If you suspect your body has a bad smell, you might need to change your personal hygiene routine. Even if the same soap and deodorant have worked for you for years, your body chemistry can change during adolescence, pregnancy or menopause. Changes in diet, medications such as antibiotics and imbalances in the bacteria in your body can also leave you smelling bad. While severe, unremitting body odor can be a sign of health issues, you can usually battle offensive smells with diligent personal care.
Shower or bathe at least once each day, even if you think you don't need to. Wash your entire body with antibacterial soap, which helps eliminate the bacteria on your skin that combines with sweat to cause odor. If you find that you have particularly strong genital odor, use a cleansing liquid formulated especially for the vaginal area. Use a clean washcloth for every shower, and change your towel after no more than two or three uses. If you exercise during the day, shower again afterward.
Shampoo your hair regularly, at least once every two to three days. To keep it smelling fresh between shampoos, use dry shampoo or sprinkle your scalp with baking soda. Allow the powder to absorb excess scalp oils for 10 minutes and brush it through the length of your hair. Use a blow dryer on the cool setting to get rid of any powder that remains on your scalp. Wash your hairbrush with shampoo once a week to keep it clean.
Shave the hair under your armpits, and use a bikini-line trimmer to keep your pubic hair trimmed close. Hair traps bacteria and holds it close to the skin, where it can more easily combine with sweat to cause odor.
Apply deodorant to your underarms, and sprinkle deodorizing powder on the entire surface covered by your underwear. Aluminum-based antiperspirants might be more effective if you tend to sweat a lot, as the combination of sweat and underarm bacteria produces particularly stinky body odor. Carry deodorant and powder with you in your purse or gym bag and reapply as needed throughout the day.
Wear clean clothes made of breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen. Never wear your clothes for more than a day without a wash, especially socks and underwear. To help fight odors in the laundry, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. If your underwear or the armpits of your shirts are particularly smelly, spray them with white vinegar and allow it to soak in for 15 minutes before laundering.
Eliminate pungent foods such as garlic, onions, curry and meat from your diet. Drink lots of water to flush out your system and eat plenty of foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables.
Things You'll Need
Dry shampoo or baking soda
Antiperspirant or deodorant
If you prefer to avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants but want to help eliminate underarm sweat, dust on plain baking soda or cornstarch with a large powder brush after applying your deodorant.
If your body odor or excessive sweating persists despite improvements in hygiene, visit your doctor. A dermatologist can provide a prescription for clinical-strength antiperspirant or injections or medication to help stop sweating.