A Simple Trick to Deal With a Stinky Lavatory

Two years ago I shared a trick to dealing with a stinky lavatory. You wouldn’t think this would be a major problem in the grand scheme of things, but it is — both from a passenger experience perspective but also for airline operations. British Airways once had to turn around a Dubai flight because the lavatory smelled so bad.

The secret is this: used coffee grounds.

However it’s much more effective if you open up the package and let the coffee grounds do their work. That’s what a flight attendant did on my Dallas – Seattle segment earlier in the week.

By the time I found myself in the lavatory as we entered final descent there really wasn’t an issue in there at all. I did have one concern, though. She used a nut ramekin to hold the coffee grounds.

I know these will be washed. But now I’m a bit afraid to take the nuts on my next flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I used to do a lot of flying on AA’s Latin American routes and it was routine for the FAs to place those coffee packets in the front lavs. They do work.

  2. Coffee grounds? Old school.
    Nowadays, they have excellent sprays. I always travel with Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray 2-Ounce Bottle. It works!

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  4. Today I learned that there is a word for “small plate used for nuts or small servings of food”

  5. The next time I’m at a hotel, I’ll be sure to grab a Starbucks single serve coffee packet from my room. That hotel room coffee is vial and would be better used in an airplane lavatory!

  6. I wish I could remember which hotel I was in that actually had great room coffee. Should have kept the package.

  7. Oldest trick in the book. Flight Attendants have been doing this since the 1970s. I used to bring dryer sheets and hang them on the coat hook in the lav during my flying days. They, and the coffee packets together, take care of most of the worst.

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