Smelly feet are caused when bacteria that grows in the foot mixes with sweat, leading to foul odour. It can be a genetic condition known as hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweating, leading to bacterial growth and thus, smelly feet. However, in most of these cases, this condition is aggravated by simple day to day factors. It could be due to wearing the same shoes every day, which acts as a breeding ground for bacteria due to the humid condition. It might be due to wearing closed or tight shoes or not changing your socks daily after a long day at work. It can also happen if you fail to maintain your foot hygiene or not clean your feet properly on a regular basis. Whatever is the cause of smelly feet, it is an embarrassing and awkward situation for a person whose feet are the source of the odour. And hence, it is important to find a solution to get rid of it.
Home Remedies For Smelly Feet/ Foot Odour
Unlike popular belief, you do not have to shell out a bomb on maintaining your foot hygiene nor do you have to try foot sprays, which only burn a hole in your pocket and not provide long-lasting results. Instead, you can try simple home remedies that are available in your kitchen to get rid of smelly feet. But if you have itchy feet or if you have foot pain along with smelly feet, then it is wise to consult your doctor to know the cause and address it.
Here are some of the common home remedies for smelly feet:
1. Baking Soda
Dust your shoes, feet and socks with baking soda before wearing them. This is because baking soda absorbs the sweat in your feet and also soaks the moisture in the socks and shoes thereby helping to maintain the pH balance. You can also try soaking your feet in warm water with baking soda added to it after you reach home as it not only clears moisture but also helps relax your feet after a stressful day at work.
2. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is known for its antibacterial activity that fights bacterial growth in the feet and helps keep odour away. Moreover, it also helps in removing the moisture from the skin and keep your feet dry. Soak your feet in half a bucket of water to which two teaspoons of Epsom salt has been added. You can also use Epsom salt as a bath salt for your whole body.
3. Kosher Salt
Kosher salt helps in keeping the foot dry and prevent odour. You can add about half a cup of salt to a litre of warm water and soak your feet in it. Do not rinse your feet so that the kosher salt remains on your feet and acts as a protective shield against bacterial growth.
4. Black Tea
A cup of black tea or green tea in the morning not only helps you to detox but also eliminates toxins from the body. However, what is surprising is the fact that it can kill bacteria present in your feet and keep foot odour away. Soak two tea bags of either black or green tea in boiling water and mix with half a bucket of tap water. Keep your feet soaked in this mixture for at least twenty minutes every day for effective results.
Due to its acidic nature, vinegar makes it difficult for bacteria to grow. Apple cider vinegar is the best option to use for this purpose although you can use normal vinegar. You should mix vinegar and warm water in the ratio of one to eight (one cup of vinegar in eight cups of water) and soak your feet in it for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off your feet with soap and water later. Do this regularly to get rid of foot odour at home.
6. Lavender Oil
Yes, lavender oil not only imparts a soothing fragrance but also acts as an effective home remedy for smelly feet. Soak your feet in warm water to which a few drops of lavender oil have been added to keep your feet smelling fresh and also prevent odour. As lavender has anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, it works like a natural foot spray along with controlling foot odour.
7. Foot Scrub
One of the main reasons for smelly feet is not following a proper foot care regimen. It is imperative to keep your feet clean, especially during the hot season of summer when the chances of sweating and smelly feet are more. As having clean feet helps prevent bacterial and fungal build-up, it can help you to prevent smelly feet as well. Hence, use a foot scrub while bathing or a pumice stone for scrubbing and cleaning your feet thoroughly. It also clears off the dead skin cells from the feet, making your feet healthy and happy.
8. Talcum Powder
Lastly, one of the common home remedies for smelly feet that most people swear by is talcum powder. It has been reported that using talcum powder on your feet and in your shoes and socks can keep your feet dry and odour free. Moreover, if you use a powder with fragrance, it can also keep your feet smell nice and fresh. But remember to clean your feet with soap and water after you reach your home, pat dry and then apply it. The same rule applies when you are going out as adding powder on wet feet can make things worse.
In addition to trying these simple home remedies for foot odour, it is also advised to follow foot care tips on a regular basis. Try not to wear the same shoes every day. Avoid closed shoes as it increases the risk of foot odour. Try and wear open shoes and sandals that allow air circulation and prevent sweat accumulation. You can also keep your shoes in the sun from time to time to remove sweat and moisture in the shoes. Moreover, drying it under the sun also kills the bacteria present in the shoes, helping you to prevent smelly feet. Follow these tips to Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)