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25 Effective Home Remedies For Reducing Body Odor

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25 Effective Home Remedies For Reducing Body Odor October 31, 2017

Sweating, in general, is actually the body’s natural way to regulate its temperature. However, the body odor that comes with it can be a major turn off.

Deodorants are one of the best-known ways to combat body odor. But of late, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the chemicals used in deodorants and their cumulative effect on the human body. Therefore, many people are looking for safer and natural alternatives to deal with the issue. Read on to know about the natural remedies that can help you get rid of body odor.

But first, let’s look at the causes.

What Causes Body Odor?

Body odor is produced when the bacteria that live on our skin break down the proteins in our sweat into different acids. Some people tend to think that it is the growth of bacteria on the skin that produces body odor, but in reality, it is this process that produces the unpleasant odor (1).

Every individual has a unique odor, which is influenced by parameters like age, diet, health, and gender (2).

The bacterial breakdown of the proteins in our sweat results in two acids – propionic acid and isovaleric acid.

Propionic acid is produced when propionibacteria break down amino acids. It has a pungent smell and is often associated with vinegar (3).

Isovaleric acid is also found in many kinds of cheese. It is produced by Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria (4).

The human body also has two types of sweat glands that are present all over our body. They are:

  • Eccrine Glands: These glands are found throughout the body. The sweat produced by the eccrine glands reaches the surface of the skin via certain ducts. They are usually responsible for maintaining our body temperature (5).
  • Apocrine Glands: These glands are usually responsible for the foul odor produced by our body. The apocrine glands are usually found in our armpits, eyelids, genital area, and breasts. They are responsible for the secretion of fat droplets in breast milk and the production of earwax in the ears. In the armpits and groin, these glands usually give off an odor and are therefore known as scent glands (6).

Though body odor is a natural phenomenon, it can affect our confidence and personality. Given below are 18 home remedies to get rid of this pesky problem.

How To Get Rid Of Body Odor

  1. Oils
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Epsom Salt
  4. Fenugreek Tea
  5. Fennel
  6. Green Tea
  7. Tea Bags
  8. Baking Soda
  9. Lemon Juice
  10. Tomato Juice Bath
  11. Milk Of Magnesia
  12. Rose Water
  13. Rubbing Alcohol
  14. Witch Hazel
  15. Neem Leaves
  16. Arrowroot
  17. Parsley
  18. Cornstarch

Home Remedies For Body Odor

1. Oils

Some oils are known to have various properties that help combat body odor (7). A combination of these oils is also often used to address this issue. The best oils for body odor include:

a. Coconut Oil

a. Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of citric acid powder
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Rub a small amount of coconut oil directly on the sweat-prone areas of your body.
  2. For foul body odor, mix the citric acid powder with water and use it as the last rinse before you step out of the shower. Concentrate on the armpits and the groin area.
  3. Towel dry your body and apply coconut oil.
How Often You Need To Do This

This can be done daily.

Why This Works

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known to eliminate the bacteria present in our body, thus helping in getting rid of body odor.

b. Tea Tree Oil

You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Dilute the tea tree oil with water.
  2. Dab the mixture directly on your underarms and other areas.
How Often You Need To Do This

Follow this regimen daily for best results.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and is also well known for its antibacterial properties (8). Being an antiseptic, tea tree oil can help in warding off the bacteria and fungus present on the skin, which, in turn, prevents the occurrence of foul odor.

c. Lavender Oil

c. Lavender Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix lavender essential oil with the cornstarch and baking soda.
  2. Store the mixture in a dark place for a couple of days.
  3. Apply this mixture as and when needed.
How Often You Need To Do This

This is a natural deodorant powder and can be used daily.

Why This Works

Lavender essential oil inhibits the growth of the odor-causing bacteria (9). And the floral essence it emanates is a bonus! Cornstarch and baking soda keep the skin dry, thereby preventing the accumulation of bacteria.

d. Peppermint Oil

You Will Need
  • 10 drops of peppermint oil
  • Water
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons of baking soda
What You Have To Do
  1. You can either apply a few drops of peppermint oil directly or mix with water and spray onto your underarms.
  2. If you wish to keep your underarms dry, you need to mix peppermint oil, coconut/jojoba oil, cornstarch, and baking soda. Refrigerate this mixture and use as needed.
How Often You Need To Do This

This mixture can be applied on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Peppermint has antibacterial properties and can, therefore, be used as an alternative to store-bought deodorants (10). Coconut oil is also antibacterial and helps in killing the bacteria present on the skin. Cornstarch and baking soda keep the skin dry and sweat free.

e. Tamanu Oil

e. Tamanu Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Tamanu essential oil
  • Lavender oil OR tea tree oil OR peppermint oil
 What You Have To Do

Apply a few drops of tamanu oil directly to the problem area or mix it with any of the essential oils mentioned above and apply on your skin.

How Often You Need To Do This

This oil is safe for daily application and can be used as per your requirement.

Why This Works

Tamanu oil has a deep scent and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties that can help combat body odor (11).

f. Sage Oil 

You Will Need
  • Sage essential oil
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Sage oil can be diluted with water and sprayed directly onto your skin.
  2. You can also soak dry sage in hot water and use this water on the sweat-prone areas of your body. However, this oil should not be used on sensitive areas of the body.
How Often You Need To Do This

This remedy can be used on a regular basis.

Why This Works

The antibacterial nature of sage helps to combat the bacteria present on the skin while leaving a pleasant fragrance behind (12).

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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What You Need
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cotton balls
  • Water (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Apple cider vinegar can be directly applied to your underarms and other body parts using a cotton ball.
  2. Alternatively, half a cup of ACV can be mixed with one cup of water and used as a deodorant.
How Often You Need To Do This

As this is a natural alternative to store-bought deodorants, it can be used on a regular basis as per one’s requirement.

Why This Works

Being acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar is known for its ability to kill and prevent bacterial formation, which can, in turn, prevent the occurrence of foul body odor (13).

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3. Epsom Salt

3. Epsom Salt Pinit

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What You Need
  • Epsom salt
  • Hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Fill a bathtub or jacuzzi with hot water and pour about 2 to 3 cups of Epsom salt into it.
  2. Soak in the bath and relax.
How Often You Need To Do This

You can try this treatment 3 times a week for best results.

Why This Works

Epsom salt is an antioxidant and is known to detoxify our body. It also helps our body produce a hormone called serotonin, which helps it to relax. These properties of Epsom salt relieve stress and this, in turn, decreases sweat production, thereby eliminating foul odor from our body.

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4. Fenugreek Tea

4. Fenugreek Tea Pinit

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What You Need
  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 250 ml of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the fenugreek seeds to water and bring it to a boil till the quantity of water reduces to half.
  2. Drink this on an empty stomach every morning.
How Often You Need To Do This

You can continue drinking this every morning to detoxify your body.

Why This Works

Being an antioxidant, fenugreek flushes out all the toxins from our body. It also possesses antibacterial properties and inhibits any bacterial infection from spreading further (14). Fenugreek tea is thus believed to fight body odor naturally by treating its root cause.

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5. Fennel Seeds

5. Fennel Seeds Pinit

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What You Need
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the crushed fennel seeds to a cup of water and allow the mixture to boil.
  2. Strain the mixture.
  3. If required, add some honey for flavor.
How Often You Need To Do This

Consume it every morning until you get the desired result.

Why This Works

Some of the components present in fennel seeds are stimulants and promote the secretion of digestive and gastric juices in the stomach. They are also known to act as laxatives and can prevent body odor (15).

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6. Green Tea

6. Green Tea Pinit

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What You Need
  • Green tea leaves
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil enough water in a teapot and add the green tea leaves.
  2. Allow it to cool and then apply the strained extract to the sweat-prone areas of the body.
  3. Regular intake of green tea on an empty stomach can also help you deal with foul body odor.
How Often You Need To Do This

Apply this mixture on alternate days as daily application could be too drying for some skin types.

Why This Works

The antioxidants and tannic acid in green tea help combat body odor from within (16). While the external application of green tea helps to keep the skin dry and keeps the bacteria in check, daily intake of green tea helps to flush all the toxins out of the body.

[ Read: 20 Benefits Of Green Tea ]

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7. Tea Bags

7. Tea Bags Pinit

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What You Need
  • 4 tea bags
  • 2L of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the tea bags.
  2. Pour this tea into your regular bath and soak in it for 15-20 minutes.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this at least thrice a week.

Why This Works

The tannins present in tea keep the skin dry, thereby preventing sweat formation (17).

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8. Baking Soda

8. Baking Soda Pinit

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What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • Water (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Take the powdered baking soda in a bowl and brush it on all the sweat-prone areas of your body, such as your underarms.
  2. Dust off the extra powder and go about your day as usual.
  3. Alternatively, you can mix baking soda with a few drops of water to make a paste.
  4. Apply this paste to the underarms and other areas of your body.
  5. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Pat dry with a towel.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this daily for a few weeks.

Why This Works

Baking soda absorbs moisture, and hence, it prevents the formation of sweat. It not only kills the bacteria on the skin but also alkalizes the body and neutralizes the pungent odor that our body gives off (18).

[ Read: Can Baking Soda Whiten Your Underarms? ]

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9. Lemon Juice

9. Lemon Juice Pinit

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What You Need
  • 1 lemon
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Cut the lemon into two halves and rub it directly on your underarms.
  2. Allow it to dry completely. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  3. If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute lemon juice with a few drops of water and then apply it on the underarms.
How Often You Need To Do This

You can do this daily.

Why This Works

The acidic nature of lemon lowers the pH of our body, making it difficult for the bacteria to survive on our skin (19).

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10. Tomato Juice

10. Tomato Juice Pinit

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What You Need
  • 2 cups of tomato juice
  • 1 bucket of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Fill your bathtub with warm water and add the tomato juice to it.
  2. Soak in the bath and relax for 20 to 30 minutes.
How Often You Need To Do This

You can follow this procedure 3 to 4 times a week.

Why This Works

The acidic nature of tomatoes kills the bacteria present on the skin while its astringent properties minimize the pores and reduce sweat production (20).

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11. Milk Of Magnesia

11. Milk Of Magnesia Pinit

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What You Need
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Any essential oil (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Dab some milk of magnesia directly on your underarms.
  2. You can also mix it with a few drops of any essential oil, store it in a bottle, and spray onto your skin whenever required.
How Often You Need To Do This

Do this every morning or night on a regular basis.

Why This Works

Milk of magnesia is actually magnesium hydroxide suspended in water. Being an antacid, it is known to counteract the production of acid, and hence, it can help combat body odor (21). Milk of magnesia is also known to leave the skin relatively dry and odor free right from the first application.

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12. Rose Water

12. Rose Water Pinit

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What You Need
  • 3 tablespoons of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix rose water with apple cider vinegar.
  2. Store this mixture in a bottle and spray on your underarms and other body parts whenever required.
How Often You Need To Do This

Apply this daily for best results.

Why This Works

As rose water is an astringent, it reduces the size of the pores present on the skin, and this decreases sweat production (22). It also leaves behind a floral fragrance.

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13. Rubbing Alcohol

13. Rubbing Alcohol Pinit

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What You Need
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do

Take some drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and apply it to your underarms.

How Often You Need To Do This

This can be used on your underarms and other less sensitive body parts daily.

Why This Works

The antibacterial properties of rubbing alcohol eliminate all the surface bacteria present on the skin, and this prevents body odor  (23).

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14. Witch Hazel

14. Witch Hazel Pinit

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What You Need
  • Witch hazel
  • Cotton balls
What You Have To Do

Take a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball and dab it on your underarms and other sweat-prone areas of your body.

How Often You Need To Do This

You can use this on a daily basis as a substitute for your deodorant.

Why This Works

The astringent properties of witch hazel minimize the size of the pores on our skin, reducing the production of sweat to a great extent. Also, its acidic nature lowers the pH of the skin and makes the survival of the odor-causing bacteria impossible (24).

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15. Neem Leaves

15. Neem Leaves Pinit

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What You Need
  • A handful of neem leaves
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Grind the neem leaves to make a fine paste.
  2. Apply this paste on all the sweat-prone areas on your body.
  3. Allow it to dry and wash it off with warm water.
  4. Alternatively, boil some neem leaves in water. Strain the water and use it in your bath.
How Often You Need To Do This

Daily use is recommended for best results.

Why This Works

The antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties of neem help it to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria (25). It also removes all the toxins from within the body, eradicating the root cause of body odor.

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16. Arrowroot

16. Arrowroot Pinit

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What You Need

Arrowroot powder

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply arrowroot powder directly on your underarms and other areas of your body that sweat excessively.
  2. Leave it on for the rest of the day.
How Often You Need To Do This

Arrowroot powder can be used on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Arrowroot is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is a commonly used herb to treat rashes in babies (26). It keeps the skin dry, which, in turn, keeps the bacterial formation at bay.

[ Read: Top 45 Home Remedies To Treat Skin Rashes ]

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17. Parsley

17. Parsley Pinit

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What You Need
  • A teaspoon of parsley leaves
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the parsley leaves to water and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain and drink the water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Drink parsley water regularly for best results.

Why This Works

Parsley leaves have been known to possess anti-odor properties since ages. The presence of chlorophyll in these leaves is said to eliminate body odor and bad breath internally (27).

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18. Cornstarch

18. Cornstarch Pinit

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What You Need

Cornstarch powder

What You Have To Do
  1. Dust some cornstarch on your underarms and other sweaty areas of your body.
  2. Leave it on for the rest of the day.
How Often You Need To Do This

You can use this daily as a natural alternative to your deodorant.

Why This Works

The antibacterial properties of cornstarch help to keep the bacteria in check. Cornstarch also helps in keeping the skin dry, thereby decreasing the production of sweat (28).

Back To TOC

In addition to these remedies, maintaining basic hygiene and bathing daily, shaving the hair in the sweat-prone areas, wearing cotton clothes, and eating a healthy diet will help combat body odor at a faster pace. Here are a few tips to guide you.

Tips To Reduce Body Odor

  • Try and stick to an all-natural and aluminum-free deodorant.
  • Shower daily.
  • Spritz vinegar or rubbing alcohol on the sweat-prone areas.
  • Take green supplements such as chlorophyll or wheatgrass to combat body odor internally.
  • Wear clothing made of cotton so that your skin can breathe freely.
  • Use a natural sanitizer such as tea tree oil to wipe the sweat-prone areas from time to time.
  • Adopt a diet with less spicy food.
  • Detoxify your body regularly by consuming fenugreek seeds and green tea.

Foul body odor is not only embarrassing but can also turn out to be a mentally and socially disturbing phenomenon for many out there. For such individuals, the store-bought deodorants and antiperspirants could do more harm than good. Hence, the use of natural antiperspirants is highly recommended. Now that you know how to get rid of body odor naturally, what are you waiting for? Try these home remedies and let us know how they worked for you.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are the best foods that eliminate body odor?

Some of the best foods that help in the elimination of body odor are parsley leaves, wheatgrass, fenugreek seeds, and green tea.

What foods cause body odor?

Sulfur-containing foods like cabbage, broccoli, garlic, and onions can cause body odor (29).

What diseases can cause body odor?

Diabetes is often associated with a fruity body odor. In addition, liver and kidney failure may also result in foul-smelling body odor (30).

Is bad body odor genetic?

About one-third of the people who reported body odor issues were found to have a hereditary gene responsible for their condition. Trimethylaminuria is the genetic condition that produces foul body odor in affected individuals (31). However, altering one’s diet can help combat this condition.

How can you get body odor out of clothes?

In some cases, it becomes next to impossible to get rid of the foul body odor from the person’s clothes. No matter what you do, the stubborn odor just refuses to leave your clothing! In such situations, the following steps will help you easily overcome this issue.

  • Gather the affected clothes and toss them into the washing machine
  • Fill it with warm water
  • Add about two cups of vinegar to the machine and set it to spin for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Turn off the washing machine and soak the clothing in water for at least 4 hours
  • Add a bleach-free detergent and turn the machine on
  • Complete a wash cycle and remove the clothing from it immediately
  • Dry the clothes in fresh air to get rid of any remaining foul odor

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