Over 10 Ways to Prevent Smelly Feet

Updated on May 9, 2020
Sherry H profile image

Sherry Haynes is currently pursuing a PharmD degree and has experience in both the clinical and management sides of pharmacy.

Ban foot odour for life!
Ban foot odour for life! | Source

Everyone has that friend that can stink a room up wherever they go. Whether you have that friend or you are that friend, there are plenty of tried, tested, and recommended solutions to decrease the smell of stinky feet. Don't fret. It is a very common condition and the solution is probably in your cupboard at home.

The solutions I mention in this article are tried and true, but be sure to read the labels on any powders and be sure they're safe for topical use. These are solutions I've both tried myself and found online.

What Causes Smelly Feet?

Smelly feet are not always a sign of poor hygiene. Feet sweat just like any other part of the body, and in fact, they have more sweat glands than other body parts. Sweat and dead skin cells feed bacteria that can cause noxious foot odour. These bacteria break down an amino acid in sweat called leucine into isovaleric acid.

Are Your Shoes Causing Your Feet to Smell?

Sometimes foot odour is not the fault of the feet. Certain shoes are more prone to making feet stink than others, depending on the shoe material.

  • Shoes made of nylon and synthetic leather are some of the worst offenders.
  • Tennis shoes can also be smelly when made of plastic.
  • Some people also blame the dye used in dark-colored socks.

There is another widely-accepted theory that some soaps leave the foot with a high pH, which allows the bacteria to thrive. Stress and hormone changes could also be the cause of sweaty feet. This is evidenced in teenagers and pregnant women.

Keep your feet stink free.
Keep your feet stink free. | Source

Stinky Feet Solutions

1. Baking Soda

  • Take a container big enough for your feet and fill it with water at about 102° F.
  • Put two tablespoons of plain baking soda in the water. Mix to dissolve in solution.
  • Soak the feet for about 30 minutes. Repeat this for 30 days.

2. Teabag Soak

  • Steep 5 tea bags in a quart of hot water for 10 minutes.
  • Soak your feet for 30 minutes.
  • Tannins in the tea discourage excess sweating which often contributes to odour.

3. Zinc and Chlorophyll

Taking chlorophyll drink or chelated zinc supplements can eliminate foot odour.

Note: Zinc can cause nausea, and long term use of doses over 25 mg per day could interfere with the balance of other essential minerals. Additionally, if you are using zinc supplements you should not take them with milk. Milk may interfere with the absorption of zinc.

4. Lemon Juice

  • Cut a lemon in half and rub it on the feet.
  • Wait for a few minutes before showering.

Note: If there are cracks or sores on your feet, do not rub lemon on your feet.

5. Rub Alcohol on Feet and Shoes

  • Acquire 91% isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol from a nearby store.
  • Dilute to about 60%.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply daily or every other day to the bottom of the feet.

It may take several weeks for the odour to be completely gone.

6. Milk of Magnesia

Apply four to five drops of milk of magnesia to a cotton ball and rub on the bottom of your feet to keep your feet free from odour all day.

This sounds like a funny trick, but milk of magnesia is known to reduce inflammation and has high alkalinity, which prevents fungus and odour-causing microbes from growing.

Sweaty feet and poor odour can be signs of serious health conditions. If you are experiencing other symptoms, talk to your doctor about possible health conditions related to smelly feet.

7. Organic Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

  • Use organic arrowroot powder or cornstarch on your feet after bathing (about two tablespoons).
  • Place your feet in socks.

This will help keep the feet dry.

8. Listerine

Make a small spray bottle and fill it with Listerine. Spray your feet after every shower. For some, this has worked in less than a week. You can also wipe out the inside of your shoes with Listerine.

For fungal infections, soaking feet in half vinegar, half Listerine solution might also help.

9. Sage Tea

  • Pour about 20 oz boiling water over 4 to 5 leaves of sage.
  • Let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Allow tea to cool.
  • Store the tea in a spray bottle.
  • Spray it over your feet and let them dry.

10. Borax (Sodium borate)

Borax is a cheap and effective remedy for stinky feet. Borax is used as a laundry additive and deodorizer. Sprinkle some borax powder in your shoes. Do this every time you wear your shoes, but be sure to dump it out when you put them back on, and wear socks; Borax is a disinfectant and odour absorber, so leaving it in while you walk around is counterproductive.

Be careful to not inhale the powder while removing it as this can cause lung and skin irritation. Try this solution for four to six weeks.

11. White Vinegar

Dilute white vinegar a cup per gallon of water. Wet a paper towel and squeeze excess water. Soak this paper towel with the white vinegar mixture and wipe your feet down twice a day.

12. Epsom Salt Solution

Soak feet in warm Epsom salt solution for several nights in a row. This will change the pH of your feet and discourage bacterial growth.

13. Antiperspirant

Go back to basics. Use antiperspirant on your feet to reduce the sweat that feeds the bacteria causing the odour. Aluminum chloride antiperspirants such as Xerac AC and Drysol are best for bedtime use. Clean your feet in the bath or shower, then apply the antiperspirant. Don't forget to wear socks to bed.

14. Foot Creams and Foot Powders

Some of the best products are:

  • Palmolive Bath Bar Gold Soap
  • Lavilin Foot Deodorant Cream
  • Acid Mantle Cream

Sometimes, it's best to just use a traditional foot treatment.

Hang dry those socks!
Hang dry those socks! | Source

How to Prevent Smelly Feet

  1. First of all, throw out any nasty smelling shoes in your closet that you don't need. Once shoes have fungus and bacteria it is hard to decontaminate them. If you don't want to throw your shoes away, you can soak a paper towel in rubbing alcohol and place it in the shoes overnight.
  2. Some might think that wearing socks can make feet smell worse. This is far from the truth. When you don't wear socks with shoes the sweat builds up in the shoes. If you're tempted to wear shoes without socks, wear thin summer cloth socks made of wicking fabrics that allow moisture to be released. Absorbent cotton socks can work well also. Buy two new pairs if you don't have two already and rotate them so you are always wearing a dry pair.
  3. Don't wear the same pair of shoes for more than one day in a row.
  4. Wear dry socks and shoes only.
  5. When possible, leave the door of your closet ajar so it is not too airtight and the shoes have an opportunity to air out.
  6. Cut most of the sugar and processed grains out of your meals; these foods can promote foot and body odour.
  7. Use a pumice stone to remove calluses or dead skin; some of the bacteria will slough off with it.
  8. Get a pedicure at least once a month.
  9. Including parsley in your diet and parsley tea can help deal with body odours in general because of its alkalizing effects.
  10. Foods from the cabbage family, brussel sprouts, sprouts, onions, and garlic can result in strong foot odours.
  11. Use a cloth piece and move it back and forth between all of your toes. Remove toe jam and dry the area between the toes.
  12. Using a nail brush and foot brush scrub feet often during showers.
  13. Wash shoes frequently. Bacteria from the feet go to the walls of the shoes and live there. If they are not removed they get active the next time the shoes are put on.
  14. Leave shoes and socks in the sun to air dry after every wash and every wear.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Sherry Haynes

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      16 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      Listerine might work really well, partially because of the small amount of alcohol in it.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      16 months ago from UK

      You have come up with a long list of useful tips in this article.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)