Why Do Your Pants Smell? (9 Reasons Why Your Pants Smell)


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Do You Have Smelly Pants?

We’ve all been there…that moment when you realize that your pants smell really, really bad. This can be particularly embarrassing if you are in a social situation, such as going to school or work. The question though: why do my pants smell?

Nobody wants stinky pants. Nobody. And yet, we’re all human, and therefore get stinky pants sometimes.

Your clothes are made of fabric, and fabric has its own unique smells. So if you notice an odor that seems out of place, first look at the materials your clothes are made of: Wool can give off a barnyard-like odor if it gets wet and hangs around; silk can get musty in humid conditions; and some fabrics — like cotton and linen — just naturally smell earthy.

But unusual odors can also come from other sources. If you’re noticing a sour or acidic smell like nail polish remover or vinegar, you might have forgotten to add detergent to the wash cycle (which is why most laundry instructions include a reminder to use soap).

There are many reasons your pants may smell. Let’s investigate…


Why Do My Pants Smell?

  1. The most common cause is the fabric material. If your pants are new and they have formaldehyde applied to them during the manufacturing process to prevent mildew, bacteria, mold, etc., it may make your pants smell for a while.
  2. One of the most obvious is that you’ve farted. Farts smell, and if you’re wearing pants, you can bet they’re going to smell too.
  3. Another obvious reason is that you’ve done a poo. What goes in must come out, and if it’s a particularly smelly poo, it’s going to leave a scent on your pants. But there are other reasons for bad smells that have nothing to do with farting or pooing:
  4. If you’ve been in a sweaty environment, such as the gym or outdoors during a hot day, your clothes will pick up the scent of sweat and start to smell bad.
  5. This also applies to food that has been cooked, which is why some people like to ‘air’ their food before eating it. The air brings out the flavours in the food and freshens it up after being cooked.
  6. When your clothes are packed together without proper ventilation, they can start to smell bad after a while because of the build-up of bacteria. This will be particularly noticeable if you wear the same clothes repeatedly without washing them first.
  7. Another reason for the pants smell is the bacteria transfer from skin to your pants. The secretions of your outer body, e.g. sebum and sweat, could be a prime culprit for stinky pants that aren’t washed or dried properly.
  8. In certain cases, washing machine can also make the clothes smell. The damp and dark interior of a washing machine makes it a breeding ground for mildew and other bacteria that cause odors. They can end up clinging to your pants when you wash them.
  9. Last but not least, detergent can also be blamed for the pungent smell coming from your pants. The nature and quality of detergent are key factors here.

Why Do My Pants Smell Like Urine?

There are a lot of reasons why your pants may smell like urine, and most of those reasons are very treatable. Some common causes of pants smelling like urine include poor hygiene, sweating, diet, urine, and more.

  1. If you are refraining from regular bathing, then it will certainly lead to dead skin cell, sweat, and dirt buildup that leads to strong smell through your pants.
  2. Similarly, sweating in the crotch area can attract bacteria and fungus that can lead to a foul, urine-like smell.
  3. Your diet can also affect how your body smells. This includes the smell of your urine or sweat.
  4. Last but not least, urine leaking is a common issue that can cause urine to build up on your skin or underwear, ultimately resulting in your pants smelling like urine.

Why Do Yoga Pants Make Me Smell?

Yoga pants smell because they are made of polyester. While this material makes yoga pants stretchy and flexible, it is also notorious for keeping the sweat in.

  1. When you work out in your yoga pants, polyester absorbs the sweat you produce and this sweat is difficult to remove from it because polyester is water repellant.
  2. Apart from this, the color of your yoga pants may also be the culprit. Black yoga pants tend to smell the most.
  3. Last but not least, your yoga pants could also be making you smell because you are not washing them properly. Because of polyester’s water-resistant properties, a mere spin in the washing machine isn’t enough to get rid of the sweat absorbed in them. You will need to use natural bacteria killers, like tea tree oil, vodka, or vinegar to get the job done.

Why Do My Pants Smell Even After Washing?

Using too much or not enough detergent when washing the pants is the most common reason why this happens. Using too much detergent traps the bacteria living on your pants inside of soapy, thick bubbles that don’t do much to clean the fabric.

Using too little detergent fails to adequately clean the dirt, sweat, etc. off your pants. Apart from this, a stinky washing machine could also be the culprit.

Furthermore, if you leave damp pants in the machine after washing, the moisture will remain in the fabric and the smell won’t go away. Similarly storing damp pants in an enclosed, dark, or humid place can also lead to this problem.


Why Do My Black Pants Smell Burnt?

There are many reasons why your black pants may smell burnt. Sometimes the chemicals used during the manufacturing process can linger.

Black or dark pants require a large amount of chemicals and dye to allow them to retain their color vibrant and strong. These chemicals often give a burning smell so your black pants may still smell burnt when you buy them.

Washing machine overloading is another common cause of burning smell. If you add too many clothes to your washing machine, it can stress the transmission or motor, causing it to overheat and produce a burning smell. This burning smell is then transferred to your clothes.


How Do You Get the Burnt Smell Out of Black Jeans?

Following are some methods to get the burnt smell out of black jeans:

  • Borax: This is one of the best solutions. Borax efficiently gets rid of chemical-based and fungi-based odors from fabrics.
  • Castile Soap: Castile soap combined with water can help you get the brunt smell out of your black jeans. Perform hand-wash for optimal results.
  • White Vinegar: Mix white vinegar with cold water and then soak your black jeans in it for about an hour, then rinse thoroughly. Using an all-purpose vinegar cleaner is recommended.
  • Oxygen Bleach: If all other methods fail, wash your black pants with oxygen bleach.

No matter what method you use, it is highly recommended that you wash and clean your black pants separately so that your other clothing doesn’t absorb the burnt smell.


Can Wearing Tight Pants Cause Odor?

Tight pants seem great because they are often very flexible, they are made to whisk away sweat, and they feel dry at all time. However, the nature of their design also makes them notorious for causing odor, especially if you wear them in humid climates.

The problem is more prevalent for women as tight pants can trap substances and fluids like discharge, dead skin, sweat, etc. To avoid this, it is highly recommended that you wear loose pants and cotton underwear.

Breathable cotton is the best choice as it doesn’t hold moisture close to the crotch and makes it difficult for bacteria and other sources of smell to build up and cause odor.


In summary, Pants smell because our bodies are full of bacteria. We can’t see them with the naked eye, but they’re there, and they’re busy. These germs are an essential part of your body’s defense system, helping to fight off infection.

Smelly pants are a distressing problem that many, if not most, of us have encountered at some point in our lives.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Although the origin of these odors may sometimes be out of our hands, there are several easy solutions for smelly pants, which will likely provide relief from the embarrassment and frustration that you’ve been experiencing.

You may also be interested in… How To Keep Cat Litter From Smelling (Simple Ways That Work) and Do Wide Leg Pants Make You Look Fatter and Shorter?