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Incontinence Advice

How To Control Incontinence Smells

Incontinence, impacting millions globally, brings not just physical challenges, but also the issue of unpleasant odours, often overlooked. This can dent confidence and limit social interactions. This article unveils simple steps to control incontinence smells, restoring peace of mind and boosting your ability to navigate life confidently. You can also buy incontinence supplies from our website to help manage incontinence smells.

two elderly people holding drinks

What Causes Urine to Smell Bad?



Urine is usually clear or pale yellow, with a mild smell. Things that can make your wee smell stronger include:


  •          Not drinking enough fluids (dehydration)
  •          Certain foods and drinks, including asparagus and coffee.
  •          Some medicines e.g., vitamin B6 supplements.


Not drinking enough neutral fluids, such as water or cordial, can create concentrated urine which looks dark yellow and has a stronger, more unpleasant smell. Therefore, it is crucial to stay well-hydrated and consume around six to eight glasses of water daily. Proper hydration ensures that your urine remains diluted and free from strong, unpleasant smells.


Another factor than can contribute to smelly urine could be from a bladder infection, which can give rise to foul-smelling urine. If you notice a strong or unpleasant odour, it is advisable to consult your GP for a proper diagnosis and treatment of a potential urinary tract infection (UTI). Untreated infections can lead to kidney damage in certain cases.

Urine and incontinence smells can also be influenced by the consumption of certain foods and drinks. While this can vary depending on individual body chemistry, many people commonly associate asparagus and coffee with producing a more potent and distinctive-smelling urine.


In addition, certain medications can alter the colour and odour of urine. If you see any changes in the appearance or odour of your urine after starting a new medication, discuss it with your GP to gain a better understanding of the possible effects.


Learn more about the best bladder-friendly drinks to stay hydrated.


How to Control Incontinence Smells 


Keeping control of odours involves good personal hygiene practices and using clean products. Cleanse the area after each pad or absorbent product change, use MoliCare Skin Moist Wipes or Cleaning Foam to ensure the area is dry. Standard body washes can be harsh on intimate areas or even create irritation, so it is important you use a product that is specifically designed for intimate care.

If the skin becomes dry or develops redness, use a barrier cream to keep the skin in good condition. 

What Incontinence Products to Wear?


MoliCare absorbent pads, pants and slips all contain odour neutralisers to prevent odours. It’s not recommended to wear products that are fragranced as these will mask or even mix with the smell of urine, potentially making it worse. If you wear absorbent products, there are steps you can take to effectively combat odour.

Firstly, ensure that urine and stools are contained inside the pad. If you experience leakages or if the pad becomes saturated within a few hours, consider a higher absorbency product, and ensure you are wearing the correct fit.


Dispose of any product into an airtight bag to prevent smells from escaping and bin them straight away. Many public toilets will also have facilities for disposing of hygiene products when out shopping or in cafes. 


How to Get Rid of Odours from Urine Leaks


Here are some different ways in which you can get rid of odours and incontinence smells caused by urine leaks:

Clothing and/or bed lining

In the event of stool or urine staining your bed linens or clothing, wash them as soon as you’re able to, to avoid them lingering too long on fabric, as this can make it even more difficult to eliminate later. If you rely on assistance from someone else to manage your laundry or need to visit a laundromat, we advise you to store soiled items in an airtight bag until they can be washed.

To address incontinence smells in clothes and linens, adding white vinegar to the wash water can be highly effective. When washing, mix 1 cup of white vinegar together with 3 cups of water and allow the clothing to soak within the mixture for a couple of minutes. Wash the clothes in lukewarm water, followed by detergent, and launder them as you typically would. When using white vinegar in the water, ensure you rinse once or twice with cold water.

Keep in mind that clothing made entirely of 100% polyester may pose challenges in removing persistent odours. In some cases, consider wearing cotton instead.


Remember to think about air circulation in your surroundings too, such as opening windows or doors to let fresh air in. Use air fresheners that will effectively neutralise incontinence smells and odours, rather than a strong perfume scent.

Furniture or Carpet?

Before applying a cleaner, be sure to blot the stain gently, aiming to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Once the excess liquid is blotted, you can proceed to apply a cleaner. Vinegar is a natural and effective option for various surfaces, including furniture, but you should test the cleanser first in an inconspicuous area before using it on the stain.

For leather surfaces, consider using a mixture of a small amount of dish soap and water instead of vinegar. Some leathers may experience drying effects from the acid in vinegar.

It's not uncommon for individuals to be unaware of the presence of incontinence smells. If you experience incontinence, you should ask someone that you trust to inform you if they detect any odours in your surroundings. Remember: you are not alone with incontinence!

While it may be tempting to relax certain cleaning habits when confined indoors, you still need to maintain your regular personal hygiene routines to avoid potential skin conditions or unpleasant smells associated with incontinence. 

doctor shaking hand of female patient

Coping with Incontinence – Other Odour-Related Issues


To cope better with incontinence and limit the risk of incontinence smells from urine leaks, consider implementing the following methods into your daily routine:


1.      Drink more fluids

When dealing with incontinence, most people may want to drink less fluids, but this can lead to more problems and risks. For example, this can cause urine to be more concentrated and strong-smelling. Instead, try to drink around six to eight glasses of water throughout the day, and this will help in diluting or reducing the risk of urine odours and other incontinence smells.


2.      Get an examination for possible infection

Booking an examination with your local GP for potential bladder or urinary infections will help people in dealing with incontinence.


3.      Implement changes in your diet

Changing your diet can alter the symptoms of incontinence and urine odours. For instance, coffee and other foods such as asparagus can cause your urine to give off a particular smell. Make sure to keep track of everything that you eat and drink, and any fluids that are causing issues in your diet should be eliminated.


4.      Drink cranberry juice

Cranberry juice can bring many benefits to your diet and improve the acidity of your urine as well as naturally reducing odour.


5.      Consume Vitamin C

Vitamin C tablets are known for their odour neutralising effect on urine. Be cautious, as vitamin C tablets may interact with other medications or therapies you are currently utilising. Before incorporating vitamin C tablets into your routine, consult your GP for proper guidance. Do not substitute citrus fruits or juices for tablets, as this can cause further bladder irritation and lead to urine odour. 


Control Incontinence Smells


By using these tips to eliminate incontinence smells, you will gain confidence of managing incontinence alongside MoliCare incontinence pads. Maintain good hygiene practices, stay hydrated, replace undergarments daily, switch to cotton, and keep on top of cleaning around the home will all help to reduce the risk of incontinence smells.

person bent over holding stomach



Why does incontinence sometimes have an odour?

Incontinence can result in odour due to the breakdown of urine, the presence of bacteria, and prolonged exposure to moisture. These factors can contribute to the development of unpleasant smells.


How can I control odour associated with urinary incontinence?

There are several strategies to control incontinence odours, including maintaining good personal hygiene, using odour-neutralising pads and pants, implementing lifestyle modifications, and seeking GP advice when needed.


What personal hygiene practices can help control incontinence smells?

Good personal hygiene is essential. Cleanse the genital area regularly using MoliCare Skin products specifically designed for intimate care, and dry the area after to minimise moisture and bacterial growth.


Are there specific odour-controlling products for incontinence?

Yes, MoliCare products contain odour neutralisers which will eliminate the smell of urine rather than masking it. This range includes absorbent pads, adult diapers, or incontinence briefs and underwear, all with odour neutralising features.


Can lifestyle modifications help reduce incontinence odours?

Yes, certain lifestyle changes can contribute to odour reduction. Maintaining proper hydration helps dilute urine and reduce its concentration. Additionally, avoiding foods and beverages that may contribute to strong-smelling urine, such as asparagus or caffeine, can help manage odours.


How does proper skin care help prevent incontinence odours?

Proper skin care is crucial in preventing incontinence smells. By maintaining good hygiene, you can reduce bacterial growth and potential odour.


How can I manage incontinence odours in public settings?

To manage odours in public or social situations, carry disposal bags with you and use the hygiene bins provided in public toilets. You may find a toilet card helpful. The ‘Just Can’t Wait’ card states that you have a medical condition and that you need to use the toilet urgently. Showing this card can help you avoid the queue for a public toilet.


When should I seek professional guidance for incontinence odours?

Keeping track of your bathroom habits with a bladder diary can reveal patterns and triggers that help your doctor pinpoint the cause of your incontinence. A few days before your doctor visit, begin writing down what you drink, what time you drink, how many times you urinate, and when you have leaking-urine episodes. Include anything that may have led up to an accident, such as coughing, exercising, or a sense of urgency.


If incontinence odours persist despite implementing hygiene practices and lifestyle modifications, it may be necessary to consult your GP. They can assess if there is any underlying causes of persistent odours and provide personalised recommendations for effective odour management.