sweat smells like vinegar

A natural process by which body excretes waste products in the form of water is called sweating. But sometimes this sweating process could be the reason for embarrassment among friends or colleague circle, just because your sweat smell like vinegar and nobody wants to sit next to you.

Have you ever thought of why this happens if sweating is a natural process? Does the thought come in your mind about why do I smell like vinegar? If you have not thought about it yet, then you have arrived on the right platform as here I am going to discuss everything about sweating and why your body smells like vinegar sometimes or regularly. So, let’s start to know about it.

Body odor was a kind of recognition pattern for humans in preceding time but nowadays this odor is not liked much due to the awkwardness of the odor. But still, in the animal kingdom, this odor has a vital role as it helps the animals in finding their mates. It seems very interesting…Right? Anyways, we have been more interested in our issues instead of knowing about others. So here, in this article, we will discuss only the sweat odor of human species and why it smells so ugh sometimes.

Here comes another interesting fact about sweating, i.e. it has no odor. It’s the bacteria residing in our body which makes it awful. Yes…it’s true. So, let’s have a look at how this process occurs and the reasons behind it and what are the symptoms of smelling like vinegar.

Some common reasons for smelling like vinegar:

Here is the catchy thing that there is a scientific reason for being smelling like vinegar. The human body has sebaceous glands that are responsible for excretion of waste materials from the body through sweating. There are two types of Sebaceous glands: Eccrine and Apocrine.

  • Eccrine glands: They are responsible to regulate the body temperature and are present in all areas of the body.
  • Apocrine glands: They are present primarily on genital parts, eye regions, and armpits. They produce much thick sweat which acts as nutrition for bacterial growth, thus sweating gets converted into vinegar odor with bacterial action.

1. Vinegar like sweat smell occurs due to Propionibacterium which is located in Apocrine glands. These bacteria play a role in the degradation process of proteins released in sweat. This biochemical process produces propionic acid which comes under the family of acetic acid which itself is often known as vinegar.

2. Diet: It is commonly observed that whatever we eat, our body reflects it. So, if we will intake food having some odor, our body throws it back in its way. Foods such as egg yolk, garlic, onion, red meat, etc. are associated with odor.

One thing here to mark is that a person who intakes excess of sugar in any form such as chocolates, chips, candies, milk, etc. will smell like vinegar. Have you ever spotted a diabetic person’s sweat smell? He will always stink like vinegar and this is because bacteria act fast on sugary foods and produces acids as a by-product. So beware, if you eat more sugar and have noticed changes in the odor of your sweat, you need to consult your physician soon. You need to keep an eye on the smell of your sweat and to act if you observe smelling like vinegar symptoms from you

3. Hormonal imbalance in the body:  

A Person mainly undergoes hormonal changes twice in his life. First at the stage of puberty, when the secretion of certain hormones increases in the body and sweating starts under the armpits, under the breasts in women and genital organs when apocrine glands come in action. Thus, the body smells like vinegar often.

Another important stage of hormonal imbalance is menopause in the case of females. Females suffer hot flashes (warm feeling over intense areas such as neck, chest, etc.) in this stage. This leads to stress and excess sweating in women. Bacteria breaks down the excess sweat that generates awkward odor. In the case of males, hypogonadism (a condition in which testicles function improperly producing lower levels of testosterone) also leads to hot flashes similar to menopause and produces surplus amounts of sweat leading to vinegar-like odor from your body.

4. Personal hygiene:

It is a significant determinant of your body odor. If you shower once or twice a day, it reduces the bacterial growth and body sweat containing proteins and other constituents get washed away, thus you can fight with sweat and ultimately with a vinegar-like smell from you.

5. Medical conditions such as Schizophrenia can also make the sweat to smell like vinegar.

As of now, we have discussed the causes of being smelling like vinegar. Now its time to treat this ailment. A few simple steps can keep you away from this pungent odor and people will not object to sitting around you in public. You can roam with your girlfriend confidently. Haha…just kidding. Now, come to the main part to cure and get rid of it. Some good practices and changes in your daily routine as discussed below can make you achieve your target easily;

1. Use of medicated soaps: 

There are many soaps available in the market which promote the killing of bacteria and keeping you away from foul smell. As the only issue is to maintain personal hygiene, it’s very important to shower daily or twice a day as per your convenience. The use of warm water synergizes the effect of soap. It is important to clean the under areas such as armpits, genitals, etc. as a high level of bacteria resides in these regions.

Removing hair of underarms can also prevent you from the foul smell as sweat persists in the hair for a longer time, increasing the growth of bacteria thus producing more amount of acids.

Use of deodorant and antiperspirant can also work in their way. The composition of deodorants inhibits bacterial growth and thus the sweat does not get converted into acidic material. On the other hand, antiperspirant acts by controlling the production of sweat. 

Cleaning of genitals, armpits, etc. also reduces sweating.

Regular cleaning and changing of outfits also play a vital role in personal hygiene. 

2. Improvement in lifestyle and diet: 

You can avoid the protein-enriched diet from your meal to figure out if the foul smell is just due to your diet or there is something serious about your health. Elimination of spicy foods, onion, garlic, etc. from your diet can work.  

Take as much water as you can. Dehydration sometimes also leads to the foul smell. Water itself is a natural detoxifier and secrets the waste products in the form of sweat, but sweat will not have a pungent odor.

Improve your lifestyle and try to wear cotton clothes. Cotton has a natural property of absorbing moisture, so whatever sweat is secreted by the body, cotton can absorb it, whereas on the other hand, clothes made of other fabrics such as crepe, etc. are unable to do this, thus making you more sweaty. This increases the bacterial action and production of acids, thus pungent odor.

3. Medications: Keep a check on medications you are going through as you may experience the pungent odor as a side effect of some medication. If it is so, you need to consult your physician. 

4. Use antiperspirants: As already discussed above, antiperspirants can prevent your body to make sweat. Therefore, you may use them to prevent yourself from being smell like vinega

If you have tried everything mentioned above, but still you have not got the answer to the question; why does my sweat smell like vinegar, it means you have reached an alarming situation and you need to see a dermatologist. He can prescribe you some medications which can maintain the bacterial balance of the body. You can scrape out this pungent odor from your body.


If your sweat is giving you sign about any chemical changes happening inside your body through pungent odor, you need to fight against it instead of ignoring or hiding it. Do consult your physician to find out the underlying root cause for your problem.

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