Sweat Smells Like Bleach? Read This

If your sweat smells like bleach, you might be thinking that you have something serious, like liver disease. While this is a possibility, it’s not the most likely cause.

Even though many patients with liver disease may have “bleachy” sweat, not all patients with bleachy sweat have liver disease.

As a matter of fact, many patients think they’re smelling bleach, when in fact, they are smelling ammonia.

It’s important to note that if you’re a younger, healthier individual with a clean medical history, liver disease shouldn’t concern you.

An odor like this in an otherwise healthy person shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the more common reasons why you’re experiencing this symptom.

Sweat Smells Like Bleach – What Causes it?

sweat smells like bleachOne of the more common reasons for this strange symptom is that you have a protein/carbohydrate imbalance in the body.

Specifically, if you’re eating too much protein, and not enough carbohydrates, this can cause your body odor to emit an ammonia-like stench (which a lot of people tend to confuse as being bleach).

As you can imagine, the human body requires a certain % of carbohydrates and a certain % of protein in its diet.

Whenever the balance isn’t begin met, strange symptoms can happen, including a bleachy odor. The good news?

This is something that can easily be controlled with your diet. Start by cutting back on protein and getting more carbohydrates.

After a few days to a week, see if your sweat smells the same. If it’s back to normal, then you can know with confidence that it was your diet to blame.

Bottom Line: The most common cause of this symptom is a carbohydrate/protein imbalance.

Striking the Balance Between Protein and Carbohydrates

As a general rule of thumb, approximately 20% of your calories should come from protein. Examples of protein include tuna, eggs, avocados, and many others.

You can go as low as 10% or as high as 35%, but never beyond these recommendations. Additionally, you should get about 310 grams of carbohydrates per day.

This rule isn’t set in stone, but it’s a good guideline to follow.

Some people will actually eat way too much protein and way too few carbs- and then they wonder why their sweat smells like bleach! Strike a balance between the two and the odor should go away.

Bottom Line: Start consuming more carbohydrates and less protein to see if that makes your symptom go away.

When Should You Worry About Liver Damage?

As we mentioned earlier, there is always a possibility of liver damage when your sweat exudes ammonia.

But it’s almost always associated with additional symptoms, including:

  • Jaundice (when the eyes or skin appear yellow)
  • Itchy skin
  • Swollen legs/ankles
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine color
  • Pale or tar-colored stool

If your sweat smells a little “off”, and you have one or more of the above symptoms, then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Also, if you have abdominal pain that’s so severe that you can’t sit still or lie down, then go to the emergency room.

Bottom Line: While liver disease is rare in younger people, it’s still a possibility. Be sure to get a checkup with your doctor.


Unless there are other symptoms present, bleachy sweat probably isn’t related to liver disease.

Instead, it’s most likely caused by you not eating not carbohydrates (and too much protein). Use the guidelines recommended above and see if anything changes.

If your sweat smells like bleach even after this change, and other symptoms are starting to show, then go see your doctor. They’ll be able to tell you more about what’s going on.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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