Preventing Swamp Crotch: 10 Products “Scientifically” Tested

by Brett on August 13, 2013 · 218 comments

in Dress & Grooming

swampheader

It’s a problem that has plagued men ever since Western society decided the male of our species had to wear pants instead of breezy togas or kilts.

I’m talking about swamp crotch: an uncomfortably moist nether region in which irritating chafing and stickage become commonplace and a distinct vinegar odor permeates from your groin.

Outbreaks of swamp crotch typically occur during hot and humid summers. Men who spend hours working hard in hot conditions — like soldiers and construction workers — are most susceptible to swamp crotch, though it can also strike men who spend a lot of time sitting — like motorcyclists, delivery truck drivers, and even office workers.

As a lifelong resident of perpetually hot and humid Oklahoma, I’ve had to battle swamp crotch every summer for most of my life. And I know that there are millions of men out there who are suffering silently from this summertime plague.

The problem is that while there are plenty of products out there designed to prevent swamp crotch, nobody has really taken the time to test how effective each one is. As a result, men end up wasting money on products that offer sub-par results.

So this summer as a service to men everywhere, I decided I would scientifically test various swamp crotch prevention products and offer my unbiased findings. And by “scientifically” I mean I applied all of these products to my balls.

Below is my report.

The Line-Up

all

Yes. Yes, I did apply all of these products to my groinal area. For science, of course.

Over the past month I personally tested the following 10 swamp crotch prevention products:

  • Gold Bond Powder
  • Gold Bond Powder Spray
  • All-Natural Cornstarch
  • Fresh Balls
  • Jack Black Dry Down Friction-Free Powder
  • Anti-Monkey Butt Powder
  • Balla Powder
  • Baby Powder
  • Pinaud-Clubman Body Powder
  • Dry+Goods Spray

General Observations

scientists

  • Talcum-based products offer longer wetness protection than cornstarch-based products.
  • The big downside with all powders is mess. If you’re not careful, it can get everywhere; if you put too much powder on, it can seep through your clothing, leaving behind a white powdery butt-print on whatever you were sitting on.
  • Never underestimate the soothing, cooling, and tingling pleasure of medicated powder.
  • Sprays are uncomfortably cold on your sensitive man parts.
  • There are lots of companies taking regular old talcum powder, slapping a label on it with a silly name referring to a man’s genitals, and charging you an arm and a leg. Or an arm and a nut. Don’t be fooled.
  • While talcum-based products last longer and are completely safe for men (despite websites and emails from your Aunt Nancy that say it causes testicular cancer), there are some studies that indicate talcum powder may increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women. Granted, the studies are inconclusive, but most doctors play it safe and recommend that gals use a cornstarch-based body powder instead of talcum powder when dusting their lady parts. If you plan on getting intimate with a woman, you’ll probably want to rinse off before you chaka chaka or at least forgo using talcum powder just to be on the safe side. We don’t want any deaths by Snu-Snu on our watch.

Gold Bond Medicated Powder

goldbond

An anti-swamp crotch standby since 1908. This is how Gramps powdered the balls of steel that stormed their way up Normandy. I’ve used Gold Bond Medicated Powder since my high school football days to keep a cool crotch during hot and humid Oklahoma summers. Gold Bond is triple medicated to keep you cool, dry, and itch-free. It’s talcum-based so it has long-lasting dryness protection. What sets Gold Bond apart from the rest of the products on this list is its trademark cooling menthol. When you first apply Gold Bond, it sort of burns…in a good way. After the initial invigorating cooling sensation, for the next few hours, the menthol leaves your crotch feeling like it’s cocooned in a cooling, wintergreen wonderland even though the thermostat outside says it’s 100 degrees. AoM commenter Mark aptly described Gold Bond as “Altoids for your nuts.” Indeed, Mark. Indeed.

The only downside I’ve found with Gold Bond Powder (and all body powders) is the mess. The stuff has a tendency to end up everywhere even though you were only aiming for your nether regions. My two-year-old, Gus, got his hands on the shaker one day, gave it a firm squeeze, and in two seconds it looked like Tony Montana sneezed all over my closet. Another mess factor that all body/ball powder has is that they have a tendency to sift through cotton fabrics, causing the user to leave behind white butt imprints on whatever piece of furniture they happened to be sitting on.

Pros

  • Menthol gives you that classic Gold Bond Powder cooling/burning sensation
  • Keeps you dry all day
  • If you already have skin irritation down there, this helps soothe it

Cons

  • Powder can be messy, especially if your toddler gets his hands on it

Gold Bond Medicated Powder Spray

gbspray

Recently Gold Bond came out with an aerosol spray that applies their patented triple-medicated powder without the mess of the traditional shaker. It’s being sold as a solution to the drawback mentioned above — a tidier alternative to the traditional powder that we all know and love.

Applying Gold Bond with a spray is definitely less messy than shaking it on — you only hit what you aim for. The powder comes out of the can wet, but then quickly dries. Make sure to hold the can well away from your danglers. The spray comes out strongly and is painful if you have the nozzle too close to your junk. The spray propellent (HFC -152a) is a refrigerant so it comes out cold, too. Consequently, the usual cooling/burning sensation you get with Gold Bond Powder is much more intense with the spray. Uncomfortably intense.

Potential crotch sensitivity aside, I’m a big fan of this 21st century Gold Bond update. It keeps you dry for just as long as the original powder and has the same classic menthol smell and sensation — all without the cascade of ball-soothing snow.

Pros

  • Less mess than the powder
  • More directed coverage
  • Same classic Gold Bond menthol cooling/burning sensation
  • Lasts all day

Cons

  • The propellant intensifies the usual cooling/burning sensation.  That could be a good thing for some people. It was a little too much for me.
  • Cost (7-ounce can is $7.79 compared to $7.79 for a 10-ounce bottle of the powder)

Cornstarch

cornstarch

I learned about the secret swamp crotch preventing capabilities of cornstarch when I lived in Tijuana over a decade ago. Because I spent most my days walking from sun up to sun down in the hot Baja California sun, swamp crotch was a big problem. On a particularly hot day, I ran out of Gold Bond Powder and wasn’t looking forward to the chafing I would be encountering. I mentioned it to my Mexican friend and he suggested I sprinkle on some cornstarch.

Dubiously, I dusted my huevos with some cornstarch that we had in the pantry and set out for a day of work. And, I’ll be darned, the stuff worked. I was completely dry and chafe free…for a few hours. In my experience, cornstarch just doesn’t last very long as a swamp crotch subduer compared to talcum powder. If you really work up a sweat, really fast, the cornstarch has a tendency to clump — not a very pleasant feeling to have in your pants.

Another potential downside to cornstarch (depending on your viewpoint) is that there’s no scent. Personally, I like to have a bit of fragrance in my swamp crotch tamers.

On the upside, cornstarch is cheap, readily available, and all-natural.

Because of its short life span and clumping tendencies, I only use cornstarch when I’m in a pinch.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Readily available
  • Scent-free (some people like that)
  • All-natural
  • Can also be used to make gravy

Cons

  • No scent
  • No nice, tingly “I feel fresh” sensation
  • Doesn’t last long
  • Tends to clump if you get really sweaty

Fresh Balls

dryballs

I first heard about Fresh Balls after watching Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Mansome, in which I also make an appearance (really, really briefly).

While most of the products on this list were designed to be used on multiple parts of the body, Fresh Balls was specifically designed to keep a man’s stones fresh and dry. The guy who started Fresh Balls experimented for years in his home in Las Vegas (a place notorious for swamp crotch) to find the perfect solution to the age old problem of sweaty balls and batwings (when your scrotum sticks to the side of your leg due to excessive sweating). He was tired of messy powders so he looked for another medium with which to apply his swamp crotch-quelling compound.

His answer: use a lotion instead of a powder.

When I saw Fresh Balls on Mansome, I remember thinking, “How can a lotion keep your junk dry?”

I’m not sure exactly how it works, but Fresh Balls lotion goes on wet, and then dries immediately. Magically, it leaves behind no residue.

When you first apply Fresh Balls, you’ll experience a gentle, warming sensation on the skin. I believe that’s the tea tree oil in the product working its magic. The lotion has a subdued fresh and masculine scent. Another bonus is that Fresh Balls dryness protection goes the distance. I was dry all day from just one application in the morning. It somehow does this without using talc.

One thing that really stood out to me about Fresh Balls is how testosterone-friendly it is. Unlike many lotions, it doesn’t contain any testosterone-reducing xenoestrogens like parabens.

It’s hard to take a product called Fresh Balls seriously. I’ll admit I was dubious about its effectiveness when I first tried it, but this lotion lives up to its name. I’m a fan.

Pros

  • Absolutely no mess
  • Surprisingly keeps you dry even though it’s a lotion
  • Has a nice, warm feel right when you put it on
  • Fresh, manly scent
  • Testosterone friendly — contains no parabens or aluminum

Cons

  • Cost ($12.99 for a 3-ounce tube)

Jack Black Dry Down Friction-Free Powder

jackblack

Jack Black has been making men’s skin care products since 2005. They’re a favorite of AoM style writer Antonio Centeno. Their Dry Down Friction-Free Powder is an all-natural wetness prevention powder made from cornstarch, lavender, and organic green tea.

My initial reaction to Dry Down was, “This smells great!” The lavender scent definitely harkens to old-school barber aftershaves and the green tea gives a pleasant tingle when you first apply it.

While Jack Black smells and feels great, I found that its wetness protection couldn’t stand the heat (literally). Things were fresh and dry for just about an hour. I think the cornstarch base is to blame for the short dryness protection.

The other downside of Dry Down is the cost; $20 for a six-ounce shaker. That’s a little too much for my tastes for what is effectively just scented cornstarch.

Pros

  • Smells good (green tea and lavender)
  • Green tea gives you pleasant tingly feeling
  • All-natural

Cons

  • Expensive ($19.99 for a 6-ounce shaker)
  • Doesn’t last very long

Anti-Monkey Butt

monkeybutt

I’ve had several readers over the years recommend Anti-Monkey Butt to me. “Monkey Butt” is a term used by motorcycle riders to describe the soreness, itching, and redness that comes from sitting and sweating on a motorcycle for hours. Anti-Monkey Butt is designed to cure and prevent such maladies. The calamine in Anti-Monkey Butt soothes irritation you may already have, while the talcum keeps you dry to prevent further irritation. The scent is light and fresh, but I wouldn’t describe it as manly. Unisex I guess.

Dryness protection is great with Anti-Monkey Butt. Lasted me all day even though I was doing a lot of outdoor chores in the heat. I wish the calamine was a bit stronger, however. I like my swamp crotch powders to burn a bit so I know they’re working.

Pros

  • Great wetness protection
  • Affordable ($8 for a six-ounce shaker)

Cons

  • The calamine could be stronger and the scent is nothing to write home about

Balla Powder

balla

Balla Powder is basically a talcum powder with a cheeky name that hints at its intended use. First thing that stuck out to me about this product was the price tag — $13 for 5.6 ounces of talcum powder. I’m guessing the added price is for the mediocre fragrance.

Balla Powder did provide decent wetness protection. But then again I could have gotten the same effect with another talcum powder for 1/3 the price.

My recommendation: you’re better off using something else.

Pros

  • Lasted all day like any other talcum powder

Cons

  • Expensive –$12.99 for just 5.6 ounces
  • No invigorating tingling sensation
  • Smell is…okay

Baby Powder

babypowder

Your mom dusted your little dangly bits with baby powder to keep things fresh and dry, so it must have the same effect as an adult, right? Yes, with a caveat. I’ve used baby powder a few times over the years to fend off swamp crotch and it works pretty swell. Smells great — like baby powder. (Bonus: It’s a scent that research has shown women find attractive. Not that you’ll have women bending over to smell your crotch during the day. Or maybe you will. You never know these days.) It’s also insanely cheap. A giant 15-ounce bottle will only set you back $4 (put that in your pipe and smoke it Balla Powder!)

If you want decent swamp crotch protection, make sure to spring for a talcum-based baby powder. Cornstarch-based powder didn’t last that long… for me anyways.

Pros

  • Smells fresh
  • Cheap
  • Lasts long (if you’re using talcum-based powder)

Cons

  • Doesn’t last very long (cornstarch-based)
  • No invigorating tingle

Pinaud-Clubman Powder

pinaud

One of my favorite parts of getting a haircut is when the barber uses a straight razor to shave my neck and the hairline behind my ears. After he’s done, he gives me a light dusting with some manly smelling talc. The talcum helps soothe the skin after its close encounter with the blade. For decades, the talcum of choice for neighborhood barbers has been Pinaud-Clubman. It has a very masculine smell. Somewhat similar to the Pinaud-Clubman aftershave, but much more subtle.

I figured you could also use this talcum-based powder as a swamp crotch defender and I was correct. This was one of my favorite powders during my tests. It kept me dry down “there” all day and best of all, my crotch smelled like a barber shop. Bully!

 Pros

  • Makes your crotch smell like a barber shop
  • Slight invigorating tingle
  • Cheap

Cons

  • As with all powders, it can get messy

 Dry+Goods Athletic Spray

drygoods

Dry+Goods Athletic Spray is a no-mess powder spray that keeps you dry and cool all day long. It was one of my favorite products throughout the testing period. The type I bought doesn’t have much of a scent, which was fine. Dry+Goods does offer a menthol version to give you that nice, tingling feeling when you apply it. Wetness protection was fantastic. One application in the morning was all I needed.

As with the Gold Bond Powder Spray, you’ll want to be careful when applying Dry+Goods. The spray propellent comes out cold and strong. Make sure to hold the nozzle the recommend 6 to 9 inches away from your bird’s eggs when applying.

Pros

  • Direct application
  • No mess
  • Long lasting

Cons

  • Feels very cold when applied (could be a good thing)
  • Cost ($16 for a can)

Concluding Thoughts

Based on my highly scientific research, I can heartily recommend almost any talcum-based body powder as an effective swamp crotch slayer. Which one you go with will depend on 1) how much you want to spend and 2) what you want your groin to smell like.

But if you’re looking for my personal recommendations here are the five that I would recommend, in order of preference:

  1. Fresh Balls 
  2. Gold Bond Powder Spray
  3. Dry+Goods Spray
  4. Gold Bond Powder
  5. Pinaud-Clubman

What’s your preferred swamp crotch preventer? Let us know in the comments!

{ 218 comments… read them below or add one }

201 travlr February 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Gold Bond is available in a travel/trial size. Regardless of what anti-swamp-crotch product you use normally, it’s a great idea to have one of these in your dop kit, especially for long trans-atlantic and trans-pacific flights.

202 shweddybawls February 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Just ordered Fresh Balls. $10.89 for 5 ounces. Not too bad, thanks for the “scientific” study.

203 Jimmy R February 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

I have been a soldier for twenty or so years, just having retired. I have worked as a maintenance manager at a Steel Mill (Hot Strip) There it can reach temperatures of 130 to 140 degrees with 100% humidity as the water is vaporized in a procedure called descale. Also, I am an avid cyclist (road bike). I too have experimented and here is my solution to swamp crotch or as we say in the steel business “Gaulding” (It is old English, explained as the material from one part transferring to the other part under extreme pressure).

First not mentioned is your underwear choice. Never wear cotton this is know by extreme survivalist as the “Death Fabric”. Instead choose a water wicking combination of boxers and jockeys. The ones that look similar to bike shorts but obviously are underwear. This will pull the water, moisture away from the crotch. Next, and this is delicate and I take care in mentioning it, but — do not man scape or shave any parts down there in a failed effort to impress the ladies or significant other. A side note: Pubic hair specific serves a purpose among many as a moisture control, water wicking padding, It is also similar to a bushing (no pun intended) type bearing. Pubic hairs unlike those on your head are flat so that parts glide easily across.

Anyhow, I have found that fragrance free Mitchum under arm deodorant gel works in combination with a nice silicon personal lube. After showering, roll the gel onto your hands and massage it into the areas. It dries quickly and lasts 48 hours. Those would be the creases between legs and scrotum, taint and well go as far as you like upstream. It will be your discretion and judgement. Now, use a personal lubricant, the silicon variety not the water based. My favorite is a product available at Wal-Mart known as Wet. It can be found in the family planning section.

I have used this method in the Army, at the Steel Mill and on my bicycle riding a century. It works fantastic.

The formula can also be used on the feet, and will keep the odor down.

The parts stay dry, no moisture, no food for the bacteria to feed on and all is good.

204 Patrick LaFollette February 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

For an even more intense and satisfying powder, the Gold Bond triple-medicated extra strength foot powder in the big blue bottle is an excellent product. I learned this at summer camp. The regular GB is good, but this stuff just worked a little better.

205 John Syers March 9, 2014 at 8:17 am

I’ve had this problem for years and only now decided something had to be done. Thanks for doing all the legwork. This article is great!

206 James March 10, 2014 at 12:11 am

Gold Bond Friction Works Great!!

207 Don Sinclair March 15, 2014 at 4:32 am

I at the age of 69 and have just got this problem of Swamp Crotch, man its a bloody awful problem, I have found that Doctor’s or Chemist just do not want to talk about it, I though i was the only one that had it. When I asked people about it, I seem to get a look as if I had some VD problem. Thanks for the article, you have also done a great job in just getting guys talking about about it, just getting the right type of underware could be a problem in NZ.

208 Bill Braski March 19, 2014 at 11:09 am

Do ANY research on tea tree oil (which is in Fresh Balls, according to this) and you won’t want to put it anywhere on you, especially not your junk. Among other things, it has given little boys breasts. It screws up your hormones.

209 Superguy March 23, 2014 at 6:36 am

If you do a little MORE research on tea tree oil, you will also find that it does not get absorbed through the skin. It’s perfectly safe, and problems have been shown to arise only on ingesting large amounts of it.

210 Chris March 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Very scientific and informational. But I tend to use the Pick N Save blue bottle, “Personal Care Medicated Foot Powder” FOR ONE DOLLAR!!!

211 Deltaboy March 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I use Gold Bond in the Blue bottle and I mix it with Clubman Talc Powder in a nice Big Blue Parkay Butter tub with a powder puff. I got to get a new puff made since you can not seem to find them anymore.

212 Don Sinclair March 26, 2014 at 3:06 am

I went to a number of Chemist Shops and also checked out the net and have found not many people in NZ know much about Swamp Crotch. I could only find one powder that was any good at giving one relief from it, and that was a powder sold under the name of “Mycota” and it treats and prevents “Athlete’s Foot” they say, no such thing as “Gold Bond Friction” product is sold in NZ.
I decided to cut right down on eating raw fruit which was advice from my good wife, I must admit that it has partly worked quite good as a lot of the redness and itch has gone out of my crotch problem area.
I have tried to find non-cotton made underpants at the main NZ man’s clothes suppliers but had no luck yet, I was told by one of those clothes shops to go to a Chemist and talk to them about some pants they sell to people who wet themselves, they said that as those type of pants would adsorb up any wetness around the crotch area, I’m going to try that out too.

213 JC March 31, 2014 at 7:36 am

It’s weird – I don’t sweat from my pits that much but south of the border is a different story. Green Gold Bond is the winner. Feels like I have air conditioning in my pants. If you love menthol powders Gold Bond Blue, the foot powder, is essentially the same as the others but with more cooling menthol…pretty intense.

Right Guard does (or used to) make a body deodorant spray, very cool and tingly but somewhat “chalky” for the body…great for swamp crotch though.

214 LC April 8, 2014 at 11:35 am

I sweat a lot down there, but usually don’t have the chafing problem, but it can get kinda funky smelling by the end of the day. One great thing I have found for odor is the mineral salt crystal deodorants that are available at the local drugstore. They prevent bacteria from growing and creating odors. You just wet it under the tap and apply to the skin. I rub that in the crease where my leg and groin meet, and stay odor free all day.

215 Mike Allred April 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

I’m humbled and overjoyed about this blog post. Here I thought I was the only one. Bravo sir, bravo! Me and my batwing thank you for your research.

216 Mitch April 21, 2014 at 6:55 am

I’m a land surveyor in Ohio, COLD winters, and HOT humid summers. Before that I was Army infantry in Georgia ,eh winters, and “are you f#%*|+g kidding me” HOT summers.
For me it’s Pinaud-Clubman, Goldbond is too intense for me.

217 David April 22, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I don’t understand… I’ve lived in Texas my whole life (50 years) and I have never had a problem with my balls sweating. I DO bathe everyday though; maybe that’s the difference.

218 Richard April 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I bathe everyday as well, but in hot weather, its natural to sweat, and everyone sweats in different places. My primary sweat parts are my feet and my butt crack. It’s gross. I’ll give one of these a shot.

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