a preservative, formaldehyde is used when manufacturing products such as cleaners, fragrances, and resins. It off-gasses at normal room temperatures and is part of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) classification of chemicals.

According to the Center for Disease Control, formaldehyde levels are higher indoors than outdoors. They state:

Indoor air contains higher levels of formaldehyde than outdoor air. Levels of formaldehyde measured in indoor air range from 0.02–4 parts per million (ppm). Formaldehyde levels in outdoor air range from 0.0002 to 0.006 ppm in rural and suburban areas and 0.001 to 0.02 ppm in urban areas.


How Do They Harm Our Health?

1. Endocrine Disruptors, Irritants, Neurotoxins (and more)

Of the chemicals commonly used to create a synthetic fragrance, the health effects are of concern. The list of possible health effects is quite long.

According to the A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures:

Chemicals in fragrance include potential endocrine disruptors (e.g., phthalates, Galaxolide, and Tonalide), irritants (e.g., benzophenones), neurotoxins (e.g., AETT, cyclohexanol, linalool, and benzene), immunotoxins (e.g., propylene glycol), and reproductive toxins and carcinogens (e.g., BHA, Tonalide).

2. Cancer, Asthma, Allergies (Plus Organ Damage)

Formaldehyde has been associated with cancer, organ damage, irritation symptoms, asthma, and allergies.

The Center for Disease Control’s ToxFAQ’s™ for Formaldehyde stated:

Nasal and eye irritation, neurological effects, and increased risk of asthma and/or allergy have been observed in humans breathing 0.1 to 0.5 ppm. Eczema and changes in lung function have been observed at 0.6 to 1.9 ppm.

Decreased body weight, gastrointestinal ulcers, liver and kidney damage were observed in animals orally exposed to 50–100 milligrams/kilogram/day (mg/kg/day) formaldehyde.

They go on to state:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined in 2011 that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen based on sufficient human and animal inhalation studies.

3. Reproductive & Developmental Problems

Phthalates were found to be associated with early puberty, inference with the hormone system and reproductive problems.

According to Zero Breast Cancer:

In lab animals, phthalate exposure has been found to be associated with numerous reproductive health and developmental problems such as:

• Early onset of puberty.

• Interfering with the male reproductive tract development.

• Interfering with the natural functioning of the hormone system.

• Causing reproductive and genital defects.

• Lower testosterone levels in adolescent males.

• Lower sperm count in adult males.


4 Nontoxic Ingredients for Natural Bathroom Spray

1. Vinegar. Vinegar has been used as a nontoxic cleaning and deodorizing ingredient for decades. It naturally deodorizes the air around it.

2. Natural fragrant foods. Citrus fruits, such as lemon, orange make for nontoxic natural bathroom spray ingredients. Use herbs and spices, such as cinnamon or cloves, for an additional bathroom scent.

3. Baking soda. We use baking soda to deodorize our refrigerator smells. Why not use it in the bathroom too?  Marketed for its odor-neutralizing benefits, baking soda is a time-tested effective nontoxic ingredient.

4. Organic essential oils. Essential oils made of organic ingredients can be used as an air freshener. Certain essential oil “flavors” or scents are made for freshening air (vs. consuming or wearing). Be sure to follow manufacturer suggestions for the type of use and amounts.


Recipes for Natural Bathroom Sprays

1. Lemon Spray


2 tsp lemon juice

2 cups water

Spray bottle


Mix 2 teaspoons and 2 cups water together. Pour mixture into a spray bottle. Spray into bathroom anytime it needs freshening!

Prefer orange fragrance instead? Use the juice of an orange instead of lemon.

Add a cinnamon stick or cloves to create a variety of fresh smells.

2. Essential Oil Spray


  • Essential oil
  • Water
  • Glass spray bottle


Fill a glass container with 1 cup of water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (following the manufacturer guidelines for that specific scent). Close top and shake container to mix well. Spray mixture into the toilet bowl before using.

Note: Shake mixture before each use.

3. Vinegar Deodorizing Solution


  • White distilled vinegar
  • Glass or ceramic container


Pour a small amount of white distilled vinegar into a bowl. Set bowl in the bathroom for an instant deodorizer! Use a decorative glass or ceramic dish or small vase to add a little flair.

4. Baking Soda Sprinkle


  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Decorative bowl


Pour ½ cup of baking soda into a decorative bowl. Set on the back of the toilet tank. For added deodorizing, grab a pinch of baking soda and sprinkle it into the toilet bowl before or after using the bathroom.


How Practical Nontoxic Living Can Help

It’s human nature (and so healthy!) to go #2, yet we’re often embarrassed by the smell left behind.

Using natural bathroom sprays can be an effective nontoxic way to deodorize the bathroom.

Read other nontoxic tips by subscribing to my free newsletter below.

Stay connected with nontoxic lifestyle news and updates!

Receive our free Ruan Living Nontoxic Cleaning Guide when you join our email list.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.