For many people, antiperspirant alone is enough to keep body odor at bay, but others suffer from excessive sweating and underarm odor that doesn't seem to go away. If you're in the latter camp, you don't need to live with this embarrassing problem. In part, how you smell depends on what you eat, drink and wear. You can sometimes improve body odor just by adjusting your diet, for example. Odor-causing bacteria thrive on your underarms, so keeping your skin clean is another key to smelling fresh.
Cut back on caffeine. The stimulant boosts the activity of apocrine glands, and that can make you sweat more. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate and other foods contain caffeine.
Eat plenty of chlorophyll-rich plants, such as kale, spinach and other leafy greens. Chlorophyll is a natural deodorizer. If you don't eat enough vegetables, consider taking a chlorophyll supplement. Wheat grass supplements have a similar effect.
Limit the amount of onions, garlic, red meat and spicy food that you eat. All of these things may cause your sweat to smell bad.
Cut back on choline-rich foods, such as fish, liver, eggs and legumes. If your body odor improves, these and similar foods might be the cause of the smell. Some people can't metabolize foods that contain a high amount of choline. They may give off a fishy smell when they eat these things.
Quit smoking or using tobacco products, if applicable. The smell of tobacco comes out through your skin and makes your sweat smell unpleasant.
Wear loose, breathable garments so your underarms get some fresh air. Tight-fitting shirts constrict underarms, so they're more likely to sweat and develop an odor. Cotton, wool and silk shirts are usually very breathable.
Take a shower or bath daily to keep underarm odor away. Wash with warm water and an antibacterial soap. When you're done bathing, pat your underarms dry with a towel. Bacteria and microorganisms thrive in moist environments.
Shave off your underarm hair. Bacteria can cling to underarm hair, so getting rid of it will help reduce odor. Shave in the shower, if possible. The warm water softens hair, so it's easier to remove.
Wipe your underarms with pre-moistened towelettes or baby wipes when you can't shower. These often contain antibacterial ingredients, so they'll nix odor in a pinch.
Splash your armpits with rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or apple-cider vinegar to get rid of odor quickly. These change the skin's pH level and prevent bacteria from growing. Vinegar typically has a strong smell until it dries.
Apply an antiperspirant or deodorant after showering and before you go to bed at night. By applying the product before you go to sleep, it has time to sink into your skin overnight. Aluminum antiperspirants work well to control sweat, but they can also irritate some people's skin. Consider buying a deodorant that contains green tea extract. It's a natural and safe antibacterial.
Things You'll Need
Pre-moistened towelettes or baby wipes
Rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or apple-cider vinegar
If you sweat excessively from your armpits, feet, scalp and other body parts, you might have a condition called hyperhidrosis. Another condition, bromhidrosis, causes very smelly body odor that's hard to control. If your body odor doesn't improve after self-treatment, see a doctor for help.