Home health and wellness tips 9 effective tips to fight body odor

9 effective tips to fight body odor

by Vidya Sury July 11, 2014 11 comments
body odor

The minute we hear the acronym BO for body odor, we just can’t help involuntarily wrinkling our noses…it is as if the smell has already invaded our senses. ugh!

Being around someone who stinks is never a pleasant experience. It is crazy how something as simple as body odor can rule our lives especially if we happen to work with colleagues or mingle with people who stink.

I remember, years ago, there was one parent at my son’s school who stank. She had the habit of making gestures that involved raising her arms as she spoke, sending out waves of nausea for the rest of us. Mind you, I am very fond of her – she’s a gem of a person; but that smell…freaked us all out. We so wanted to tell her but were wary of hurting her feelings.

body odor

The thing I find really funny, though is how babies put up with all their mama-smells.

Body odor usually comes from sweat. Some people sweat a lot, some sweat less. Some people’s sweat stinks and some people’s, not so much.

Just so you know, sweating is absolutely healthy and in fact, essential. We must sweat to cool our body. Still, hanging out with someone who just stepped out of the gym on a really warm day can make you gag. It won’t be an experience you want to keep repeating!

Why does sweat stink?

It doesn’t. Sweat is just water plus salt and is odor-free. The smelly part comes in when it mixes with the skin’s bacteria. That’s when it makes its presence felt on your nose. And incidentally, your armpits do not hold the copyright to your body odor. There are other parts of your body that share the credit. These include:

  • your feet (ever been near a schoolboy who took off his shoes and socks and swung them around?)
  • the groin (enough said)
  • the upper thighs

There are other areas, but these three are the winners.

Other causes of body odor include:

  • alcohol
  • tobacco
  • stress
  • diabetes
  • caffeine
  • kidney disease
  • synthetic fabrics
  • lack of magnesium and zinc
  • garlic and onions
  • spicy foods

Can you avoid body odor?

To a very large extent, yes. You can start with personal hygiene, which involves staying clean and dry. Then there are lifestyle changes you can make.

Here are 9 tips to minimize body odor

Maintain hygiene

On the hygiene front, bathe every day. At least once. If you sweat profusely, you may want to bathe more often. When you wash your skin, you give that bacteria a run for its money, causing you to sweat less and therefore, stink less. You certainly do NOT want that sweat staying on your skin like an invitation for bacteria, do you? Didn’t think so!

Use antibacterial soap

To wage the war against bacteria, use an antibacterial soap to control how you smell.

Dry yourself completely

After you bathe, dry yourself completely, especially in those areas where you tend to sweat the most. Think between the toes, fingers, behind the knees, the neck – you know where you sweat. The drier your skin, the harder it is for bacteria to set up their home there. Bacteria prefer warmth and moisture.


If you are hirsute, consider removing your underarm hair to prevent bacteria from setting up shop there.

Use deodorant

Invest in a natural deo or antiperspirant of your choice. Remember that deos only mask the stink and do not prevent sweating. Antiperspirants have aluminum-based chemicals to control sweating – you don’t really want to stop sweating and hold those toxins back in your body – so look for a combination of deo + antiperspirant. body odor

Pick your fabric

What about your clothes? Opt for natural fibers like cotton, silk, and wool that allow your skin to breathe freely. If you’re a gym nut, choose fabrics that absorb the sweat so your skin stays dry, not clammy and wet.

Do your laundry

Wash your clothes regularly. What? You’d be surprised how some people wear the same clothes over and over. So wash those garments, especially the ones you use for your workout. During summer, change often to stay fresh and fragrant.

Pay attention to your socks and shoes

Next, socks and shoes. Use socks made of absorbent materials, preferably cotton or wool to keep your feet dry. Do change socks often. Use foot powders that absorb sweat. Use shoes made of materials that breathe. If you are blessed with super-sweaty feet, make sure your shoes dry completely before you can use them again. Best thing to do is gift yourself an alternate pair (or two) so that one pair can catch its breath while you use the other one. Don’t forget to air your feet occasionally to keep them fresh.

Watch your diet

Did you know your diet makes a big impact on how your sweat smells? Spicy and fatty food, especially. Fatty foods – that’s a whole new post! Include plenty of fiber in your diet. Drink lots of water to flush out your system and stay hydrated.


body odor

What if the body odor doesn’t go away?

Sometimes, body odor can be because of an underlying cause. If you sweat so much that your normal routine gets messed up, you must consult your doctor. If you suffer from night sweats and have no idea why, your doctor may be able to uncover an underlying medical condition that causes it and needs to be treated.

The main thing with body odor is to be clean, dry, and smell good. It is a health issue. And one that is important.

So do you have a funny body odor story to share?

Come on, out with it in the comments!

Let’s smile together!

And if you’ve been trying to read what’s in the featured pic…

body odor


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Anita July 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Body Odour is indeed a cause for concern, Vidyaji 🙂
You have shared so many helpful points to avoid BO.

I have shared some BO & Smelly experiences in my post- “Close Encounters Of The Smelly Kind”

It was for a contest & despite including so many smells, it’s another story that the Judges didn’t feel it was smelly enough! 🙂

kalpana solsi July 11, 2014 at 7:35 pm

The ladies compartment of the Mumbai local trains have the privilege of being the concentration camps of body odors. Sweaty ladies packed like a can of sardines have no option but to breathe polluted air. But now the Metro trains have come to the rescue with air-conditioned trains.
kalpana solsi recently posted…clouds

Aditi July 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

My elder cousin was (in)famous for his smelly feet! Already my face has turned into ‘eww’ just thinking about days he would deliberately disgust us by removing his shoes in the drawing room. BO is a great turn off!
Aditi recently posted…The Curse

Kajal July 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Those are some great tips…I might use some…summers are terrible this side of the country…thanks Vidya
Kajal recently posted…Carefree

Mary Stephenson July 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

This reminded me of a couple of incidents. There was a guy from a temp agency, he was to work in the office. I felt sorry for him, but I knew it would not last long. He had a leather jacket with his BO and it made the whole office smell awful. If only he had left the jacket in his car, he might have been able to keep the job. I was working in the warehouse at the time and had to go into the office and the smell would be really strong. I think he lasted about 2 days.

Another company, I was working in the shipping office and we would have truck drivers waiting for loads. On this occasion the driver came in and we opened up all the doors and turned the fans on. He must have weighed 450 lbs. Probably too big to wipe his bottom very well. He smelled so bad, we told him he could wait in the warehouse or in his truck and we would let him know when his load was ready. It takes a lot to make me gag and throw up. But I had to get out of there really fast and I was doing dry heaves all the way down the hall to the bathroom. That was the worst body odor I have ever smelled. I suppose when you live in a truck and travel like that no one tells you to take a shower, loose some weight so you can clean your bottom. I am sure he could not have been able to considering he was so wide, his hands could have not reached that area due to all his body fat. It was a sad sight, but I am sure on the road he snacked on junk food all the time.


Proactive Indian July 12, 2014 at 8:29 am

Comprehensive post on BO, its causes and remedies.
Years back, I had a colleague who had a terrible BO problem. Despite following all the tips you’ve described, he would stink even on a winter morning. Like you described the parent at your son’s school, we were very fond of him – he was a gem of a person; but that smell…freaked us all out. We so wanted to tell her, but we were wary of hurting his feelings.
Proactive Indian recently posted…The Trust Factor

PhenoMeanrgingen a bull backs before chnon July 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

Oh these are Smell tips…..Err I mean swell :P. Boroline’s Soothol is a good after bath lotion to apply. It keeps you and the others around you fresh(I dont see their faces crinkling when I am around :D)

PhenoMeanrgingen a bull backs before chnon recently posted…Dark Clouds

Shailaja V July 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

I am both admiring the precision in the post and wrinkling my nose at the pictures 🙂

Great post, Vidya.

John July 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

A well written article vidhya. You would like this site i guess http://www.braindirector.com

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Debbie July 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Excellent tips Vidya! Add hypothyroidism to your list of causes for excessive perspiration. Been there, so I know. Thankfully, the deo+antiperspirant solutions out there are effective. I once worked in an office with someone who had B.O. Nobody said anything to her about it, for fear of offending, as you mentioned. She was such a nice person and good at her job, but, we all tried to keep our distance.
Debbie recently posted…BLACK and WHITE – PHOTO FRIDAY

simple girl July 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

OMG.. did you read my mind ? I have been plagued by this BO problem a lot lately. Reason being one of my colleagues who is not a gem of a person and who stinks badly. I dread talking to him. But the irony is he sits near me and it sucks .. 🙁 ..
And the post is great, reminding us the basic hygiene pointers ..
Other than BO the smell of smoke after the colleagues come back from their smoking sessions is nauseating too …
simple girl recently posted…The farewell


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