As soon as we are exposed to someone who has stinky feet, we may assume that poor hygiene is the cause. This may not be the case since people who practice good hygiene may be stricken with foot odor. The medical term for the condition is bromhidrosis and it is caused by bacteria that feed on warm, moist feet. The moisture comes from thousands of sweat glands that are located on the feet. When perspiration from these glands comes to the surface of the skin, bacteria on the feet feed on it and release waste products that produce the unpleasant smell that is associated with stinky feet. Although this type of body odor is one of the most embarrassing, some simple home remedies for foot odor are available to clear up the problem.
Natural Home Remedies for Foot Odor
Many people find success with remedies that are based on natural ingredients. Here are some of the most popular:
- Drink Plenty of Water - Ensuring that your body is sufficiently hydrated each day helps the body eliminate toxins and bacteria that can contribute to foot odor.
- Tea - Simply brew two or more bags of tea in a quart of warm water and then soak your feet for at least ten minutes. Repeat each night for a week and then follow up with weekly soaks. The tannic acid in tea prevents the feet from sweating, thereby eliminating foot odor.
- Vodka - Here's another unexpected ingredient that has been confirmed to work by a television authority. Soaking the feet in vodka is tested and confirmed to be an effective treatment for foot odor.
- Apple Cider - Soaking in a footbath of natural apple cider several times per week is another treatment that many people have found to be effective. Be sure to thoroughly dry your feet after soaking.
- Jell-O - You may think of Jell-O as a salad or desert, but lemon and lime Jell-O can be used to combat food odor. Add Jell-O mix to hot water and then add enough cold water to create a comfortable footbath. Keep your feet in the bath until the Jell-O begins to solidify, then wash, rinse and dry your feet.
- Bleach - Add one quarter cup of household bleach to a warm footbath and soak your feet for 30 minutes, then rinse and thoroughly dry the feet.
- Vinegar - Add one half cup white vinegar to a warm footbath and soak for your feet for 30 minutes, followed by a thorough rinse and drying.
- Rubbing Alcohol - Apply to clean feet with a cotton ball and then dry thoroughly.
- Listerine - We know it as a mouth wash, but saturating a cotton ball with Listerine and applying to the entire foot (including between the toes) and then drying thoroughly is effective for some people's foot odor problem.
- Sage - This common herb reduces excessive perspiration. Once a day, add one teaspoon of sage powder to boiling water. Reduce the temperature with cool water and soak the feet.
- Alum - After washing the feet with warm soapy water and drying, dust a layer of powdered alum on the feet.
- Zinc - This treatment is about what goes into your body instead of what goes on your feet. Make sure that you don't have a zinc deficiency since it could be contributing to your foot odor problem. Try taking 50 mgs of zinc per day for two weeks to find out if a lack of zinc is causing your foot odor.
- Resort to Iontophoresis - This procedure can be used to decrease sweating by disabling one or more sweat glands. Under medical supervision, the feet are placed in water and a gentle current of electricity is passed through the water. The therapy lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated over several sessions. Iontophoresis units can also be purchased for home use.
Other Home Remedies for Foot Odor
If you have a problem with foot odor, here are some of the remedies you can try. Many people find that a combination of these remedies is the most effective solution.
1. Keep Good Personal Hygiene
- Wash Your Feet Regularly - In addition to showering, try washing your feet in a footbath or bowl once or twice a day. Be sure to use antibacterial soap or antiseptic.
- Change Shoes and Socks - Old, well-worn shoes and socks are more likely to cause the feet to sweat and become smelly. If you're concerned about foot odor, toss your old shoes and socks and invest in new shoes made from non-synthetic materials like leather and cotton, and all-cotton or cotton blend socks.
2. Choose Proper Shoewear
- Wear Proper Shoes and Socks - Shoes made from a natural material such as leather or cotton cloth will reduce your foot odor more than synthetic shoes. Avoid polyester and nylon socks in favor of socks that are at least 70 percent cotton for better sweater absorption.
- Put Replaceable Insoles in Shoes - Replaceable insoles, especially the "odor eater" type that contain charcoal, can help draw bad odor out of your feet. Another alternative is an insole that contains cedar wood, which can be effective in fighting the bacteria that contributes to foot odor.
3. Use Some Products
- Use a Good Foot Antiperspirant - There are several types of antiperspirants for the feet on the market; some of the most effective are sprays that have aluminum chloride as an active ingredient. Many doctors recommend this type of foot spray to keep the feet fresh and dry.
- Apply Creams - Try applying zinc cream after you wash your feet with antibacterial soap. The cream will serve as a barrier and help feet recover from the saturation condition caused by perspiration. Glutaraldehyde, an active ingredient in tanning creams which can decrease feet sweating, closes sweat pores superficially for several days, thereby topical application is necessary.
- Powder Shoes and Socks - A very effective and inexpensive treatment for foot odor is putting a few pinches of sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, inside the socks and on the insole of each shoe every day. This powder creates a hostile environment the combats the growth of bacteria.