Hygiene and Body Odor: How to Smell Great

A man can go from Greek God to common vagabond if he smells bad, and the same goes the other way around.  Smelling good is very important and we can't stress how much it can change about how you are perceived.

This article goes through each facet that you need to understand about body odor and how to deal with it.  Read on to start smelling great.

Basics of Body Odor

While sweat is usually attributed to body odor, it is not what causes the pungent smell.  The smell comes from bacteria breaking down the compounds excreted through sweat.  The moist, sweaty areas allow for bacteria to flourish, so you need to avoid sweat if you want to smell good.   

Just reducing sweat doesn’t mean you will smell bad, however.  Bad smell comes from different areas like your breath and your diet.  The food you consume can also affect what your sweat smells like. 

Overall, it’s all about good oral and body hygiene. 



Your diet affects how you smell.  Some foods either contain smelly compounds or cause you to sweat more.

Red Meat intensifies the smell of your armpit sweat

You want to cut down a little on the following foods:

  • Caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods because they cause you to sweat more.  By cutting down on foods that exacerbate sweatiness, you can avoid creating breeding grounds for bacteria, which is the cause of the smell.   
  • Onion, garlic, red meats and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts as they affect the smell of your sweat.

Your sweat can carry the scent of onion and garlic if you consume them in high amounts.  Red meat affects the smell of underarm sweat by making it more pungent.

Finally, cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur.  When it is excreted through sweat, the bacteria break the sulfur compounds down, making you smell like rotten eggs.

Although it may be difficult to avoid the above foods altogether, you can at least consider lowering your consumption of them if you feel like you smell awful. 

However, caffeine, alcohol, garlic and onion don’t just affect your sweat, they also affect your –



Another reason to control your intake of coffee and alcohol is that they dry your mouth.  Dry mouth causes bad breath.

Make sure you are well hydrated so your salivary glands are functioning at optimum levels.  Salivary glands create the saliva in your mouth, which will keep your mouth hydrated.

You need to drink water regularly to avoid bad breath

After getting your hydration in check, you need to beware of smelly foods like onion and garlic.  If you are eating these items, carry a few sticks of chewing gum or breath mints to keep your breath fresh. 

While hydrating your mouth and using breath mints is good, your hygiene plays a much bigger role in the smell of your mouth. 

Remember the following basics of oral hygiene:

  • Brush daily, without fail.  Once in the morning and once in the night
  • Use mouthwash after your morning brush
  • Floss your teeth to remove any gunk between your teeth and gums

Once you get your oral hygiene in check, you can move to the elephant in the room: your body.


Body Hair

This is not an attack on our hairy friends.  A hairy person is not going to be any smellier than their smooth-skinned counterparts, unless you let your hair grow wild in the:

  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Butt

This means that a hairy person and non-hairy person could be equally smelly if they don’t take care of this business.

Armpit hair can make matters worse for you

The Apocrine glands present in the armpits, groin and butt produce a different sweat from the other areas of your body, which get their sweat produced by Eccrine glands.  The latter produces odorless sweat, while the former does not. 

The body hair allows for more bacteria to stay on your body.  It also absorbs the odor produced by the bacteria, and by holding this smell it worsens the smelly situation

Trim your body hair with an electric trimmer in the armpits, groin and butt area to avoid sweat and smell. 

Do this, and your hygiene will improve, and so will your smell.  Then you can move on to showering right


Cleaning your Hair and Body

It’s absolutely essential that you clean your body right if you want to smell good. 

Not sure why we need to say this, but you need to shower daily

You need to shower daily, and you need to shower in the right way to ensure that all the dirt in your body is washed off. 

Use a washcloth or a loofah (don’t complain that it’s feminine when you smell like a sardine, it's incredibly effective) to really get into your pores and rid the gunk and dirt.  While your hands are good for scrubbing because they can reach exactly where you need it to, it’s not good enough.

With a washcloth or a loofah, you need to use a shower gel or a body wash instead of a bar of soap.  This is just how it is: body wash is better at the job.

While your body contributes the most to smell, so does your hair.  To clean your hair right, you need to focus on the scalp and not the hair.  A dirty scalp is where all the bacteria shall reside and break the sweat into smell.  Massage your scalp gently and thoroughly when you clean your hair.

After you finish cleaning yourself, and you are now a blank slate, you need to make sure you keep the sweat at bay.


Using Antiperspirant

Don't use a chocolate-flavored body spray like a plebian, use an antiperspirant.

Instead of showering in cologne or body spray, shower in water and body wash. Then, use an antiperspirant/ deodorant on your armpits because it reduces sweat

The antiperspirant blocks the sweat gland and makes it difficult for any bacteria to reside there. 

This way you’re not uncomfortable with underarm sweat and there is no chance of smelling bad.

Antiperspirants usually come in two forms:

  • Stick/ Roll-on
  • Spray

Use either a stick or a spray as long as the bottle says it'll do the job.  You can even carry a stick with you when you go to the gym, or you have meetings during your workday and are worried about sweating.

Once you’ve used antiperspirant, you can move to the next stage.



If there is one advice that you can take from GQ, it is to invest in a good scent.

Experiment with scents and apply them in the right places

Whether you can or cannot through a lot of money for expensive fragrances, experiment with perfumes instead of body sprays.  This applies even if they are on the inexpensive side.

When you find the scent that you like, make sure you apply it in the relevant areas for maximum effect.

The following are the areas of your body that you should spray your perfume:

  • Neck
  • Behind your ears
  • Wrists


Feet, Shoes and Socks

The last region you need to consider for bad smell is the atom bomb of the bunch: your feet.

Nothing is worse than stinky feet.

Never wear shoes without socks

To avoid the musty feet, remember the following:

  • If you’re going for a no-show sock look, get a pair of invisible socks.  Never, ever, go around sockless.
  • Wear cotton socks.  Carry more than one if you suffer from very sweaty feet.
  • There are deodorizing foot sprays available if simple solutions don’t work for you.

Make sure to address all these aspects of your hygiene to start smelling great.  

That's all from us! We hope you found some value in this article.  

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