How Can I Get My Pre-Teen Son to Shower and Wash Better, Because He SMELLS?!

QUESTION:

"How do you get your almost teenage son to understand that he stinks (think wet dog smell… I don’t know how else to describe it) and needs to bathe and wash his hair better?

I have tried talking to him; I have tried showing him how to wash his hair again, heck, I’ve gone as far as making him put on swimming trunks so that he can shower, and I can make sure that he scrubs good!

I have tried explaining to him that if he smells like he hasn’t showered in weeks, he is going to get picked on like crazy when he goes back to school. If he’s being supervised, he scrubs good and smells a heck of a lot better. When he’s not being supervised, he comes out of the shower still smelling awful.

I keep a blanket over our couch to protect it from pet hair and nails, and I have to wash it multiple times a week because where he sits on the couch smells so bad. The thought has occurred to me that it could be a change in hormones, BUT it’s not like a ‘body changing smell,’ it’s just a downright ‘lack of bathing properly smell.’ HELP! Getting desperate here."

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TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“Make him go back and shower again. Rushing through a task to get done faster becomes pointless when you have to do it again and again until it’s right. My kids struggle with properly washing dishes. When that happens, they wash them again. It’s amazing how much better they are about it!”

“Maybe take him to find a soap, shampoo, and deodorant that he likes the smell of and see if that encourages him to wash well. Also a fresh towel and washcloth every bath or two. If all else fails make him wash the couch cover and have him smell it to get him to see why he is needing to.”

“Rub the shampoo into his dry hair before he goes in … then he can rinse and shampoo again… to be fair I think it’s a hormone thing as lots of teenagers have the same smell.”

“My son is only 8 and we have this issue as well! I literally make him come to me when he’s done to inspect him and if it’s not up to par he goes back in! He gets pissed sometimes but by the time he comes out of his second shower he’s fine!!”

“At this point, it’s not about protecting feelings. Tell him straight up, your freaking smell, it’s disturbing to all of us. When he showers if he’s only in there for 5 min make him go back in. Then take things away. If he’s not old enough to shower properly he’s not old enough to stay up past 9, he’s not old enough to have a phone or video games either. He’s just being lazy.”

“My 13-year-old daughter is like that; come to find out she has overactive glands so no matter how many times she showers, she still stinks she has to wear a special deodorant. Might want to set up a doctor’s appointment and make sure that that’s not the problem; if it’s not, then honesty is always the best way to go.”

“Obviously unsupervised he is not showering, continue to supervise. Wet dog is the correct smell lol, I have 3 boys. They do outgrow it. Get him a good deodorant and make him use it. You may have to supervise that as well. When he complains of no privacy tell him to do the job right and get your privacy back.”

“My husband said since you have tried so much tell him that if he comes out stinking you will go in there and scrub him yourself. Be blunt because being kind has not had an effect. Use a buff puff on a stick and wash him hard (not enough to hurt, you just don’t want it to be a pleasant experience either) with lots of body wash. Also, put that puff in his shorts and wash his butt make him do the front privates with his back to you. Tell him this is what’s going to happen if he comes out stinking and mean it. You might have to do it once or twice - hope not. We had a kid come over to stay with my son and he stunk up my son’s room when he just changed out of muddy pants. I made them shower before bed and got his clothes and washed them in hot water so at least he was pleasant smelling while he was here.”

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35 Likes

Make him go back and shower again. Rushing through a task to get done faster becomes pointless when you have to do it again and again until it’s right. My kids struggle with properly washing dishes. When that happens, they wash them again. It’s amazing how much better they are about it!

30 Likes

Maybe he isn’t drying properly either

3 Likes

Most teens go thru this phase…but mama you need to keep on him…

2 Likes

Maybe take him to find a soap, shampoo and deodorant that he likes the smell of and see if that encourages him to wash well. Also a fresh towel and wash cloth every bath or two. If all else fails make him wash the couch cover and have him smell it to get him to see why he is needing to

15 Likes

We’ve made them get back in the shower and at one point I’ve told them they can shower properly or I can take them outside and hose them down…we live in NY it gets too cold for that.

1 Like

Tell him to shower again or you’ll shower him yourself lol

2 Likes

Your going to have to be strict with him, and make sure he has good soap deodorant and his clothes are all washed and smell fresh and that he wears clean every day. If he’s smelling so bad I’d be checking to make sure his clothes are all getting a good enough wash first time round.

2 Likes

Tell him girls like a man who smells good!

It’s honestly the gross teenage boy years lol

2 Likes

If it’s just laziness, give him some negative consequences.

So if it’s the dog smell on you his head after showers it’s his head sweating through the day and he needs better shampoo. We went through this. Also when he washes make him leave shampoo in his hair for about a minute. Daily showers

I make my son go back in the shower. I talk to him about proper hygiene and the if you aren’t washer his hair and body properly, skin infections, etc.

if u gotta supervise then so b it.

1 Like

I have the same problem with my almost 7 yr old. I know its a little different because of age, but i just send me back to the shower until hes finally clean. eventually he gets tired of being sent back to the bath that I don’t have to tell him for a few a days, he just does it right the first time. it’ll go a few days on and off. no, play time til he’s clean.

Just tell him i know i will

I straight up tell him he stinks n that I will smell him when he gets out n if he doesn’t smell clean, his butt will get in there and do it again. Threatening to get in there and wash him yourself tends to work too :rofl:

3 Likes

Make him Rebathe and re wash until he is clean

2 Likes

Make him get back in the shower. Smell check and oily hair check every time he gets out. I did that a few times for 2 of my boys now I dont have to.

My son had the same issue! I took him to a trusted pharmacist and explained how all these products were not working and it was driving me crazy! He said it’s a fungus! He told him to use “Mitchum” it’s a prescribed strength and to wear 100% cotton white tee shirts so sweat can get off his skin. Problem solved like magic!

Obviously unsupervised he is not showering, continue to supervise. Wet dog is the correct smell lol, I have 3 boys. They do out grow it. Get him a good deodorant and make him use it. You may have to supervise that as well. When he complains of no privacy tell him do the job right and get your privacy back

2 Likes