Washing body parts

How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: June 3, 2018
How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling

The most obvious way to keep an uncircumcised penis from smelling is to wash it, but it is surprising how many still complain of a musty or foul odor emanating from their nether region. Perhaps this is due to mis-education when younger, but there are other reasons you may have for a penis smelling. One factor is whether or not it is a circumcised penis. As circumcision entails the removal of the foreskin, someone with an uncircumcised penis needs to make sure they are attentive to this little appendage. oneHOWTO shows you how to keep an uncircumcised penis from smelling. This way you can avoid certain awkward conversations, promote good penile health and feel more comfortable in your own (fore)skin.

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  1. Why does my uncircumcised penis smell?
  2. What if I clean and my penis still smells?
  3. How to clean your uncircumcised penis properly

Why does my uncircumcised penis smell?

While many claim that circumcision is better for hygiene, this doesn't mean a penis without a foreskin can't smell either. What it does mean is that for those with a foreskin, you need to pay a little more attention. We'll help you know what to do by explaining a little more about why we have a foreskin in the first place.

A foreskin is a type of prepuce, similar to the clitoral hood in females. Its function is debated and circumcision in general even more so. What we do know is that it doesn't fully retract until puberty. When it does, it can help keep the glans penis (the bell shaped tip of the penis) lubricated. The foreskin also contains nerve receptors, meaning that many men find it increases pleasure during sex.

While the foreskin keeps the penis protected by keeping foreign agents out, it also can keep natural secretions in. Much of this secretion will be from smegma, a mixture of natural oils which the penis produces. It is thought to be for natural lubrication during sex. This idea is supported by the fact that little to know smegma is secreted during adolescence, the most is secreted during sexual maturity and that smegma production slows as the body ages past sexual maturity.

Smegma includes skin cells from the penis and foreskin. It can also attract general dirt and microbes which might come in contact with your penis. For an uncircumcised male, this dirt and bacteria collects under the foreskin naturally. Urine and ejaculate can also collect under the foreskin, two substances which will smell if left unwashed.

Some people may have been given bad habits during childhood which might contribute to bad smelling odors from the penis. Like the backs of your ears and between your toes, the head of the penis is a corner of the body where dirt might accumulate without you realizing. If you neglect to clean these areas specifically, you may end up with a bad smell.

How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling - Why does my uncircumcised penis smell?

What if I clean and my penis still smells?

If you clean your penis, but it still smells, there may be other concerns. One common result of not cleaning your penis properly is balanitis. Balanitis is the inflammation of the glans penis thanks to bacteria or infection. If the foreskin is also inflamed or agitated, this is known as balanoposthitis. You will likely see a little redness, but you can also experience some pain. If left untreated, it could even result it phimosis whereby the foreskin closes over the glans penis. This may need to be corrected by surgery.

Like other yeast infections, balanitis can be accompanied by a bad smell. While balanitis is a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection rather than an STI in itself, other STIs can lead to a bad smell. Some of the symptoms might be similar, but if you are unsure, you should go for a check up.

Balanitis is usually eradicated by washing, but this depends on the cause. Allergies to products you use on your penis might be at the root. This could be the type of product you use to bathe or even an allergy to certain types of condom.

Another reason your penis might smell could have nothing to do with your penis. Pubic hair traps odors in the strands of hair themselves as well as their accompanying oils. If you don't wash this easily also, it could be leading to your odor problem.

How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling - What if I clean and my penis still smells?

How to clean your uncircumcised penis properly

If you are circumcised, these tips will still be useful. You can just ignore the elements about foreskin.

To get cleaning under the foreskin, do it before you have showered or had a bath. Hold the foreskin as it covers the tip and then start pulling it down the penis shaft. Pulling penis foreskin as far as it goes will mean that all the area normally covered underneath will be exposed. If you struggle to do this action, it is possible it needs a little lubrication to get it going. Even a little water can work. If you still can't pull your foreskin all the way, it is possible it is too tight. This is particularly the case if you feel pain when pulling at this area of your penis. If so, seek a physician's advice.

Once the underneath of the foreskin is fully exposed, wash with an appropriate product and warm (not hot) water. You can use soap, but it is possible that soap is causing irritation or smelling in the first place. It is better to use a pH neutral, soap free product. If you think the wash you use is doing more harm than good, you may need an allergy test to know what to avoid. Incorporate into how you wash so you feel good all over once you have showered.

Don't rub your penis too hard while cleaning as this can damage the skin. Instead, be gentle and thorough. There should be no need to use a wash cloth or sponge, but if you do, ensure they are also clean.

For a more thorough detailing, read our article on how to clean your penis properly.

How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling - How to clean your uncircumcised penis properly

If your uncircumcised penis is smelling, it is likely a hygiene issue. Anything beyond this will need a doctor's opinion. Cleaning regularly and maintaining good hygiene will be good fo your overall health, but knowing how to keep an uncircumcised penis from smelling can improve your sexual health too. Many men and women will find it distasteful to go near a penis which smells (especially using their mouth). Show some respect for both yourself and your sexual partners by keeping it clean.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
ive never had any problems with smell until last few years i have always been able to keep the foreskin back but as i get older it dont stay back im 65 do they make anything to keep the foreskin back circumcision is out of the question my dr said very uncomfortable for my age thanks
I am looking for a special soap to clean the penis area effectively? I have tried Dial or another liquid soap but it i s only effective for a hour or so? Maybe there is something sold that I am not aware of?I ask some close male friends but they are not uncircumcised...so i ask your advice....I remember a soap for pimple that was used in the 1960's....It was liquid but it started with a P and I think it was Phisohex or something like that? Maybe that was too harsh?
Is it bad to clean my uncircumcised phallus with Listerine or head&shoulders? I normally do it after I shower. I think it gives me a pretty good minty fresh smell.lol
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Steve,

Listerine is not ideal for the sensitive skin on the glans penis, although we are sure it is quite bracing. Head and Shoulders should clean it well enough, but ideally you should use a body wash for sensitive skin with a neutral pH level.
I stopped using soap, but made very certain to clean well with just water. Ditching the soap helped a lot. Sometimes I’d get smell issues after receiving oral sex. Neosporin helps too. Sorry if TMI, but I wish I had learned about neosporin a lot earlier.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Phil,

This isn't TMI, it's VHI - Very Helpful Information!
Use of Neosporin for cleaning particularly the base of the foreskin is very helpful. It works.
Proper washing is a must but the genital area can start to smell again once you start sweating so by the end of the day, it reeks. For good measure, apply some antibacterial male hygiene gel to keep the genital area clean and fresh all day long.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Luke,

We appreciate your input, but have to respectfully disagree with the use of antibacterial gel on the genitals. There are some products out there which claim to be good for washing the penis, but they are generally not worth your while (and are a needless expense). As long as it is good for sensitive skin and is free of added synthetic fragrance, then it should work to keep your uncircumcised penis from smelling.

We also advise to never use antibacterial gel such as hand sanitizer on your genitals. The alcohol can cause the skin to dry out and promote germs rather than counteract them. It can also cause general irritation or conditions like balanitis:


Hope this is helpful!
Not Yours to Cut
Where's the article about keeping an uncircumcised vulva from smelling?
OneHowTo Editor
Vulvas are never circumcised. There is an article on proper vaginal hygiene however.
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How to Keep an Uncircumcised Penis from Smelling