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How to Get Rid of Sweaty, Stinky Feet in Four Steps

Updated on October 30, 2019
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Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.


Are you embarrassed to take your shoes off at the gym's locker room? Do you feel uncomfortable removing them in fear of people asking, "Did something die in here?" These are the dilemmas of someone with stinky feet.

When your body sweats, your feet do, too. Plus, hot weather combined with closed-toe shoes is a recipe for unpleasant foot odor — or worse, cause a fungal infection called athlete's foot. Foot odor and infections occur when the bacteria on your skin and in your footwear start feeding

on your sweat. Gross! The result is a putrid acid byproduct that prompts people to ask, "what is that awful smell?!"

According to a 2015 study, between 3 to 15 percent of the population has athlete's foot. That's millions of feet with sweaty, itchy, smelly, and peeling skin. Without treatment, the infection can spread and infect the toenails, hands, and lymph system. Don't let this happen to you.

Here's what you can do to get rid of stinky feet and prevent athlete's foot.

First, Soak Your Feet in Bacteria-Killing Solutions

Joy Rowland, DPM specializes in non-invasive treatments for foot and ankle conditions. She recommends deep cleaning the feet by soaking them in a mixture of (A) water and Epsom salt, or (B) water and apple cider vinegar once a week.

To try option A, add half a cup of Epsom salt in a tub of warm water. Allow your feet to soak for a maximum of 20 minutes. Epsom salt plays a significant role in pulling moisture out of the skin and inhibiting bacteria from thriving.

For option B, combine one part apple cider vinegar to two parts water in a tub of warm water. Submerge your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Vinegar makes your skin uninhabitable to bacteria. However, do not use this method if your feet have open sores, or if the solution irritates your skin.

Next, Use Foot Antiperspirants

99.9 percent of the time, your feet are stinky because they have been sweating. Applying over-the-counter foot antiperspirants or sprinkling a bit of cornstarch inside your shoes can control excessive sweating, keep your feet dry, and resolve the problem.

If a stubborn case of smelly feet persists, do not hesitate to bring in reinforcements. See your doctor and ask for prescription medication intended to treat foot perspiration.

Third, Wear the Right Socks

If you wear closed toe-shoes from nine to five (maybe longer if you factor in driving or commuting), wearing clean, dry socks is a must. Breathable, moisture-wicking socks are ideal for sweaty feet. Bamboo, copper, wool, and other antibacterial materials are excellent options for managing sweaty feet that can lead to stinky soles. Also, do change your socks daily. Never wear the same pair over and over again without washing.

Last, Disinfect Your Shoes to Prevent Bacteria from Multiplying

Unless your feet were dirty prior to wearing your shoes, the insoles have no reason to appear yellow (eww!) and have a cloud of stench. Do not put your feet back into these shoes without disinfecting them!

Except for leather and suede shoes, you can give your kicks a bath using antibacterial laundry detergents. A general-purpose disinfectant spray — preferably one with sanitizing ingredients — can likewise remove the foul smell and kill stubborn bacteria in any type of shoe.

© 2019 Fredda Branyon


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