18 Everyday Habits That Could Be Making You Smell Bad

Having impeccable hygiene is completely possible for anyone, though it takes some work. It would be an embarrassing social flub to get called out for having poor hygiene or told you don't smell as amazing as you thought you did. When it comes to body odor, hair odor, and breath odor, human beings have to be very diligent in order to present themselves in the best possible way in the world. Interestingly enough, there are tons of everyday habits that could be contributing to a bad smell. 


If your goal is to smell as clean and fresh as possible throughout the course of your day, these are a few tips you should be aware of that can change the dynamics of your hygiene, health, and well-being. Keeping yourself smelling as wonderful as possible comes down to a few simple gems of knowledge. For example, you should certainly know whether you should be showering in the morning or at night. Your dietary habits, unknown health diagnoses, and laundry mishaps might are all some vital contributing factors as well. If you want to always smell your best, here are some habits you may want to rethink. 

1. Showering in the morning instead of at night

Some people are convinced everyone should shower at night, while others believe we should all be showering in the morning. This ongoing debate has gone on in society for ages. The argument for showering in the morning is that some people believe you should present the cleanest and most sanitary version of yourself to the world when you leave the house each morning. 


When you shower at night, though, you're cleaning off all of the disgusting germs that covered your body throughout the course of your day while you were out and about in the world. Throughout your day, you naturally secreted sweat while running errands, your arms brushed up against different surfaces, you walked along floors that were covered in chemicals, and more. If you lie down in your bed at the end of the night without cleansing, it means you're falling asleep in a bed filled with the grime and germs you accumulated all day long. 

Your sleeping hours are supposed to be dedicated to peaceful rejuvenation and recuperation. Make sure your body is absolutely clean for that process. Keep in mind, though, that since it's not uncommon for human beings to perspire while sleeping, a quick rinse off in the morning paired with a thoroughly cleansing shower before bed is a top-notch hygiene plan.


2. Skipping deodorant usage

As obvious as it might sound, it's important to note that you shouldn't be skipping deodorant before you leave home in the morning. Some people prefer not to use mainstream deodorant brands due to health concerns about some common ingredients, but this is no excuse to completely skip deodorant altogether. There are several natural deodorant brands that are free from ingredients such as aluminum, parabens, and fragrances, and which are perfect for individuals with sensitive skin. It's important to remember, though, that natural deodorants won't have the same scent as their mainstream counterparts — instead, they often smell earthy or fruity based on the simple ingredients included. 


For people who are completely against using manufactured deodorant in all forms, some alternatives that may help to cover or neutralize odors include witch hazel, baking soda and corn starch, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. If you opt for one of these more natural options, you'll have to continually reapply throughout the day.

3. Not using a bidet

The use of a bidet might be the one hygiene hack that's been missing from your life. If the idea of installing a bidet toilet in your bathroom sounds daunting because you believe it'll be too expensive, you can rest assured knowing that there are affordable bidet attachments that can easily be installed to any toilet for less than $25. When you use a bidet, it's as if you're enjoying a mini shower between your legs every single time you use the bathroom. 


Bidets shoot a clean stream of water between your legs, essentially cleaning you from your front side to your backside. You end up saving money on toilet paper when you install a bidet, because you no longer need to wipe yourself clean with toilet paper every time you go. People who wipe with dry toilet paper after using the bathroom are simply never able to get as clean as bidet users. 

Dry toilet paper sometimes leave residue and toilet paper fragments between the crevices of your most intimate area. Since toilet paper doesn't get the job done when it comes to getting you clean, your underwear is often left to absorb any leftover smells and moisture. Because bidets thoroughly wash you out, you'll never feel like you're spending your day sitting in slightly soiled underwear after each bathroom trip.


4. Keto dieting

If you're on a weight loss journey and you're relying on the keto diet in order to reach your goals, it's important to understand the way keto dieting can impact your breath. When you take on a low-carb diet, it forces your body to release more ketones in your bloodstream in order to make up for your lack of carb consumption. When your body releases ketones, it's simply keeping you energized and alive. Those ketones have a bad reputation for smelling pretty terrible, though. 


Although it sounds dramatic, keto dieting places your body into survival mode since you're not providing yourself any carbs to burn. It's a sure-fire way to shed pounds, but that doesn't mean your hygiene has to suffer along the way. The best way to combat bad breath while keto dieting is to drink more water, eat more leafy green vegetables, chew sugar-free gum, suck on sugar-free mints, and add natural breath fresheners to your water and tea. Some of the natural breath fresheners to consider include clove, cinnamon, and mint. 

5. Using an old toothbrush

If you continue to use an old toothbrush for way too long, it will start to become less useful for cleaning food particles off of your teeth and gum line. When your toothbrush is past its prime, it's possible that the bristles have started bending backward and that the toothbrush itself is covered in millions of bacterial particles that aren't doing you any favors. You don't want to keep re-introducing bad bacteria into your mouth every time you brush your teeth with an old toothbrush. Even worse, people who've been using the same toothbrush for more than a year are probably dealing with slight mold residue that they don't even notice with their naked eye. 


Less effective bristles combined with bacterial and mold growth are a perfect recipe for bad breath. For obvious reasons, it's important to swap out your toothbrush for a new one every so often — around the three-month mark is a standard recommendation, though replacing it more frequently certainly couldn't hurt.

6. Wearing the same unwashed pieces of clothing

On days when you didn't hit the gym or do anything physically taxing, you might not think it's worth it to toss your clothing into the washing machine. The truth of the matter is that just because you didn't break a hardcore sweat, it doesn't mean you should be wearing the same pieces of clothing for more than one day in a row without washing in between. Even if you only went to work and ran some errands, your body still secreted sweat and oils throughout the course of your day, and these secretions collect on the clothing that lies closest to your skin. 


The pieces of clothing that need to be washed after every wear include socks, underwear, undershirts, swimsuits, leggings, shapewear, and hosiery. The pieces you can be a little more lax about include jackets, loose-fitting tops, flowing skirts, pajamas, and other items you'd consider to be a bit more breathable. Unless these items are noticeably stained or sweated in, they can last for a couple wears between washing.  

7. Using an old loofah

Plenty of people rely on loofahs in the shower due to the fact that they exfoliate your skin in a way typical washcloths simply don't. Loofahs paired with body wash can leave you feeling soft, smooth, and youthful. Regardless of the benefits loofahs might bring to your life in the shower, they don't last forever. Replacing your loofah is just as important as replacing your toothbrush. 


When you use a loofah for way too long, it fills up with bacteria at its center. You can always clean and revive your loofah by soaking it in a glass bowl of white vinegar for several hours, but sometimes it's time to start over fresh. Loofahs from stores like Target or Walmart typically cost a dollar or less, which makes replacing them on a regular basis an easy thing to do. Though plastic loofahs can last for around two months, if your loofah starts loosening up and falling apart from its core lining or you notice any mold or discoloration, it's time to shop for a new one.

8. Using expired body wash, shampoo, lotion, or perfume

Your favorite bottles of body wash, shampoo, lotion, and perfume might've smelled absolutely fabulous when they were first purchased, but how long has it been? If the items on your bathroom shelf are expired, it's time to reconsider if you should still be using them. Once items with strong fragrances expire, they don't continue smelling as lovely as they did back in the day. In fact, sometimes they can even start smelling pretty terrible. You'll know your perfume has gone bad if it's started smelling a bit sour or metallic. That tends to occur as the scents begin to oxidize.


When it comes to body wash alone, most bottles can last for up to three years if they've never been opened. Once opened, they should be used within a year. If you popped open your body wash and have been using it sparingly and slowly over the course of several years, it may not be good for your skin to keep using it. In terms of the smell, expired body washes have a weaker fragrance that doesn't get the job done with helping you smell better. And, too, expired soaps and washes may not lather and clean as effectively. Purchasing brand new items with delightful fragrances to replace anything that's already expired is the better option.

9. Using too little or too much laundry detergent

You might think that it's a money-saving hack to use a smaller amount of laundry detergent in your larger loads of laundry, but this is a huge mistake to avoid. If there isn't enough detergent in each load of laundry you wash, your clothing simply won't end up as cleansed as you need it to be. There should be enough laundry detergent in each load to coat every piece of clothing and ensure that any foul odors and bad smells are dealt with accordingly. 


By that same token, you also want to avoid using way too much laundry detergent, since that can have a negative effect as well. If your clothes still feel sticky, soapy, or slimy after they've been washed and dried, it's obvious that too much detergent was added to the original load. When that happens, it's even more challenging for difficult stenches to be released from your clothing since everything ends stiff and slightly hardened afterward.

10. Wearing close-toed shoes without socks

Wearing close-toed shoes without socks is a recipe for disaster if you're trying to avoid body odor. Able-bodied individuals spend a lot of time on their feet every day walking from point A to point B. Since your feet are regularly being used during your day-to-day activities, they're likely secreting a bit of sweat depending on how active you are. When your feet are stuffed into close-toed shoes for several hours on end, you don't give them the chance to breathe. And if you're not wearing socks to wick away moisture and keep your feet dry and cool, sweat, bacteria, and bad odors are bound to start brewing. It's simple enough to avoid this issue altogether by wearing a pair of socks along with your close-toed shoes. Socks made of breathable and absorbent materials like cotton, wool, or bamboo will all get the job done.


11. Drinking too much alcohol

A few fun nights on the town that involve drinking alcohol isn't going to ruin your hygiene, but if you are consistently consuming alcohol, it's possible that one of the negative side effects you'll deal with is bad body odor. When you drink too much alcohol, your sweat starts to smell like alcohol because your body is doing its best to expel all of the toxins you consumed. 


Every single time you drink alcohol, your body goes into overdrive trying to clear you of anything poisonous that might be harming you from the inside. Instead of waiting for the alcohol to pass through your digestive system, it starts trying to push it out of you in all possible ways, including through the pores of your skin. It's very difficult for heavy drinkers to hide the fact that they indulge in alcohol based on the way they smell in their day to day life.

12. Accidentally washing your clothes with fabric softener

It sounds like a rookie mistake to make, but tons of people accidentally wash their clothing with fabric softener instead of true laundry detergent all the time. The reason why? Fabric softener bottles tend to look exactly like regular detergent bottles on most grocery store shelves. That being said, it's important to pay attention to the exact products you're using to wash your clothing. 


The big issue here is that unlike laundry detergent, fabric softener isn't formulated with ingredients that tackle germs, smells, and stains. So, if you've accidentally been washing your laundry with fabric softener, strong stenches will remain trapped in the fabrics of your clothing. Sometimes, people who make this mistake don't notice right away because the smell of fabric softener works well to mask slight odors at the very beginning. After a while, people making this mistake will easily be able to notice bad smells trapped in their clothes. Soon enough the unfortunate smells will tragically pair with the fabric softener scent.

13. Smoking cigarettes or cigars

Smoking cigarettes and cigars is a common culprit for people who are struggling to smell better in their day to day life. Folks who smoke inside their own homes and cars end up dealing with walls and furniture that continue smelling like cigarette smoke as well. While it might be possible to mitigate or remove the smell of cigarettes from your car and home by using vinegar, lavender, and other essential oils, certain items — especially those made of fabric — that have absorbed cigarette smoke may be impossible to cleanse of the scent. 


And when it comes to your own body, cigarette and cigar scents can also be difficult to deal with. The reason for this is that your hair, skin, and clothing will absorb the smell of cigarettes in a way that is very difficult to escape without fully bathing. You can always brush your teeth to remove the smell of cigarettes from your mouth, but removing it from your hair and body is more complicated if you're out and about. The best way to handle cigarette and cigar smells is to refrain from smoking altogether.

14. You're not rinsing off after your bath

Most people can agree that bubble baths are incredibly soothing and relaxing. There's something so enjoyable about sitting back in a bathtub filled with sudsy bubbles, a few candles lit, and some enchanting music playing in the background. Still, you might not be aware of how important it is for you to shower off your body after taking a bath. When you take a bath, you essentially sit in a tub filled with all of your own germs. 


Yes, there's also soap and bubbles surrounding you, but your germs have nowhere to escape in a closed bathtub space with all the same water as you. As soon as you finish relaxing in your bubble bath, make sure to stand up and rinse yourself off with your normal shower head. This is beyond vital because it helps remove anything that might've wanted to linger on your skin and send it all swirling down the drain.

15. Wearing tight-fitting synthetic clothes

When you wear tightly fitted synthetic clothing, it doesn't do you any favors for your health and hygiene. Still, people enjoy wearing tight clothing for a multitude of reasons. Some appreciate keeping up with ever-changing trends. A lot of popular fashion trends focus on tight-fitting clothing, and there are plenty of runway models doing their job to prove it. Other people prefer tight clothing because they think it looks more attractive than loose-fitting garments. 


Whatever your reason might be, tight clothing isn't always the most ideal thing to wear. It can lead to skin irritation, chafing, numbness, tingling, restricted movement, pressure marks, and even red patches on your skin. None of these issues even touch on the fact that tightly fitted clothing potentially leads to body odor. When your body is squeezed into tight pieces of clothing (especially garments made out of synthetic fabric that sticks to your skin), you might end up sweating more, and it's easier for the bad smells to get trapped since there isn't any airflow.

16. Working at a job around daily heavy odors

Almost everyone understands the importance of going to work each day to generate an income to pay any bills you might have. At the end of the day, if you work at a job where you're forced to be around heavy odors on a daily basis, it could easily be a contributing factor to why you aren't smelling fabulously when you're off the clock. Some jobs that prevent you from smelling fresh as a daisy include farming, trash collecting, and cooking food in the back of the house at a restaurant with pungent dishes on the menu. 


Plumbers, housekeepers, or anyone who's been hired to scrub down musty and putrid areas can all relate. Oil rig workers, zookeepers, crime scene cleaners, and even cocktail waitresses who serve drinks in a casinos surrounded by cigar smokers are on the same page about this. Your best bet is to make sure that you can take a shower as soon as you're finished with work each day.

17. Having a rusted shower spout

You might not be aware of all of the potential rust that's started to collect in and on your shower head. If you unscrew the top of your shower head to see an abundance of crusty gunk, it's time to clean things up and make a change. If you've been consistently taking showers through a grimy shower head, it's possible that the water you've been using to clean your body isn't as fresh as you might think.


Water coming from a spout with mold, bacteria, or soap scum in the pipe can start smelling musty. This can undoubtedly leave you smelling less than wonderful. The good news is that it's easy enough to clean your shower head if you have the right products. You'll want to invest in some lime and rust remover to soak your shower head in for about two to three minutes. If you see bubbles start to foam up, then you know the solution is working. Grab an old toothbrush to scrub away any of the thicker crust before rinsing everything off with cold water and reattaching your shower head.

18. Regular daily stress

A strenuous workout isn't always a factor with body odors and bad smells. Sometimes, being stressed throughout your day is all it takes. When you release stress sweat, it's a lot different than the sweat you release during a typical workout in the gym. Your apocrine glands become more active when you're stressed while igniting your fight-or-flight reflexes and accelerating your heartbeat. Everyone deals with anxiety every now and then, and every person's physical body reacts to it differently.


When you sweat from your apocrine glands from anxiety, it doesn't exactly smell good. Being stressed out because of responsibilities you have at work, test results you're waiting to hear from your doctor about, or an awkward conversation you're about to have with a loved one are just a few prime examples of why your body might start releasing sweat from your apocrine glands. Try to stay as calm, cool, and collected as possible in situations like these to avoid this issue from occurring.