Bad smell of hair: causes and methods of treatment

Bad smell of hair: causes and methods of treatment


The unpleasant smell emanating from the hair is annoying and embarrassing for many people, especially for women, and this smell has many reasons, such as the oily scalp, dandruff, bacterial infection, and other factors that contribute to its presence of this smell. But these causes can be successfully controlled using some natural methods at home, and get rid of the annoying smell of hair easily.

Causes of annoying hair smell

Some reasons may cause bad hair smell, including:

Infection with some skin problems that may affect the scalp, such as dandruff, psoriasis, and others. Excessive sweating of the skin of the scalp. Not cleaning and washing hair adequately, especially after activities that cause heavy sweating. An imbalance in the body\’s hormones. Eating some foods that cause the body to smell bad, such as onions and garlic. Wearing headgear for long periods may cause the hair to get an unpleasant smell. Use very hot water to wash your hair. Use of harmful chemicals in hair care. Use natural masks with a strong smell without washing the hair well. Exposure to air contaminated with dust or particles that have a pungent odor. Being in an area with high humidity. [1]

How to get rid of the bad smell of hair at home


It is a herb from the mint family with a distinctive smell and taste. Thyme kills the bad smell in the hair due to its anti-fungal properties, so we find many different shampoos nowadays that include thyme extract as one of their active ingredients, and you can also use herbal tea made of thyme to wash your hair. [2]

How to use:

Simply boil 2 cups of thyme sticks in 2 liters of water for 15 minutes, in a pot covered with a lid. Let the solution cool. Use it on the hair afterward.

garlic oil

Although garlic has a pungent and strong smell, it is effective for treating a foul-smelling scalp, due to the presence of sulfur in it, which acts as an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.

How to use:

Garlic oil can be prepared at home by boiling 3-4 cloves of garlic in half a cup of coconut oil, or you can buy it ready-made as it is easily available in pharmacies. Soak a cotton ball in warm garlic oil. Apply it to your scalp and massage well. Leave it for 20 minutes and wash your hair with shampoo.


Due to its healing properties, aloe vera has earned its place in a range of beauty products; From face cream to face wash to shampoo, it effectively fights bad smells caused by oily scalp or dandruff, also nourishes and locks in moisture for your scalp and hair.

How to use:

Extract the aloe vera gel from the leaves by slicing them horizontally in half. Wash your hair with your regular shampoo. After washing your hair well, apply the gel to your hair and scalp. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash it off.

onion juice

Onions like garlic contain sulfur that effectively fights bacteria and fungi, and this helps treat smelly hair and scalp. Onions also promote hair growth and help you get rid of the problem of baldness.

How to use:

Cut the onions into 5-6 pieces and put them in a juicer. Squeeze the pulp well to extract the juice. Apply this juice to your scalp and massage gently. Leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it off with shampoo.

tomato juice

The vitamins and iron content in tomatoes help increase the acidity level of your scalp, which kills bacteria and fungi. It also cleanses dandruff and enhances hair\’s natural shine.

How to use:

Wash the tomatoes and put them in a juicer. Wash your hair with shampoo before applying tomato juice to your scalp and hair. Leave it on for 5 minutes like a conditioner and rinse well.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil is one of the commonly used essential oils, and it has various benefits for hair. Its antiseptic properties fight fungi, bacteria, and other microbes that cause odor. It also acts as a moisturizer and improves blood circulation to hair, which promotes its growth.

How to use:

Wash your hair with shampoo – preferably sulfate-free – and dry it well. Add 5 drops of lavender oil to your scalp. The scent will stay in your hair for a long time.

tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has excellent properties in reducing dandruff and scalp odor, as the antimicrobial properties help eliminate odor triggers.

How to use:

Dilute 3-4 drops of the oil in warm water. Pour this mixture on your scalp and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Use a sulfate-free shampoo to wash your hair.

neem oil

Neem oil has been used since ancient times, for its various health benefits. It is effective in treating itchy scalp and dandruff responsible for the bad smell. It also promotes hair growth and treats eczema symptoms.

How to use:

Mix diluted neem oil with carrier oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. The mixture should contain 10-20% neem oil. Apply it to your scalp and massage gently. Wash hair with a mild shampoo. Alternatively, you can add 2-3 drops of this oil to your shampoo and use it directly on the scalp.


Thanks to the properties that lemon juice contains, which get rid of scalp infections and dandruff, it comes as an easy option to treat smelly hair.

How to use:

Squeeze a lemon and dilute it in two cups of water. Wash your hair with shampoo and pour this diluted solution onto your scalp. Leave it for 5 minutes and then wash it off.

Apple cider vinegar

Rich in effective cleansing properties, apple cider vinegar treats conditions that cause foul-smelling hair. It works by changing the pH of your scalp and killing microbes.

How to use:

Wash your hair with shampoo. Mix half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Apply the mixture to your scalp and leave it on for less than two minutes. Wash your hair with water and leave it to dry.

Other ways to eliminate bad hair odor

Using a cold air dryer on the hair for 5 minutes can get rid of this smell. Use hair perfumes that contain a certain percentage of alcohol. Use a scented dry shampoo, as it does not require water, as removes odor and excess oils from the hair and scalp. Use a sulfur-containing shampoo or an antibacterial shampoo.

How to avoid the bad smell of hair

There are several tips that you can follow to avoid your hair getting smelly, and they are:

Always use regular hair tools. If the cause of the odor is a health problem, treat it immediately. Avoid touching your hair and scalp a lot. If you go out in polluted weather, wear a head covering. Wash your hair regularly with lukewarm water and a chemical-free shampoo. Follow a healthy diet. Give your hair enough moisture regularly. [3]

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