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How To Get Rid Of Underarm Odor (Smelly Armpits)

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How To Get Rid Of Underarm Odor (Smelly Armpits) April 17, 2018

Your sweat-stained top and the pungent odor wafting from your armpits are immediate reminders of the rising mercury levels. Underarm odor is a major turn-off. It is not like your sweat smells any better during winters, but summers are definitely the worst. And no matter how much you shower, it just seems futile. Although deodorants help to a large extent and make you stink less throughout the day, using them is not a permanent solution. If you are looking for natural alternatives as opposed to chemical-based deodorants and want to achieve long-term results, this article is just what you need. Scroll down!

Table Of Contents

What Causes Underarm Odor?
14 Home Remedies For Underarm Odor
How To Stop Smelling Bad

What Causes Underarm Odor?

Underarm odor, like body odor, is mainly linked to the apocrine glands.

These glands are often found in the genital area, nipples, armpits, breasts, and ears. While they are responsible for the secretion of milk in the breasts and earwax in the ears, they help in the secretion of sweat in your genital area, nipples, and underarms.
It is the sweat produced by these glands that produces odor. This odor, which may sometimes be foul-smelling, is a result of bacteria breaking down the protein-rich sweat.

Underarm odor is also noticed in children, who usually don’t develop foul-smelling body odor. But when they do, it might be due to certain factors or an underlying medical condition. The factors that lead to the development of body odor in children are:

  • Precocious puberty
  • Fish Odor Syndrome
  • Synthetic clothing
  • More sweat glands
  • Diet that consists of smelly foods like onions
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, phenylketonuria, and hyperhidrosis.

Whatever the cause of your smelly underarms may be, you can get rid of the problem by following the simple home remedies discussed below.

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14 Home Remedies For Underarm Odor

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Iodine
  3. Essential Oil
  4. Witch Hazel Or Tea Tree Oil
  5. Baking Soda
  6. Lemon Juice
  7. Hydrogen Peroxide
  8. Coconut Oil
  9. Garlic
  10. Aloe Vera
  11. Boric Acid
  12. Castor Oil
  13. Epsom salt
  14. Potato

How To Get Rid Of Underarm Odor Naturally

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A small bowl of apple cider vinegar
  • Cotton balls
What You Have To Do
  1. Take some apple cider vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Dip a cotton ball in this and apply it directly to your underarms.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily – every morning after a bath, and every night before going to bed.

Why This Works

The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar, along with its antimicrobial properties, can neutralize the environment in the underarm area (1). This helps in the destruction of the odor-causing bacteria. Regular use of apple cider vinegar can also help in preventing the accumulation of bacteria.

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2. Iodine

2. Iodine Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A few drops of iodine
  • A soft brush
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a few drops of iodine and apply it to both the underarms.
  2. Scrub your underarms gently with a soft brush.
  3. Leave the mixture on for about 3 minutes after scrubbing and then go ahead with your shower.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Iodine can help in sterilizing your armpits and restore the pH with its antiseptic properties (2). This remedy can help in getting rid of foul-smelling underarms over time.

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3. Essential Oils

a. Lavender Essential Oil

a. Lavender Essential Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 4-5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a glass of water.
  2. Pour this into a spray bottle and spray directly on your underarms.
  3. Alternatively, you can also mix lavender oil with any carrier oil and apply it to your underarms.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Lavender oil is used to treat various skin and health issues. Its pleasant fragrance helps mask the odor, and its antibacterial properties kill the bacteria present in the underarms (3), (4).

b. Tea Tree Oil

b. Tea Tree Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two drops of tea tree oil to two tablespoons of water.
  2. Using a cotton pad, apply this mixture to both your underarms.
  3. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to a bottle of water and use it as a spray.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily for effective results.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil is one of the best remedies to combat underarm odor. Its astringent and antimicrobial properties help minimize the pores in your underarms and fight the odor-causing bacteria in the area (5), (6).

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4. Witch Hazel

4. Witch Hazel Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A few drops of witch hazel
  • Cotton balls
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball and apply it directly to your underarms.
  2. Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of witch hazel in water and use it as a natural antiperspirant.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this every morning and evening.

Why This Works

Witch hazel is another great remedy that works as a natural antiperspirant. It can help lower the pH of your skin, thereby killing the odor-causing bacteria and combating underarm odor (7).

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5. Baking Soda

5. Baking Soda Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix baking soda and lemon juice in equal quantities.
  2. Apply it directly to your underarms and leave it on for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Take a shower.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily for a few weeks.

Why This Works

Baking soda keeps your underarms dry and sweat-free. Its antibacterial properties fight the bacteria that cause the foul smell (8), (9).

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6. Lemon Juice

6. Lemon Juice Pinit

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You Will Need

1/2 lemon

What You Have To Do
  1. Take half a lemon and rub it directly on your underarms.
  2. Leave the juice on until it dries and then wash it off with water.
  3. If you have sensitive skin, you can mix the juice of half a lemon with half a cup of water and apply the mixture to your underarms using a cotton ball.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily until you notice any improvement.

Why This Works

Lemons are highly acidic and possess bactericidal properties (10). This can help reduce the pH of your skin and also makes it uninhabitable for the odor-causing bacteria (11).

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7. Hydrogen Peroxide

7. Hydrogen Peroxide Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and add it to a cup of water.
  2. Soak a cotton pad in this solution and wipe your underarms with it.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this whenever you sweat profusely.

Why This Works

Hydrogen peroxide is widely used for its antiseptic properties that kill the bacteria that are causing your underarms to stink (12).

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8. Coconut Oil

8. Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

Coconut oil (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some coconut oil on your fingers and apply it directly to your underarms.
  2. Leave it on until it is absorbed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily, preferably just after taking a bath.

Why This Works

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, which are powerful antimicrobial agents that can keep the odor-causing bacteria at bay and restore the pH of your skin (13).

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9. Garlic

9. Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

Garlic (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Chew on some garlic cloves every day.
  2. If the strong flavor bothers you, just add some minced garlic to your daily diet.
  3. You may also consider taking garlic supplements.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this daily.

Why This Works

As surprising as it may sound, garlic consumption may reduce body odor (14). This could probably be due to its excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

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10. Aloe Vera

10. Aloe Vera Pinit

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You Will Need

Aloe vera gel (as required)

What You Have To Do
  • Take a little aloe vera gel on your fingers and apply it directly to your underarms.
  • Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  • You can also drink about one-fourth cup of aloe vera juice daily.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Why This Works

Aloe vera is a rich source of antioxidants and also has antibacterial properties (15). This makes it one of the best remedies for eliminating underarm odor. While aloe vera juice can help detox your body and reduce the foul-smelling odor, its topical application can eliminate the bacteria responsible for causing smelly underarms (16).

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[ Read: 2018’s Best Aloe Vera Gels Available In India – Our Top 10 Picks ]

11. Boric Acid

11. Boric Acid Pinit

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You Will Need

Boric acid (as required)

What You Have To Do

Take a little boric acid and dust it on your underarms daily.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times a day, preferably after a shower.

Why This Works

Being acidic and bacteriostatic in nature, boric acid is capable of reducing the pH of your skin, thus making the survival of bacteria difficult (17). This can prove to be quite helpful in getting rid of foul smelling underarms (18).

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12. Castor Oil

12. Castor Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

Castor oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some castor oil and apply it to both the underarms.
  2. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

Why This Works

Castor oil is derived from the castor plant and is used for its wide range of benefits. One of its surprising benefits is its ability to reduce foul-smelling odor. The credit for this could be given to the antibacterial properties it possesses, which can keep the odor-causing bacteria at bay (19).

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13. Epsom Salt

13. Epsom Salt Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Bathwater
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bathwater.
  2. Soak in the water for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this every alternate day.

Why This Works

Epsom salt usually promotes perspiration to help your body release any toxins that could be responsible for causing foul body odor. The sulfur in Epsom salt exhibits antibacterial properties that can help eliminate the odor-causing bacteria (20), (21).

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14. Potato

14. Potato Pinit

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You Will Need

1 potato

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a potato and cut it into thin slices.
  2. Rub a slice directly on your underarms and allow it to dry.
  3. Apply your deodorant over it.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily

Why This Works

Potatoes can help control perspiration and also kill the bacteria present in your underarms by lowering the pH of your skin. This is because potatoes are slightly acidic and possess antimicrobial properties (22), (23), (24).
In addition to these remedies, you can also make a few changes to your lifestyle to avoid this problem.

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How To Stop Smelling Bad

  • Shower at least once daily.
  • Use a good antibacterial soap.
  • Use freshly laundered towels after each bath.
  • Use a good deodorant or antiperspirant.
  • Opt for natural clothing made of wool or cotton.
  • Keep your underarm hair trimmed.
  • Stay away from smelly foods like curries and onions.
  • Consume more fruits, vegetables, chicken, and fish.
  • Drink lots of water.

These remedies and tips can go a long way in helping you get rid of foul-smelling underarms for good. Did you find this article helpful? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What does it mean when your body odor changes?

If your odor smells different, it could hint at an underlying medical condition. A sweet smelling odor could be a sign of diabetes due to high levels of ketones in your blood, whereas a bleach-like smell could be an indication of liver or kidney disease.

Is armpit odor sexually attractive?

Yes, certain body odors are indeed connected to sexual attraction. Humans subconsciously choose a potential mate based on body odor.

Which soap works best for underarm odor?

You can use any skin-friendly antibacterial or deodorant soap to get rid of underarm odor.

What diseases can cause bad body odor?

Medical conditions that are known to cause bad body odor are:

• Diabetes
• Thyroid problems
• Kidney or liver dysfunction
• Genetic disorders like trimethylaminuria

Does dry skin affect your odor?

Dry skin rarely causes body odor. In fact, when your skin is dry, it becomes harder for the bacteria that are living on your skin to break down your sweat into acids.

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