Cures for Bad-Smelling Feet

Bad-smelling feet can happen anywhere.
Bad-smelling feet can happen anywhere. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Imagine sitting at home and slipping off your shoes to get more comfortable; just as you are beginning to relax, a foul smell wafts up to meet you and a moment later you realize it is coming from your feet. Bad-smelling feet can be embarrassing but there are ways to avoid this embarrassment and cure your foot odor. Foot odor is caused by bacteria and bacteria thrives on moisture. If you can reduce the moisture surrounding your feet, odoriferous bacteria will have nothing to feed on.

Choose Your Shoes and Socks Wisely

Stop foot sweat by choosing your footwear wisely. Open-toe shoes, such as sandals, or light canvas shoes will allow your feet to breathe and keep them drier, removing the environment bacteria need to breed, thus stopping the source of foot odor. In addition, avoid wearing socks made from synthetic fibers which do not absorb moisture well, such as spandex and nylon. Instead, choose cotton socks which will absorb moisture, and change them daily.

Switch Your Shoes

If you are trying to avoid embarrassing foot odor, do not become attached to a single pair of shoes. Experts recommend against wearing the same shoes for more than one day in a row. Giving your favorite pair of shoes a chance to dry out will fend off moisture and thus odor. Although this recommendation pertains to all types of shoes, it particularly applies to athletic shoes because you are more likely to sweat excessively in them.

Keep Your Feet Clean

Wash your feet on a daily basis with antibacterial soap and be sure to dry your feet completely. Additionally, soaking your feet can curb foot odor. Green tea may be especially effective. Steep five bags of tea in a basin for 10 to 15 minutes; allow the water to cool slightly, then soak your feet in the tea for up to 20 minutes. Do not rinse off the tea, and dry your feet thoroughly. Soaking your feet in 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar added to basin of water for up to 20 minutes can also help. Again, do not rinse your feet before drying them thoroughly.

Other Options

Drinking lots of water and avoiding strong-flavored foods that tend to make individuals sweat more, such as peppers, onions and garlic, can help reduce and eliminate foot odor. Additionally, using powder to keep your feet dry can help prevent smelly feet; sprinkle cornstarch, baking soda or an over-the-counter foot powder inside your shoes and/or rub your feet with it. In addition, rubbing your feet with antiperspirant can kill the smell and sweat simultaneously. Increasing your zinc intake may also help because it lessens perspiration and body odor.

Calm Down

Reduced stress levels tend to coincide with reduced sweat levels and thus can lessen foot odor. Experiment with natural methods of stress reduction, including yoga or breathing techniques, regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep. Identify stressors in your life and work toward lessening or eliminating them. If all else fails, visit your physician for more sweat- and odor-busting ideas; your doctor may feel that your foot odor warrants a prescription.

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