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How to Improve Personal Hygiene for Boys

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we talk to a lot of parents who are worried about their teen son’s personal hygiene. Their sons have terrible hygiene habits and go days without showering, brushing their teeth, or even changing their clothes. If your teen takes their lack of personal care to an unhealthy level, you may need to intervene. We are writing on the topic today to help parents navigate the topic of teenage personal hygiene.

If you’ve got teenage boys, you have probably asked yourself: why do they smell so bad?

Teen boys are notorious for coming home from school with sweaty gym clothes, stinky shoes, and generally gross scents. When they were little, they probably got dirty a lot and played with things you’d rather not touch. Once they hit puberty and their sweat glands produce an odor, things get real.

Thankfully, many teens that go through this smelly stage eventually grow out of it. They learn that their friends and classmates don’t like to be around smelly people. Plenty of teenage boys learn the importance of showering and wearing clean clothes once they start going on dates. Nobody wants to date someone with terrible hygiene habits.

A certain amount of smelliness is to be expected during adolescence, but teens need to uphold a healthy level of personal hygiene. If your teen doesn’t seem to care about his hygiene or appearance, there are some things you can do to help him.

Improving personal hygiene in teen boys

If your son doesn’t see the importance of personal hygiene, talk to him about it and set some ground rules for the house. Keep in mind, this can be a sensitive topic for a lot of kids. As their bodies are changing, teens legitimately start to smell more. Kids don’t always realize how much their sweat or their feet begin to stink, and they might be embarrassed when you first talk to them about it.

Once you’ve started the conversation, build a framework to help them learn to take care of themselves. Like everything else, kids need to learn what’s expected of them and then be held to those standards. If they didn’t learn those expectations during childhood, they need to learn them during their teen years.


Set precise times for your teen to bathe. It could be before school, before bed, or any other time during the day. If your son plays on a sports team and has access to a locker room after practice, tell them they need to shower directly after practice.

Help your teen build bathing into his routine so that it doesn’t need to be a big deal.


Make it clear that your son is required to wear deodorant just like he’s required to wear clothes or brush his hair. Explain that he is not alone in needing deodorant. Everyone starts to get smelly armpits once they hit puberty.

Now that he’s growing into adulthood, he needs to start wearing deodorant like an adult.


Wearing socks with sneakers makes a huge difference in reducing foot smell. Your teen might not think that wearing socks is necessary, or it might seem like wearing socks isn’t cool.

No matter the case, make it clear that he needs to wear socks if he’s wearing sneakers. It will make his feet smell better, and it will extend the life of his shoes.

Brushing teeth

Just like bathing, set specific times in the day where your son needs to brush his teeth. It’s easy to incorporate these times into his morning routine and his bedtime routine.

Good oral hygiene is important to reduce bad breath and make his teeth healthier. If he tries to fight you on brushing his teeth, remind him that he only gets one set of teeth he is responsible for taking care of them.

Clean clothes

Create a daily household routine that includes laundry expectations. Make sure he knows where to put dirty clothes and find clean clothes. If he is tempted to toss on dirty clothes when he wakes up in the morning, have him lay out a clean outfit at night.

If his dirty clothes are in the laundry and his clean clothes are out, it will be easy to wake up and put on the right outfit.

If you are worried that your son’s poor hygiene is linked to a mental health problem, get professional help as well. Some teens who struggle with depression or social anxiety also struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

At a therapeutic boarding school, the structure and routine combined with individual therapy help teens learn good habits while addressing their mental health concerns. Call us at 866-640-1899 to see if our school could help your son.

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