Do you feel embarrassed to remove your footwear in front of others because your feet smell? Lack of proper ventilation causes the feet to sweat a lot. Did you know that your feet have more than 250,000 sweat glands? That is a pint of sweat per day! But what causes the bad smell? Presence of sweat results in the generation of bacteria that cause the smell. They do this by producing isovaleric acid, the odour culprit. But worry not, as it’s easy to get rid of feet odor.
- How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet?
- Some Must Try Home Remedies
- Preventing Foot Odour
- When to consult a Doctor
How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet?
This is a problem that can be solved if you follow a few steps regularly. Here are a few pointers on how to get rid of smelly feet.
1. Wash Feet Twice a Day
This is the simplest trick of the lot. Cleaning your feet regularly (twice a day) removes sweat and the bacteria that comes with it.
2. Use Cotton Socks
Cotton is known for having high absorbing power, which is why people wear cotton in hot countries or during summer. It lets your feet breathe and at the same time absorbs the sweat generated. But make sure you don’t wear it on for a very long time, as the bacteria can grow on the moisture held within the cotton.
3. Freshen Shoes Using Clove
Wearing the shoes without freshening them will cause foot odour even if your feet are clean. This is because of the dampness from the previous time you wore them. So, adding just a few drops of clove or eucalyptus oil will definitely make a huge difference. Make sure the oil does not come in direct contact with soles of your feet as they are highly concentrated and can result in irritated skin. Dilute the oil before using.
4. Regularly Clean Shoes
Adding on to the previous point, freshening up your shoes just once in a blue moon won’t be sufficient. Regularity is the key here. You must clean your shoes and footwear regularly using soap or detergents. You can also use agents like salt, essential oils and baking soda to clean your shoes on a regular basis to see more effective results.
5. Regularly Exfoliate Feet
Sometimes feet can smell even after your washing them. This is due to the build-up of dead skin cells on feet which is known to be food for the smell causing bacteria. Hence, exfoliating regularly can prevent the growth of the bacteria to a large extent. To exfoliate, clean your feet with a wet pumice stone every day. This will not only prevent bacterial growth but also give you fresh, soft and supple heels.
6. Rotate Shoes
It is important to keep the shoes dry as wearing shoes that haven’t dried out the sweat properly will result in bacterial growth. Hence it is very important that you rotate between shoes and footwear as it will give time to shoes to properly dry out before you use them again.
7. Soak Feet
You can use a salt water soak, apple cider vinegar soak or a lavender oil soak to combat sweat and bacteria. Anti-bacterial properties of agents like lemon, salt and vinegar are unmatched when it comes to combating sweat and odour.
8. Change Socks Regularly
A lot of people don’t see the need to change socks on a daily basis. They wear the same socks with shoes for days together. This is a very unhealthy practice which results in bacterial growth and foul odour.
Some Must Try Home Remedies
Going for natural and homemade remedies not only is healthier and safer but also helps you understand what your feet need. People with diabetes or a heart disease, as well as elderly people in general, have a higher tendency to develop stinky feet. Fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot also causes the same. Here are a few tips and remedies for fresh, happy and odourless feet!
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is the most commonly used agent to fight foot odour. It kills the bacteria and absorbs all the excess perspiration.
- Add half a cup of ACV to lukewarm water and soak your feet for about 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse your feet with soap and water to remove the vinegar.
- Dry your feet thoroughly.
- Repeat this thrice a week until your have odourless feet!
2. Lavender Oil
Not only does it smell amazing, but it also has anti-bacterial properties to keep your feet fresh all day!
- Add a few drops of lavender oil into a basin of warm water.
- Soak your feet in the solution for about 20 minutes and then dry them well.
- Repeat this daily for two weeks to see miraculous results.
3. Corn Starch
Cornstarch powder is well known for its moisture absorbing powers. Sprinkle a bit on your shoes to reverse the dampness after a long jog, a hectic day at work or after exerting yourself (Outdoor games/sports). Follow this every time you have a long day out in the sun.
4. Baking Soda
Baking Soda is an alkaline substance which helps balance the pH of sweat, making it a hostile environment for bacteria to thrive. To get rid of the odour
- Add a quarter cup of baking soda in one gallon of lukewarm water.
- Soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes and then dry them well.
- Repeat as often as required.
5. Talcum Powder
Just like Corn Starch, Talcum powder can be sprinkled into your damp shoes after a long day. Not only does it help absorb the excess moisture content, but it also is high on antibacterial properties. Alternatively, make a solution by mixing a bit of the powder in water and spray it on instead!
6. Black Tea
Black tea is very rich in tannin, which can kill bacteria that is built up in your footwear.
- Put a tea bag in boiling water for up to 3 minutes.
- Remove the tea bag and allow it to cool down.
- Now place the tea bag in your shoe for an hour’s time.
- Remove it and clean it up for fresh and clean shoes!
7. Epsom Salt
Epsom Salt neutralises the odour and also helps provide relief from foot aches in the process.
- Add Half a cup of Epsom Salt into 8 cups of warm water.
- Soak your feet for about 30 minutes and then dry them well.
- Repeat as often as required- even up to two times a day.
8. Warm Water Soak with Lemon
Lemon is your go-to natural astringent that helps shrink your pores and help deal with excessive perspiration. It is also loaded with anti-bacterial properties that are very effective and immediate. It leaves your feet fresh, clean and soft!
You will need
- Half to one cup of lemon juice.
- A tub of hot water.
- Pour the lemon juice into the tub of hot water
- Soak your feet in the solution for about 15-20 minutes.
- Wash with water, once you are done and then dry your legs thoroughly.
- You can repeat this technique up to twice a day to see immediate results.
9. Use Antiperspirant on Feet
Antiperspirants reduce skin pores around the foot and thus reduce perspiration over time. There are a lot of chemicals that are used in the industry to make artificial antiperspirants. Instead of gambling over some chemicals that may have side effects, resorting to natural methods are safer and more advisable. A few natural antiperspirants with astringent properties include Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon and essential oils. Spray them on or use them in water soak for your feet to notice results.
Preventing Foot Odour
Prevention is better than mitigation. It is harder to undo the wrong than correct yourself before you make a mistake. Here are a few ways to take care of your feet and prevent your feet from smelling.
1. Bathe your Feet Every Day
Take good care of your feet while having a bath every day. Keeping your feet in good condition is as important as taking care of your face.
2. Keep your Feet Dry
Dampness or sweat is the hub of bacterial growth. Prevent that from happening, and you won’t encounter foot odour problems.
3. Wear the right shoes
Steer clear of shoes made of plastic and rubber. Instead, go for the ones made of canvas or leather- which provide sufficient airflow for your feet to breathe.
When to consult a Doctor
Normally, feet odour is caused by profuse sweating and dampness. Following the above techniques and remedies will improve the condition. But, if the situation is not controlled within a span of say a month or two, it is advisable to visit a Podiatrist (foot and ankle surgeon). Persistent and recurring fungal infections and athlete’s foot need to be checked with a medical professional immediately.