Why is hygiene for teens so difficult? Teen boys especially develop an odour that makes you involuntarily gag. That smell goes away a bit with teaching them proper hygiene, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t fully go away till they hit about 15. It lingers and clings to surfaces; no matter what you do, it’s just kind of… there.
Below are my top tricks, tips, and must-haves to get both of you through this. Remember…. as much as it’s affecting you, it’s affecting them too! They’re conscious of it even though they can’t smell it. Teen years suck enough and that smell is one of the many things they’re self-conscious about right now. Even if they appear to not care.
Talk to them about hygiene
The first step is to talk to them. Don’t be cruel when you talk to them, they’re new to puberty and genuinely can’t control it. They’re also more than likely completely unaware. I have a super easy relationship with my son so this talk was easy. I asked him if he noticed if any of his friends or kids at school smelt bad. When he told me he had noticed this, I gently let him know he was going through the same thing and it was cool, cause I could help him fix that. This helped him not feel like he was singled out, and it was solution based. Together we would come up with a plan.
Basic hygiene for teens
The first step in our plan was the basics. We did a trip to Shoppers Drug Mart to pick out new products. He was becoming a man so he needed to upgrade his products. My son absolutely hates shopping with me now, but way back then he was pretty excited to go. He chose the same brands his dad used and enjoyed picking out his new scent. He got new shampoo and body wash and picked out his first deodorant and facial cleanser.
I reminded him the following has to be done daily:
- Shower (if they play sports, they’ll need to shower right after)
- Brush teeth (if your son has braces, read more about the products we use here)
- Put deodorant on
- Wash face
Remember some of this is new so you’ll have to remind them for a bit. This was a struggle in our house for a couple of years honestly. It started with gentle reminders and evolved to “if I have to sit beside you in the car, please don’t make me suffer… you better have deodorant on!” Once he hit 14 though he was fine.
Their bedroom is where the smell seems to stay. It clings to their dirty laundry, bedding, and shoes. Again, this was a struggle in our house for quite a while, but by 14 he had a great handle on it and actively kept things clean.
- Wash bedding weekly
- Laundry should be done twice a week if possible
- Get these shoe deodorizer balls to keep in their shoes
- If they play sports wash their sports gear immediately after use
- If they keep their sports gear in their room, Febreze is your best friend
- Febreze their mattress and curtains weekly
- Make sure they don’t eat in their rooms, and if they do that they remove dishes. This just adds unnecessary smells to an already smelly bedroom
- Put an air freshener in their room
- Open their window once a day to air it out
My son is active in sports, so this was a huge issue. We kept his sports bag in the garage because honestly nothing helped.
- Wash their bag if you can
- Put shoe deodorizer balls in their sports shoes
- Wash their sports clothes immediately after being worn
- Dude shower body wipes helped until he could get in the shower at home
- Put deodorant in the sports bag
Pimples are inevitable. Neither of my kids had bad acne thankfully, but if your son is going through it, try multiple brands to see what works for them. Also, remember that drying the skin out is the worst for acne. Cleanse and moisturize!
When shaving came up, I again took him to Shoppers Drug Mart and had him pick out his razor and shaving cream. My husband taught him how to do this as I have no idea. If you don’t have a male around though, YouTube it! There are tons of great people out there YouTubing things to teach young men who don’t have a male figure around, how to do male stuff. “Dad, How do I” has a great video here.
If you have any great tips for combating the smell of teen boys or hygiene for teens, please leave them in the comment section.