Causes and Cures for Stinky Feet
7 Methods for Getting Rid of Foul Foot Odor
Almost nothing is more repugnant and revolting than a foul odor and stinky feet rank right up there with the worst of them!
There once lived a man up the street,
who had terribly stinky feet!
His wife was repelled
by the odor she smelled,
so she finally had to retreat!
Our reaction to smelly feet may not be as extreme as the woman in that poem, but let’s face it: stinky feet are quite a turn-off! The good news is that you don’t have to live with smelly feet. This is a condition that’s usually pretty easy to remedy.
Stinky feet, or bromhidrosis (Greek, bromos = stench, hidros = sweat), is a common condition that can usually be solved very simply.
The primary cause of stinky feet is sweat or getting your feet wet in some other way. The dampness and warmth promote the growth of bacteria, which give your feet that pungent, cheesy smell. Teenagers and pregnant women, both of whom experience hormonal changes are among those most prone to smelly feet. But there are other common causes as well.
Anytime your feet sweat or get wet, you run the risk of stinky feet. Consider these possible causes and situations:
- Running or jogging
- Walking or hiking
- Playing basketball, soccer, or some other active sport
- Wearing shoes that don’t breathe
- Wearing socks that make your feet sweat (socks made from manmade materials)
- Wearing the same shoes everyday
- Putting on shoes that are damp
- Athlete’s foot
- Improper personal hygiene
- Stress or nervousness
- Hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes one to sweat more than normal
But curing smelly feet is usually a simple matter. Let’s look at 7 methods for getting rid of foul foot odor.
7 Easy Ways to Ban Stinky Feet
1. Wear shoes that breathe.
Shoes from manmade materials are most likely to cause your feet to sweat and start smelling. Instead, choose shoes that are made of leather, or other natural fibers, or that are designed to breathe. Merely changing the shoes you wear may solve the problem.
2. Select socks made from natural fibers.
Again, socks that are nylon, polyester, rayon, or some other manmade material are most prone to make your feet sweat. Sometimes even purchasing an inferior brand of sock can promote stinky feet. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so determine what materials and brands work best for you.
3. Change your shoes and socks daily.
If you’ve already begun to sweat in your shoes and socks one day, and you put them on again the next day, bacteria have already begun to form and will multiply in the warm, moist environment. Change your socks each day and after a workout, or after getting them wet and throw them in the wash. Let your shoes dry out thoroughly before putting them on again. If the problem persists in your shoes anyway, try a shoe deodorizer.
Don’t give bacteria the opportunity to grow and multiply on your feet. Wash them well with soap and water especially after they’ve gotten wet or sweaty. Also, if you live in a warm climate or are accustomed to walking around in flip flops or sandals, even though your feet may not sweat, they are constantly being subjected to many other bacteria and contaminates than if you wore closed shoes. So do your feet (and others) a favor by keeping them clean.
5. Powder your feet.
If your feet are particularly prone to sweat, try sprinkling talcum or baby powder on them before putting your socks on. The powder can help keep your feet dry and eliminate bacteria.
6. Try home remedies.
Foot baths with saltwater, Epsom salts, vinegar, baking soda, or an essential oil such as lavender can help kill bacteria and replace foul odors with freshness. (See recipes below.) But after you wash, or treat your feet to a remedy, make sure to put on clean socks and shoes.
7. Use a natural deodorant on your feet.
No need to buy a special deodorant, simply apply a good, natural underarm deodorant to your feet. The object here is to kill the bacteria and not merely mask the odor. Try the natural foot and shoe deodorizer from Elite Sportz Equipment.
If the above remedies fail to do the trick, seek medical help from your doctor.
7 Recipes for Soaking Stinky Feet
There are two primary reasons for using a foot bath: killing bacteria and drying out your feet. The substances added to water in these recipes should help meet both these requirements. Soak your feet for 10-20 minutes with any of these baths. For best results, perform a bath or soak just before bed or at a time when you can avoid putting on shoes and socks for a while to allow your feet to thoroughly dry.
- Vinegar bath: Use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water.
- Salt wash: Mix ½ cup kosher salt into 4 cups warm water.
- Tea soak: Using 4 or 5 tea bags to a quart of hot water, allow tea to steep for at least 5 minutes. Then let solution cool somewhat before soaking feet.
- Baking soda and lemon soak: Combine ¼ cup baking soda, the juice of one lemon and 8 cups of warm water.
- Lavender oil bath: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to 4 cups warm water.
- Alum wash: Alum inhibits the growth of bacteria. Mix 1 tsp. alum powder in 1 cup of warm water and wash your feet with the solution.
- Epsom salts: Epsom salts can also kill bacteria and neutralize odor. Mix 2 tsp. Epsom salts in 8 cups of warm water.
Don’t let smelly feet stand in the way of your relationships! There are a number of easy steps you can take to avoid stinky feet and keep the stench at bay.
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Rob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.