My balls stink. Fresh out the shower, take two steps ... BAM!! Funky. Is there anything I can do about this or am I doomed to a dirty sack?
You are not doomed to a funky sack, no! Great news, right? And actually, the three things I want you to make sure you're doing to help reduce testicular odor are pretty low-cost and low-effort, which is even more great news for you.
Before we get into those things, though, we must note this fact of life: ball smell varies from dude to dude, in just the same way vaginal scents vary from lady to lady. And now here we are talking about vaginal smells on Deadspin. NEVER A DULL MOMENT. The point of mentioning this this is that you may just be more naturally fragrant than other dudes and that's all part of God's great plan for us.
With that out of the way, here are the three things you should be doing when it comes to caring for your testicles.
1. In the shower, make sure you're giving your sack a proper cleaning.
This will seem almost insultingly obvious to most people, but remember that not everyone gets a tutorial on the proper way to clean their bodies and some people truly don't know these things. (An example: I have a female acquaintance who once announced to a table full of people that since she washes her hair when she showers she figures that as the shampoo rinses out, it runs down her body and gets the rest of her clean. I collapsed immediately to the floor and promptly died. I'm writing this from the grave.)
When I say a "proper cleaning," I mean this: really get in there and clean it. With your hands, sure. Better would be a washcloth. One of those puffer thingers would be fine too; I feel that a loofah would be too rough, but that is entirely your call. The reason that I recommend a washcloth is that it will help to slough off dead skin, which sounds more terrifying than it really is given the region of which we're speaking today. Dead skin build-up will cause odors, which was a thing we talked about when confronted with a pair of stinky feet.
Use a good soap. It doesn't have to be anything fancy but soap is important. I'm of the bar-soap-and-washcloth school, so if you're looking for brand suggestions I would offer you Dial, Zest, Irish Spring—those are the sort of things you want to be looking for. If you have sensitive skin, opt for unscented Ivory Snow or Dove. Those will treat you right. Body washes are fine, but given the choice I would really like to get you into a bar soap.
2. Dry off thoroughly, post-shower.
Since odor is caused, in part, by excess moisture trapped in tight spaces, it's particularly important to make sure you towel off your area after a shower. And use a clean towel! (Dare I ask how often you are using a towel before laundering it? I…might actually not dare to do that just yet. NOPE. Wasn't asking.)
After you've toweled off, give yourself a little time to air dry as well.
3. Powder your wig.
Because moisture is part of what's causing your scent problems, keeping it under control will be crucial for you. Which is a simple thing! You'll want to apply a talcum powder to your region before putting on your underpants. Gold Bond is the gold standard here, but any kind of medicated or non-medicated talcum will do you just fine. The beauty of Gold Bond is that it gives you that nice tingle when you apply it. Also it smells wonderful and sort of minty?
IMPORTANT CAVEAT FOR OUR LADY READERS: Do not use Gold Bond on your Beulahs. That tingly feeling that the menfolk enjoy so much on their balls is way, way, way too much for a vagina to handle. And a vagina can handle childbirth, so this is not a statement I'm making lightly.
This final suggestion is one that is truly just that—a suggestion: If you don't already, you may want to consider trimming your pubic hair. The hair traps moisture and can contribute to a funkier scrotal experience, so trimming it or doing away with it altogether will reduce that effect. Conveniently, GQ just published a "Comprehensive Guide to Body Grooming" which means I'm off the hook, ball-trimming instructions-wise. Tiny miracles, etc.
If, after committing to this regimen for two or so weeks, you're still noticing an odor please see a doctor. You may have a fungal infection of some sort, which can be easily treated, but that's definitely a thing you want to get checked out by a professional. It may be that the doctor tells you that you are, indeed, just a more fragrant dude than most but don't run the risk of having something more serious going on with your jewels and get it checked out.
How do I clean a bath mat? Do I just keep buying new ones?
An autobiographical one-act play:
Jolie Cleanperson: What kind of bath mat is it, love?
LW: Just like a normal bath mat? That has like the grippy plastic stuff on the side and is like carpet on the side that faces up.
Jolie Cleanperson: You should launder it. Fairly regularly. Once a month, if that's not too much to ask? You can use either the warm or cold water wash setting and your regular detergent, but when you go to dry it choose a medium heat setting. It will take a little longer to dry but you won't risk mucking up the no-slip rubber grip.
LW: Wait, I can just put it in my washing machine?
Jolie Cleanperson: Yes!
Jolie Kerr is the author of the upcoming book My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha (Plume, 25 February 2014); more cleaning-obsessed natterings can be found on Twitter, Kinja, and Tumblr.
Squalor appears on Jezebel and Deadspin on alternating weeks.
Image by Jim Cooke