I don't wanna stink!
April 7, 2008 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I think I stink! What can I do to smell nice at work?

I share an apartment with smokers and dogs. The house smells funky and I fear I may be carrying that stench to work with me. What can I do to smell my best and ease my mind?
Because I have to wake up so early for work, showering in the morning isn't an option I would be happy with. I do shower before bed. What else can I do to smell nice when I get to work?
posted by ellighi to Human Relations (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here are some things you've probably already thought of:

Try to keep the smells out of your room; clean the carpet if necessary, change the sheets regularly, keep the dogs out and the door closed. Open the window a lot if possible.

Keep your hair covered whenever you're at home, unless you're in your "smell-free" room. Keep your coat and all your clothes in your odor-free zone/room at all times, except for the clothes you've worn in the main part of the house: see if you can put a dirty clothes hamper in the laundry room and use it, or have a closed one with a cover in your room.
posted by amtho at 7:21 PM on April 7, 2008

Is keeping some clothes at work an option? Changing into "work only" clothes when you there in the morning could help.
posted by bluefrog at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2008

whatever you do, don't use AXE to cover it up! that will do far more damage than good.

Similar to what amtho is proposing, but a bit more far-fetched, is it possible to keep your clothes at work or in your car? I know this sounds REDICULOUS, but what if you had fresh clothes, nice and clean and fresh smelling out of the dryer that you keep in the car, then change either on the way to work or when you get there? in a bathroom or something. The cloth tends to absorb more smell than, say, hair or bodies, and it keeps it there longer. If you really don't want to smell to your co-workers, this might be an acceptable solution.
posted by Planet F at 7:38 PM on April 7, 2008

You *probably* don't smell. Not necessarily, anyhow. I'm not a super smeller or anything, but for what it's worth:
I can *always* smell if a home is smoked in. I can *usually* smell if someone is a smoker (i.e. - has smoked that day, in those clothes). I have *never* smelled smoke on someone who doesn't smoke unless they were just coming from hanging around with smoky people just then, in that same outfit.
With dogs - I can *always* smell if a house has dogs living in it. I can always smell dogs themselves. I've *never* ID'd someone as a dog owner on the basis of smell once they're out of the house.
If nobody's smoking in your bedroom where you keep your clothes, and you aren't rolling around with dogs in your clothes before work, I doubt that you smell bad. You might want to febreeze jackets that you aren't laundering between wearings from time to time, but it seems unlikely that you're stinking up your office.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:18 PM on April 7, 2008

Highly seconding keeping a set of "work clothes" at work.

Either that or getting plastic garment bags for your work clothes and putting your freshly laundered clothes in them.

Smoke Relief from EnviroCorp (don't know if you can find it in your area - they supposedly sell at Canadian Tire but it's been really hit or miss for me) is actually quite an effective product. Spray that in your hair, especially if it's very long.

What line of work are you in? It's possible that your coworkers don't care, have you asked them?

I'm a smoker (outdoors only), and I have, and the most common response is that it's only noticeable right after I come back from a smoke break (if I haven't washed my hands and face).
posted by porpoise at 8:21 PM on April 7, 2008

Smoke clings to everything. Drapes,rugs,clothes,blankets and hair. However put out a large bowl filled with Distilled White Vinegar in each room. This will absorb a lot of odors, not only smoke related. The best solution would be to get your friends to kick the habit. I know it's not easy, but smelling bad at work is the least of your problems. The second hand smoke is slowly killing you.
posted by blast at 9:34 PM on April 7, 2008

I hate to break it to you, but if you live in a house where people smoke inside, you almost definitely smell like cigarettes. (If they don't smoke inside, you're probably alright.) You probably don't smell like dogs, unless they're sleeping in your bed or on top of your clothes every night. Smells stick in clothing and in hair the most so I would make sure that all of that was as clean as possible. Maybe get a HEPA air purifier for your bedroom to be on the safe side.
Febreeze is magic for smells in fabric, but don't over do-it (Febreeze is actually kind of a gross smell in and of itself). I used to smoke and had a job where it was important that we not smell like cigarettes, and we swore by Febreeze after our smoke breaks. (I was an overnight camp counselor, for those wondering why I didn't just not smoke on the job...)
You could also try Ozium, or another air freshener/deodorizer popular in head shops--these are made for getting rid of smoky smells.
posted by cosmic osmo at 9:42 PM on April 7, 2008

smoke is evil, nothing u can do. but make sure to keep your hair clean and clothes washed with softener. also dont use too much deodoratn but use a little cologne. and shower before work, it seriously takes 3 minutes.
posted by edtut at 5:23 AM on April 8, 2008

A relative of mine once worked a job where they spent an hour or two a day in an office with a cigar smoker. The smell of cigars was on their clothes for the rest of the day, and it was incredibly potent.

If the smokers do so indoors, guaranteed your clothes and hair smell like smoke. If your mates are not smoking inside, then you probably don't need to do anything.

Garment bags for clothes, or keeping your clothes in a bureau or closet, where they're somewhat shielded from the elements, will help enormously. Washing your hair before going to work will help too.
posted by zippy at 5:40 AM on April 8, 2008

The easiest way is to shower before work. Sorry.

Keep everything in your room scrupulously laundered. Using a little white vinegar or ammonia in with the detergent when you wash your sheets will help keep them extra smell-free (these sorts of smells tend to cling to sheets more, since sheets are, by default, soft fabric with oils from your body on them.)
posted by desuetude at 5:49 AM on April 8, 2008

posted by matteo at 8:20 AM on April 8, 2008

Keep work clothes in a smokefree environment. Change immediately before leaving, and store clothes in the smokefree place promptly. Wash clothes frequently. Your hair may pick up smoke, but that's hard to remedy. Try some of the smokeless ashtrays with a fan and a filter. Keep the dogs bathed.

Mention to the people at work (or 1 person at work) that you live with smokers. Tell them you don't notice it and you're worried that you are bringing tobacco smells into work. If somebody said this, I'd mind tobacco and/or dog smells a lot less.
posted by theora55 at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2008

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