Gransnet forums


Old People’s Odour

(76 Posts)
Granless Wed 07-Oct-20 11:54:42

Can anyone offer advice? I am a bit desperate. It seems that I have developed the ‘old people smell’ put politely odour ... (Nonenal). It’s not a lack of soap and water or cleanliness generally ... and am embarrassed. I dread standing near anybody ... social distancing has its benefits! I am booked in to the Opticians and Hygienist soon, oh dear ☺️

rosecarmel Wed 07-Oct-20 12:20:26

Do you take a blood thinner?

dragonfly46 Wed 07-Oct-20 12:21:36

You can buy soap that is supposed to eliminate this odour.

MissAdventure Wed 07-Oct-20 12:25:31

I think there are products containing persimmon, which apparently helps (soap, maybe?)

Glorybee Wed 07-Oct-20 12:28:49

Granless , how did you find out?

sodapop Wed 07-Oct-20 13:21:45

What on earth is "old people's odour" ? As Glorybee said how did you find out and how is it identified.

EllanVannin Wed 07-Oct-20 13:23:36

No such thing.

rosecarmel Wed 07-Oct-20 13:38:12

Blood thinners can make the odor more pronounced- And maybe if not exfoliating it can linger longer-

Lucca Wed 07-Oct-20 13:40:45

As a matter of fact my bloke has old man smell in spite of being a very “clean” person! I remember my dad was a bit the same

Antonia Wed 07-Oct-20 13:48:12

Wear lots of perfume?

fevertree Wed 07-Oct-20 13:50:19

There definitely is something like that, noticeable sometimes in charity shops!

fevertree Wed 07-Oct-20 14:03:18

Apologies, Granless I meant to reply to your OP, I'm sorry I don't have the answer.

EllanVannin Wed 07-Oct-20 14:26:00

I'm on blood-thinners but don't smell musty or any other old smell. Clothes are washed regularly so if anything I smell of Surf and conditioner which usually overpowers any perfume.

GrandmaMoira Wed 07-Oct-20 14:32:46

There is such a thing. It's a chemical called Nonenal which can start being produced from menopause onwards. As Misadventure said, apparently Persimmon helps eliminate it. Luckily most of us don't have it, or not enough to notice.

Riverwalk Wed 07-Oct-20 14:35:47


No such thing.

Quite agree Ellen. There was a thread a few months ago about this - some report or other, or something in the tabloids.

I still do some private homecare nursing, often End-of-Life, and in all my days have never met a patient, one as old as 99, who had a smell that was caused by anything other than hygiene; very occasionally certain medications can make the breath smell.

It's either personal hygiene, clothes not washed or aired properly, stuffy rooms, old clothes in the wardrobes that have been there for decades, old carpets, etc. All these material things cause smells to linger and no doubt the person will take on some of the odour.

I bet the Queen and DoE don't smell of Old People!

OP who said you smell?

Riverwalk Wed 07-Oct-20 14:40:33


There is such a thing. It's a chemical called Nonenal which can start being produced from menopause onwards. As Misadventure said, apparently Persimmon helps eliminate it. Luckily most of us don't have it, or not enough to notice.

I think we all looked up Nonenal when the first thread on GN appeared, so I know that it exists.

But rather like adolescent teenagers suddenly start to need deodorants because of their hormones - they only smell if they don't wash and their bedrooms are stuffed with dirty clothes!

Whitewavemark2 Wed 07-Oct-20 14:50:09

Mum died at 101 she never smelt of anything but her soap, shampoo and perfume. I took and washed her clothes every day when she got too frail to manage.

I must ask my DD if I smell😄😄😄 I can imagine her face.

Teetime Wed 07-Oct-20 15:03:12

I agree if there is a smell its usually personal hygine, clothing and/or environment e.g. living with cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke. I have always found that unwashed hair has a pretty nasty smell.

NotSpaghetti Wed 07-Oct-20 15:41:35

Here is a link to the super-long thread from before, Granless

I know there were research papers on this which I read through Google Scholar - I may have even posted links.
I'm sorry it's happened to you.

Good luck.

NotSpaghetti Wed 07-Oct-20 15:42:59

And no, Teetime and others. It wasn't a hygiene issue.... though I'm sure if you didn't wash it would get worse!

Granless Wed 07-Oct-20 15:49:18

Thank you Teetime for your very blinkered opinion ... very helpful. I suggest you educate yourself by reading up about Nonenal

Granless Wed 07-Oct-20 15:53:30

Thank you GrandmaMoira for the backup.

Callistemon Wed 07-Oct-20 16:01:26

I wonder if it heralds the start of an illness?
Dogs can smell illnesses before anyone is aware of them. I'm not saying you have something wrong with you, Granless, you could be sickening for a cold or something but anyone with a very sensitive sense of smell could be aware of changes.

Ask the hygienist because she or he will be able to tell you if there is an oral hygiene problem, which could in fact come from the stomach; perhaps you could take some probiotics.

Granless Wed 07-Oct-20 16:02:45

I’m not on blood thinners ... in fact no medication at all. I shower or bath every day ... my clothes, bedding are laundered regularly ... so for those of you who think I need a good wash ... think again.
I became aware literally of an odour following me around ... sounds lovely doesn’t it. In fact I’m going to have a chat with my GP because it also could be some medical underlying cause.
To those of you who came up with sensible suggestions ... thank you.
And thank you Not Spaghetti for the link.

MissAdventure Wed 07-Oct-20 16:14:28

Perhaps try an antibacterial soap?
Or, is it possible that you're being "too clean" and upsetting your body's natural balance?