6 Tips for Reducing Body Odor

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on June 02, 2020

Ever had that moment where you wonder if you smell, well, not so great? It happens. But you can do a few things to make body odor go away.

1. Keep Yourself Squeaky Clean

Shower at least once a day, and you'll wash away sweat and get rid of some of the bacteria on your skin.

Sweat by itself is basically odorless. But when the bacteria that live on your skin mix with sweat, they multiply quickly and raise quite a stink.

Washing thoroughly, especially the areas where you tend to sweat, can help with body odor.

2. Use Antibacterial Soap

Washing thoroughly with an antibacterial soap bar will help get rid of some bacteria, which can help with the odor.

Look for the word "antibacterial" on the soap's packaging.

3. Towel Off Well

Once you've showered, dry yourself completely, paying close attention to any areas where you sweat a lot.

If your skin is dry, it's harder for bacteria that cause body odor to breed on it.

4. Use 'Industrial Strength' Antiperspirants

Once you’re clean and dry, use a strong antiperspirant on your underarms. These have aluminum chloride, a chemical that helps keep sweat at bay, and they often also have a deodorant in them. Use it twice a day -- once in the morning and once in the evening.

You don’t need a prescription to get a powerful antiperspirant. Look for ones that say they’re higher strength.

If you think you need more help, ask your doctor about prescription antiperspirants.  

5. Keep Your Clothes Clean

Change clothes often when you're sweating heavily. Fresh clothes help keep body odor down.

Be sure to change your socks as well, especially if you tend to have foot odor. Use deodorant powders in your shoes, replace insoles often, and go barefoot when possible.

6. Cut Out or Cut Back On Certain Foods or Drinks

What you eat affects your body odor. Foods that tend to make you sweat more, such as hot peppers or other spicy foods, might also lead to body odor. And the aroma of foods like onions or garlic can be carried in your sweat. Drinks with caffeine or alcohol may also make you sweat more.

Show Sources


Patricia Farris, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Tulane University, New Orleans; spokeswoman, American Academy of Dermatology.

Eric Schweiger, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City.

WebMD Medical Reference: "Preventing Body Odor."

Dee Anna Glaser, MD, professor of dermatology, vice chairwoman, department of dermatology, St. Louis University School of Medicine; president, International Hyperhidrosis Society.

International Hyperhidrosis Society: "Ask the Expert."

Havlicek, J. Chemical Senses, October 2006.

Porter, R. Chemical Senses, August 1986.

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