What Should You Do If Your Roommate Has A Body Odor Issue?

A roommate having a body odor is a nightmare many people living in shared spaces have to deal with.

Even when you feel your roommate’s body odor and standards of cleanliness are infringing on your ability to live comfortably at home, talking about it is another thing altogether.

You don’t like holding your breath because of your roommate’s bad body odor and still don’t want to offend them.

(In this regard), What Should You Do If Your Roommate Has A Body Odor Issue?

Talking to a roommate about how bad they smell can potentially offend them. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to combat the bad smell without telling your roommate. For instance, you can use a fabric fresher, get more than one fan to circulate air, keep the windows open, use diffusers, or leave out open baking soda to absorb the bad smell. When things get so bad, you can approach your roommate and delicately talk about the odor issue. Without making your roommate feel bad, you can recommend antibacterial soap or “natural” soaps with antimicrobial properties.

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When dealing with a smelly roommate, you want to avoid anything that can make them feel bad or aggressive.

In this post, you will find everything you need about dealing with a roommate having body odor issues, emphasizing how to address the nightmare.

What Causes Bad Body Odor?

Before you even think about addressing or broaching the problem with your roommate, it is imperative to figure out the source of the stink.

Considering that introducing a topic about your roommate’s suffocating bad body odor can be tricky, it is a good idea to identify the cause behind the smell so that you can approach the issues from an ideal angle.

Generally, body odor happens when sweat meets the bacteria on the skin surface.

Well, while it is perfectly normal for perspiration to give out a distinctive odor, on average, the smell shouldn’t be offensive.

Your roommate’s body odor issue could be because of their hygiene habits.

Of course, if your roommate bathes so infrequently, it is obvious that a bad smell will be emanating from their body, clothes, towels, and even room.

Far from guessing, you know your roommate better, and you’re in a better position to figure out the cause of the foul smell.

Notably, unusual body odor can be caused by eating certain foods, underlying health problems, thyroid issues, or severe hormonal fluctuations.

Six Ways To Address Roommate’s Bad Body Odor

So you are dealing with a smelly roommate? Bad body odor is a sensitive issue that you need to address immediately. After all, ignoring the foul smell won’t send it away.

Here are some of the things you can do to address the issue:

1. Talk About Bad Body Odor With Your Smelly Roommate

My friend, let’s talk about this!

Talking to your roommate about their bad body odor is arguably the best way to address how bad their body smells.

However, unlike addressing other smells like cigarette smoke, telling your roommate about their bad body odor can be difficult.

Ideally, you want to introduce the issue delicately and discuss it like an adult to avoid making your roommate feel bad or, worse, turn aggressive towards you.

The best conversation starter will depend on your relationship with your roommate.

You could send a subtle hint by offering the roommate gifts like scented soaps, lotions, bath bubbles, or herbal deodorants.

When offering the gifts, you talk about the apartment smelling bad in a way that won’t feel rude.

If the smelly roommate is a close friend, you can use humor to initiate a talk. Just remember to have a healthy conversation.

Your smelly roommate can potentially benefit from improving the hygiene habits (bathing more often with scented soap, using deodorants) and taking zinc supplements.

Notably, some people have grown immune to their own scent. Therefore, before broaching the issue, compose yourself to discuss it healthy.

2. Keep The Windows Open

If you have a smelly roommate and are afraid of letting them know, keeping the windows open, especially when the roommate is around, can flood the room with fresh air, ultimately reducing the offensive odor.

Fresh air entering through windows acts as a natural deodorizer.

3. Use Fabric Fresheners

Many people use air fresheners to drive out foul smells.

That said, if you don’t know your roommate well enough to say anything directly, spraying Febreze, Lysol, or other sprays can help eliminate the bad smells of your smelly roommate.

Fabric freshers and other sprays have powerful ingredients that deactivate bad scents or replace them with a pleasant fragrance.

Spraying the apartment when your roommate is home could send a subtle hint.

4. Use Plug-In Air Fresheners, Scented Candles, Incense, And Reed Diffusers

Scented candles and similar products are commonly used to disguise nauseating odors, meaning they can do a great job in making your apartment feel homely.

In the case where you are dealing with a smelly roommate, you can also use plug-in fresheners and scented candles to overcome the bad body odor.

5. Declutter The Space And Use Fans

Just like opening the apartment windows, getting several fans and placing them strategically will help enhance air circulation in the rooms.

As long as your fans are running, they will drive out the bad odors of your smelly roomie, making the space more comfortable.

Decluttering the apartment and encouraging meticulous personal hygiene can also help eliminate the bad odor.

Technically, this is because there will be literally not much clutter to keep the stink.

6. Leave Out Open Baking Soda To Absorb The Bad Smells

Baking soda is one of the most useful tools in eliminating odors.

Unlike air fresheners and scented products that mask the bad odors, baking soda will absorb terribly offensive odors, creating a neutral environment that feels homely.

Even better, baking soda is inexpensive and absorbs all kinds of foul smells.

You can leave out open cartons of baking soda or sprinkle it into that carpet. In either case, you will like the results.

Considerations When Addressing Roommate’s Body Odor Issues

While there are many ways to combat the bad body odor of your smelly roommate, addressing the problem entirely can be difficult and/or costly in the long term.

For this reason, before stepping into the problem with your roommate, it is crucial to understand what you want.

If you like the roommate and want to continue living with them, are you ready to invest in the relationship?

Has it reached the point where the bad odor is a health and safety concern?

Do you have an easy exit path? Or is the housing contract restricting you from moving out?

Whether you like the roommate and want to stay or are planning to move out, the best starting point is eliminating all your judgments and personalization out of the issue.

The stories you are telling yourself about your roommate’s smell won’t help either.

After understanding all these, you can now consider which solution will work best for you and your roommate. Again, this will depend on how you relate with the roommate.

Aim for a solution that will address the issue without hurting the feeling of your roommate.


Dealing with a roommate having a body odor issue can be tricky.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you have gotten insights into how you can help address the bad body odor.

Most importantly, if your roommate has a body odor issue, use an approach that shows care for him or her emotions.


Roommate with B.O.?

How to Handle a Smelly Roommate 

My Roommate Smells! What Can I Do? 

How to Address Bad Body Odor