How To Get Rid Of Underarm Odor (Smelly Armpits)

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
Apple Cider Vinegar
Iodine
Essential Oil
Witch Hazel Or Tea Tree Oil
Baking Soda
Lemon Juice
Hydrogen Peroxide
Coconut Oil
Garlic
Aloe Vera
Boric Acid
Castor Oil
Epsom salt
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
Take some apple cider vinegar in a small bowl.
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
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You Will Need
A few drops of iodine
A soft brush
What You Have To Do
Take a few drops of iodine and apply it to both the underarms.
Scrub your underarms gently with a soft brush.
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
Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a glass of water.
Pour this into a spray bottle and spray directly on your underarms.
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
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You Will Need
2 drops of tea tree oil
2 tablespoons of water
Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
Add two drops of tea tree oil to two tablespoons of water.
Using a cotton pad, apply this mixture to both your underarms.
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
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You Will Need
A few drops of witch hazel
Cotton balls
What You Have To Do
Take a few drops of witch hazel on a cotton ball and apply it directly to your underarms.
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
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You Will Need
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
What You Have To Do
Mix baking soda and lemon juice in equal quantities.
Apply it directly to your underarms and leave it on for about 2 to 3 minutes.
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
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You Will Need
1/2 lemon

What You Have To Do
Take half a lemon and rub it directly on your underarms.
Leave the juice on until it dries and then wash it off with water.
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
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You Will Need
1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 cup of water
Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
Take a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and add it to a cup of water.
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
Take some coconut oil on your fingers and apply it directly to your underarms.
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
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You Will Need
Garlic (as required)

What You Have To Do
Chew on some garlic cloves every day.
If the strong flavor bothers you, just add some minced garlic to your daily diet.
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
Take some castor oil and apply it to both the underarms.
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
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You Will Need
1 cup of Epsom salt
Bathwater
What You Have To Do
Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bathwater.
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
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You Will Need
1 potato

What You Have To Do
Take a potato and cut it into thin slices.
Rub a slice directly on your underarms and allow it to dry.
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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