The Most Efficient Way To Keep A Bedside Toilet Smelling Fresh

Bedside toilets are a necessity for many individuals, but when it comes to the challenge of keeping them clean, there are many factors at play. The two biggest ones to consider, overall, are lingering odors and chemical exposure. Both elements are crucial, since ignoring either can lead to a less comfortable place to sleep or spend time. Odor is a particularly common issue since commodes can't flush the way that most toilets do, and thus require a far more active cleaning ritual. With that said, are there steps to make commode maintenance less of a hassle? 

To gain insight, House Digest spoke with Jon Cronin, founder and owner of Glimmer Cleaning Company, to get an expert opinion on maintaining a clean environment with a bedside toilet. First and foremost, Cronin's most important tip was that, ideally, commodes aren't meant to sit full after use. "The commode should be emptied quickly after each use," he said, "especially if used overnight, to prevent odors from lingering."  

With the understanding that there are situations where immediate emptying is not possible, Cronin recommended ways to eliminate or mask odors. "You can also place the commode in a well-ventilated area or use a fan to circulate air. Improved airflow helps disperse odors and keeps the room fresher," Cronin said, which checks out — improper ventilation is a common reason that any toilet might constantly smell bad.  Of course, emptying isn't enough. Any toilet, and especially a bedside toilet, needs to be cleaned. 

Avoid harsh chemicals when deep cleaning bedside toilets

During our exclusive interview, Glimmer Cleaning Company founder Jon Cronin highlighted that commode cleaning must be done daily, if the goal is to keep a bedroom fresh and sanitary. However, cleaning chemicals can create their own sets of issues. That's why Cronin recommends avoiding harsh chemicals altogether. Instead, he suggests getting back to the basics with vinegar and baking soda — or in other words, it's time to put those school science baking soda volcano skills to work. 

"Vinegar neutralizes odors and baking soda acts as a gentle scrubbing agent," Cronin told House Digest. "Not only is this an effective and safe cleaning method but the combination of both vinegar and baking soda helps clean thoroughly without strong chemical odors lingering in the room."

Indeed, baking soda is a much beloved cleaning ingredient for its scrubbing power, as Cronin suggests. It is also especially good for banishing toilet seat stains which makes it a terrific commode cleaning companion. And though Cronin didn't mention the common trick of combating odors by leaving a bowl of baking soda in the room, he did have other recommendations for DIY odor control. "Consider placing activated charcoal filters near the commode or inside the lid to absorb odors," he explained. "Replace these filters periodically to maintain effectiveness. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and can effectively neutralize odors without adding artificial scents to the air.

Don't just rely on commode liners for bedside toilet odor maintenance

It's obviously tempting to think that one could just buy a pack of disposable plastic liners for your bedside toilet, throw them out every time, and call it a problem solved. In fact, disposable plastic liners do make the process of maintaining a commode a lot easier. However, cleaning expert Jon Cronin warns against relying on them too heavily in a commode cleaning routine. 

While speaking to House Digest, Cronin said these liners cannot substitute thorough cleaning or disinfection, though he does acknowledge that they do lend a hand in the process. "Liners reduce direct contact with waste but do not prevent bacterial buildup on surfaces," he said. "Even when using liners, clean and disinfect the commode regularly to prevent bacterial growth and ensure a hygienic environment. Waste can still come into contact with surfaces and potentially leak from liners. Regular cleaning minimizes the risk of contamination."

All in all, between the use of liners and regular cleaning, a bedside commode can be managed more simply. Once you find the right balance between regular cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, while utilizing the time-saving use of liners, you'll be well on your way to keeping the area sanitary and odor-free.