With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Friday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in August 2013.
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 also suffering silently from this summertime malady.
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 subpar results.
So 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.
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 [update: no longer available]
- Anti-Monkey Butt Powder
- Balla Powder
- Baby Powder
- Pinaud-Clubman Body Powder
- Dry+Goods Spray
- 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.
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 powders have is 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.
- 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
- Powder can be messy, especially if your toddler gets his hands on it
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.
- Less mess than the powder
- More directed coverage
- Same classic Gold Bond menthol cooling/burning sensation
- Lasts all day
- 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 compared to $7 for a 10-ounce bottle of the powder)
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.
- Readily available
- Scent-free (some people like that)
- Can also be used to make gravy
- No scent
- No nice, tingly “I feel fresh” sensation
- Doesn’t last long
- Tends to clump if you get really sweaty
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.
- 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
- Cost ($12.99 for a 3-ounce tube)
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.
- Great wetness protection
- Affordable ($8 for a 6-ounce shaker)
- The calamine could be stronger and the scent is nothing to write home about
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 [update: now it’s $20 for 3.5 ounces!]. 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 a fraction of the price.
My recommendation: you’re better off using something else.
- Lasted all day like any other talcum powder
- No invigorating tingling sensation
- Smell is . . . okay
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, unless your groin exerts an unusually strong gravitational pull.) 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.
- Smells fresh
- Lasts long (if you’re using talcum-based powder)
- Doesn’t last very long (cornstarch-based)
- No invigorating tingle
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 barbershop. Bully!
- Makes your crotch smell like a barbershop
- Slight invigorating tingle
- As with all powders, it can get messy
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.
- Direct application
- No mess
- Long lasting
- Feels very cold when applied (could be a good thing)
- Cost ($16 for a 5.4-ounce can [update: it’s now even pricier at $20])
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: