You just returned from an adventurous hike or a fun trip and removed your shoes. Oof, the stench could kill you in an instant. Majority of us have been frustrated by the odor that comes from our feet after a long day, right? Having a foot odor may not necessarily be a health issue but it is definitely a medical condition that seeks your attention. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to have a foot odor since the stench lingers. Of course, there are some contributing factors and habits that can result in having a stinky foot. Read below to get rid of smelly feet home remedies. There are several natural remedies for smelly feet available for your help.
What is Smelly Feet?
‘Bromodosis’ or ‘Stinky Feet’, as we generally refer to it as, is a very common condition. It is caused by bacteria that forms when we sweat a lot. We have about 250,000 sweat glands in our feet so the feet sweat more than other body parts. When we sweat our skin gets wet and wearing shoes and socks traps the air, sweat and bacteria inside. This is an ideal environment for it to thrive and hence, the odor grows stronger.
Sweating during the hot summer weather is pretty normal, but there are more causes to it as well. Having smelly feet does not necessarily mean you have other underlying illnesses or health conditions. Most of the time smelly feet do not imply any other complications. Some people deem it to be connected to diabetes too while it is not. Although smelly feet may not indicate diabetes, people with diabetes need to take special care to prevent stinky feet. It may require several hygienic habits and few treatments to prevent and treat foot odor.
Of course, there are certain treatments you can ask from your pharmacist such as antibacterial soaps, powders, creams, foot deodorant, antibacterial socks or even medicated insoles. However, there are home remedies for smelly feet too that you can use.
Causes of Smelly Feet
It is essential to know about the causes of the condition to be able to treat it. Foot odor or Bromodosis is majorly a result of built-up sweat and bacteria on the feet. Also fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can be one of the reasons for stinky feet.
The treatment depends on the cause of sweating and accordingly the medications are alloted. Sweat can be caused by various reasons which include:
- Standing all day
- Being overweight
- Hormonal changes, often during puberty, pregnancy or menopause
- Medications like antidepressants
- Hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excess sweating
Home Remedies for Smelly Feet/ Foot odor
Since the original cause for smelly feet is bacteria and not sweat, there is not much we can do to stop our feet from sweating. The bacteria grows in the skin because of this sweat trapped in. We can eliminate the bacteria by reducing the moisture that allows it to survive.
There are certain antibiotics that can help with this. Before you go to bed, rub a thin coating of antibacterial cream such as Neosporin on your feet and nails and put on a pair of socks. The following day you will find the odor has gone or reduced. This is one of the most effective home remedies for foot odor.
Essential oils are great natural remedies for smelly feet. Made from natural ingredients, essential oils contain various antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can eliminate the pungent odor. In a way, this can also nourish your skin and promote healing.
Rub a few drops of lavender essential oil on the top and bottom of your feet. Also rub it in between your toes since bacteria can possibly be there too. Massage it well and cover with socks before going to bed.
Diet can also help with treatment of foot odor. The mineral that is the most beneficial for Bromodosis is Zinc. Food items that contain zinc can be the home remedies for smelly feet you can try. Food such as seafood, beef, spinach, beans, oatmeal, cereals, mushrooms, almonds and cashew nuts are some of the rich sources of zinc. By adding these to your daily diet, you can help eliminate the issue of stinky feet.
Epsom Salt Soak
Exfoliating your feet may not be sufficient sometimes if the odor is too strong. Soaking your feet might be, potentially, much better home remedies for foot odor than exfoliating.
Epsom salt is one such ingredient that can help deal with stinky feet. Make a foot bath at home by adding 2 cups of Epsom salt to 1 to 2 gallons of warm water. Soak your feet in the mixture for about 20 minutes and dry them later. Some people even add extra ingredients such as Listerine.
Vinegar can be as effective as salt soak for Bromodosis. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both usable home remedies for smelly feet since apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties.
Take a tub and pour 2 portions of warm water and 1 part vinegar. Soak your feet in the mixture for almost 15 to 20 minutes. However, if you have any sores, allergies, scratches, injuries or cuts on your feet, it is best to refrain from using this remedy. This is because vinegar could irritate the open areas in the skin.
Who might have thought the starch in our pantry can also help with our odor issues as well? Although it may sound unusual, cornstarch is a very good absorbent and can soak in the sweat.
Sprinkle a handsome amount of cornstarch on your feet once or twice a day and cover it up with socks. You will realize how fresh your feet feel after some time. Other than starch, baking soda is also an option to sprinkle on your feet, shoes and insoles.
A peppermint scrub can be one of the best home remedies for foot odor because peppermint cools the skin and deodorizes it. You can prepare a peppermint and sugar scrub to exfoliate your feet.
This scrub not only adds freshness to your feet but also scrubs off all the dead skin cells. Mix 1 tablespoon of oatmeal,cornmeal, sugar, and 2 teaspoons dried peppermint in a bowl or container. Add 1 tablespoon natural yogurt, the juice from one lemon, and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to the above mixture. Scrub your feet with this grainy mixture and dry it.
Wearing wicking socks or materials that can absorb sweat are the best home remedies for smelly feet. If you sweat a lot, it is advisable to wear socks made of natural materials since they can absorb sweat more easily.
This method can help you keep your feet dry and sweat-free, thus, reducing the growth of bacteria. Hence, try to avoid socks made of nylon or any other synthetic material. Also be sure to switch your socks everyday to maintain hygiene.
You can either use a deodorant for your feet or make a homemade deodorant yourself. Try to see if you can use it on your feet too. Many deodorants can be used on feet as well to remove the stench from foot.
You can make a homemade deodorant by mixing 4 ounces of boiling water to 2 tablespoons of sage. Cover and steep it for around 15 minutes then strain and dry it cool. To this mixture, you can add 4 tablespoons of witch hazel and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and refrigerate for some time.
You can spray this DIY deodorant on your feet for the next 10 days. This deodorant is made of all the natural ingredients hence is safe to use. But if you are allergic to any of these ingredients, you can use any other deodorant or remedy for your foot odor.
Usually, antiperspirants are used for underarms since they are the most sweaty body parts. But antiperspirants can be used as home remedies for stinky feet too if you sweat excessively in the feet.
There are even antiperspirants made specifically for feet such as Drysol which is a roll-on deodorant for arms, feet and hands as well.
Stinky feet might need some constant efforts to go but can be treated eventually. It is necessary to change the habits that might be leading to the odor and get into habits that can help keep the feet fresh and healthy.
The methods above are not only easy to use but also safe to use. However, you need to try and see which natural remedies for smelly feet work the best for you.
There are few habits to form and some to avoid to get rid of stinky feet permanently:
Wash your feet regularly
Soak your feet in salt or vinegar once a week
Keep your feet dry
Do not wear tight shoes
Wear socks that can soak up the sweat
Wash and switch your shoes regularly
There are several essential oils that can be used to treat foot odor
Lavender Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Absolutely. You can put your shoes in the freezer or outside. Freezing your shoes might sound unusual but it is highly effective to remove stench from your shoes. This is because the bacteria cannot survive the extreme cold temperature and hence can curb the odor. You can also sprinkle powder into your shoes and let it sit overnight to remove the odor.
Trimming your toenails at regular intervals is highly recommended. Under the toenails is the best place for bacteria to grow. A pampering pedicure can not only feel ecstatic but also prevent your feet from stinking!