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20 Tips for How to Get Rid of Foot Odor

Updated on October 30, 2012

Everyone is familiar with the smell of stinky feet and I’d venture to say that most of us don’t like it. People who regularly suffer from bad foot odor may be embarrassed about the smell, self-conscious taking their shoes off around others and concerned about why they are having this problem. Luckily there are lots of things that you can do to try to eliminate the smelly odor from your feet and shoes so that you can once again be comfortable baring your toes to the world.

Here’s a look at twenty different ways to reduce foot odor:

1. Air out your feet to keep them dry. The single most common reason that feet smell is that they get wet (usually with sweat). Air out your feet regularly by removing your shoes and socks when you don’t need them

2. Wear moisture-smart socks. There are socks out there that are designed specifically to help keep your feet dry. If you wear socks and shoes all throughout the day and can’t be airing your feet out regularly then it may be smart to invest in these moisture-control socks.

3. Wash with salt. Salt water can dry out your skin so if you wash your feet in it then you can reduce the moisture of your feet and that will reduce their tendency to get stinky fast. When you are done with your shower, soak your feet in a solution of warm salt water. Don’t rinse it off; merely wipe it off with a towel and let your feet dry fully before putting socks on.

4. Wash with vinegar. You can also soak your feet in vinegar once or twice a week to reduce the problem. Of course, vinegar stinks too so you’ll want to do this one at the end of the day when you’re not going anywhere. Wash your feet, dry them thoroughly, stick them in a pair of socks and go to bed.

5. Wash with green tea or black tea. If you can’t stand the idea of washing your feet in vinegar but you do want to try a foot soak then a good alternative is to soak your feet in tea. Black tea is best although green tea works as well.

6. Use a foot scrub. In addition to soaking your feet, you can scrub them to reduce the problem of foot odor. This is best done with natural home remedy products that have a strong smell. Ginger, radish and lemon are all good products for creating a foot scrub that will truly cleanse your feet. Do this once or twice a week.

7. Dry out your shoes as well. If you dry out your feet but then stick them inside of sweaty shoes then you’re just going to get smelly feet again right away. Air out your shoes (preferably outside so you don’t stink up the house) before wearing them again.

8. Try to find shoes that breathe. You’ll reduce a lot of the foot odor problem if you’re wearing shoes that breathe well instead of shoes that hold all of that moisture in.

9. Change out your shoes regularly. Don’t wear the same pair every day because this worsens the problem. Rotate the shoes that you wear regularly so that you can dry them out naturally between each wearing.

10. Wear socks with your shoes. Wearing running shoes and heels without socks causes them to retain their sweat which increases the stink of the shoe and affects your feet. Women who wear nylons may want to wear socks underneath with some shoes to further reduce the problem. The exception here is with open-toed shoes and sandals that may be better off socks-free for maximum aeration of the foot.

11. Apply a foot deodorizer product to your feet. The problem is often taken care of when you purchase an over-the-counter foot deodorizer to apply regularly to your feet.

12. In a pinch, use deodorant. Yes, take the deodorant / anti-perspirant that you wear under your arms and apply it to your feet. The odor should diminish. This is a great quick-fix solution for times when you’re embarrassed about the smell of your feet and want to take care of the issue immediately.

13. Use a deodorizer inside of your shoes. In addition to products that are for your feet, there are deodorizers meant to go into your shoe (powders are the most common type of this product). Corn starch and baking soda are home remedy products that can be used instead. Use these products as needed.

14. Use a benzoyl peroxide gel on your feet daily. This can reduce the bacteria that is causing the problem.

15. Determine what causes you to sweat and take care of the problem. If you sweat because of stress, do relaxation techniques. If you sweat because of heat, get a personal fan. If you sweat when working out, take a clean pair of socks and shoes to the gym with you.

16. Consider your diet and the rest of your body odor. If you notice that it’s not just your feet that smell but the rest of you as well then the problem may be a dietary one. Ask yourself what you’re eating and whether it could be exacerbating the smell of your stinky feet.

17. Get enough zinc. This is one common dietary problem among people with foot odor – they aren’t getting enough zinc in their diets. Check to make sure that you are and start adding to your zinc intake if you’re not. The smell could go away.

18. Wash your feet at least once per day with anti-bacterial soap. The main thing that you need to do is to keep your feet clean. Some people need to wash their feet two or three times a day to keep the problem under control. Take just a few minutes to do this washing and the problem should clear up.

19. Make sure there isn’t a more serious problem. If you’ve done all of these things and you still have a problem with foot odor then you may have some type of foot disease. See a podiatrist to get it checked out.

20. Serious doctor-prescribed solutions. You may find that you don’t have any other foot problem but that your particular situation is bad enough to warrant medical solutions. Solutions to foot order that can be prescribed by a doctor include prescription-strength antibiotics, aluminum chloride with ethyl alcohol, Botox and even surgery. This should, of course, be a last resort.


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