All the deodorant and perfume in the world won’t prevent you from stinking sometimes when you sweat. Although sweating is the body’s natural way to regulate its temperature, the body odor that comes with it can be a major turn off. Body odor, which is normal, is a mixture of sweat, bacteria, and dirt on your skin. It gets stronger over time as more bacteria and sweat build up on the skin. If you’ve noticed that you’re smelling a little off, how can you get rid of body odor—naturally and effectively?
There are natural remedies that can help you get rid of body odor. But first, let’s look at what causes it.
What Causes Body Odor?
Body odor is caused when the bacteria that live on our skin break down fatty sweat. Most body odor comes from apocrine glands, which are concentrated in your groin and armpits. These glands are mainly responsible for body odor because the sweat they secrete is high in protein, which bacteria love to eat and can break down easily. Body odor is often affected by diet, stress, and underlying medical conditions.
Diet is one source of new or different body odors. The foods you eat can show up in your sweat, which happens when your body can’t properly break down certain compounds in your food. Foods such as alcohol, fish and onions can also affect your breath.
Stress is another cause of body odor. If you experience an increase in body odor, your body odor becomes a little bit more pungent, or you have a more lingering scent, this could be attributed to stress. When your stress level increases, your apocrine glands go in overdrive producing fatty sweat, and that combined with the bacteria normally found on your skin surface makes a funky smell.
Finally, certain medical conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney failure can also cause body odor, although this is pretty rare. It’s more likely that all of these diseases would be diagnosed through other signs and symptoms first. If, however, you’re experiencing smelly body odor that you just can’t get rid of or that’s out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to seek medical help.
Most Effective Way To Get Rid of Body Odor
Prevention is the most effective way to get rid of body odor. For some body odors, avoiding foods that cause an undesirable odor, focusing on reducing your stress levels, or even trying a new natural deodorant will normally fix the problem.
To prevent excessive sweating and body odor, shave your underarms, change your clothes daily, and apply vinegar, witch hazel and/or tea tree oil to eliminate bad odors and keep your skin dry, clean, and fresh.
Body odor is most likely to occur in the groin and armpits due to the large concentration of apocrine glands, making these areas susceptible to an increase in body odor. The following steps may help control body odor:
Remedies To Get Rid Of Body Odor
- Maintain basic hygiene and shower daily.
- Try an all-natural and aluminum-free deodorant.
- Use antibacterial body soap or body spray to kill most of the odor-producing bacteria.
- Shave hair in armpits and groin area and spritz it with vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
- Wear cotton clothes so that your skin can breathe freely.
- Eat a healthy diet with less spicy food.
- Drink lots of water, preferably with lemon.
- Detoxify your body regularly, especially an armpit detox, to get rid of all the toxic buildup in your armpits.
- Dry brush your skin daily to stimulate the lymphatic system, help your body get rid of toxins, and invigorate your skin so it’s easier for toxins to be eliminated from your body.
- Change clothes daily.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor Through Diet
Certain foods can increase body odor, and if you’re prone to bad body odor try cutting down on these foods:
When alcohol is absorbed into your body, it gets metabolized and is secreted into your sweat. When that sweat is metabolized by the bacteria found on your skin, it leaves you with a funky odor.
Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower contain sulfur, a stinky compound that smells like rotten eggs. When you eat these veggies, your body absorbs and secretes the sulfur through your sweat, making it available to the bacteria. This allows the bacteria to make more sulfur-containing compounds, impacting your body odor and producing that rotten smell for up to six hours.
Meat is another smell-inducing, sulfur-rich food. Eating meat affects your sweat. During digestion, the fatty acids in red meat find their way into sweat, mix with bacteria on your skin and produce a stinky odor.
Tuna and salmon contain a type of vitamin B that produces a pungent fishy smell. Some people who eat fish can secrete this compound in their sweat for up to a day, intensifying their body odor.
Spicy foods such as garlic and onions also contain sulfur which can not only make your breath stink, but the smell can seep out of your pores too and intensify your body odor.
So how do you get rid of body odor through diet?
Eat a balanced diet which contains whole grains, lots of leafy vegetables, raw nuts, and fresh fruits, and cut down on junk food and oily food. The high fiber content in fruits, veggies, and whole grains helps with digestion and improves your body’s detoxification system. Also avoid eating foods that are extremely spicy. These simple modifications to your diet can go a long way in eliminating body odor naturally or at least controlling it.
Some studies have shown that activated charcoal and chlorophyll may reduce odor, but there isn’t enough evidence.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor From Armpits
Sweat by itself doesn’t smell. It’s when it interacts with the bacteria on your skin that it produces that unmistakable funky odor. For some people, simple lifestyle changes and home remedies can help get rid of body odor from armpits. But for many others, they need deodorant.
However, store-bought deodorants and antiperspirants could do more harm than good. So, the use of natural deodorants is highly recommended. Although they don’t stop sweat like antiperspirants, there are a few reasons you might go with them instead:
- Natural deodorant doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemicals found in standard antiperspirants. It’s aluminum, paraben and phthalate free.
- If you have sensitive skin or regular deodorant makes your skin itch or burn, then natural deodorant is a great option for you to get rid of body odor from armpits. Most natural deodorants are gentle on the skin.
- Natural deodorants don’t cause yellow stains when mixed with sweat, an issue that’s common with aluminum-containing antiperspirants. Swapping your antiperspirant for a natural deodorant could get rid of this problem and save your shirts.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor Without Using Deodorant
To get rid of body odor without using deodorant, you have to change your personal hygiene routine. Practicing good hygiene can help reduce the bacteria on your skin and in turn get rid of the body odor. These changes include:
- Washing your clothes regularly and not re-wearing sweaty clothes between washes. When sweat sits on your clothes, it only encourages bacterial growth on the still-moist fabrics, making your clothes stink. Always wear freshly laundered clothes when you go out or exercise. And wash your clothes immediately after a heavy sweat session, or at least hang the clothes someplace to dry and air out before putting them in the laundry basket.
- Shaving or trimming your armpit hair frequently keeps body odor under control. It reduces the amount of hair that can trap moisture and create the ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
- Showering at least once a day plus right after working out (if you exercise often) ensures that bacteria don’t have a chance to spread. Make sure to scrub your armpits, back, feet, groin region, and around the neck with an antibacterial body soap. Round out your personal hygiene routine with an antibacterial body spray to keep odor-causing bacteria at bay all day long.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor With Home Remedies
These home remedies can help get rid of body odor — and you probably have most of them in your kitchen pantry. These remedies include apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature and it has antimicrobial properties. It makes the area less desirable for bacteria and gets rid of odor-producing bacteria. Regular use of apple cider vinegar can also prevent bacterial accumulation.
Baking soda absorbs moisture, keeps armpits dry, and prevents sweat formation. It’s also a natural antibacterial that kills bacteria on the skin without interfering with the body’s natural sweating response. It alkalizes the body and neutralizes stinky body odor.
Lemon juice is also highly acidic and has antibacterial properties. It reduces the pH of your skin and makes it undesirable for bacteria.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor With Apple Cider Vinegar
A popular home remedy, apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic and works by changing your skin’s pH. It makes the environment inhospitable to bacteria and also destroys odor-causing bacteria with its antimicrobial properties. Using apple cider vinegar regularly prevents bacterial accumulation, which in turn, prevents the occurrence of funky body odor.
Apple cider vinegar can be applied directly to your skin using a cotton ball. Apply it to your body twice a day as a deodorant, or dilute half a cup in one cup of water to reduce the intensity of the smell.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor Using Baking Soda
Baking soda neutralizes pungent odors and kills bacteria on the skin by altering skin pH, absorbing moisture, and preventing sweat formation. Many deodorants actually contain baking soda as an ingredient thanks to its proven effectiveness in eliminating body odor.
Powdered baking soda can be brushed on all the sweat-prone areas of your body, such as your underarms. Alternatively, you can combine baking soda with a little water and/or lemon juice to make a paste. Then apply the paste to the underarms and other areas of your body. Leave on for 10-15 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water. Pat dry with a towel.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor With Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is another highly acidic ingredient that can help treat excessive body odor and leave you smelling fresh for hours. It lowers the pH of your body and makes it difficult for bacteria to grow and survive on your skin. Although lemon juice reduces body odor, it doesn’t affect bacterial overgrowth.
Cut a lemon in half and apply it directly to problem areas of the body a few minutes before your bath for a powerful neutralizing action. Allow it to dry completely. Wash off with lukewarm water. Repeat once daily until your body odor improves. If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the juice of half a lemon with half a cup of water and then apply it to your body.
Use caution when applying strong acidic home remedies like apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, especially if you have sensitive skin. Only apply to clean, dry skin to avoid any burning or irritation. And don’t use them right after shaving or if you have any cuts or broken skin.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor From Clothes
Does it sometimes feel like it’s next to impossible to get rid of the body odor from clothes, no matter how often you wash them?! Well, it is possible to remove that foul body odor from clothes. You just have to follow these steps to help you overcome this issue:
- Before you toss your stinky clothes in the washing machine, soak them in a sink or clean tub with 1 cup of white vinegar and some cold water for about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Then toss them in the washing machine and fill it with warm water.
- You can also add a little white vinegar to the wash too, but make sure you use bleach-free detergent. White vinegar acts as both a natural fabric softener and bacteria killer. And limit the amount of detergent. Washing machines use a fixed amount of detergent based on load size. Using excess detergent leads to buildup on clothing, which leads to more bacteria and smells. For really stinky loads, use only half the usual amount of detergent.
- Turn the machine on and let it run as usual.
- Add ½ cup of baking soda or squeeze the juice of 1 large lemon to the rinse cycle. Baking soda gets rid of unpleasant odors, while the citric acid in lemon juice breaks down the oils in the clothing materials, leaving them bacteria and body odor free.
- Complete a wash cycle and remove the clothing immediately.
- Hang them to dry outside in the fresh air under the sun. Sun and fresh air are the best natural ways to get rid of smells.
- If body odor lingers, spray the clothes with one of our antibacterial body sprays. They’re infused with African Wild Cucumber extract, an odor-blocking botanical that’s documented to have powerful antibacterial properties. Use a couple of sprays on your stinky clothes. It’s not necessary to drench them. Hang them up to allow them to dry. Your clothes will be smelling fresh and odor free.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor From Workout Clothes
Getting rid of body odor from workout clothes and athletic uniforms is a bit tricky. These clothes are made of stretchy fibers such as spandex which repel sweat. This is great for keeping you dry while exercising, but it also means that they repel water too in the wash. And so they don’t ever get thoroughly cleaned. To get rid of the smell from your workout clothes you need to:
- Wash them right away or at least air them out to prevent bacteria from growing on the still-moist fabrics and causing foul odor.
- Spray your workout clothes with Refresh in a Flash Antibacterial Refresher. Give them a good soaking then wait 2 minutes before tossing them in the wash or laundry basket. This antibacterial body spray gets rid of odor-causing bacteria in the fibers and stops body odor.
- Get rid of sweat stains on athletic clothing by dabbing white vinegar on them before each wash helps. Also soaking the clothes for thirty minutes in cold water with 3 ounces of sodium bicarbonate helps keep workout clothes smelling fresh.
- Once again, use LESS detergent. Using more detergent in smelly workout loads makes them stink even more due to the buildup of residue in the fibers, creating the ideal environment for stinky mildew and fungus.
- Stay away from fabric softener. It damages stretchy fibers and makes the odor worse by leaving a coating on the fibers, preventing them from getting completely clean.
- Use low dryer heat as high heat sets the odor into the fibers. It’s best to hang your workout clothes to dry outside in the fresh air under the sun.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor In Clothes Without Washing
There are times when the problem of clean laundry arises (or lack thereof) and there’s no time to run a load. With kids, this usually happens in the mornings when it’s time for school but there are no clean clothes to wear. Those mornings become lessons in improvising:
- If the odor isn’t that bad, hang the unwashed clothes, turned inside out, outside in the sun and fresh air. Sunlight can kill odor-causing bacteria.
- If the odor is a little more noticeable, spritz the clothing (turned both inside out and inside in) with one of our deodorizing body sprays. These body sprays contain African Wild Cucumber extract which gets rid of odor-causing bacteria and leaves a fresh scent. Hang the clothing up to dry and air out.
- Spritz the clothing (turned inside out) with a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water. Don’t worry about the vinegar scent. It will dissipate as the garment dries. Hang the clothing up to dry and air out.
- Mix baking soda with water or lemon juice to form a paste. Turn the clothes inside out and apply the paste to the smelliest areas. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Once dry, take a stiff brush and brush away any white residue, taking care not to rip the garment. Your clothes will be left with a nice, fresh smell.
Caution: Lemon juice can discolor certain fabrics so first test it on an unnoticeable part of the garment.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor Without Showering
If you want to de-stink and freshen up but you don’t have access to a full shower or you just don’t have the time, follow these tricks to help you feel less gross and sticky:
- Wipe down with a wet towel or wet wipe to get the sweat off your skin and to freshen up. Make sure to focus on the armpits, back, groin region, neck, and feet, the places which sweat the most and cause the worst body odor. Wipes that contain witch hazel and aloe are great if you have sensitive skin.
- After wiping down your armpits, use deodorant to keep the body odor away.
- Using an antibacterial body spray is the one trick I always use to get rid of body odor without showering. Even after a serious HIIT workout session! An antibacterial body spray kills odor-causing bacteria and leaves you feeling refreshed and smelling fresh.
- If your hair is sweaty and greasy or just needs freshening up, blot or pat dry the excess sweat/grease with a towel and then use dry shampoo on the strands and scalp to freshen it up. Be sure to run your fingers through the hair a little to make sure you don’t have any patches.
- Change into fresh clothes to help get rid of funky odors. Bacteria grow on sweaty clothes, especially when they sit for a while. This makes the odor linger and much worse. Change out your underwear, socks, and shoes too. And consider getting insoles as they absorb and wick moisture away from the feet, especially those with activated charcoal.
How To Get Rid Of Body Odor After Pregnancy
Pregnancy really messes with your hormones and they, in turn, impact your emotions and basal metabolic rate. There’s also an increase in blood supply to your body, including your armpits, vaginal area, uterus and pretty much everywhere. This leads to your sweat glands working overtime, and you suddenly find yourself smelling a little funky. Body odor during pregnancy is very common but it can affect your mood, making you feel self-conscious and embarrassed. Hormonal levels are also on overdrive when you’re breastfeeding and cause a pungent odor, especially from the armpits and genital area. To help get rid of body odor after pregnancy, you need to:
- Take a shower at least twice a day and use antibacterial soap to get rid of odor-causing bacteria.
- Shampoo your hair regularly, at least three times a week. Sprinkle some baking soda on your comb or brush so that it deodorizes your hair every time you run it through. Keep your comb/brush clean and dry all the time.
- Keep your genital and underarm hair trimmed as frequently as possible. Hair produces sweat which encourages bacterial growth and leads to body odor.
- Apply deodorant, antiperspirant or talc-free powder to keep armpits odor free. Antiperspirants are more effective if you sweat a lot because they actually stop you from sweating. Deodorants don’t.
- Wear breathable fabrics such as cotton and wool which absorb sweat more readily and allow your skin to breathe. And change into clean clothes daily to help fight bacteria.
- Drink lots of water to flush out toxins from your body and to control body odor. Water also helps to keep your system clean.
- Avoid eating cruciferous veggies, red meat, fish and spicy foods. Stick to whole grains, fresh fruits, and leafy vegetables with a high fiber content. They reduce body odor, help with digestion, improve your body’s detoxification system, and are beneficial to the fetus or breastfed baby.
Body odor is embarrassing for those who suffer from it. It can affect their mental and social well-being. For many, store-bought antiperspirants and deodorants which contain harmful chemicals can do more harm than good. So, the use of natural deodorant is highly recommended. To get rid of body odor naturally and effectively, try these remedies and let us know how they worked for you.