home remedies to fight body odor

What should you know about body odour?

Body odour is an unpleasant smell on a person’s body caused by sweat.  Such occurrence is called bromhidrosis  or  osmidrosis  or  ozochrotia. This smell is caused due to the bacteria that live on human bodies which crack down sweat into acids. The bacteria breaks down some of the proteins into certain acids.

Body odour occurs after humans reach puberty stage. While in the case of males 15 to 17 years is the usual age, in females it is 14 to 16 years.

Causes of body odour

People who often eat spicy foods, people who are obese or those with certain medical conditions are more affected by this problem.  Drinks with caffeine and alcohol produce more sweat in the body.

Though too much of sweating is also said to be a reason for the unpleasantness of the body odour due to the bacteria, sweat alone is not the reason. The body odour of each person may be different depending upon the gender, diet or medical condition.

The bacteria cause two types of acids called propionic acid and isovalic acid while the former acid resembles the pungent smell in vinegar the latter smells like cheese.

The sweat glands in the body are known as ECCRINE glands and APOCRINE glands. The temperature of the body is maintained by the eccrine glands. The eccrine glands are spread all over the body and the apocrine  glands are found in the scalp, armpit and groin. These regions have a larger concentration of hair.

Even though women have more sweat glands than men, it is men who tend to suffer more due to their apocrine glands producing more sweat. Elderly people have also a body odour on account of their age. However such smell due to aging is not unpleasant and not a cause of worry.

The body must be made to sweat reasonably well to remove toxins from the body.  It is done through normal exercises or by performing certain Yoga practices.

Home remedies to fight body odour

You can find an escape from the body odour problem only temporarily by using chemicals and deodorants. But the real solution lies in totally eradicating body odour permanently by using natural resources and adopting hygiene techniques.

There are many way with which one can prevent and cure the problem of body odour. The best way is by using herbs and other natural products. Some easy remedies that you can follow on a regular basis are explained below. While some are herbal remedies, others are simple care instructions.


Daily bathing preferably with warm water will reduce the bacteria growth on the body. This would consequently reduce body odour.


Choice of clothing

Wearing clothes made of natural fibers like silk, cotton and wool are helpful in free flow of air on the body and reduce sweat. It is particularly advised to avoid wearing clothes made of polyester or nylon. These fabrics prevent the free flow of air thus preventing evaporation of sweat from the body.

Food habits

People who include more spicy foods, garlic and onions in their regular diet are bound to develop pungent smell on the body. Hence reducing or avoiding such food items is desirable to prevent body odour.

Armpit care

Ensure that you properly shave off or wax the hair in your under arms.

Foot care

Foot odour is mainly due to the sweat not getting evaporated. This is primarily because of wearing socks and shoes. Hence wash your socks and also dry up the shoes every day.

Lemon juice remedy

  1. Squeeze one lemon.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in this lemon juice.
  3. Apply the lemon juice on your body to reduce body odour.

The citric acid in the lemon retards the growth of bacteria.



Drinking adequate quantities of water will flush out the toxins in the body. This will therefore help to get rid of the odour.

Eating green leafy vegetables like spinach and Kale which are rich in chlorophyll is a preventive measure to stop body odour. This is because, they are powerful deodorizers.

Herbal juices and teas

  • Drinking tea prepared with sprigs of parsley boiled with water prevents body odour.
  • Wheatgrass juice which is readily available in super-stores. You can consume this to prevent the body odour. However it should be consumed on empty stomach.

Basil treatment

  1. Take a handful of Holy basil (Tulasi) leaves.
  2. Grind the basil leaves.
  3. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to this ground paste.
  4. Apply on the sweat prone areas.
  5. Wash off after about 15 minutes.
  6. You can follow this with a bath.

Other topical treatments

  • Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will also make the unpleasant odour disappear.
  • Essential oils extracted from lavender, pine or peppermint with their delightful fragrance are known to fight the bacteria. It is probably the remedy that is most often used.
  • Finally, you can apply apple cider vinegar on sweat prone areas. Use a cotton ball and soak it in ACV. Dab this cotton ball on the areas where you generally sweat more.


A general note of caution: While making external applications on the body, care should be taken to avoid applying them around genitals.

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.