15 Home Remedies for Dealing with Smelly Hair

15 Home Remedies for Dealing with Smelly Hair

Smelly hair can lead to a number of unwanted consequences. You may find the odor embarrassing and decide to avoid social situations. It may even effect your work performance and lower your self-esteem. Luckily, there are home remedies that you can use to deal with the problem.

Having smelly hair is not always related to poor hair cleaning techniques. You can wash your hair on a regular basis and still end up with a bad smell. Oily hair, hormonal imbalances, high stress levels, psoriasis, and scalp infections can all lead to smelly hair.

People with oily hair are more likely to have this problem, as their hair absorbs more pollutants and retains odors easier than dryer hair.

If you have recently noticed an unpleasant odor coming from your hair or scalp, try using one of these 15 home remedies. The majority of these treatments use items that you are likely to have in your cupboards.

Tomato Juice


The first treatment is to use tomatoes to correct any pH imbalance that you may be dealing with. You may need one or more tomatoes to use this method, depending on your hair length.

Squeeze the juice from a tomato and place in a small bowl. Massage the juice into your hair and leave in place for about thirty minutes. Wash the tomato from your hair with a mild shampoo. Try using this remedy twice per week to remove odors; though, it should be noted that using tomato juice could naturally lighten your hair.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda can help neutralize odors. Blend three-parts water with one-part baking soda. Rinse your hair with water and then apply this paste. Massage into your hair and wait five minutes before rinsing. Stick to using this remedy once per week.




Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar and apples over white wooden background

Apple cider vinegar, as with tomato juice, can help to correct a pH imbalance. It can also prevent frizzy hair and add more volume. Mix half a teaspoon of the vinegar with one cup of water. Rinse your hair and then apply this mixture. Leave the mixture in your hair for one minute before rinsing.




Cinnamon and Honey

fresh honey with honeycomb and spicesThis next treatment includes the powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties of cinnamon and honey. Combine a half teaspoon of cinnamon with one cup of boiling water. Turn the heat to low and steep the cinnamon for thirty minutes. Then add one teaspoon of honey. Spread the mixture over your scalp and leave in for 45 minutes and then rinse with water.


Olive Oil

Olive oil

There is no preparation needed for this next treatment. Simply apply a small amount of olive oil directly to your scalp and massage gently. Leave the oil in your hair for several minutes and then use your normal shampoo to wash your hair.


Onion Juice

smelly hair onion juice

Onions contain antifungal and antiseptic properties, both of which could help with smelly hair. Extract the juice from two onions using a juicer and then apply the juice to your hair. Massage the juice into your scalp and wait thirty minutes before rinsing it away with your normal shampoo.


Grapefruit Seed Extract

smelly hair grapefruit seed

For this next treatment, you will use your regular shampoo, along with ten drops of grapefruit seed extract. Add the drops to your shampoo and massage directly on your scalp. Wash your hair as normal and allow it to dry naturally.


Milk of Magnesia


Using milk of magnesia can help remove excess oil from your hair, which may be the cause of your foul smell. Pour four tablespoons of milk of magnesia directly on your scalp. Massage into your scalp and leave in place for an hour. Afterwards, shampoo your hair using your regular shampoo.

Orange Juice

smelly hair orange juice

Orange juice can remove some of the oil in your hair and could help treat dandruff. The acidic content can also deodorize your hair. Peel several oranges and place the peels in a jar. Fill the rest of the jar with apple cider vinegar. Store the jar in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Once the two weeks have passed, strain the liquid into a separate container and place in your fridge.

Add two tablespoons of this liquid to a 12-ounce spray bottle full of water. Spray the mixture onto your hair and leave in place for several minutes.


Close up view of the bottle in ice

Surprisingly, vodka can be used to keep your hair free of foul odors, while stimulating hair growth. To use vodka, mix one tablespoon of the alcohol with a 12-ounce spray bottle filled with water. Spray the solution on your hair after shampooing. You should apply this mixture after getting out of the shower and allow your hair to dry naturally.




Garlic Oil

garlic mushrooms

Garlic contains antifungal and antiseptic properties. These compounds can kill odor producing bacteria and yeast. If you do not want to spend the money on garlic oil, you can prepare your own by heating a couple tablespoons of coconut oil with two garlic cloves. Heat the mixture in a saucepan and then strain the liquid. Wait for the mixture to cool and then apply to your hair. Massage into your scalp and then rinse with your regular shampoo.

Egg Whites

whisking raw egg whites

Add two egg yolks to two tablespoons of yogurt. Thoroughly mix the two ingredients and then spread it on your hair. Leave in place for twenty minutes and then rinse it off with cold water.





a bunch of fresh rosemary

Thyme can be used to remove odors. Boil two liters of water and add two cups of thyme. Boil the solution for 15 minutes, with a lid on your pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the liquid and use the mixture to clean your hair. Apply before taking a shower and leave in place for thirty minutes before washing your hair with your regular shampoo.

Aloe Vera

smelly hair aloe vera

Aloe Vera can treat a variety of scalp problems. It can be used to help prevent hair loss, condition your hair, prevent dandruff, and eliminate odors. Use this treatment once per week. Crush several Aloe Vera leaves to extract the gel. Apply the gel directly to your hair, after shampooing. Leave the gel in your hair for ten minutes and then rinse your hair.

Lemon Juice

smelly hair lemon juice

The final treatment for getting rid of odors is to use lemon juice. It produces a pleasant fragrance and can help add shine to your hair. Squeeze the juice from two lemons. Mix this juice with one cup of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your hair, after rinsing with shampoo. Leave the mixture in your hair for several minutes and then wash with water.

These 15 treatments should help get rid of any lingering odors in your hair. You may have noticed that several of these treatments require you to wash your hair with shampoo. Before trying these treatments, you may want to switch to a new shampoo, especially if you were using the same shampoo before noticing the odor.

Preventing smelly hair is not hard. You simply need to find a good treatment. Try one of these 15 treatments to eliminate any bad odors.

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