Stinky feet or bromhidrosis is a really embarrassing situation for the ones who have it. The main cause of foot odor is the bacterial growth due to unevaporated sweat. These bacteria feed on your dead skin and sweat which causes a foul smell. The worst thing about stinky feet is that it affects our persona in a social gathering and makes the people around us uncomfortable. However, it is not a serious health problem to be worried about. While there is no specific medication for shoe odor; it can be cured by some simple home remedies.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Shoe Odor
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps neutralize the pH level of your sweating body part. It also reduces the bacterial outbreak. Add one tbsp of baking soda in a quart of warm water. Soak your feet in this solution for 15-20 mins. Do it regularly for a week.
- Alternatively, you can sprinkle baking soda in your shoes and socks. It will combat the bacteria present in them and prevent the occurrence of stinky smell.
- Or else, heat eight cups of water and add 1/4 cup of baking soda to it. Squeeze a lemon into this solution. Now, soak your feet in it. Pat your feet dry with a soft towel after taking them out.
- Otherwise, rub baking soda on your feet to remove shoe odor.
Vinegar is acidic in nature which helps in killing the bacteria. Add half a cup of vinegar to 8 cups of hot water. Dip your foot in this soak for fifteen minutes and wash it off with soap to remove the smell of vinegar.
3. Black Teabags
Black tea kills bacteria and inhibits their further growth due to the presence of tannic acid in it. It helps close the skin pores hence reduces sweating. Boil two bags of black tea in 3 cups of water. Mix 1/2 bucket of regular water to bring it to a lower temperature. Keep your feet in it for 15-20 mins. Repeat it daily for a week.
- Alternatively, you can use green tea bags in place of black tea bags.
4. Talcum Powder
Talcum powder comes with double benefits – the first one is, it reduces sweat on your feet and second, gives them a pleasant smell. Rub powder on your feet before wearing the socks. Repeat it whenever you feel sweaty feet. You can also use baby powder in the place of talcum powder.
Note: Don’t use talcum powders with very strong scent as they may increase the shoe odor.
5. Pumice Stone
Pumice stone helps exfoliate the skin and remove the dead cells. You can rub this stone on your feet while bathing. The removal of dead skin will prevent a bacterial outbreak in your feet.
6. Kitty Litter
Kitty litter is deodorized with pleasant fragrances. It helps get rid of shoe odor. Fill a pair of socks with kitty litter and place them in the shoes. Leave it overnight. Throw out the kitty litter in the morning. Wear your shoes after making sure that they are clean.
7. Rubbing Alcohol
It is one of the best home remedies for stinky feet. It not only removes the foul smell but also acts as a disinfectant and kills the bacteria. Also, it removes dirt from the shoe. Fill a spray bottle with water and rubbing alcohol. Now spritz it inside the shoe. If you repeat it regularly, bacterial growth will be curtailed.
- Alternatively, wash your shoes with this mixture only if they are washable,
Note: Make sure that you don’t coat alcohol on the outer side of your shoe, especially when it is made of leather.
8. Epsom Salt
It is an effective remedy get rid of stinky feet. Epsom salt can fight against microbial infection. It also detoxify the skin and neutralize the foot odor. Add 2 tsp of Epsom salt in a bucket of warm water. Dip your feet in it for 10-15 mins.
Note: Do it before going to bed as you would not need to wear socks or shoes after that.
Place cloves inside your shoes directly to remove foot odor. It will surely work. You can also pour a few drops of clove oil inside your shoes to prevent the stinky odor.
It prevents the growth of bacteria due to its antiseptic and astringent properties. Take a cup of warm water. Mix one tsp of alum powder in it. Use this solution to wash your feet. After 15-20 mins, pat your feet dry. Then, sprinkle some alum powder on them. Do it once a day.
Borax is one of the useful remedies to stop stinky feet. Add half a cup each of borax powder and vinegar in 2 cups of water. Spray this solution inside your shoes.
- Alternatively, you can sprinkle the borax powder inside your shoes. Leave them for a few hours to make the foul smell disappear.
12. Sugar Scrub
To treat stinky feet, you first need to remove dead skin and calluses as they may also lead to a bacterial outbreak. Add sugar to clean water and 91% or above isopropyl alcohol. The amount of sugar must be greater than that of water. Only one part of alcohol should be added to five parts of water. Use it to scrub your feet for 5-10 mins. It removes dead skin and bacteria. Wash your feet with clean water. Repeat it thrice a week.
It inhibits the bacterial growth and removes toxins. Take a medium-sized ginger root. Make a puree out of it and add in a cup hot water for 10-15 mins. Strain it into another cup and use it to massage your feet. Repeat it daily for two weeks.
Note: Do it before going to sleep.
Cornstarch absorbs perspiration. Rub cornstarch powder on your feet or sprinkle it inside your shoes. It will prevent sweating and thus, eliminate the foot odor.
15. Lemon Teabags
Lemon can act as a cleanser as well as an odor remover. Soak three tea bags in warm water. Dip your feet in it for 15 mins. Wash it off afterwards. Apply a normal moisturizer and massage gently. Wear socks and leave it overnight. It will take away the odor.
16. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar in 7-8 cups of lukewarm water. Soak your feet in this solution for ten minutes. Wash your feet with warm water. Pat dry and wear socks after applying talcum powder to your feet.
Oatmeal is a great exfoliating agent. Add 2 tsp of oatmeal to a cup of lukewarm water. Scrub your feet with it for 10 mins. Now wash it off with lukewarm water. Clean your feet using a soft towel. Repeat it 4-5 times a week. It will remove the dead skin that promotes bacterial growth.
Vodka helps kill bacteria. The plus point is that it is odorless once it is dried. You can either dilute it with water or apply it directly inside of your shoe. It will leave your shoes like a newly bought pair. Besides, it will also cure feet infections (if any).
Radish disinfects your feet and reduces the foot odor. It has many nutrients like zinc, phosphorus and vitamin B & C that hinders bacterial activity. Grind six radishes to extract their juice and add warm water to this juice. Now pour this mixture into a foot basin. Dip your feet in it for 20 mins and pat dry. Do it regularly to get rid of stinky feet.
- Alternatively, add 1/4 tsp of glycerin to the juice of 12 radishes. Pour it into a spray bottle and use it when you experience foot odor.
20.Common Salt and Water Soak
Saltwater prevents excessive sweating on your feet. It also removes the dead skin cells that is the staple food of bacteria. Thereby, it reduces the foot odor. Add a cup of salt in a tub of warm water. Soak your feet in it for 20 mins. Pat them dry and apply some moisturizer if your feet feels dry.
21. Kosher Salt
Kosher salt helps dry your skin and thus, reduces excessive moisture that causes a foul odor. Add 1/2 cup of kosher salt to a litre of warm water. Dip your feet in it for some time. Do not rinse off your feet. Instead, pat them dry to maximize the effect of the salt.
Herbal Remedies to Get Rid of Stinky Feet
22. Essential Oils
Essential oils are apt to take away the smell from foot and shoe. You can take
oil of your choice. Layer the oil inside your shoe. Leave it for overnight to remove the smell from shoes.
- Alternatively, you can make a foot soak from essential oils. Mix 5-8 drops each of lavender oil and tea tree oil to half a bucket of lukewarm water. Submerge your feet in it for 20 mins. Do it daily to get rid of foot odor.
Rosemary has antibacterial properties which prevent a bacterial outbreak. It also acts as an astringent. Thus, it prevents excessive sweat production. Fill your foot basin with boiling water. Add one tsp each of dried rosemary and dried sage leaves. Let it steep into the water until it cools down enough to soak your feet in it. Keep your feet in it for almost half an hour. Do it once or twice.
Sage leaves curtail odor caused by sweat due to the presence of tannic acid. You can put ground sage inside of your shoes which will take away the irritating smell. You can also soak your feet in sage tea before going to bed.
25. Tea Tree Oil
It prevents the odor caused by fungal infection. Fill warm water in foot basin and soak your feet in it for 10-15 mins. Wash your feet with a mild soap. Add 6 drops of tea tree oil in a tsp of almond oil. Stir well to mix the oils. Apply this solution between your toes and rub gently. Wash it off with warm water after a few minutes. Do it thrice a day.
Note: Don’t use tea tree oil directly on your skin.
- Always wear clean socks.
- Wash your feet thoroughly before wearing and after removing the shoes. Pat them dry properly.
- Place dry sheets inside your shoes.
- If you’re okay with it, put your shoes in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic bags. The excessive cold will kill the bacteria.
- Put newspaper in shoes to absorb the moisture.
- Eat foods rich in zinc like apples, spinach, dairy products, pumpkin, beans, mushroom, etc.
- Place your shoes in sunlight, it will remove the odor.
- Exfoliate your feet regularly to remove the dead skin.
- Don’t wear the same pair of shoes for days. Keep rotating among them.
- Don’t always wear closed footwear. Do try sandals or open shoes so that your feet can breathe.
- Avoid consuming so much of alcohol.
- Avoid stress and tension.
- Try to avoid socks made of synthetic material.
- Avoid strongly flavored food like onion, garlic, pepper, etc.