What is that smell?


Not asking for medical advice here!

I have a 16 yr old son. When I go into his room(when I feel brave) :uhoh3: there is this, smell, odor? I can't place it for the life of me. He is my only child so I have no comparison. IT is not BO or a sick smell. Just is there! Is this a teen boy thing? Maybe its his feet? He showere, deodorant and all(if anything he uses TOO much cologne etc...)

Just wondering!


601 Posts

Teenage boys smell peculiar due in part to the hormones they secrete in their sweat. Sweat is different smelling once a person hits puberty. They also develop more sweat glands, particularly apocrine sweat glands that are located under the arms and in the genital area. Bacteria thrive on apocrine sweat and the decaying bacteria cause the unique odor. Using an anti-bacterial body wash might help, along with daily (at least) showers. It'll get better as he matures.



832 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Med/Surg, ICU, ER. Has 9 years experience.

Can you give a better description of the smell?

Sulphur, ammonia, garlicy, sweet, etc. A better description of the quality and level of the smell may help. Also, is it stronger in one area of the room? And, does your son have any hobbies or routine activities that may be r/t the smell?


25 Posts

I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I have an 18 yo son, he's clean, I do his laundry, ( I know, I know) and still... there's THAT SMELL!

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts

I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! I have an 18 yo son, he's clean, I do his laundry, ( I know, I know) and still... there's THAT SMELL!

No special smell that I can recognize. Just one that is familiar to him. I also smell it when hes in the car with me at times. Funky smell. Not sweet or particularly bad. I just KNOW it's him. I think it may be hormones and sweat too.

God forbid I should feed him garlic(which he LOVES)


1,804 Posts

Wow! I have no idea what you mean.I know my husband who is very clean has a distinct smell to his hair. This is foreign to me (the teenage boy thing). I have three teenage girls. We have just the usual things BO, stinky feet, etc. that a shower usually takes care of.

psalm, RN

1 Article; 1,263 Posts

Specializes in Staff nurse.

...well, does he air out his room? Is his room always dark? My son is ultra clean, but he has a distinct aroma about him. I used to nag him to air his sheets out, change his sheets and towels often and not let his laundry pile up for weeks at a time. Try eucylepsis (sp).


859 Posts

Specializes in Peds - playing with the kids.

aaahhhh, something i can relate to.

mom to 3:banghead: boys (the middle one will be a teen tomorrow). all of those darned rooms are different.

i like to arm myself with a good can of lysol before entering:eek: :eek:.

i don't know if i have ever come to realize what that smell actually is...i chalk it up to the shoes:barf02:.

Has 10 years experience.

I do not have a son, only a daughter.

What did make me laugh however was a piece of advice given from one of the mothers at her school to another;

You always offer to drive the boys TO football practice. You don't offer to drive him and his friends HOME from football practice.


717 Posts

Specializes in ER.

This made me laugh.....

I am the proud mom of two smelly fifteen-year-olds who SHARE a room....double whammy!

I went in their room a few weeks ago, and it was particularly bad. I sniffed around a while, and asked what the smell was, to which one of them said "It's Tony's butt, Mom!" Ahhh, thank you for clearing that up, dear!

I love boys. Smelly, sweet, and always keep me laughing.

gr8rnpjt, RN

738 Posts

Specializes in Case Management. Has 38 years experience.

Check under the bed for dead bodies (just kidding)

I remember my brother would take his shoes off in the basement, and within minutes the smell permeated the entire house, up to the bedrooms. My guess would be feet (or shoes).

Aneroo, LPN

1 Article; 1,518 Posts

Specializes in Cath Lab, OR, CPHN/SN, ER.

LOL @ it's his butt

Seriously, check under the bed. Is he hoarding dirty dishes or something? Rotten food he stashed and forgot about? lol

If not, then I'm also guessing feet.

This topic is now closed to further replies.