Power Fan: The Solution to Bathroom Smell!

Apr 17, 2017 6:08 am

I had a colostomy in 2014. Our house is small, with two parents, two kids, two bathrooms.

Within a week of the colostomy, the decision was made. My family did not want to share a bathroom with me. Me, (Mommy), was designated/assigned/banished to our mini-bathroom (shower stall, sink, toilet, about 6.5 feet x 8 feet). Because I smelled so bad when I emptied my bags.

I was given scented candles (I'm allergic to almost all of those). The window opens, but in the winter it's freezing and in the summer the bugs can navigate around the curtain and into the room. It wasn't working out. I was a smelly embarrassment to kids who were not emotionally ready for that.

POWER FAN! Yay, Hubby! The "little bathroom" (mine) had a fan maybe from the 70's, maybe not. Hubby installed a super power fan that also featured low-noise.

It worked!

I took true possession over the mini-bathroom. It no longer smelled. I wrote my mantra in paint around the door. I added a mirror that could only be used by 6-foot me. I worked the room in accents of teal (ovarian cancer color) paint and added a matching towel and bathmat. Added more decor. Hooks. More mirrors. It's turning into the cutest room in my house but it's just for me. . .

My friends and family know that if the door to my mini-Mommy bathroom is closed, then do not enter (power fan may need more time, or Mommy may need to check for cleanliness 'cos bag changes and other yucky cancer stuff can get messy in odd places).

Power fan saved the day. I told my friends, who have only one bathroom (and a new colostomy), and they also put in a power fan. It changed their lives immensely for the better also. (Especially because cancer invites houseguests!)

I actually like being banished to my own bathroom now. If you stick a semi-creative terminal cancer girl into a 6.5 ft x 8 ft space, how much crazy fun will she have? And when it's your own bathroom, and the teenagers don't want to use it, it's such a happy little place. . .

At first, my family was cruel in their teasings about my "bathroom smell" from the colostomy. That hurt a lot. I think that once I focused on the power-fan-now-odorless-from the-home and started to claim the space, and add art to it, my family felt more comfortable. As my children grow, they are also less apt to make comments. And I have the easy claim to cancer, which so many people understand but so many colostomates don't have as an explanation that others take in stride.

Apr 17, 2017 7:55 am

Hello NotDeadYet.

What a great post and congratulations on having your own personalised bathroom.

One of the first jobs I did after getting my stoma was to personalise 'my' bathroom to suit my needs and the process is still continuing as my needs change. I too installed a fan which was situated at the furthest end to the door so that the flow of air was always moving away from whoever entered the room. I also changed the toilet so that I could easily remove the 'normal' seat and replace it with one that I made specially to suit my own needs. This week sees the complete revamping of the bathroom furniture so that there will be ample storage spae for all the equipment I use in the process of manageing the stoma and other things. I have fitted a new large-sized shower unit so that as and when I can no longer bath, the facility will be there to cater for future cahanging needs. I also have a bank of electric sockets for all the stuff I plug in. This is of course completely illegal as there are strick regulations regarding electricity in bathrooms but what do the planners and building regulation people know about managing an ostomy? - I venture to suggest that they know nothing of our/my needs and should keep their noses out of my bathrooom arrangements until I no longer need them. In which case, the electrical set-up can be easily removed if it is no longer needed by anyone coming after me.

One thing I have learned in the process of catering to my stoma is that there is no point in worrying about what other people think, say or do because generally they are 'ignorant' of all things stoma related. We have to cater to our own needs in the best ways that we can, with little or no reference to what other people need to get on wth their own lives. The people around me know better than to challenge what I do because, even though the experimentation does not always work in a practical sense, it is always logically sound in principle.

Best wishes


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Apr 17, 2017 11:01 am

Hello NDY, I enjoyed your post immensely... I use candles, essence, and deodorizers. I don't have a window in my bathroom.. so I will invest in a power fan.. It is my personal bathroom and I have made it mine. But without a window, I would say the power fan would be rewarding. Thanks for sharing... Angel

NJ Bain
Apr 17, 2017 3:50 pm

I'm proud of the stench my ileostomy produces. It cracks me up when I'm at work and someone comes into the bathroom when I'm draining my pouch. It's like someone walked into a wall. The comments I hear are hilarious. I can only imagine the looks on their faces when they get hit with that wall.

When I had roommates, it was kind of rough. I always had matches in the bathroom even though we had a fan. But they were very understanding and didn't put much of a fuss up.

I'm glad your husband put that in for you and that you have your own bathroom and you'll never have to worry about the toilet seat being left up.....lol


Apr 18, 2017 2:24 am

Hi all!

I loved reading these posts. I was lucky that my only "roommate" when I got my colostomy was my 22-year-old son. We each basically have our own toilets - he has the half bath and I have the full bath. I do let him use the shower/bathtub. LOL He was quite the gentleman about which bathroom belonged primarily to whom. So glad I no longer have teens!

Smell control for me comes from the fan, an electric essential oil burner, ziploc style bags, and a diaper pail. I can't take each bag to the outside trash dumpster immediately due to my mobility limitations. This combination takes care of the immediate and lingering smells.

I bought a Dekor model diaper pail with a foot pedal and self-closing lid on Amazon. You don't need to use the expensive liners with this model. It is designed to use 13 gal tall kitchen bags. I put my dirty bags inside inexpensive ziploc style bags for further control of smells.

I also remodeled the bathroom with a special shelf and a 3-drawer rolling cart for easy access to my ostomy supplies.

When I have to change bags at restaurants or other public places, I carry a bunch of stuff "just in case." Ziploc bags and grocery store bags are a necessity for me. For the smell, matches work, mini bottles of Febreeze or the best thing I've found was in the car accessories department - Ozium.

I hope this is useful to someone. I'm getting this ostomy thing down to an art after 6 mos.

Take care,


Living with Your Ostomy | Hollister
Apr 18, 2017 3:01 am

The best remedy I found for the pouch odors is rinsing the pouch with water and ostomy deodorant. It really helps control the smells. My favorites are M-9, Safe and Simple, and Nascent. They all help with the odors from emptying. I really do not like emptying in public places.... a huge hassle, but if I must, I do it. Take care everyone! Have a great night. LH

Apr 19, 2017 11:28 pm

Thank you, Ladyhope!

On trips, I empty at McDonald's. They tend to have predictably clean bathrooms and their bathroom fans are really strong!

Apr 19, 2017 11:36 pm

Lauann! Well said!

My diaper pail of choice is a Brabantia. These also contain the odor, and like yours, can be used without buying the expensive bags. I think your tips deserve a category unto themselves!

Apr 19, 2017 11:38 pm

Thank you, Bill!

Apr 19, 2017 11:45 pm

Thank you, Angel!

It's so nice when we can personalize areas in a positive way: areas that could otherwise become areas of disappointment. Hug heading your way!

Apr 19, 2017 11:51 pm

No, Bain, my hubby is an alpha male. So he still goes in and leaves the seat up every so often. He can't help it. But his alpha-male side also makes him the best caregiver a girl could ask for, so I don't say a word!

May 06, 2017 4:28 pm

Febreze is also helpful. I use plastic grocery bags and I double bag. Then, if I can't get to the dumpster, I know I am not invading someone's olfactory space!

Past Member
Jun 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Keep "strike anywhere matches" in the bathroom. The sulfur eliminates all odors.

May 29, 2018 12:56 pm

I will wait to use the br at the gas station if I can. Have fun, it helps. Lately, I've been draining the pouch with my legs closed. Then I stand close to the lid and flush. Finish cleaning the bag so I can close it. Flush again. I think this helps some.

Jul 19, 2018 12:22 pm

I am 4 weeks out of my permanent colostomy, and the smell was one of the things I struggled with. I found that Poo-Pourri spray worked very well when combined with a quick flush. Still a work in progress, but small victories are nice.

Aug 15, 2018 12:53 am

A much less expensive fix with poo spray is to make your own. I saw this on Dr. Oz. You can buy a small bottle of lemongrass oil or other strong-smelling oil for around $5.00 and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. I use the same spray bottles from the poo spray. I add 6-10 drops of oil to the alcohol in the spray bottle. It works just as well and does not cost a lot! That little bottle lasts a long time!