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Why Does My Sweat Smell?

Sweat smell can ruin your day – and your shirt.

We all know that smell. The locker room, gym bag, and wet sock smell. The sweat smell. No one enjoys the smell of sweat permeating their clothing and ruling their workout. And the issue becomes even more frustrating when the odor sticks to your clothes. Add your deodorant and body spray to the mix, and things get really funky.

Wondering why your sweat smells sour, or just bad? The truth is: it doesn’t.

Does Sweat Have a Smell?


That smell is a sign of bacteria

In our sweat series, we’ve covered the many reasons that sweating is good for us. Sweat itself is a fluid that is mostly comprised of water and salt. This fluid is virtually odorless. The smell you inhale is not the sweat itself but instead the reaction of sweat mingling with the bacteria on your skin.

Let’s take your armpits for example. Underarms are abundant in apocrine glands. These sweat glands are most common in the areas of your body the have a plethora of hair follicles. Since armpits are likely to produce moisture, they become a ripe breeding ground for bacteria. When the sweat mixes with the bacteria, the bacteria breaks down into an acid, and starts to stink.

3 Factors Behind Body Odor

(Plus, how to deal with the stink)

causes of sweat smell

There are some external factors that can play into your smelly sweat as well. While you can’t necessarily stop the bacteria from being there, here are some factors that you can control.

  1. A Lot of Stress

    It stands to reason that the more you sweat and the more moisture builds on your body, that more bacteria will be able to thrive. We all know that stress can lead to sweating in some people, so an abundant amount of it can lead to extra bacteria. That extra bacteria mixes with the extra sweat and boom. Smelly.

  2. Your Diet

    Occasionally, special diets can add to the smell of your sweat! An example of this would be a high-fat, low-carb diet, otherwise known as the Keto diet. These diets have the habit of producing ketones in your body from the extra fat burn, which can lead to smellier sweat. Foods like eggs and fish have a property called choline that can also cause your sweat to have a distinct odor. Finally, too much sugar produces too much yeast which can add to the smell.

  3. Synthetic Fabrics (and detergents that can’t clean synthetics)

    Sometimes, it’s not even your body that you are smelling – it’s your clothes! It’s common for synthetic fabrics to trap bacteria and therefore odor in them. Then when you go to wear your favorite running tank, it smells terrible! And you thought you washed it out. The truth is that if you’re using traditional laundry detergent on your synthetic clothing, it could be exacerbating the problem.

    Luckily, we’re here to help. HEX laundry detergent is specifically designed to deep clean your favorite workout clothes and protect them from future stink. By cleansing the pores of the fabric of the trapped bacterial stink, HEX is able to rid your clothes of odor and safeguard it from getting too smelly in the future.

The Fix For Sweat Smell On Clothes

why do my clothes still smell after washing
hex detergent for sports bras
Washing loads of sweaty clothes? Use HEX Detergent.

Now we know that the “sweat smell” is simply the result of your sweat mixing with bacteria on your skin or clothes. So, if you’re suffering from stinky, sweaty clothes, then the solution is in the laundry room! Switch to HEX laundry detergent. It’s the only detergent with a proprietary formula designed to deep clean and protect workout clothes and all laundry. Beyond the wash cycle, HEX protects fabrics so your clothes keep doing their job – keeping you comfy and dry.