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There's an old amateur science website, "Project Kill BO",, which showed us how to experiment with armpit odor. I tried their suggestions and found that they actually work. Holy. Crap. The secrets of the universe? They're all sitting there on old 1990s websites.

It's quite simple: get rid of the bacteria. Armpit odor comes entirely from symbiotic bacteria living on skin and hair. You've discovered this if you've ever had to wash with sterilizing soap for surgery. More interesting is the fact that the armpit bacteria live in cloth, and they easily survives washing, to say nothing of the boiling temperatures in a clothes dryer. (Maybe they're thermophiles which enjoy live steam!) Antibacterial antiperspirants don't work, since your shirts are a haven where the bacteria survive.

So you have to sterilize your shirts. If your shirts remain contaminated, no amount of soap and multiple showers and painful scrubbing with bristle brushes will halt your stench. Fortunately these bacteria are easily killed with chlorine bleach.


  1. Wash your shirts normally, but use bleach
  2. Use a bactericidal antiperspirant such as Mitchum®
That's it?! Yep. Well, you do have to stir the bleach in thoroughly before adding any clothes. That keeps the concentrated bleach from making any white blotches on dark fabrics. I use about 1/3 cup of Chlorox® in a laundry load, with 'large' setting. After years of use I find that this doesn't discolor cloth (it's way too little bleach.)
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