How To Get Rid Of Smelly Hair

An unpleasant smell from the hair is intrusive and daunting. Various reasons like an oily scalp, dandruff, applying conditioner to the scalp, excessive sweating, pollution, bacterial infection, and fungal infection contribute to the odor. While some are the results of poor hygiene, some are due to hormonal imbalances or environmental factors. It can be managed successfully with the below herbs, essential oils, and their respective home remedies.

How To Get Rid Of Smelly Hair

1. Thyme

Thyme kills bad odor in hair due to its anti fungal properties


Thyme is a herb from the mint family with distinct smell and taste. It reduces the odor in the hair due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties. Various shampoos nowadays are including thyme extract as one of their active ingredients. A herbal tea made from thyme can be used to wash your hair.

  1. Simply, boil 2 cups of thyme sprigs in 2 liters of water for 15 minutes, in a vessel covered with a lid.
  2. Let the solution cool down.
  3. Strain after cooling and use.

2. Garlic Oil

sulphur content in the garlic helps to kill bad smell in hair


Though garlic has a distinct pungent smell, it is an effective herb for treating smelly scalp. Due to the presence of sulfur, it acts as an antifungal and antibacterial agent. Garlic oil can be prepared at home by boiling 3–4 cloves of garlic in half a cup of coconut oil. It is also readily available in drug stores.

  1. Dip a cotton ball in warm garlic oil.
  2. Apply it to your scalp and massage thoroughly.
  3. Leave it for 20 minutes and shampoo your hair.

3. Aloe vera

fights the bad odor caused due to oily scalp


Due to its healing properties aloe vera has been gaining its place in a range of beauty products; from face cream to face wash to shampoos. It actively fights the bad odor caused due to oily scalp or dandruff. It also nourishes the scalp by retaining the moisture and conditions your hair.

  1. Extract aloe vera gel from the leaves by gently slicing them horizontally in two halves.
  2. Shampoo your hair with your regular shampoo.
  3. After thoroughly washing your hair, apply the gel onto your hair and scalp.
  4. Let it stay for 15 minutes and rinse off.

4. Onion Juice

 helps in treating smelly hair


Onion, just like garlic, has sulfur which fights bacteria and fungi effectively. This helps in treating smelly hair and scalp. Onion also promotes hair growth, helping you getting rid of baldness.

  1. Chop onions into 5–6 pieces and put them in a juicer.
  2. Squeeze the pulp thoroughly to extract the juice.
  3. Apply this juice on your scalp and massage gently.
  4. Leave it for 30 minutes and shampoo after that.

5. Tomato Juice

cleanses dandruff and promotes shine to hair


The vitamins and iron content in tomatoes help increase the acidity level of your scalp, killing the bacteria and fungi. It also cleanses dandruff and promotes shine to hair.

  1. Wash the tomatoes and put them in a juicer.
  2. Shampoo your hair before applying the tomato juice on your scalp and hair.
  3. Leave it for 5 minutes, like a conditioner and rinse thoroughly.

6. Lavender Oil

Lavender antiseptic properties fight fungi, that induce odor


One of the commonly used essential oils, lavender oil offers various benefits to hair. Its antiseptic properties fight fungi, bacteria, and other microbes that induce odor. It also as a moisturizer and also improves blood circulation to the hair, which enhances growth.

  1. Wash your hair with a shampoo (preferably free of sulfates) and dry thoroughly.
  2. Add 5 drops of lavender oil on your scalp.
  3. The smell keeps lingering for a long time.

7. Tea Tree Oil

laveder oil helps to keep bad odor at bay


Tea tree oil has excellent properties of reducing dandruff and smelly scalp. The antimicrobial properties help keep the odor at bay.

  1. Dilute 3–4 drops of oil in warm water.
  2. Pour this on your scalp and allow it to sit for 20–30 minutes.
  3. Use a sulfate-free shampoo to rinse your hair.

8. Margosa Oil (Neem Oil)

treat itchy scalp responsible for bad smell

Margosa oil has been used since times immemorial for its various health benefits. It is effective in treating itchy scalp and dandruff which are responsible for the odor. It also promotes hair growth and treats symptoms of eczema.

  1. Dilute margosa oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. The blend should have 10–20% margosa oil.
  2. Apply it on your scalp and massage gently.
  3. Rinse with a mild shampoo.
  4. You can alternatively add 2-3 drops of this oil in your shampoo and use it directly on the scalp.

9. Lemon Juice

lemon helps to get rid of bad smell from hair

With properties that get rid of scalp infections and dandruff, lemon juice comes as an easy option to treat smelly hair.

  1. Squeeze a lemon and dilute it in 2 cups of water.
  2. Shampoo your hair and pour this diluted solution on your scalp.
  3. Leave it for around 5 minutes and rinse off.

10. Apple Cider Vinegar

changing the pH of your scalp, killing the microbes that cause bad smell

Loaded with active cleansing properties, apple cider vinegar treats the conditions that cause smelly hair. It works by changing the pH of your scalp, killing the microbes.

  1. Shampoo your hair.
  2. Mix half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water.
  3. Apply it on your scalp and leave it for less than 2 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with water and pat dry your hair.

Smelly hair though might seem embarrassing are a common problem. Following a healthy diet, hydrating sufficiently, using lukewarm water to wash hair and choosing the right kind of shampoo also play an important role in avoiding smelly hair. It is suggested to avoid using hair products like gels and hair sprays which have the potential of increasing the odor.