Health: “Ew! What’s That Smell?!” Seven Ways to Combat Body Odor Under Your Arms and Va-Jay-Jay

It always happens on the first date, a job interview or before public speaking. If you’re anything like me, nerves, heat and sweat can cause body order strong enough to bring a zombie to its senses. I hate it. It’s just not fair that my husband hardly ever stinks. In fact, he smells so good I often smell his pits to help me relax. Over time, he’s accepted this peculiarity.

As we ease into tank top season, you’ll no longer have your jacket to cover up the smell of menstruating wildebeests. Traveling in a herd. When it’s 115 degrees.  “The underarms and groin area contain lots and lots of apocrine glands (the ones that produce fat laden sweat) [SOURCE].” Fatty sweat has a very distinct, musky odor and is difficult to mask.

This list I’m about to share goes as much for me as it does for you, because I’ll soon be sweating my arse off trying to sell the book.

Warsh Your Arse!!

This is obvious, and of course I (mostly) do too, but you just might need something a little stronger than milk-berry soap with fairy dust body wash. See, the wildebeest smell comes from the colonies of bacteria the poop on your skin and emit the zombie-waking gases. Best way to clean away poop is with poop-killing soap (aka the antibacterial soap you use to wash your hands). If you use a hand towel, use it once and toss it. ALWAYS wash towels with hot water and bleach it they’re white.

Think Nice Thoughts

Anxiety triggers sweat glands like nobody’s business. Even thinking about something stressful can cause your armpits and groin to tingle. Trying not to freak is about as easy as someone telling you  to hold your breath for ten minutes, but there are some strategies you can take before you reach the tipping point. Try breathing deeply for 10 minutes–deep yogic breaths. Inhale and try to pull your belly button into your spine and feel your ribcage rise. Exhale and push your belly out. Time it–I guarantee you that you’ll cool down a few degrees.

Soak and Deep Clean Your Smelly Shirts

Or if there’s no hope, throw them out. Try switching to a non-irritating laundry detergent that won’t cause you to itch, because everyone knows what happens when you scratch your underarms while wearing a t-shirt. It’s like those scratch-and-sniff stickers you got as a kid, except you won’t be smelling strawberries and bananas. I use Vaska, and highly recommend it. It’s safe enough to drink but cleans as well as Tide, just without all the harshness.


It’s not just because you don’t want to look like you have one of the “Little Rascals” in a headlock. Bacteria cling to the hairs under your arms and on your nether regions. TIP: for “down south” just trim–don’t shave. Shaving curly vaginal hair causes itchy, in-grown hairs, and scratch = odors.

Stay Away from Stinky Foods

I once had an Indian school mate who always smelled like hot dogs. I would think to myself, “It’s 8AM–who has hot dogs for breakfast?!” Turns out the hot dog smell was curry, and when consumed copiously can cause you to smell like, well…hot dogs. Steer clear of eating too much onion and garlic–that comes through the pores and through the breath.

Find a Solution

Make your own anti-bacterial, odor-fighting solution using one teaspoon of apple cider or white vinegar, lemon juice or witch hazel in eight ounces of water. Splish, and splash. Also for the underarms, try making a paste of baking soda and water and rubbing directly on the pits while showering. Let it sit a while like conditioner or something. Then rinse it, because there’s nothing grosser than white patches in an underarm, especially in a tank top.

Wear Cotton Underpants!


Va-ja-jay. Must. Breathe. Sorry ladies–thongs may be sexy, but they’re a virtual petri dish. Not saying you have to wear Grandma’s bloomers–cotton panties can be quite fashionable.