People with TMAU give off a foul odor, and no amount of personal hygiene can easily make the odor go away. This is because people with TMAU are constantly excreting trimethylamine. Many with TMAU find that common soaps and shampoos do little to remove their odor because trimethylamine has a PH of 9.8, making it a strong base. Soaps that have a lower PH can help break down the trimethylamine that accumulates on their skin.
Since dirt and oil tends to respond better to a higher PH soap, many with TMAU find that using both a high PH soap and then a lower PH body wash are effective at keeping them clean. Research has also been conducted regarding using lower PH lotion after bathing to help neutralize TMAU as it is released through the person’s pores.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find the PH level of many brands of soap and body wash. In general, soap advertised as being “PH balanced”, “gentle”, or even “feminine” tends to have a lower PH level. It is quite possible to purchase PH strips online (I recommend no brand, nor do I receive a commission from this link) and test the PH level of any soap you purchase. It is also possible to simply do a Google search to find the PH of a specific brand of soap, but be aware that formulas and ingredients can change over time.
Another issue people with TMAU face is that many cannot actually smell themselves. Research and anecdotes have shown that the smell associated with TMAU modulates over time. This leads to individuals in a constant state of worry if they currently smell foul or not. Some people with TMAU may come to believe that they smell much worse than they really do, and that others are simply being nice by saying that they cannot smell anything.
This leads to people with TMAU becoming isolated and withdrawn from others. They worry that no amount of personal hygiene can improve their symptoms, and prefer to simply stay away from society.