Managing odor in public restrooms with an ostomy bag?


I hate using public restrooms. I get embarrassed because of the smell when I empty my bag, especially when I hear people say how disgusting the room smells. I feel like they know it was me. Does anyone have any solutions on controlling the odor? I've tried many of the deodorants for ostomy bags but they don't seem to help.


G'morning Cdm. M9 works for me. Might have to use 5 drops. The only problem I have is that every time you empty, you will have to empty each time you empty. I found that odor neutralizer room spray, Lilac Breeze, works fine. Once you're finished prior to coming out of the stall, spray it. It does the trick for me. You can get it from Walmart in the candle section. Good luck!! Angelicamie

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Thanks Angelica Marie, I've tried the M9. It's not bad but still smells. Maybe it's just my imagination. I'm always trying sprays like Calgon Take Me Away and Bath and Body room sprays. I've had this ostomy for 7 years now and it still makes me feel so uneasy in public.


CDM, try the spray after you empty out and at home. It will work. Don't give up!! Angelicamarie

NJ Bain


You can always carry a pack of matches with you or do the courtesy flush. I've never been one to worry about the smell. Kind of proud of it, you might

Everybody's shit stinks. So those ladies that comment on how disgusting the smell is are obviously vintage shit smell judges and can't get enough of smelling other people's shit. Just my 2 cents.


Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister

It might be a ladies room issue because in the men's room there are guys stinking it up way worse than I ever could...



Hi, this is a great post and topic. I am also very aware of odors and my ostomy. So I began to research how to lessen odors. I tried just about every ostomy deodorant manufactured. My three faves are M9, Na-Scent and Safe and Simple. They are not perfect but they help reduce smell. I believe the reason we are so aware of the smell is that we are emptying in front, so we are up close and personal with our body functions. In the old days, we would go and flush right away. I also read about foods that are less odorous ....such as cranberry juice, leafy greens and rice. Other foods such as fish and onions will produce a stronger smell for everyone, not just ostomates. Good luck and remember the bathroom is a place for odors. LH

Past Member


M9 is the best! They also come in purse sizes (little bottles) so whenever you're in a public restroom just add two more drops. For me, it is just as important as my cell phone. :)

Fraidy Cat

Have used Na scent and mouthwash which helped keep the odor down, but started adding 4-5 spearmint Tic-Tacs in the bag and it actually has a fresh, pleasant scent and lasts a long time!!! Cheap enough and worth a try!

Past Member

Hello CDM,

You can try M9. It will help in reducing smell.


Another vote for M9. Just experiment to see how much you need to put in. I have an eye drop type of bottle that I carry with me that has M9 in it, for when I am out of the house. For me, M9 eliminated the odor completely which is amazing considering how nasty my ileostomy output was!


I've used just about all the ostomy deodorants on the market, in the past and currently. Banish was "ok". M9 works pretty well, but I think that Na'Scent works the best. My big bottle came with a small purse-sized one, which is really easy to carry around. If not, I'd fill an eye moisturizer bottle with it. The deodorant effects for all of them only seem to last through one emptying, although for me some foods leave lasting odors (fish, lobster, shrimp, etc). When I'm home, I'll pour some hot water into the pouch along with the deodorant, swish around and empty, so it kind of washes out the bag, to get a fresh start on the day. But someone wrote about Tic Tacs, and I'm going to give those a try as well. I'm not overly concerned about what smells are left in public bathrooms. Other people's "sh-t" smells, we're just more aware of our own. Best of luck to all.

my forever friend

Good morning, I use Devrom pills. I think they work great. The only downside is it makes your stool dark, so just a FYI on that.


Hi cdm!

Thank you for bringing this up! Reading your responses, I'm going to try M9. But until now, I've been living life without it.

Out and about, I never empty in a small restaurant. But McDonald's has really effective power fans, so we stop off there on the way to wherever (wherever often may be the small cute restaurant).

When you empty your bag in a larger public restroom, take advantage of the unlimited-flush function. Nobody will notice you if you flush a few times while you're in there. As soon as the bag starts to empty, start flushing. No time to smell!

I'm just waiting for the moment by the sink in a large public bathroom when a woman complains about the smell and I can tell her "Sorry, that smell was from me because I have terminal ovarian cancer and a colostomy." Educate as we go, yeah?


Adapt works for me


I really do not like using public restrooms with a pouch. It is not convenient and very awkward. If I had one wish, I would wish that all public bathrooms had stalls with shelves so taking care of a full pouch would be easier. It really frustrates me. I had an experience today and was so annoyed with the public bathroom set up in this one restaurant, I went home and then went back out to another restaurant for dinner. I was pissed off! The toilet paper kept tearing, the toilet was clogging, the other toilet in the ladies room was really low and my complaints go on and on.... Yes, I am alive because I had surgery to remove my colon but things like this make me upset and continue to remind me that I have an ostomy. I managed for 40 years to take care of other women's issues in all types of places but this is a real hassle. I want to figure it out and I can't seem to come up with a solution. Back to the drawing board, I guess. Thank you for letting me vent. Have a nice evening. LH


Good morning LadyHope. Truly, I understand. Sunday at church, I had to change my bag in church. In the bathroom, there are two stalls. By the grace of God, I was able to do it without making a mess. However, I learned something from you. I live for today and hope for tomorrow, so He knows. He will see us through all things. Be safe, angelicamarie.


Cdm, I use M-9 sometimes. Adapt doesn't work for me. However, I carry a bottle of water and when I empty it, I rinse it with the bottle of water. If I need more, I will get my clothes together before coming out of the stall and fill the bottle again. Then, I will put a little baby oil in the bag. I carry a small bottle of deodorizer that you can get from Walmart. After I have discarded the necessary stuff, I spray it in the stall, get my clothes together, and move out. But listen, I went to a public bathroom Sunday and it was horrible, but guess what? It wasn't me, lol. And she didn't have a stoma. Don't be so hard on yourself. No poo smells good!! Have a great day! Angelicamar


Thank you so much, Angelicamarie, for your post today. I appreciated it. I decided to fight my demons and went back to the restaurant tonight to have dinner... and Stanley, my stoma, behaved. The thing that I find very upsetting is that I can't be as spontaneous as I was prior to surgery. Usually, bathrooms never really upset me... if they were bad, I just managed somehow.... today I need to be more aware of the restroom situation and it bothers me. Thank you again for your uplifting post. I keep doing my best to move forward.... if I am not moving forward, I am falling behind. Take care and have a great remainder of the week. Sincerely, LH


I suggest the following:

Squirt a little Adapt lubbricating deodorant int the bage and try to squish it around the sides.

Then use the m9 drops, about 15 to 20 of them.

It works for me.  If you're not satisfied with the results you might experiment with the quantities or you might just say, "Screw it!  I'm in a restroom."




I submitted this a a long time ago.  It's mostly true.

The first time I emptied my bag in a public place was pretty funny. It was at a wedding. It was the first time since surgery my shirt tails were inside my pants. I was wearing suspenders. So, it was time, I went to the mens room, to the end stall, sat down and sprayed about a half a tube of breath freshener on the bag, in the toilet in the air, etc. about 5 seconds later a guy walks in with his little guy who's about three. He opens the door to the stall next to mine, sniffs audibly and says, "Wow Bobby, doesn't it smell nice in here?" Bobby and dad go about their business twice more mentioning how great it smells. They get done and dad says "Hey little guy, we gotta tell mommy about this place. It's smells beautiful. She'll want to go here" Obviously, while this was happening, I sat motionless, barely breathed and didn't begin my routine until they left. All went well but I was deathly afraid dad would bring the entire wedding party to the mens room. In closing, It's poop and it smells. Everyone's smells. (except my mother-in-law's).



Thank you for the reply and the encouragement. Even after 4 1/2 years, I still find life with a stoma frustrating at times and the times usually occur when I need to empty my pouch in a public restroom. I did face my demon the other day but frustration usually creeps up on me when I am fearful, tired, or hungry. This passage is part of a poem written by Max Ehrmann called the Desiderata... I was introduced to it many years ago when I was going through another rough period and continue to reference it. If you have an opportunity, Google it. It offers peaceful inspiration.

"Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Take care and thank you again. LH


Ozium!! And M9 odor eliminator spray. Both can be purchased in small bottles to carry with you.


3 or 4 squirts of Poo Pourri in the toilet helps immensely. I use it in public all the time.


We need to remember, IT's A SHITHOUSE".