I'm not that smelly but I usually get an bad odor on my under arm if I get sweaty.. and also if I forgot to put some deodorant.

I take a bath daily. Just my problem is when my underarm get sweat, it will produce a bad odor, but not too strong.

Is there any way you could suggest??

  • It sounds like you already know deodorant is the solution, but you "forgot to do it." I'm not sure what you are asking. Dec 6, 2017 at 14:18
  • @RobertCartaino sometimes deodorant is not the solution since when I get sweat even if I applied deodorant, i got a bad odor
    – rjps12
    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:43
  • If regular baths and deodorants don't prevent it, perhaps check with a doc? Perhaps there's an infection?
    – NVZ
    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:08
  • As someone with a naturally hairy bod, I find that deodorants work a lot better if I trim back my underarm hair. Don't have to shave it, just crop it back.
    – peterG
    Dec 17, 2017 at 22:39
  • Drink 1 tbsp fenugreek (methi daana) seed tea very first thing in the morning daily, it will eventually remove odour from your body.
    – wui
    Apr 15, 2018 at 18:38

8 Answers 8


Baking Soda

Baking soda is supposed to work great. Either scrubbed on while washing, left for a while and then washed off, or applied with a little bit of water and left on. It's supposed to absorb any odors, and help scrub & wash away bacteria.

Could optionally mix in some:

  • Rubbing Alcohol - eliminate bacteria
  • Lemon Juice - eliminate bacteria & smells "lemony fresh"
  • Corn Starch - absorbent
  • Coconut oil - eliminate bacteria & add fragrance
  • Essential oils (a few drops of Tea Tree, Lemon, Lavender, Vanilla) - eliminate bacteria & add fragrance
  • Alum Powder - antiperspirant, antibacterial. Note: There's several different chemicals known as "alum", and this Is Alum Safe? Uses and Health Concerns link says:

    Alum in deodorant may be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Although it is deemed safe enough for this purpose by the Food and Drug Administration, there may be negative health consequences from continued exposure to the aluminum ions in the alum.


Washing with vinegar is also supposed to help eliminate bacteria & odors. Could be combined with baking soda, or used separately.


  • Also watch out when scrubbing not to damage your skin, especially if using vinegar or lemon juice. If redness or irritation occurs, stop.
  • See the source link for more info like getting odors out of clothes & upholstrey, and:
  • "excessive sweating and body odor may also be caused by several diseases like liver problems, bad breath, cervical cancer, ketoacidosis, hyperthyroidism, etc. so its always better to consult your doctor."
  • @objectreference Welcome :) Please do remember to upvote any useful answers & pick a "winner" after checking which works best. Just don't use the old baking soda that's been in the fridge for a year ;-)
    – Xen2050
    Dec 7, 2017 at 20:07

Odour is created by bacteria, so killing off the bacteria also gets rid of the odour. Wiping it off skin is effective, but it is harder to remove from clothing which is usually the source of any bad smells.

You can get anti-bacterial clothing. Uniqlo pioneered this technology, which is based on some kind of lactose impregnation. It works quite well for preventing strong body odour.

  • thanks for this but i have no money to buy that uniqlo shirt lol
    – rjps12
    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:47

I am from Malaysia( which is a tropical country) . I was having this problem. Then, I started using daily " ENCHANTER" AND NIVEA " deodorant. The sweat foul smell (odor) has stopped after 1-2 weeks! It works well for on me!

  • While we do prefer an answer that typically uses something someone may already have around the house. However, I do like your answer since you understand the problem quite well.
    – L.B.
    Apr 20, 2018 at 13:25

User "a a a" points out that odor is created by bacteria. Because if this, you should be able to wipe your pits with rubbing alcohol periodically throughout the day to kill the bacteria and presumably remove the odor. If you are in an office that has a first aid kit, you may be able to find rubbing alcohol in the kit, or the kit may contain "alcohol wipes" (individually-packaged bits of gauze already saturated with alcohol). You could also buy some to keep with you or at your desk.

  • thanks for this! i tried that alcohol before every night but i think the odor gets back after a couple of hours
    – rjps12
    Dec 7, 2017 at 2:47
  • @objectreference I'm glad you tried it! Since the bacteria grows back every few hours, I mentioned that you should do this throughout the day. It's a bit of work, but it should do the job! Dec 7, 2017 at 17:25

Ongoing through all the above answers, I feel that tricks won't work until you control your sweat, hence adding up the below points for the same:

  1. Try to figure out the real cause to determine proper treatment.
  2. Try to select right antiperspirant, deodorant, or hybrid product for this problem.
  3. Try to shower daily as you have admitted that you are keeping this daily.
  4. Try to shave your armpits to reduce sweat buildup and keep this a routine.
  5. Try to wash shirts after each use.
  6. If going to consult a doctor, ask your doctor about medical treatment for sweating if it goes out of control.

Now please follow the following to reduce the odor:

  1. Try various natural deodorants

    • Try tomato pulp and lemon juice before bed daily
    • Try the paste of walnut leaves and eucalyptus.
  2. Try applying the deodorants properly as told on its cover.

  3. Try to shower more regularly as it can change your health conditions too.
  4. Wearing undershirts can also help you reduce sweating as it absorbs more sweat.
  5. Some recent studies reveal that strong smelling vegetables in your diet can also be a cause, so I suggest you to try it out.

Odour from sweat comes in three components, all with different qualities attached to them and different options to consider.

  1. Pheromones, like androstenone, are in low concentrations usually considered quite pleasant by the opposite sex (and some others, but let's not get overly complicated here). This component should not be a problem at all, otherwise abstain from erotic thoughts or other stimulating situations.

  2. You are what you eat and sometimes you smell like what you have eaten. Vegans have many problems, but as long as they also abstain from eating sulphur rich food like garlic, onions etc, they usually smell a lot better as the typical westerner, who is sometimes called bata-kusai in Japan (meaning butter stinker). Try to minimise eating stuff that smells offensive before you eat it! (That is according to the question as asked. In real life I'd say life-hackishly: stop worrying about that, offer others cheese and garlic instead.)

  3. Bacteria are feasting on anything that comes out of your glands. That cannot be entirely prevented, but taking a shower once in a day is usually enough to dilute the results of their metabolism to be virtually unnoticeable. After three days without cleaning however things will get quite intense for most humans.
    There is, however, an apparently nice option for Americans to consider: a recent product on the market, which I will not advertise here, claims to not replace but counterbalance the microbiome in your underarm pit with pre- and pro-biotics that eat your sweat and what the other odour producing bacteria excrete.
    Being just a product to buy, that's not a real life-hack. That would be replicating what the inverntors of those products did: find spot where horses take a mud bath and do likewise, regularly for time.

Killing all bacteria on your skin is usually a very bad idea, only encouraging the re-colonisation with nasty and unwanted ones.

Since this is tagged with "clothing": You might just starve the bacteria by wicking away the sweat rapidly (using natural fibres like cotton or wool, avoid synthetic fibres like polyester at all cost if any type of odour is of concern).

If you do want to stump their metabolism, go for the old advice from the Roman Pliny and use Alum-sticks:

It has the effect, also, of checking and dispersing perspiration, and of neutralizing offensive odours of the arm-pits. (very bowdlerised translation)

A real life hack in the sense of "thinking outside of the box" is:
if you are concerned with how your armpits smell, start to look at your feet!

That does not only mean to not only wash your armpits but also your feet. It means to entertain the idea that Your feet not only can taste things like garlic. Your feet can pick up an amazing variety of odours and distribute them throughout our body, ending up in so interesting places that there are quite a number of pretty tasteless youtube videos out there to illustrate the phenomenon. But since we want to improve things instead of entertaining teenagers, use something smelling nice as an inlay sole for your shoes. Cinnamon is a popular thing for exactly this kind of application in Vietnam. Cinnamon soles are a commercial product (so no links) but these kind of soles might be made at home with a variety of ingredients, producing a small but nice effect.

  • That "batakusai" is unusual, butter smells great... Is that term still used regularly, or when was it popular? Is it meant rudely like "butter stinker", or more like one of the other linked definitions (Western, European, exotic, outlandish, alien, smelling of butter)? Or do/have you lived in Japan, have first-hand experience?
    – Xen2050
    Dec 7, 2017 at 20:16
  • @Xen2050 The linguistic development is actually that it started as 'stinker' and grew to encompass the now primarily listed meanings. Odour perception and evaluation is highly framed by culture. More background here I prefer a cheese that smells really great to me, yet the dominant aroma is formed by a molecule even I would identify in a blind smell-test as vomit (it's Parmesan). Dec 7, 2017 at 20:23
  • 1500s-1800s, Interesting, I've no doubt that European sailors at sea for months would've probably had an "unusual smell" to say the least. I wonder if the term's still used today, doesn't seem very "PC", it's practically racist
    – Xen2050
    Dec 8, 2017 at 14:31

not sure if this is stating the obvious, but shower more? The "stale sweet" oder is generally the offensive smell. And if your washing it off before it starts to stink, then you are all good.

When I was bike communting I would often be showering 3 times a day. Sometimes four. (When I get up, after riding in to work, after riding home, before bed) When I got sweaty, I'ld shower.

The lifehack part is perhaps working out how you can shower away from home. The trick there would be to look for services targetted at people riding bikes. Many work places have a shower for people riding bikes.


Baby powder contains compounds that kill the bacteria (like zinc oxide). It can be unscented and using it is not as messy as the deodorant ads are tying to make it look – it is not a problem to use it even with dark clothes on.

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