an unlikely tip for runners: don’t wear deodorant

One day recently when my husband and I were stretching after our morning run, I marveled out loud at how badly I stank. “I’m even wearing deodorant and I still stink,” I grumbled.

“Don’t wear deodorant,” my husband said. “You won’t stink as much, and you’ll feel cooler.”

“Yeah, whatever,” I said. But the next time I ran, I skipped the deodorant and I didn’t stink! (I still felt hot, though.)

Ever since, I’ve been skipping the deodorant when I run. There’s still odor—and it’s worse on hotter days—but it’s not nearly as rank. I certainly couldn’t get away without without wearing deodorant during the day like my father (he never wears the stuff, and even though he might work outside for hours on end and sweat profusely, he rarely stinks), but for whatever reason, skipping the deodorant when I run keeps me smelling sweet and fresh, or at least more so.

Has anyone else discovered this? Are my husband and I completely off our rockers? Because it’s possible…

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of odors and cleanliness: at our last family gathering, my sister-in-law divulged that she’s taken to using soap nuts instead of detergent when she washes her clothes. They look a little like small, unshelled walnuts and smell like absolutely nothing, but she (and the soap nut sellers) claims that a small pouch of them tossed into a load of dirty laundry will get the clothes clean. Has anyone else tried this?

This same time, years previous: a big deal, on love and leftovers, the quotidian (8.25.14), atop the ruins, 16, tomato jam, basic oatmeal muffins, homemade butter.


  • Athanasia

    I read years and years ago,probably in a magazine in a waiting room, that it isn't the deodorant that you put on that morning that works. It is the deodorant that you applied the day before and that has absorbed that is at work.

  • katie

    I also haven't used deodorant in years (and I run. a lot! and do lots of other sweaty tasks frequently.). Sometimes I get a bit stinky, but at those times I have been so hot and busy and dirty that I doubt deodorant would have made a difference. I think it's all a racket!

  • Karin

    In my mid 40's deodorant stopped working for me. So I started using coconut oil mixed with baking soda (2:1) and it works perfectly. My husband developed an allergic reaction to deodorant so he quit using it and rarely has an odor issue (and we live in hot, humid Florida!).

  • dr perfection

    I used to get huge itchy welts from mosquito bites. Recently, I read that antiperspirants placed on the bites keep the welts and itching from developing and it really does work!! I no longer fear sitting in my backyard in the evenings. A miracle.

  • beckster

    I stopped using commercial deodorants last year. My husband did as well. We now use just a little babassu oil rubbed into our pits. It is antifungal and antibacterial, and neither of us smell.

  • Elaine

    Interesting subject. I rarely use deodorant since I retired and don't go out to work. Sometimes I use it when I go out in public, but I don't really think I need to. My husband hasn't used deodorant for years, and he smells fine. 🙂 Maybe we've been sold a "bill of goods" by the deodorant industry, although there are people who definitely benefit from using it. 😉

  • Kathy Gardner

    I am clueless on not wearing deodorant and especially so on the subject of soap nuts. I have never heard of soap nuts other those people who can't miss their favorite soap opera. I've never seen their either.

  • Anonymous

    I stopped wearing deodorant a few years ago and now only do so occassionally. At first my body took time to regulate but now no odor at all- even going to sweaty classes at the gym.

  • Mama Pea

    Because of the nasty chemicals in most deodorants, I stopped wearing it completely about 15 years ago. And I rarely, rarely have a bad body odor. (Or at least I can never detect one . . . and nobody has called me out on it. Yet.) So my question is do we really need body deodorants??

    Have never had the courage to try those soap nuts. Just doesn't seem to make sense. Could be I'm missing a good thing though.

    • Goatldi

      Mama Pea don't know about the soap nuts but is the problem not wearing deodorant? Perhaps the problem is being sold a bill of goods that it isn't normal for people to have any scent about them that isn't pleasing? I have read several articles about the subject and for the most part deterring an objectionable body odor isn't by using deodorants but bathing in some fashion regularly. And what is regularly and works for me may not be the same as for you. Makes sense ?

  • Second Sister

    I've been using soap nuts and so far so good, but I use warm water to help them work better, so there's the trade off. And I find that when I'm sweating a lot, deoderant is not useful. Only when I'm sweating a little over a period of time. In fact, I often don't wear deoderant and just rinse in the shower when I'm needing not to smell less. Keeping it real, friends. Most deoderant (or antipersperant) ruins my clothes in the blink of an eye, too. That's my two cents.

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