The vinegar-like smell coming from your balls is most often caused when bacteria on your balls and underwear mixes with your sweat. This combination can produce an acidic byproduct that has an unpleasant odor, which in some cases, may smell similar to vinegar.
On those hot, sweaty days, where you’re exercising your butt off, it will not come as a surprise if your balls smelled a bit funky afterward. However, if the smell is really strong all the time, then this may indicate that your hygiene practices need to be improved.
While having an unpleasant smell emanating from your balls isn’t necessarily something that you should be concerned about, it doesn’t mean that you should just ignore it.
After all, you wouldn’t want your intimate partner to go down on you only for them to be shocked with how awful your balls smell, right?
That’s why it’s important that you are always following proper hygiene practices to ensure that your balls never emanate that vinegar-like smell, and instead always smell clean and fresh.
Causes of Balls Smelling Like Vinegar
Covered in layers of clothing, the presence of pubic hair, and numerous sweat glands make the groin area prone to bad odors. Residual urine is also a factor.
If you’re not cleaning your balls regularly and properly, the area can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi – the most common causes of foul odor. The humid and moist environment down there encourages microbes to grow really fast.
Sweat, by itself, is naturally odorless. However, when the said microbes feed on the sweat, they produce foul-smelling waste products. Thus, more microbes in the area mean more foul odor.
First, we must understand what causes our bodies to sweat. The human body has two types of sweat glands, which in turn produce two different types of sweat:
Eccrine glands – Found on most areas of the body. They secrete a mixture of salt and water which function to cool your skin and lower the temperature of your body. This is odorless.
Apocrine glands – Found primarily under the armpits, groin, areola, and around the eyelids. They produce sweat that is thicker and contains much of what bacteria feed on as it’s secreted. Thus, you can say that they produce the smelly substance which we usually associate with sweating.
Now that we understand what causes sweat, now I will discuss what happens with bacteria.
`As bacteria break down the sweat, a couple of different odor compounds are produced. These acids have distinct smells and are typically what constitutes body odor. Two common acid compounds associated with odor include the following:
Propionic acid – associated with the smell of vinegar.
Isovaleric acid – associated with the smell of cheese.
Tying everything up, the smell of vinegar from your balls primarily comes from a mixture of bacteria and the sweat that your apocrine glands produce, which in turn causes the production of propionic acid. This is the acid byproduct that is usually associated with the smell of vinegar.
How to Keep Your Balls from Smelling Like Vinegar (4 Helpful Tips)
To avoid that vinegar-like smell in your balls, proper hygiene practices are a must.
I have 4 easy tips I can recommend to help your balls smell clean and fresh, which I will each discuss in more detail below.
Wash Your Balls Everyday
This should be self-explanatory. If you want to keep your balls clean, fresh, and free from any foul odor, then you should be showering every day. During that shower, make sure to give your balls a good scrub (at least once a day).
As mentioned above, if your balls are left unwashed, it can become an absolute breeding ground for bacteria. Washing it (with soap) will help remove excess oils and dirt that can build up over time.
Bacteria and fungi grow by feeding on these oils. If they are allowed to grow, they can cause that foul odor that smells like vinegar.
Washing your balls every day effectively ensures that they are not given the chance to flourish. Just remember to be thorough when washing down there. Make sure to get everything, not just your balls but also everything in the surrounding area as well.
Dry Your Balls Thoroughly After Washing
This is related to the above, but when you wash your balls, make sure that you dry them thoroughly before putting anything on.
Dry the area gently. We recommend patting dry your balls with a clean towel, instead of roughly tugging or rubbing on the skin. An additional side note: if you’re uncircumcised, make sure to dry under your foreskin as well.
If you put on your clothes while it’s not completely dry down there, the excess moisture can easily lead to a build-up of bacteria, which in turn might cause a vinegar-like smell on your balls.
Use Body Powder to Keep Your Balls Dry
Body powders are very effective in mitigating and preventing sweat. It helps absorb excess moisture, bad body odors, as well as prevent skin chafing and irritation. If you don’t know what this is, just think of baby powder, but specifically made for adults.
As I previously mentioned, it’s effectively this formula that causes your balls to smell like vinegar
r: sweat + bacteria = unpleasant odor (vinegar-like smell).
Applying body powder can help mitigate one part of that equation, which is sweat. At the same time, most quality body powders have scents that will help keep your balls smell clean and fresh from morning to night.
I personally love the Chassis Premium Body Powder, which is talc-free and has a very light scent (mix of Old Spice + pumpkin). One of the cool things about it is that the aloe and other plant extracts give an invigorating cooling sensation after applying the powder.
Consider Trimming Your Ball Hair
Hair gathers and holds a wide variety of molecules, including dead skin cells, perspiration, and urine, to name a few.
These substances can begin to fester if not eliminated, especially on a hot day or in men who do not shower often. This type of environment is great for bacteria and yeast to thrive, which in turn can cause your balls to smell like vinegar when mixed with sweat.
Keeping hairs short reduces the surface area on which bacteria, yeast infections, and bad odors can cling. In turn, this will help decrease the spread of germs, yeast infections, and bad odors.
For this reason, it may be a good idea to consider trimming your ball hair. If you do decide to try this out, make sure you’re using the right tools as the balls are a very sensitive area. I would recommend getting a body trimmer, particularly the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000.
This is the one I use for trimming my balls. I can pretty much recklessly trim away at my sensitive areas without a scratch on me. It charges fast, is lightweight, and feels well-built.
Going back to the original question: why do balls smell like vinegar?
This is often caused when bacteria on your balls and underwear mixes with your sweat. If you find that the smell down there is really strong all the time, this suggests that you may need to revisit your hygiene practices.
Some helpful tips to do to avoid having this vinegar-like smell on your balls: 1) wash them regularly (with soap), 2) dry them thoroughly after washing, 3) using body powder, and trimming your ball hair. I discussed each of these in more detail above, which you can refer to for more information.
If none of these tips work, then you should consider consulting a professional (doctor) to rule out any medical-related reasons.