Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

This topic is a touchy one for a lot of us nerd-types. On one hand, stop it with the stereotypes! We aren’t stinky basement dwellers! On the other, there’s occasionally that nagging fear that maybe we don’t think we smell because… we’re just used to it. Yikes!


BFFs for life! Or at least until I get that clawfoot tub I’ve been dreamin’ about. (Image via PhotoAtelier)

So, in the spirit of self-improvement, here are six tips to avoid being smelly:

  1. Shower and wash all over with soap and water 3-7 times each week (letting soapy water trickle over your feet in the shower is NOT the same as scrubbing them clean). Shower more often if you get sweaty, less if you’re in bed with the flu and rolling over seems like an insurmountable task.
  2. Shampoo and comb your hair at least every third day (too often can dry out your hair and scalp, too infrequently can leave your hair greasy). Again, vary this depending on your habits.
  3. Brush your teeth twice daily, use mouthwash morning and night, and for the love of Bob, floss regularly.
  4. Wash hands with soap and water after using the restroom, before handling food, and after handling money. And, you know, whenever your paws get dirty.
  5. Cover your mouth when you cough, your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Then wash those hands!
  6. Don’t wear dirty clothes. Smell test them. Generally speaking, you can get away with re-wearing a shirt once or twice (depending on sweat & activities) and re-wearing pants/shorts/skirts/dresses 3-4 times (also depending on sweat & activities). Underwear is a one-time deal. Socks too. Bras…well…that’s controversial, but I recommend at least once every four wears (SMELL TEST, pleeease).

Have these down? Great! There’s always a little room for improvement.

Five ways to upgrade your routine:

  1. Get a tongue scraper tonguecleaner Worried about bad breath? One of these bad boys will help clear that right up. Note: if you’re brushing, flossing, mouthwashing, and tongue scraping on the regular, and STILL suffer from bad breath, please go see your doctor. The cause may be as minor as allergies, but you’ll want to make sure to rule out something more serious.
  2. Mani/Pedis for all!
    manicurekit Either pick up a nail care kit, or assemble one yourself. Keeping your hands and feet neatly groomed helps to keep you clean, healthy, and odor-free. The above kit includes special tools for clipping hangnails, pushing back cuticles (skip the cuticle trimmer), and trimming and filing toe and finger nails.
  3. Crack is whack.
    Well, heel cracks, that is. Take care of your feet by sanding down dry calluses with a foot scraper and using a good moisturizer (bonus points if you apply the good, albeit stinky stuff and then wear socks for about 30 minutes to help it soak in).
  4. Take it to the mattress.
    At least the bed. You should wash your pillowcases and sheets approximately once each week. This not only clears off dirt and dust that has accumulated, but also takes care of any body oils that seep in while you are sleeping.
  5. Give your shoes a rest.
    I know those Toms are your most-favoritest shoes ever, but wearing the same pair everyday can lead to… unpleasant and er… persistent aromas. Extend the life of your shoes and discourage stinky bacterial growth by giving them at least a day or two of rest in between wearings. If they still can clear a room, try replacing the insoles.


Cover image from Shutterstock.com/Alexander Savchuk.


Still plagued by stinky woes? Did Cat miss a crucial tip for staying squeaky clean? Tell us what you think in the comments!


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Founder at Wendt Creative
Cat loves to eat tasty homemade things, yet isn’t terribly fond of the process of making them. She prefers recipes that take shortcuts when possible – without compromising flavor. Her dog, Cheeto, likes stealing her creations from the dining room table.

She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.

She is also allergic to felines.
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