General Question

wabarr's avatar

Why does days old urine in the toilet smell horrible?

Asked by wabarr (458points) February 13th, 2008

Dont judge me…I left it there by accident. When returning days later…the smell was wretched and overpowering. I am interested in the chemical process by which urine goes from smelling relatively inoffensive to smelling terrible.

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7 Answers

Spargett's avatar

I wish I knew too. On a tour bus they empty the toilets every 3–4 days. Sometimes the driver lags and waits a week. At that point the odor that comes from there (urine only on busses) can almost make you gag.

ishotthesheriff's avatar

haha no judging!
if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.
save some water, seriously.
stop showering everyday too….. it’s unhealthy! and i save thousdands of gallons on my water bill compared to other people i know.

but yeah, i don’t know either. i’m interested, too.

syz's avatar

Probably bacterial growth.

While urine is (typically) sterile, bacteria, epithelial cells and other contaminants are picked up on the trip through the urethra and external genitalia.

Schenectandy's avatar

I’m pretty sure the body converts the waste product ammonia into urea for less toxic storage in the bladder.. the urea probably breaks back down into ammonia over time.

Spargett's avatar


Ammonia was certainly not the stronger part of the odor. The best way to describe it would be like some sort of rotten onion or garlic. Gross, I know.

Schenectandy's avatar

* wretches *

jballou's avatar

I’m no scientist, but from what I understand is that urine from a helthy person ranges from clear to gold and is relatively odorless. Urine odor could be a sign of a medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection. It also could just be something you ate. Asparagus is known to produce a certain odor in the urine, and certain vitamins as well.

If it keeps up, even though you’re not eating the same foods all the time, I would say ask your doctor next time you see them.

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