Smelly Armpits Even With Deodorant? Why They Stink & How to Fix It

Smelly Armpits Even With Deodorant?

Here’s what you need to know…

Man or woman, just masking armpit odor with deodorant just won’t cut it.  You can’t just attempt to cover up body odor and call it good.  You need to address the root cause and actually do something about it. The good news is that you can actually do something about it once you know how.

Why Do Armpits Stink in the First Place?

Sweat by itself isn’t what’s causing your armpits to stink.  It’s when certain types of bacteria comes in contact with your sweat that foul odor starts to show up.  When the bacteria breaks down the sweat, they form a product called thioalcohols, which creates a scent similar to sulfur or onions.  When the thioalcohol molecules evaporate from the armpits, this leave the underarm smelling “not so great.”

Most deodorants block sweat glands or kill off the bacteria.  But blocking these glands can cause irritation and swelling.  This is why most deodorants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

I’m not suggesting you don’t use deodorant at all.  But what I am suggesting is that you use something better, as well as a few other things.  (See our recommendation here.)

What Should I Do For My Smelly Armpits?

If you have smelly armpits even with deodorant, here are a few things you should be doing differently….

1.) Exfoliate your armpits every day when you shower.  Hair follicles in your armpits can get clogged with dead skin cells and residue from your deodorant.  This creates a haven for the bacteria just waiting for your sweat to come through your glands.  And we now know that bacteria is the root cause of your smelliness.  You can use a loofah or gentle exfoliater to lightly scrub your armpits. (Remember, the armpit is a sensitive area, so be gentle when exfoliating the area.)

2.) Use an antibacterial soap. Dial or Safeguard work well for cleaning out clogged pores and killing the odor causing bacteria.


3.) Use a salt-based deodorant.  A salt based deodorant uses mineral salts to create the odor-killing barrier that naturally blocks the formation of the bacteria that causes the odor.  Not only is great because it works, but it’s a natural deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum or other harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin.  The most popular brand is probably Crystal™ (Found on Amazon or their website,

4.) Have your thyroid and hormone levels checked.  A thyroid imbalance can cause you to sweat more and your armpit sweat to stink more than usual. Your doctor can run tests to find this out. You can also learn more about your thyroid here.

5.) Adjust your diet. Your diet is more more important than you think.  What goes in, must come out.  The chemical elements in food can have a tremendous impact on the smell of your sweat.  Here’s a list of foods you should avoid if you want to decrease the stink level of your sweat.

(If you have a big underarm sweating problem, check out our Excessive Underarm Sweating Treatment article.)

Foods That Make Smelly Armpits Even Worse

1. Foods in the Brassica and Allium genus contain sulfur, which contribute to odor. Some of these include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Garlic

2.) Alcohol:  Alcohol is metabolized into acetic acid and then released through your pores.  And acetic acid only compounds your body odor.

3.) Red Meat:  A large portion of red meat is difficult to digest in the G.I. tract, which leaves residue behind that ends up being released through sweat.  When this mixes with bacteria, it can intensify your B.O.

4.) Fish: Although fish provides you important nutrients such as omega-3’s, it also contains choline, which gives it that “fishy” odor.  If you have a genetic disordered known as trimethylaminuria, your body doesn’t metabolize fish properly and you are likely to emit this same odor through your pores when you sweat.

Here are some other remedies you can use for smelly armpits even with deodorant…

Home Remedies for Armpit Odor

1.) Baking Soda:  Baking soda can help by absorbing the moisture in the skin.  It also helps kill odor causing bacteria.

  • Application: Before each shower, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with lemon juice.  Rub it under your armpits and let it sit for several minutes.  Rinse it off with water (don’t scrub).  (You only need to do this for a few weeks and the results should last a while.)

2.) Witch Hazel: This can help lower the skin’s pH level and make it almost impossible for the bacteria to survive.  The astringent properties will also contract the pores to help reduce the amount you sweat.

  • Application: Soak a cotton ball or cotton pad and dab it under in your armpits whenever you start to smell.

3.) Cornstarch: Cornstarch is great for neutralizing odors, absorbing moisture, and killing odor-causing bacteria.

  • Application: Mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of baking soda, and 5 tablespoons of coconut oil (Heat up the coconut oil for better blending.)  You can add tea tree oil or peppermint oil for an optional scent.

4.) Sage: Sage is a naturally fragrant herb that can combat odor and reduce sweat gland activity.  It’s also a natural antibacterial agent that can help keep the bacteria count in your armpits under control.

  • Application: Make a natural deodorant by using 5 drops of sage oil, coriander oil, and lavender oil.  Then use 2 ounces of distilled Witch Hazel and mix them together. You can put the mixture into a spray bottle and use it to freshen before you leave the house or any time you start to sweat.


There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating smelly armpits. If it can’t be solved with deodorant, you’ll need to try some of these approaches.  They are tested, tried and true for many people, and I know they can work for you.