16 thoughts on “Cheese Smell Behind Ears: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment”

  1. It’s fungus. Smells like cheese because that’s a mold. It’s caused by dandruff. Dandruff is caused by fungus. Using the dandruff shampoo Nizoral for 8 weeks (as directed) will stop it. The 4 oz. bottle will do it as it’s used once per week. Then just touch ups after that. If you have dandruff real bad, the flakes will be large and scabbing and itching may be present in the ears and on the eyebrows where the dandruff falls. After Nizoral, the flakes will shrink to nothing all the way to just tiny specks barely visible, which is the normal kind. Shaving the head is not required. Stop using a shampoo that moisturizes as that leaves the scalp too moist and prone to fungus. Switching to Ivory soap (the soap that floats) works as both a body soap and a hair cleaner (shampoo). Ivory soap is pure. Also, stop using a shower head that blasts the body with powerful jets of water as that pounds out too much body oil and leaves the body wanting lotion. Use lotion sparingly as that can grow fungus underneath. Basically, we’re doing it to ourselves as we buy these over-marketed products.

    • Thank you, Taylor, for your recommendation. And yes, a fungus is a possible cause for dandruff, itchy, irritated scalp and even the cheese smell behind ears.

    • I had that horrible cheese smell behind my ears for, God knows how many years at least 10. It was only when the kids said that my ears smelled that I knew I even had it, I straight away tried everything, washing, soap, lemon juice, alcohol hand wash, I went to the doctor’s and she gave me some cream to put behind my ears, white and gucky, I applied it as per instruction, used it all up, and it immediately came back, washed and washed, couldn’t get rid of the cheese smell. Then I tried pure tea tree oil. One generous application behind each ear and the cheese smell hasn’t come back, no gunk, no white paste. I am still waiting for the cheese smell infection to come back and keep checking every morning out of fear.

    • And what was the cream for? A bacterial infection, a fungal infection, a parasitic infection or an atopic dermatitis with autoimmune causes? It’s possible to mistake a bacterial infection for a fungal infection or a parasitic infection for a fungal infection and so on, which could explain why the cream did not work for you. In any case, it’s great that the tea tree oil helped you get rid of the bad cheese smell behind the ears. And it’d be wise to see a doctor again if the infection and bad smell behind the ears come back. Wishing you lots of health!

  2. I suffered with this. I used a spray bottle with 3 quarters vinegar, the rest with water. Spray anywhere on the body. It’s harmless and can be used safely.

    • Incidentally, it smells like cheeses because it is the same bacteria, also it the same bacteria that makes your feet smell.

    • Not sure I understand what you mean by ‘it smells like cheese because it is the same bacteria’. Do you mean the same bacteria present in cheese? I’m asking you this because the bacteria in cheese are not pathogenic (if they were, eating cheese would make us sick). The bacteria in cheese is beneficial probiotic bacteria that complements our good gut bacteria populations and does not cause any form of infection or disease. So it’s different from the bacteria that causes disease.

      If it really were a bacterium that caused cheese smell behind the ears, it would more likely be one that is transferred from the environment or other people to our hands and from there to the back of the ears. And it would have to be pathogenic and cause infection to produce the smell behind the ears. At the same time, it can be a fungus or even something autoimmune like an atopic dermatitis, an eczema that causes bad smell behind the ears. You can’t really know until you’ve seen a doctor and had some tests to determine the exact cause or microorganism. But it’s unlikely that the beneficial probiotic bacteria in some cheeses cause a bad smell behind the ears. It doesn’t work like that.

    • I clean my pierced ears with dental pics. Yes, it works. I also found if I don’t wear cheap ear rings, I don’t have this problem. A good cleaning with alcohol in the pierced hole and wiping behind the ear stops the problem.

    • Great idea, both for preventing and sometimes treating cheese smell behind ears. I would like to add that cleaning with warm water and a gentle soap every day can also help prevent bad smells behind the ears. If you have long hair or engage in activities that cause excessive sweating, it could help to also wash behind the ears with warm water and soap every morning and evening before sleep and always dry with a towel.

  3. It is not good to shower or soak in tub more then twice a year and never with soap! Wipe with dry rag only if you want to look and feel young.

    • Well, washing more often than that has its benefits. Bacteria, sweat accumulate on the skin and clog pores and washing with soap or similar products helps unclog pores and keep skin clean, reducing the likelihood of skin infections. Dry exfoliation using a clean, dry rag or towel can help remove old skin cells and improve skin aspect, but it doesn’t replace washing and should be done carefully so as to not scratch the skin.
      Often times, the reason why the ears smell or there is an odor behind the ears is because there is an infection (bacterial, fungal, rarely parasitic). In such cases, you can only get rid of the bad ear smell with good hygiene, which includes thorough and frequent washing, and adequate treatment (antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic creams). Just as important for ear odor treatment is drying the back of the ears well with a hair drier or a clean towel after washing. This is a great way to both help treat and prevent future infections that cause a bad smell behind the ears.

  4. None of these comments/opinions addressed a diet. You could try an elimination diet to remove everything that has sugars and yeasts in it. I haven’t had smelly ear or a bad cheese smell behind the ears this whole year, but now a major flare up happened after drinking 4 days in a row captain kombucha drinks. Back to pure ketogenic diet and as an acute cure, I’m trying a black+green tea with: garlic, clove, oregano, turmeric, black pepper. Very antibacterial combo.

    • Hello, Jani. The elimination diet is a good idea, if the bad smell behind the ears is caused by something in your diet. Some of the foods you’ve listed for trying to get rid of the bad smell behind the ears could help in this case. But I’d also address ear hygiene like washing behind the ears more often, especially washing off sweat, maybe using antibacterial soap, drying the area behind the ears well, first with a towel, then with a hair drier.

      Also, know that foods such as garlic, onions, eggs or fish can cause a bad smell in some people that is let out through the sweat glands. And since we sweat behind the ears as well (a lot actually), it’s not unlikely for the bad, possibly cheese-like smell to be caused by eating such foods or having a higher intake of such foods. If you’ve experienced a bad body odor (a cheese, acrid or pungent body smell) in the past after eating garlic or onions or fish or eggs, it could help to eliminate these foods too for a while and see if there are any improvements in body odor. Wishing you lots of health, Jani, and looking forward to hearing back from you about your acute cure for the bad smell behind the ears!

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