"Old Person Smell" Is Real, And It's Easy To Fix

Health | Did You Know

"Old Person Smell" Is Real, And It's Easy To Fix

The Atlantic

There are a lot of things that start to become more and more of a concern as you get older. Your joints aren't moving quite as well as they used to, you find yourself getting tired more often than you once did, and even your memory starts to go a little bit at a time. Suffice it to say, it can be pretty stressful.

Of course, something that all of us are more than aware of is the concept of "old people smell." It's hard to describe on its own, but just about everybody can think of it, especially if they've dealt with aging relatives before. Many describe it as "musty" or "medicinal," but ultimately, it's something most people find really unpleasant.

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Fortunately, researchers have isolated several of the causes of "old people smell," and as a result, we've compiled a handy guide of tips to minimize how much of it you develop...

Living in closed spaces


As we get older we tend to live in smaller environments with minimal fresh air coming in, hence the increase in that "musty" smell that people mention. Keep windows cracked open to keep the air flowing!

Not cleaning regularly

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Whether it's your house or your own body, as those joints start to seize up and keep you from moving, it becomes harder and harder to clean. The result? You guessed it, buildup of mold, bacteria, and odor. Do your best to clean as best as you can, or see if friends or family can help you out!

Laundry not being done

freeimages/Ginger Garvey

Again, blame everything getting harder to do on this one, but as you begin to wash your clothes less regularly, the more stale and "old" they'll begin to smell. Try washing some of your clothes you haven't worn in a while.


freeimages/Justine FG

This is a big one; As we age, our body gets worse at retaining water, but we also don't notice we're dehydrated as much. Make sure you're always drinking lots of water!

Lack of saliva


If your breath is contributing to your odor, it's likely because your mouth is producing significantly less saliva, especially if you have dentures. Be thorough in cleaning your mouth, and use mouthwash!

Which of these causes of "old people smell" surprised you the most?