Sometimes, I stink. It’s terrible. I can barely breathe. Perfumes and deodorants do nothing. Even after multiple washes, depending on the fabric of the garment, my clothes continue to smell of me ( obviously not in a nice way ). The only saving grace is that, usually, I find out I’m stinking much before anyone else gets a whiff of it. Or at least they’re too polite to tell me that.
It’s always my arm pits that rile it up and I’ve noticed it gets incredibly bad when I’m ill – when my body is disease-ridden. Having led an unfit & unhealthy life for the most part, a bit of body odor was a given – despite daily showers. But I didn’t expect the situation to get this bad, way into my thirties. When I fall ill nowadays, my whole room can smell really bad – and it isn’t possible to shower daily when I can barely move from the bed.
And I’ve tried everything. From shaving the under-arms, to not wearing sleeveless garments ( skin sticking to itself creates more breeding ground for bacteria when there’s sweat and there’s a lot of that if you live in India like me ), to applying activated charcoal ( does nothing except turn my arm pits black and it take 4-5 soap applications to clean that up and no, cleaning under arms with soap does very little in the way of killing body odor ). I’ve even tried apple cider vinegar – yup – in my arm pits. Does nothing.
The ONLY thing that seems to have worked for me is lime / lemon juice. After stripping, before getting in to the shower, I squeeze 1/4th a lemon in my left palm and apply the juice to my right arm pit and then I squeeze another 1/4th lemon into my right palm and apply it to my left arm pit. By the time I’ve figured out the right temperature of the water in the shower and arranged my bath products, the lemon has done its job. I wash the juice application with soap / body wash once. Towel-dry and after I’ve done this over 2-3 showers, I don’t even need to apply deodorant or perfume anymore. It is THAT effective.
I’d fallen sick last year. While recovering, my body odor was unbearably bad. I did the lemon thing for about a couple of months maybe and then conveniently forgot about it. No body odor for the rest of the year. Till I fell sick again this year and the body odor just refused to go away and then B reminded me that I hadn’t tried lemon again. This time, with just 3 applications, the body odor is GONE.
Now to figure out a way to rid some of my clothes from the smell of sweat mixed with perfume. It’s ghastly and no matter what detergent I wash them with, nothing changes. It’s like the bacteria has created permanent housing in the fibers. Maybe I’ll try out lemon on them as well – and keep my fingers crossed that the juice doesn’t bleach out the fabric.
Lemon is also a great toner / astringent – so you can apply it on your face and scalp – feels squeaky clean. Some people even clean their teeth with salt and lemon juice. ( I’ve tried that but charcoal was more effective to whiten my teeth. More on that soon. )