Table of Contents
- Why Do Armpits Smell?
- Potential Health Issues Contributing to Body Odor
- When to See a Doctor
- Home Remedies to Banish Underarm Odor
- Strategic Soap and Water Washes
- Magnesium Oil
- Baking Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Crystal Rock
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Sandalwood Powder
- Rose Water
- Turnip Juice
- Tomato Pulp
- Baby Powder
- Wheatgrass Juice
- Witch Hazel
- Witch Hazel Elixir
- Walnut Leaves
- Tea Tree Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Do’s and Don’ts
If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of body odor, there are a number of natural remedies at your disposal to help keep you fresh and perspiration-free.
Each remedy included on today’s list is safe, time-tested, cost-effective, and easy to use.
Better yet, most of these fixes are easily accessible; chances are, you can pick up the ingredients with a quick walk, drive, or even a click of the computer mouse.
You may even have most of them in your home already.
To find out more about how to get rid of armpit odor, read on.
Chances are good that at least a few of these options will be the quick fix you’re looking for to keep body odor at bay.
Why Do Armpits Smell?
Why do armpits smell, anyway?
It seems like a simple question, but there are quite a few causes.
The good news is that there is much you can do to manage the situation.
Essentially, armpit smell is often caused by armpit hair itself.
Underarm hair traps sweat and bacteria, allowing odor-causing bacteria to proliferate.
Poor hygiene exacerbates the problem. Another major contributor to this embarrassing issue is diet.
Foods like garlic, curry, and other spicy dishes stimulate the body to produce sulfur, which produces the typical B.O. smell.
Other odor-causing culprits include anxiety, old age, heat and humidity, genetics, medical issues, and medication side effects.
Potential Health Issues Contributing to Body Odor
Health issues should always be ruled out as a cause of excessive perspiration.
One common health-related cause is anxiety.
In stressful situations, not only does the body produce more sweat, but such perspiration is known to be smellier, i.e. ‘stress sweat.’
The sweat that comes from glands located near the armpits (called ‘apocrine glands’) contains nutrients that bacteria feed off of.
The mixture of this sweat and bacteria causes the distinct ‘stress sweat’ smell.
Another potential cause of underarm odor includes excessive sweat production due to hormonal changes.
Genetics also play a major role in sweat production; talk to family members to see whether they have experienced or are currently experiencing similar issues and, if so, what they’ve done to keep sweat successfully at bay.
Other medical causes to consider are diabetes, medication interactions, and thyroid problems.
When to See a Doctor
No one should have to live with foul body odor — especially when there are so many simple, effective ways to combat it!
However, if you’ve tried every at-home method possible and nothing seems to be helping, it would be wise to consult your physician to determine whether an underlying medical condition might be at play.
In the event a side effect from medication or a hormonal change is responsible for the dampness and odor plaguing your underarms, your doctor will be able to assess your eligibility for a treatment that may be able to eliminate — or at least reduce — your perspiration problems.
The sooner you contact your physician, the sooner your doctor can begin treatment not only for body odor but also the health issue itself.
Home Remedies to Banish Underarm Odor
Strategic Soap and Water Washes
Though you’ve likely already covered this base, you might be surprised at the number of people who pass a bar of soap under their armpits once or twice and call it done.
Bathing strategically means bathing with a purpose: a mere wash likely won’t be enough to scrub all traces of odor.
Instead, gently scrub your armpits with a wet washcloth, bar soap, and water.
Rinse and repeat until all odor is gone (at least for the moment!)
Follow up with your antiperspirant method of choice.
Note: repetition is key.
For heavier, more persistent odor, you may require more than one — or even two — underarm passes fully to achieve odor-free armpits.
Anyone wondering how to get rid of armpit smell should consider the scent-killing superstar known as magnesium oil.
This oil has been used by many savvy odor sufferers to balance out a magnesium deficiency in the body, which can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell.
Magnesium oil can even be used in place of deodorant.
To use, simply apply the oil directly onto your armpits.
Since magnesium is a rock-like mineral, you’ll get maximum absorption by applying directly to the skin.
For even more convenient usage, make your own magnesium oil spray by adding approximately ten drops to a water bottle, and spray.
Alum is a natural mineral salt extracted directly from the soil and is often used as an active ingredient in organic crystal-based deodorants.
Aside from working as an additive in deodorant formulas, you can also use it directly for its more potent standalone antiperspirant potential.
To use, pour water on a piece of alum and rub it gently on your armpits for as long as it takes body odor to dissipate.
Repeat as many times as needed.
Since alum can be difficult to locate in stores, there is a variety of online natural products suppliers from whom to purchase.
You can also try alum powder, which is often easier to locate in-store.
Note: Use only the blunt side of the alum to rub on the armpits, and be careful to rub gently so as to avoid any cuts.
Strapped for time and/or cash, and looking for a time-tested remedy for how to stop armpit sweat?
Look no further than your kitchen.
To concoct your own baking soda paste, mix well one tablespoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of lemon juice, and apply to your underarms.
Find a comfy spot and let the paste stand for five minutes (or more).
Finish off with a clean-water rinse.
Considering the fact that baking soda is often used to combat other odor emitters such as litter boxes and refrigerators, it may just be the solution you’ve been looking for to keep your body odor under control.
Also try mixing a small amount of cornstarch with baking soda and applying to armpits, to absorb excess sweat.
Another version of this remedy is to substitute lemon juice for water for a gentler post-shower alternative.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is widely considered one of the easiest and most effective natural remedies for the underarm smell.
It can even be used in place of deodorant since its antibacterial properties work to prevent bacterial growth.
Apple cider vinegar helps to eliminate body odor by altering the pH balance of the skin.
Simply pour some in a bowl, dip a cotton ball and gently wipe your underarms until any odor dissolves.
Alternatively, you can make your own ACV spray by mixing equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. B.O. begone!
Alcohol — we’re not talking whiskey here! — is another useful remedy for combating armpit smell.
100% alcohol works to fight odor by killing odor-causing bacteria, as well as by helping to close pores; plus, it evaporates easily and eliminates (as opposed to merely masking) the smell.
To banish body odor, soak a few cotton balls in alcohol and gently rub onto your underarms.
You can also dilute alcohol by mixing it with water in a spray bottle for a less pungent solution.
Crystal rock is one of the more unconventional but equally potent solutions for neutralizing offensive armpit odor.
Crystal rock — which is made from mineral salt — functions as an antiperspirant by blocking sweat glands.
There is a variety of organic deodorants on the market (both in stores as well as online) that include crystal rock as a safe, natural key ingredient.
Keep in mind that, as the crystal rock can accumulate odorous bacteria over the course of several uses, go ahead and shave the top off the rock if you notice any unpleasant smells.
Wondering how to get rid of body odor on a budget? Hydrogen peroxide.
This natural solution works by neutralizing body odor.
Prepare your own solution by adding one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water.
Stir the solution well, grab a clean washcloth and then immerse it in your hydrogen peroxide blend.
Apply to your underarms for a couple of minutes, or as long as required.
To save time, soak two washcloths in the solution and use simultaneously (one washcloth per armpit!)!
Also, try using a spray bottle to apply hydrogen peroxide directly under your arms to banish unpleasant odor with minimal mess.
Though not as easy to find in stores as some of the smell-fighters on this list, Sandalwood Powder can nevertheless provide an effective and aromatic solution to underarm odor.
Not only is it a potent smell dampener, but its soothing aroma can also help to make you feel relaxed and at ease.
It can be found in many natural grocery stores, as well as online.
To prepare your own sandalwood powder paste, add a sufficient amount of water to the powder until you achieve your desired consistency.
Mix well and then apply directly to your armpits.
Allow the powder to dry, and then rinse with clean water. Repeat as necessary.
Rose water may well offer you another soothing, fresh-scented remedy to your arsenal of odor-fighting tools.
Rose water isn’t difficult to find, as most natural health food stores — as well as select cosmetics stores — commonly stock this floral-scented solution.
To use, simply apply to or spray on the affected area and enjoy its soothing effects.
You can also add a few drops of rose water to your bath for long-lasting freshness.
Or try applying a couple of drops directly to your underarms. Since oils are very concentrated, a little goes a long way.
If you’ve ever wondered how to stop armpit sweat with fruit, lemons may be the answer.
Their acidic properties can provide a pleasant-smelling solution for keeping armpits fresh and clean.
Like baking soda, lemon is also known for balancing the pH levels of skin with a fresh citrus scent.
To apply, simply slice a lemon and rub the slices gently on your armpits.
Instead of applying directly, squeeze the juice from 1-2 lemons and apply directly to armpits.
Alternatively, pour some lemon juice on a clean towel and rub it gently on your armpits after bathing.
You can also add lemon juice to a cup of water for a citrusy spray or deodorant.
Many people don’t realize turnips contain antibacterial properties that can make for a great organic deodorant.
To freshen your armpits, simply grate a turnip, extract all of the juice and then apply to underarms via your method of choice.
You can also squeeze the juice through cheesecloth for maximum extraction.
For most armpit smell sufferers, turnip juice may reduce odor for up to ten hours.
Use as many turnips as necessary to extract the desired amount of juice.
You can either buy tomato paste directly from any grocer, or you can make it yourself by boiling tomatoes on the stove.
To create a homemade paste, boil two or three tomatoes for 3-4 minutes (or as long as it takes to get them soft and pliable).
Once boiled, place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl and use your favorite pulping tool to crush them into a paste.
Pick the seeds out and discard.
Once the paste is finished, find a comfortable spot to relax, apply the paste directly to your armpits and let sit for 15 minutes (or more).
For best odor-neutralizing effects, apply the paste once or twice a day for two weeks.
Baby powder is an easy, pleasant-smelling go-to in the arsenal of odor fighters which you probably have in your bathroom cabinet right now.
The mild fragrance and talc content of baby powder can help both to mask and to eliminate underarm odor.
To use, simply apply to your armpits to reduce and/or eliminate any traces of odor.
You can also apply with a powder puff, a makeup brush (if you have one on hand), or simply sprinkle directly onto your armpits and then pat to absorb.
Note: Take care not to inhale the powder, as the talc can be absorbed into your lungs.
Also, try making a custom mixture by adding white vinegar to some sandalwood powder or other oil.The paste is especially effective after bathing when your skin is at its cleanest.
The paste is especially effective after bathing when your skin is at its cleanest.
Though this vegetable may be a lesser-known tool in the odor-fighting arsenal, radishes can make a surprisingly effective antiperspirant.
To prepare, simply extract the juice from approximately two dozen radishes and add a few drops of glycerin.
Shake and/or mix well, and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
Store your radish concoction in the refrigerator to maintain freshness, and remember to shake well before each use.
Wheatgrass juice is not only rich in vitamins and minerals but also contains 70% chlorophyll, a natural green phytochemical and potent body odor blocker.
To prepare your own potion, simply soak wheatgrass in water, extract the juice, add two tablespoons of the juice to the ¾ cup of water, stir well, and consume!
Feel free to increase your intake of the juice as needed.
Note: Wheatgrass juice has very strong, distinctive taste, so approach with care!
Witch hazel is a natural astringent that also acts as a sterilizer by killing odor-causing bacteria.
Not only is it effective in fighting armpit smell, it is also easy to find at most grocery stores, drugstores, and natural product suppliers.
One of the simplest ways to get rid of odor is to wipe your underarms with witch hazel pads.
Another benefit to using witch hazel is that it comes in many forms, allowing you to choose between not only pads but also sprays, oils, witch hazel-based deodorants, and more.
Witch Hazel Elixir
As an alternative to pure witch hazel, you can also prep a witch hazel potion.
Start by piling up a bowlful of witch hazel leaves, eucalyptus leaves, walnut leaves, and tormentil root.
Place all of the leaves in a large pot and add 5 tablespoons to 1 liter of water.
Let the mixture boil for five minutes.
Allow to cool, then add 1 liter of water and pour into your bath for fresh-scented underarms.
Note: If you’re unable to find all of these botanicals locally, you can find each one online through various organic retailers.
Walnut leaves can also be effective in reducing underarm odor by balancing the skin’s pH levels.
All you need is a few walnut leaves with some Eucalyptus oil to make a homemade paste.
To prep, crush a pile of walnut leaves and stir in 1-2 drops of Eucalyptus oil.
Apply this silky-smooth paste under your arms for a clean, fresh scent.
Feel free to substitute the essential oil of your choice for Eucalyptus oil; lavender can help to soothe you as well as provide a lovely fragrance, while tea tree oil can also add a nice aroma.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another concentrated, effective antiperspirant.
It is antibacterial so it kills harmful bacteria and leaves treated areas with a fresh, pleasant aroma.
To make your own tea tree potion, simply add two drops of tea tree oil to one cup of water.
Pour into a spray bottle, shake well and spray!
You can also use this potion as a deodorant on a daily basis to utilize further tea tree oil’s odor-fighting abilities.
As with other oils, test it on a small area before use to ensure it won’t irritate your skin.
Rosemary may just provide another fresh-scented herbal remedy to your odor-fighting toolkit.
It not only helps to prevent the growth of smell-causing bacteria but will give your armpits a fresh, woodsy scent.
Simply apply a few drops directly onto your underarms.
As with any essential oil, a little goes a long way, so apply drop by drop so as not to oversaturate.
As an alternative antiperspirant method put 8-10 drops of rosemary oil in a cup of water.
Stir well and apply it directly to your armpits to dampen odor and to add an earthy, pleasant aroma.
Peppermint essential oil is not only the sweetest-smelling oil on this list, it also contains antimicrobial properties that banish odor-causing bacteria.
It soothes and cools the skin, helping to lessen perspiration as well as to eliminate odor.
Apply directly as needed, or prep a potion by putting a few drops into a spray bottle of water.
You’ll likely notice a tingling sensation upon contact, so remember the essential oils rule: less is more, and proceed slowly.
Parsley is an excellent source of chlorophyll, an herbal pigment that not only helps to detox the body internally but is also a powerful body odor eliminator.
To use, chop or mince a pile of fresh parsley leaves, add one teaspoon of chopped parsley to a cup of boiling water, strain the water out, and then let the leaves cool.
Once cooled, drink all the parsley water you can manage.
You can also take advantage of parsley’s odor-fighting properties by simply chewing some fresh parsley — or by adding it to a recipe — to neutralize smells from the inside out.
Lavender oil is another essential oil useful for many purposes including anti-perspiration.
To subdue B.O., just rub a few drops of lavender oil on your underarms.
For a diluted version, add a few drops to a bit of water in a soda cap and gently shake for a less-heady brew.
You can also prepare a spray by pouring some water in a spray bottle and adding a drop or three of lavender oil.
Shake the bottle and spray on your armpits for a fresh lavender scent.
Note: Some people are allergic to lavender oil, so make sure to test it on a small area before spraying or applying the full amount.
Alternatively, prepare a spray by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil in a cup of water.
Fill a spray bottle with the solution. Use it as a natural deodorant.
Sage is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years for everything from depression to flatulence.
Luckily, it also works to slow down the production of sweat for a fresher scent.
It makes an excellent all-natural antiperspirant and can be used in a number of ways.
You can make sage tea by boiling sage leaves in water and then steeping for 3-5 minutes.
Soak a cotton ball in cooled tea and apply directly to your underarms. Allow to dry and repeat as necessary.
When all odor is gone, rinse the area with clean water.
For an alternative sage-based home remedy, try diluted sage oil for a more concentrated solution.
As strange as it may sound, lettuce can also be used as a quick, simple natural remedy for preventing underarm odor.
To make your own extract, crush some lettuce leaves and extract the juice.
Rub the juice directly on your armpits; for best results, apply immediately after bathing.
Store your lettuce juice in the refrigerator for later use.
Alternatively, you can skip the extraction process and rub the lettuce directly on your underarms, or try boiling the lettuce leaves and use the resulting juice as a deodorizing spray.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Scrub underarms daily with a washcloth, soap, and water.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep a hand fan handy at all times.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Consume chlorophyll-rich food.
- Bathe regularly with an antibacterial soap.
- Experiment with deodorants to find the right one for you.
- Wear soft, loose, breathable clothing.
- Change and wash your clothes regularly.
- Practice relaxation exercises, and find ways to manage your stress.
- Consider shaving underarm hair if possible.
- Apply hand sanitizer under your arms for a quick fix in a pinch.
- Try to stay in an air-conditioned environment.
- Avoid certain foods, like curry, garlic, hot peppers, fish, onions, red meat, and tuna.
- Avoid wearing tight-pitted clothing.
- Don’t forget to take the time to wash and bathe properly.
- Try not to let your stress get out of control.
For those of you who have been considering the embarrassing question of how to get rid of armpit odor, consider yourself armed with a toolkit of safe, natural home remedies with which to combat excessive sweating and underarm unpleasantness.
Each powder, herb, oil, and elixir on this list offers a safe, effective, and inexpensive option for most body odor sufferers.
In the event you are unable to find a solution on your own, visit your doctor to determine whether an underlying medical cause may be to blame and, if so, what treatments may be prescribed to help.
In your quest for a simple odor-fighting solution, you can even start your own research project to mix and match remedies for a custom blend.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different; that said, go ahead and try varying ingredients and ingredient combinations, substituting botanicals and/or oils to brew your own concoctions to find out what works best for you.
Try switching up the order of remedies while applying to see whether this affects the potency.
Whichever remedy and natural treatments you prefer, may you remain steadfastly sweat-free and odor-neutral.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?