It's August, So Let's Talk About Bleaching Your Smelly Balls

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She'll be here periodically to answer your filthiest questions.

Good Morning, Jolie.

Love your great sense of humor.

Found your site while looking for a decent soap to clean one's anus.

Regarding the "Stinky Balls" issue that you addressed, you failed to mention the main culprit (as far as this 75-year-old active male is concerned), and this is that the invaginations (little brains?) of the scrotum will collect all sorts of bacteria and stink, and need to be scrubbed thoroughly, sometimes requiring a good soaking in a bathtub with a capful or two of Clorox.

My biggest issue is keeping my anus delectable. If I do not scrub it (gently as possible) diligently with a gentle fragrant soap or body wash, it will continue to stink (not as badly, but still smelly) as soon as I towel off. I also wash my ass after each shit (bowel movement) whenever possible. At the end of a day of farting—something that goes from laughable when young to an ongoing gas attack when you get older—I need to scrub it up before hopping into bed with my honey.

And the most amazing thing is that my wife (who at 69 is a magnificent-looking woman) smells like a whore-master's dream come true. She is a sweet-tasting woman!

The best to you and your great sense of humor. I am a retired respiratory therapist that specialized in cardiopulmonary disease for 37 years. If you need any advice, please feel free to drop me a line.

I may take our LW up on his offer of advice: I probably need to see a cardiopulmonary specialist to reverse the effects this email had on me, because I laughed myself into a near-heart attack when it arrived. Bless you marvelous loons.

The thing is about this email is that while, yes, it is a bit outré, it strikes me as real. In part, that's because getting emails asking about testicular care is something that just happens in my life, and I'm attuned to the difference between someone writing to me for shock value and someone writing because they genuinely want to ask or tell me something. I guess I've grown so used to it that it was funny to me that my Deadspin colleagues blanched a bit when I shared the note to get a temperature check on its relative trolliness.

sean I'm only halfway through that and it is already the worst thing ever

Jolie Kerr Sean, sadly this is not a bad ball stink email in the grand scheme of the ball stink emails I get

harvilla wait there's a grand scheme of emails like this

Jolie Kerr There is indeed a grand scheme of emails like this

That exchange answered for me something I wrestle with when it comes to this column: Where do I draw the line on addressing topics that have already been covered? I'm understandably wary of turning into the Rick Reilly of cleaning-advice columnists, but OTOH, the site's traffic continues to grow, there are newcomers to this column all the time, and it's not realistic to expect people to check out the archives to see if a topic has been covered before, though I certainly encourage you to do so. (It is a nice little resource I've made for you, if I do say so myself!) The right answer seems to be that in certain and limited instances, covering ground that we've already been over is a correct and decent thing to do. As always, I am open to hearing your thoughts on what you'd like to see here!

With that, let us turn to our testicles. Or rather, to your testicles. I do not actually have testicles.

The last time we met to discuss this subject, I opened with a fact of life that is important to bear in mind: Ball-smell levels vary from man to man. Some of you are just gonna have smellier sacks than others. But there is help!

Washing & Drying Are Important

Use a good soap. Bar soaps or antibacterial body washes are the way to go; the more viscous and more heavily scented body washes are less desirable because they can cause irritation, and irritation can lead to increased odors. (The irritation can come from either a reaction to the perfume or, with the thicker body washes, the fact that soap residue is more likely to be left behind post-rinsing.)

Give the area a thorough scrubbing. Ideally, a washcloth is what you'll use for this, but hands, a puffer-scrubber-thinger (technical term), and so forth are all fine, too. The main point is that you want to do more than just allow soap and water to pass through the area; you'll want to wash in a way that sloughs off dead skin, which is part of what causes testicular odor. And to our LW's point, it's also important to give your hiney a good washing, and a washcloth is GREAT for that purpose. (We're gonna get to that bleach thing in a sec, promise.)

Towel-drying is preferable to air-drying. Odor is also caused by the trapping of moisture in your nethers, so toweling off thoroughly after you've washed is pretty important. Air drying alone won't wick away all the water hanging around in your nooks and crannies. Once you've toweled off, it's not a bad idea to allow for a minute or so of air-drying if you can manage it.

You Should Up Your Personal-Care Game

Powders and such are well worth considering. Most of you probably know about Gold Bond. If you don't, you do now. Gold Bond is a favorite for ball-powdering because it is medicated and provides a nice tingly feeling that many dudes enjoy. (HOWEVER. The ladies reading this should absolutely not take a cue from the menfolk and use Gold Bond to powder their wigs. It will tingle in a bad way.) If you are a person who is allergic to talcum, which happens, Gold Bond offers a talcum-free powder, as do Physician's Formula and Burt's Bees. Oh, right! And the point of all this powder is that it will help to control moisture, which in turn will help to control unwanted scents.

One other product to mention is Fresh Balls, which is applied as a cream, but turns to a powder as it dries. The recommendation came along from a friend of mine, in whom I put great trust when it comes to testicular matters, who responded to the OG ball-smell post.

There are also style options to consider. Trimming your pubic hair will also help to control moisture, but it's also a personal (and political) choice, so I'm going to just leave it at that and let you decide how you feel about it. There's no right or wrong answer. This is also true of underpants: Many people find that switching to a more form-fitting style of drawers helps to diminish the occurrence of odors. However, you may not want to swap style or comfort in aid of smell reduction, and that is your choice to make.

If you're doing all of this and you're still experiencing a problem with testicular odors, definitely go see a doctor. You might have a fungal infection! Get that treated. It's a fairly easy thing to nix, but you do want to make sure you deal with it. Life is too short for fungal-y balls.

Hell, Bleach 'Em If You Want

Which brings us right back to our 75-year-old pal and his bleach baths. Look, I'm not going to argue with success. The bleach baths work for him, and that's swell. It's not something I would come out and recommend, though, in part because there are mixed messages about its relative safety. Clorox, which has a vested interest in getting you to use bleach in any and all ways possible, cites the EPA in recommending that people do not bathe in bleach. But the Mayo Clinic suggests it's safe and recommends bleach baths as a treatment for eczema. Soooooooo … yeah. I'm not a doctor, I'm just a Clean Person who is oddly committed to the testicular health of strangers.


Jolie Kerr is the author of the book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag … And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha (Plume). Are you dirty? Check The Squalor Archive for assistance. Are you still dirty? Email her.

Image by Jim Cooke.

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