Let’s Talk About Cleaning Your Balls for a Minute

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Most of the time I wear boxers, but occasionally I like to wear briefs. I would wear them more often, but, by the end of the day, I stink. I follow your advice with respect to bathing, I scrub with a fresh wash cloth every day (or two, if I’m largely inactive), and I don’t end up with the funk when I wear boxers. I also follow your advice with respect to laundry — cold water, minimal detergent, white vinegar in place of fabric softener. Thanks to that, whatever stench develops during the day leaves the briefs. What can I do so that I don’t stink by the end of the day? Thanks.

There are two kinds of letters I most enjoy getting from my readers. The first type is the BIG HUGE MAJOR DISASTER story because oh man, those are so fun for people in my line of work. Nothing makes me happier than hearing about some horrible sex mess, or when someone barfs somewhere they really shouldn’t have barfed.

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The second type of missive I adore getting is one in which the querent has clearly been reading my advice for ages and does things like use white vinegar in the wash as a substitute for liquid fabric softener. It makes my heart swell.

This question falls into the latter category, with shades of the former because, well, it’s about balls and balls are an inherently hilarious subject. Unless they start to smell, in which case balls become much, much, much less hilarious. But we’re gonna fix that.

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Undercarriage Maintenance 101

Even though our Letter Writer is doing everything right in the shower, we should still back this train up and start from the very beginning for the benefit of those who may have missed a day in personal grooming school.

Look, hygeine is one of those weird things that most of us end up learning largely on our own; it’s not like our health teacher gets into the shower with us and shows us the exact way to scrub our private parts (which is good, because wow that would be so weird).

There are two basic services you should perform to ensure that your boys are well cared for, and a few upgrades you might consider adopting. The two non-negotiables, so to speak, are washing and drying. That’s all! But a lot of people skimp on those important things (you cannot tell me that you’ve never scrubbed your pits, then let the soap run down the rest of your body and called yourself clean).

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So: Use a soap that’s not heavily perfumed, because bar soaps and body washes that are heavy on fragrances and dyes can irritate sensitive skin. The use of a washcloth is also a good idea, because it will slough off dead skin in a way that simply rubbing a bar of soap on yourself will not. And finally, make sure you’re rinsing away all the soap, because lingering residue can lead to increased itchiness and odor.

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Then: When you step out of the shower, dry yourself well. I know, I know, this seems so obvious but again, a lot of people sort of, like, towel off their back and leave the rest to air dry. The problem is that trapped moisture will contribute to a smell issue, so if you start off damp, you’re setting yourself up for a problem.

Advanced Grooming Techniques

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With the basics out of the way, we can talk about some of the more optional ways one might keep his nethers sweat- and smell-free throughout the day.

You may opt to give yourself a little haircut to see if a less bushy style helps to cut back on odor. A lot of people report that trimming their pubes leaves them feeling dryer and, in turn, less malodorous.

Powders like Gold Bond or King Talc are also excellent for controlling moisture, so after you’ve dried off, give your guys a dusting for a little extra help throughout the day. If powders are too messy for you, or they’re just not as effective as you’d like, there are plenty of cream formulas to choose from, that tend to have utterly ridiculous names like Comfy Boys and Fresh Balls. You may also opt to use an aerosol antiperspirant, like Degree, down under. Lots of options here, is what I’m trying to tell you—and, just like with the stuff you use under your arms, you may find that you need to try more than one product before you hit on what’s best for you.

Outfitting Your Guys

Alrighty, now we’ve arrived at the heart of our Letter Writer’s problem: His drawers. Or, more accurately, one particular style of underpants that are causing him some trouble. As he’s learned the hard way, underwear choice can contribute to the development of sweat and odor. Generally speaking, sticking with cotton unders is ideal because it breathes well. Style-wise, the tighter your drawers are, the more trapped moisture will be, which will lead to a smelly situation.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you’d opt for a snugger fit, including just plain old personal preference. The good news here is that there are a lot of options out there when it comes to briefs, including and especially a bunch of newer brands that cater to the exact problem of moisture and odor development. The drawback to these newfangled underpants, such as MeUndies and Tommy John’s, is that they can be a bit pricey. But on the other hand, for a guy like our Letter Writer, who wears briefs infrequently, investing in just a few pairs may be exactly the ticket.

On-the-Go Ball Sweat Triage

Let’s say you’ve adopted better washing and drying techniques, powdered your wig, invested in some new undergarments…and you’re still suffering on particularly hot days or while wearing a certain style of underwear. Hope is not lost! Enter: The testicle wipe.

Yup, little cleansing napkins made especially for your balls exist in this great world of ours and they have suitably absurd names like Dude Wipes and ManGroomer Biz Wipes and Nadkins. Look for individually wrapped wipes that can be easily stashed in a wallet, gym bag, or laptop case for use on the go.

If, after trying all of these upgrades to your current testicular care routine, you’re still having issues with a persistent or pungent odor, go see your doctor. It’s unlikely that there’s anything seriously wrong with you, but you may have developed a fungal infection that can be easily treated and that’s a thing you should get checked out. Always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to something so precious to you as your balls.

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