Fragrance experts reveal the secret to making your bathroom smell good all the time

Clever fragrancing tricks to mask bad smells and get your bathroom ready for relaxing

Bathroom with white bath and wooden stool
(Image credit: Future)

Let's face it, bathrooms are the one area in the home that can smell pretty bad, and whether you have guests staying or just want a more pleasant environment, you'll want to know how to make your bathroom smell good all the time. 

We've all frantically sprayed an air freshener to mask less-than-ideal odours, but this often results in an obvious synthetic scent that disappears before we know it. Instead, focusing on ways to make a bathroom smell good all the time will be much more subtle (wave goodbye to drawing attention to the smell) and long-lasting.  

From the best home fragrances that will complement your bathroom and zone the space to unique ideas that go beyond lighting a few candles, you'll be hearing 'Your bathroom smells so good!' in no time.

How to make your bathroom smell good all the time

A nice-smelling bathroom is top of everyone's home wishlist, but choosing the right scents can be tricky.

The best scents for a bathroom should be fresh and clean, but veering too closely towards lemon might leave it smelling too clinical - especially in a small bathroom idea that is easily overwhelmed. We've asked the fragrance experts for the chicest scents, and what format you should purchase them in to ensure they last as long as possible. 

Chrissie Rucker
Chrissie Rucker OBE

Chrissie Rucker OBE started The White Company in 1994, when unable to find well-designed, beautiful-quality white bed linens that were affordable. What began as a small 12-page mail-order brochure has become one of the UK’s fastest-growing multi-channel retailers and a trusted lifestyle brand. The range now also offers home accessories, fragrances, furniture, clothing, loungewear, nightwear, and childrenswear.  

1. Invest in a diffuser

The White Company electronic diffuser

(Image credit: The White Company)

If you want to make your bathroom smell good with minimal effort then the best diffusers are the way forward. Traditional diffusers where you add sticks into the scented solution will last for around a month and can be picked up on a budget. 'Candles and diffusers are perfect for a consistent perfume,' adds Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company

If you want your bathroom to feel extra boujie, then consider investing in an electronic diffuser for a consistent scent. The White Company electronic diffuser will look super chic next to a bath and can be topped up with your favourite scent. Alternatively, Aromatherapy Associates has just released the Atomiser Connect which is app-controlled - you can even pre-empt bad smells and set it in advance. 

Emma South, fragrance and lifestyle expert at Jo Malone, adds 'To make a bathroom smell good from the moment you step in, high-quality reed diffusers are key. Working tirelessly in the background they provide a welcoming base layer of scent and create an instant atmosphere. At Jo Malone London there is a choice of 15 different scents in various designs to suit all styles, the classic size lasts 4- 5 months and with rattan reeds, they simply keep emanating with no need to turn.'

2. Light some candles

Bath with freestanding navy bath, navy vanity and candles

(Image credit: Future)

Very little beats the blissful feeling of lighting a scented candle in your bathroom in preparation for a self-care evening. And while the ambience provided by candles is a benefit in itself, the scent is impactful and can last long after you've blown it out. 

It's tempting to leave your candles for the best, but even lighting a candle for an hour outside of precious relaxation time will scent your entire space (and connecting hallways). If you've just scrubbed the sink, toilet and bath down, finishing the chores by lighting a candle will make it feel complete and create a lovely aroma. 

You could even match the jar to your bathroom colour scheme for a complete look.

3. Bring back potpourri

Potpourri might seem like a fallout from the early 2000s when it was commonplace on hallway console tables, but it's still a simple way of making your bathroom smell good for longer. 

'A lovely bowl filled with potpourri not only provides fragrance notes but looks beautiful and once the fragrance wanes don’t forget to boost with a scented oil or a room spray,' Chrissierecommends. 

4. Spritz some linen spray

white and beige towels

(Image credit: B&M Stores)

Linen spray is most commonly associated with bedrooms as it's a simple way to refresh your bedding and remove creases. But you might not have thought about using it on your bathroom towels to give them a hotel-inspired allure. 

A couple of spritzes on hand towels and bath mats will allow the scent to soak in and infuse the rest of the room. Plus, if it's a guest bathroom where towels aren't regularly used, you can be safe in the knowledge that your spritzes will go a lot further. 

Chrissie adds, 'I always spritz my bathroom linens with lavender spray before I store them away and when I get them out, they still smell fabulous.'

5. Upgrade your cleaning products

Cleaning the bathroom is an essential household task, so why not make the most of it with more special scents that make it smell just as good as it looks? 

Method's cleaning products are an Ideal Home team favourite and the eucalyptus and mint bathroom cleaner spray will leave the loveliest calming scent on your sanitary ware. Likewise, opting for a fragranced toilet cleaner (like Ecover's sea breeze and sage scent) or sticky scented discs will help the bowl to stay fresh for longer. 

'For a quick fix to leave toilet bowls smelling fresh in between deep cleans, I always keep a travel-sized toilet perfume handy. Simply shake and spray between 3-5 times for an instant refresh. When it comes to deeper cleaning, selecting a fragranced product that can be used across multiple surfaces makes for a much quicker clean, and will leave your bathroom smelling sweet in every area,'  recommends Jennifer Sharpe, chief fragrance officer at Fabulosa.

6. Treat yourself to scented handcare

Bathroom with curtain underneath sink and wavy green mirror

(Image credit: Future)

Scent should factor into every corner of a bathroom design, even down to your hand wash and lotion. A luxe handcare set is the simplest way to make your wash space look more high-end and it will make your bathroom smell good in the process.  

Plus, you get the added benefit of enjoying the fragrance on your skin as well as in your sink. 

7. Scent the inside of toilet roll

Bathroom with toilet and green storage unit

(Image credit: Future)

If you want your bathroom to exude fresh scents, you might need to get creative. Adding an essential oil to the inside of your toilet roll will help to disperse the smell as you unroll the tissue for a longer-term solution. If scented loo roll reminds you of your grandparent's house, then this is a great alternative. Simply pick your favourite scent (we love The White Company's selection) and dab inside. 

Plus, if you can't get your family to put the empty toilet rolls in the bin, then at least the mess will smell divine. 


What scents are best for a bathroom?

Choosing the right scent for your bathroom is a tricky decision - you don't want to go too clinical with lemon-based scents that smell like cleaning products, but you also won't want warm, spicy fragrances that are better suited to living spaces. 

'Energising citrus scents: lemon, grapefruit, mandarin or ginger and cinnamon amongst others will pep you up,  and if you are in wind-down mode do choose lavender, peony or rose to help you relax,' advises Chrissie Rucker.  

Prioritising fresh, clean scents will make a bathroom feel sanitary but also like home - so you can start running the bath to relax. 

Which scent takes your fancy? Will you treat yourself to a premium candle or upgrade your everyday cleaning products?

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).