Stinky feet can be embarrassing, and for some, they are the trigger of considerable social anxiety. The official term for stinky feet is bromodosis, and the condition is most commonly caused by a combination of sweat and bacteria.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to prevent this pesky problem. Here are 19 ways to keep foot odors at bay.
Wash and exfoliate your feet
It sounds obvious, but many people
just let soapy water run down over their feet in the shower, and do not
take the time to thoroughly scrub them. However, if you want truly clean
feet, you’ve got to put in the effort!
Be sure to wash every part of your
feet, including in between your toes, with soap and water. Exfoliating
with a washcloth, loofah, or pumice stone can help a lot too, as this
helps to slough off dead skin and open up pores, allowing your skin to
Give your feet time to dry
Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to
get out the door that we don’t give our feet enough time to dry before
we throw on our socks and shoes. Not a good idea! Moisture can lead to
the growth of fungus and bacteria, resulting in those nasty smells. So,
let ’em dry!
Blow-dry your feet
If you’re really pressed for time,
one quick way to get your feet dry in no time is to use a blow-dryer.
You may feel a little silly, but it’s better than putting socks on wet
Cut your toenails
The spaces under your toenails are
perfect areas for bacteria to thrive. Keeping your toenails trimmed and
clean may go far in preventing bacterial growth.
Go barefoot whenever possible
Your feet need air! If they’re
trapped inside shoes all day long, they’re much more likely to get
sweaty, and that sweat can cause a stink. Whenever the situation, and
the weather, permit, go barefoot! When you can’t go barefoot, at least
go for sandals or open-toed shoes whenever you can.
Choose shoes that breathe
There are, of course, times when you
can’t go barefoot or wear open-toed shoes. For running shoes, tennis
shoes, and the like, try to get ones made of breathable fabric. These
will help keep your feet cooler and dryer.
Wash and air out your shoes
It’s important to wash your shoes on a
regular basis, lest they get funky. Many types of shoes are machine
washable. For those that aren’t, you can always hand-wash them.
Let your shoes dry in a ventilated, preferably sunny, area so that they do not become musty.
Change your insoles
In between washings, make sure that
you have a clean pair of insoles inside your shoes. This is especially
important for shoes that get really sweaty, like workout shoes.
Switch between shoes
One pair of shoes isn’t enough. Be
sure to have a second (and even third) pair on hand to wear while the
others are getting washed and dried.
Switch to 100 percent cotton socks
A lot of synthetic fabrics aren’t
breathable, and may trap moisture inside. When sock-shopping, go for 100
percent cotton. Thick, moisture absorbing cotton socks help prevent
Turn your socks inside out when you wash them
To get the maximum amount of dirt,
sweat, and bacteria out of your socks, turn them inside out before
throwing them in the wash — a simple trick that may yield significant
Cut down on sugar and processed foods
Sugar, as well as the array of
additives found in processed foods, can cause your body to exude weird
smells. That includes your feet! Sugar and other yeasty foods encourage
the growth of fungus in the body.
Embrace baking soda
Simple, natural baking soda makes a
great foot powder. Simply rub a bit on clean, dry feet before slipping
into your socks. You can also sprinkle a bit into your shoes to keep
Cornstarch works, too
Cornstarch is great for sprinkling
into shoes, as well, because it absorbs moisture. This can minimize the
amount of foot sweat that can cause a stink.
Soak your feet in black tea
It may sound strange, but black tea
makes a great foot soak. The tannins found in this tea help to kill
bacteria, and may also mitigate excessive sweating.
Apple cider vinegar to the rescue!
Apple cider vinegar
contains a wealth of antibacterial and antifungal properties. Simply
combine half a cup of apple cider vinegar with eight cups of warm water,
and soak your feet.
Epsom salts can help
Adding three-quarters of a cup of
Epsom salts to about 10 cups of warm water and soaking your feet can
also go far in destroying odor-causing bacteria.
Try essential oils
To keep your feet smelling great all
day, combine a few drops of essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender,
or cedarwood, with a dollop of a base oil, such as organic coconut oil,
and rub onto clean, dry feet before you put on your socks. Along with
being fragrant, these oils can help fight bacteria.
If all else fails, see a doctor
If you’ve tried everything, and are
still experiencing strong foot odor, it may be time to see a doctor, to
make sure you don’t have a fungal or bacterial foot infection, such as
Take good care of your feet — they get you where you need to go!