Sometimes the smell from your trip to the toilet is so terrible that it could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately, other than changing your diet—e.g., decreasing the amount of meat in your diet—there’s not much you can do about the odour of your bowel bombs. (Less meat allegedly reduces the presence of smelly compounds called mercaptans.)
But you can tamper with the crime scene enough that innocent bystanders are able to survive the initial blast. There are two ways in particular: (1) Covering up the smell so it isn’t so harsh; or (2) trying to eliminate the offending scent altogether.
For the cover-up approach, air fresheners such as plug-ins, sprays and scented oils work just fine, says Richard Sachleben, a chemical development researcher for Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Candles do the trick, too. So does lighting a match—the burning sulphur from the tip of the match is strong enough to make you forget about the underlying rankness.
To truly extinguish a stinky stench, get rid of the nasty air and replace it with something fresher. For instance, the winning combination of an open window and a fan. If you’re in some kind of dank cave of a bathroom without a source of fresh air, install a fan with a charcoal-based air filter, which absorbs bad odours, causing them to effectively disappear.
That said, some of the most treacherous scenarios occur in bathrooms where you’re powerless to implement a permanent stink-free solution—the office john or your date’s unsuspecting toilet. In such cases, you should try a multi-pronged assault, using a combination of air fresheners, matches and a well-timed flush (or two) to get your gaseous grenade out of smelling range as quickly as possible.
Because your friends, coworkers and roommates want to find out what you had for dinner last night because you tell them all about it, not because they can smell it after you’ve been in the men’s room.