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annakins's avatar

What is that bad odor on hair and clothing after being outside?

Asked by annakins (21points) June 5th, 2009

I have been searching on the Internet for some clue as to what is going on with me. I can walk outside for less than a minute and the “outside” smell glues to me. This is with freshly washed hair and clothing. I’m not on any strange diet or supplements that might change the chemicals in my body or even breaking a sweat. I really don’t have a clue. I know it’s very unpleasant and my son even tells me I smell like a wet dog. Extra perfumes or body sprays do not seem to phase it. I know my Mom occasionally has the same issue. How does one begin to get answers for smelling like a wet dog!?

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18 Answers

Judi's avatar

You poor thing! I don’t have an answer for you, but you do have my sympathy!! I hope someone here can help. @shilolo, where are you?

MrGV's avatar

It can be a variety of things pollen, humidity, pollution, sweat, etc…it happens to everyone

Judi's avatar

@MrGeneVan ; everyone doesn’t smell like a wet dog when they step outside. It sounds like she has a problem that is extraordinary.

Facade's avatar


MrGV's avatar

@judi every one of my friends and families has this problem and thats A LOT of people.

Judi's avatar

funny that @Dog is crafting a reponse to a dog smell question!

Dog's avatar

@Judi Who is better to give advice on dog smell? :)

Some questions:

Is this a new symptom?

Where (roughly) do you live?

Is it seasonal?

Try changing your shampoo and your hairspray, gels and other styling agents. Some react to humidity in the air and give off an unpleasant odor.

Frankie's avatar

My high school boyfriend had the exact same problem as you. Even if he was outside for only a couple minutes, he came back in smelling exactly like a wet dog. I never figured out why and I never mentioned it to him, so I can’t really give you an answer as to why this happens, but I figured you’d appreciate knowing that you apparently are not the only one this happens to!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Chlorinated bathing water makes the skin and hair smell like Chlorine and Ammonia when under the sun, add in perspiration which exudes smells from ingesting onions, garlic, pepper/s, fish oils and you’re going to have some kind of smell, no doubt about it.

Judi's avatar

maybe you should try probiotics from the health food store. Get the refrigerated ones though.

Skippy's avatar

Frankie, maybe your x is related annas –
Very strange. Seems like it has to be environmental in nature

Darwin's avatar

I had a friend whose sweat smelled truly horrible, and even a few moments outside made him sweat just enough for the smell to emerge. His was a genetic condition called trimethylaminuria and there wasn’t much he could do except watch his diet, bathe often, change clothing frequently, and isolate himself from others.

I understand that metabolic problems, excessive skin bacteria, diet, changes in hormonal balance, nutritional deficiencies, fungal infections and various illnesses all can create this sort of problem.

Next time you see your doctor you might ask if they have any insight to your situation.

annakins's avatar

This is somewhat a new symptom. It happened occasionally in the past. At the end of a long day working outside, for example. But now, it is all the time. Perhaps it does have something to do with the environment I live in here. I’m located in the hot, humid south. Different hair products do not affect it. I’d like to emphasize again that it happens even when I am not sweating.

annakins's avatar

This is very interesting information. Thank you very much! I will definitely be looking into trimethylaminuria more. It wouldn’t be pleasant to know that I had that condition, but at least I would have some answers.

skunkymoo's avatar

The smell is Ozone yes the same smell from an old tube tv (static) or an Ozone generator, Ozone is produced when an electrical charge passes through Oxygen in the air.The Earth produces Ozone naturly with lightning high up in the Atmosphere, every 11 years the sun reaches peak activaty causing the Earths ozone to ionize, now in 2012 it is at its peak causing more ozone to be produced, that is what you can smell on people or even yourself. The smell has allways been there but now it is at a peak. Simple, the smell is amplified on nylon and polyester cloaths as they are polymer (plastic) based and the rays from the sun can actually cause Ozone to be collected more abundantly…United Kingdom

Danice's avatar

I wish I had an answer for you! I am wanting an answer to the same question. Do not think it is the ozone as I do not have this problem when outside somewhere else in the city, it is mainly around my home. Would love to know if you have found any answers since you posted this several years ago.

Denny's avatar

Annakins, I am curious as to whether you ever found the cause of the wet dog odor in the air outside your home. I have had the same issue in the air around my house. Not sure where to turn for help.

simpleinsight's avatar

Use sunscreen, I smell like raw chicken in summer when I sweat, started using sunscreen when I would go out and it solved my problem.

Only use the SPRAY on sunscreen, the lotions don’t work.

Hope this helps.


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