Home Remedies To Treat A Smelly Scalp Naturally

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A smelly scalp causes a lot of embarrassment. A lot of people face from this issue in their life. This problem can occur in anyone, and at any age. Not just it brings discomfort, but also reduces confidence in public setting. There can be a lot of reasons that can constitute this issue. This article will address to all its causes, and comes up with effective natural solutions that will keep your scalp fresh, and pleasant all the time. So, let us get started.

What Are The Reasons For A Smelly Scalp?

To treat this scalp issue, it is very important to understand the reason for its occurrence. Only when you identify the right cause, will you be able to treat the problem. As everyone’s chemistry is different, different people can have different reasons behind occurrence of smelly scalp.

It can be stress, changes in hormones, fungal infections, bacterial infections, excessive sweating, pollution, oily scalp, medical condition, excess secretion of the natural oil or sebum in scalp, that enhances the presence of harmful bacteria on the scalp and result in unpleasant odor.

  • Some people have a tendency to sweat more. An excessive sweaty scalp comes with a responsibility of frequent cleaning. Not maintaining the hygiene of your scalp and failing to clean it regularly can cause your scalp to stink.
  • Bad odor produced from an oily scalp is the outcome of increased bacterial activities on the scalp. Excessive oil on the scalp provides bacteria with the adequate nutrition to flourish and multiply. This can provide a distinctive foul odor to your hair, and scalp.
  • Oily scalp is one of the major reasons for smelly scalp. Usually those who have oily skin are more prone to oily scalp. In this condition, your scalp secrete more than permissible levels of natural oil or “sebum”. Right amount of sebum is essential to protect the scalp from damage, and keep hair manageable, but when it increases on the scalp, then it can make your scalp, and hair greasy and stinky.
  • In addition to the nature of the skin, sometimes hormonal changes, or use of specific types of medicines, can also be the reason behind excess production of sebum. Certain medical conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and dandruff, are also the reason for a smelly scalp.
  • Oily hair is more susceptible to attracting pollution (dust, and dirt) present in the environment. This can make your hair dirty, and coarse. The combination of dirt and sweat when not cleaned for a longer time, can cause malodourous scalp.

All these above-mentioned factors contribute towards smelly scalp syndrome. Now that we have learned about the reasons that causes smelly scalp, we will look at some powerful natural hacks to fight this annoying issue.

Home Remedies To Remove Smell From Hair And Scalp

Fungus and bacteria thrive on excess oil on scalp, and lead to foul odors. The natural remedies that we have discussed below are highly potent treatment to get rid of all types of scalp disorder. The below herbs are carefully picked for its remarkable antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Not just these remedies effectively clean, and moisturize your scalp, but also nourish it with minerals, and vitamins.

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil is vouched for its exemplary germicidal properties. In addition to eliminating infections, its pleasant smell leaves your hair, and scalp smelling fresh. All you need is to add a few drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil to a cup of water. Apply it on the scalp. Let it stay on the scalp for another thirty minutes. Rinse out with a gentle shampoo. Do it once in a week.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda is another powerful anti-microbial agent that effectively cleans your scalp. It is an effective scalp-sanitizing treatment, that when diluted in water effectively destroys scalp harming fungus, and bacteria. Make a solution of one teaspoon of baking soda, and one cup of water. Apply it on the scalp. Keep it for 20 minutes. Rinse out thoroughly with cool water. Perform this remedy once a week.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

When it comes to relieving infections related to skin and hair, Apple Cider Vinegar is viewed as a prominent treatment. The antibacterial property, of this ingredient naturally combats the bacteria that thrives on the scalp. It is very important to note that Apple Cider Vinegar is highly concentrated in nature, and the skin of scalp is very delicate. So, you can’t apply it directly on the skin.

To use it, you need to dilute it in water in 1:4 ratio. Take half cup of apple cider vinegar and add it to two cups of water. Wash your hair first and then use the Apple Cider Vinegar solution as a final rinse. Wait for 5 minutes so the solution effectively disinfects your scalp. Now rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water. You can do it up to two times in a week.

4. Garlic

The antibacterial attributes of garlic are legendary. Its antimicrobial action aids in battling the microbes that are behind causing the smell. Garlic works marvelously against dandruff, and stinky scalp. It is potent to dispel foul smell. It has a high amount of anti-fungal agent as “Sulphur” in it. One of the best ways to use the goodness of garlic, is in the form of Garlic Oil.

To prepare this oil you need to take 5 cloves of garlic. Add it to ½ cup of coconut oil. Heat this mixture on low flame. Steep for one hour. Now apply uniformly on the scalp using a soft cotton ball. Slowly massage this oil throughout the scalp for twenty minutes. Leave it for another thirty minutes on the scalp. Follow it by shampooing your scalp with a mild cleanser. Do this procedure once a week.

5. Lemon Juice

How to Use Lemon Juice for Hair Wash and Dandruff Removal

Another important bactericidal agent on our list is Lemon. It is effective in removing dandruff, and killing the presence of bacteria that causes hair, and scalp to smell bad. Lemon juice is highly concentrated and shows strong astringent properties. When used alone, can cause dryness and itchiness on the scalp.

So, the right way to apply lemon juice is to dilute 2 teaspoons of it in 2 cups of luke-warm water and apply it. Let it stay for 15 minutes. Lemon will clean all the dirt, sweat and dandruff from the scalp. Finally wash your scalp with mild cleanser. You can do this procedure twice a week.

6. Tomato Juice

Tomato pulp is a mild antibacterial agent that keeps the stink causing bacteria away from the scalp. It also reduces oiliness from the hair. To use it, you need to take the pulp of a medium-sized tomato, and apply it to the scalp. Leave it on the scalp for thirty minutes. Rinse it off with water. Follow this remedy once or twice a week.

7. Zero conditioner

One common mistake that people do when they apply conditioner to their hair, is that they apply it on the scalp too. Hair conditioner is only for hair and not for scalp. When you apply it your scalp, it nourishes the microorganism (bacteria, and fungus) present on the scalp. As bacterial infection is one of the causes for smelly scalp disorder, you should avoid treating your scalp with hair conditioner.

8. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera is known for its healing and soothing action. It not just treats a wide range of infections, but also works as an amazing moisturizer. You need to apply Aloe Vera Gel on clean hair. So, first shampoo your hair. Now apply generous amount of the gel uniformly on the scalp. Keep it for twenty minutes on your scalp. Wash it properly with plain water. Repeat this step once in a week.

9. Neem Oil

Neem oil is touted as a powerful antiseptic agent that treats scalp infections and also eliminates smelly scalp. Its antimicrobial nature helps in eliminating the microbes that has a nature to replicate on its own. This causes your scalp to stink. You need to massage neem oil on your scalp thoroughly. Leave it overnight. Wash your hair with mild shampoo in the morning.

You can even use neem leaves to disinfect your scalp. Boil neem leave in water for ten minutes. Cool the solution, and strain it. Use this solution to rinse your hair. Let it stay for five to ten minutes on the scalp and do a final rinsing with normal water. Repeat this process once a week.

10. White Vinegar and Lemon

White vinegar, and lemon juice are touted as remarkable astringent agents. Mix 1/2 cup of White Vinegar and 1 tbsp of Lemon Juice, in a cup of water and apply it on the scalp. Leave it for 10 minutes, and wash it off with mild shampoo. This remedy will prevent excessive production of natural oil on the scalp, and make it clean, and fresh.

Use one or combination of the above remedies to prevent your scalp, and hair from stinking.

Tips To Prevent Smelly Scalp And Hair

Along with these natural remedies, here are a few tips that you should adopt in your lifestyle. It will assist in keeping bad smell away from your scalp.

  • Improper hygiene is one of the important causes of smelly scalp disorder. So, keep your scalp, and hair clean by washing your hair regularly.
  • If you are prone to excessive sweating, then wear light clothes.
  • Try to not indulge in activities that cause you a lot of sweating.
  • Use a mild shampoo, and not a harsh one as it can lead to excessive dryness, and itchiness. A dry scalp tempts you to scratch your scalp, that enhances the production of natural oil/ sebum on the scalp to moisten it.
  • Try to avoid going when the sun is at its peak. If necessary, avoid direct exposure to sunlight, and dirt, by wearing a cap, or scarf.
  • Avoid using chemical enriched anti-dandruff shampoos commonly available over the counter. Salicylic acid in these shampoos makes your scalp drier and aggravate the syndrome.
  • Do not use silicone-based hair styling products that are seen to weigh down your locks, and make them oilier.
  • After you use any chemical-based hair product such as hair serum, hair lotion, etc. always make sure you wash off your hair. This will prevent chemicals from staying on your scalp for longer time.
  • If possible, do not treat your hair with hair dyes, hair colors, and ammonia-enriched color. They can make your hair dry, and brittle and to restore moistness to the scalp, sebum production will increase.
  • Eat low sodium, sugar and spice to prevent excessive sweat.

Frequently Asked Questions about Treating Smelly Scalp

1. What types of vitamins are ideal for relieving bad smell from scalp?

Vitamin D and vitamin A are seen to control the secretion of sebum in the scalp. By consuming right amounts of these vitamins either in the form of foods, or supplements, it can make your hair less greasy.

2. What are Dry Shampoos and are they effective?

Natural dry shampoos have ingredients like rice starch, and corn that absorbs excess oil, and eliminate odor. Choose only pure herbal dry shampoos for safe and desired results.

3. Is it safe to treat scalp with herbal body washes?

Herbal body washes are infused with herbs that possess antibacterial and soothing properties such as garlic, lemon, neem etc. with peppermint, rosemary or lavender oil to give pleasant fragrance to your scalp.

4. Are there any dietary instructions to get rid of smelly scalp?

Refrain from eating spicy, salty, and fried foods, as it leads to excessive sweat production in the body that can, in turn, lead to a smelly scalp.


Smelly scalp is a recurring disorder that requires one to take extra care of scalp throughout the life. Including these herbal remedies and tips as a part of your lifestyle is the best way to keep scalp healthy.

Hope you liked this article. Please share it with your family, and friends on social media. If you have any queries then do write to us. We would be happy to solve them at the earliest.


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