Smelly feet and shoes can be not only annoying but embarrassing as well.
A wide range of home foot odor home remedies exists. Which work and which don’t? Here’s how to cure smelly feet for once and for all.
I know from experience you can cure smelly feet! If you follow the 3 steps below you will get rid of that stinky foot odor. Period.
The Key is to Fight the Source of the Smell
Useful answers to smelly feet questions on this page:
How to prevent smelly, sweaty feet?
How to cure smelly feet?
What are the best tips to treat smelly feet?
Which products are the best for treating smelly, sweaty feet?
Does foot spray really work for smelly feet?
My Cure for Smelly Feet
tested and proven succesful
Since I was about 10 years I have had the problem of getting sweaty smelly feet relatively fast.
Apart from embarrassing it is at least inconvenient and sometimes even painful. I always got very hot, sometimes hurting feet when I had walked a lot.
Taking off my shoes would offer relief but would at the same time result in awkward situations because the odor that could be very unpleasant.
I felt embarrassed about taking off my shoes
I have tried different things in order to cure my sweaty feet and now I know what works. There are several things you can do but it is also important to maintain this treatment. Otherwise the foot odor will gradually return.
If you want to cure smelly feet you’ll have to take 3 crucial steps. If you follow these steps and maintain them in a structural matter there’s a really big chance you will cure your smelly feet.
If you don’t have the time or commitment you there are some other measures you can take in order to get rid of sweaty feet or at least reduce the foot odor.
It will take a little of your time each day and some dedication but you will get rid of your smelly feet. I would say a few minutes a day certainly is worth it! Never again that stinky odor. But instead you can be proud of your clean, fresh and dry feet! Guaranteed! *
* Well, there might be people who’s feet are even more severe sweaty and smelly so for them a visit to the doctor might be the only solution but this worked in my case and I am convinced it will do for most people.
Smelly Feet Cure
Smelly Feet Cure Summary (the 3 crucial steps):
Wash your feet with an antibacterial soap
Wear clean leather shoes and wicking socks and change shoes daily
Use a anti-perspirant foot spray at night
Additional measures to remove foot odor :
use foot powder or zinc cream ….etc.. before putting on your socks
powder your shoes
use replaceable odor eating insoles
3 Steps to Fresh Feet
1. Wash Your Smelly Feet Regularly
with surgical spirit, antibacterial soap
The source of the odor is isovaleric acid which the on sweat thriving bacteria on the feet produce. In order to tackle the problem the source should be taken away.
Make sure to wash your feet once but preferably twice a day. I found that washing my feet when showering doesn’t give such a good result as when you wash them in a foot bath. Of course you can also use a bowl. I used a bowl but now I am using a heated foot bath.
Getting rid of smelly feet starts with washing your feet thoroughly and consequently. I bath my feet in the morning and after dinner in front of the TV or before going to bed. (If I am in a hurry in the morning I don’t use the foot bath but I do always use antibacterial soap) Don’t forget to dry your feet very well after washing.
It is crucial to wash your feet with an antiseptic or antibacterial soap. I use Betadine scrub myself. I got this on prescription by my doctor the first time I used it. Now I purchase it myself. It is also available in the better drugstores. It is the same stuff medical personnel use in hospitals to disinfect their hands and it does a great job in killing bacteria.
Fight the bacteria which are the source of the smell
My father always told me to wash my feet in very hot water withEpsom Salt. The Epsom salt really dries my feet. The water had to be as warm as I could bear. If this is really helpful or just a quirky wisdom from the past, I don’t know. Wondering if maybe others do this as well.
Why Not Make Washing your Feet a Pleasurable Activity..
Since you have to do this daily and with care you might as well enjoy washing your feet. Not only will you get rid of the stink but you’ll feel great about taking care of yourself and your body.
Another plus is that the feet contain many nerve endings and pressure points and foot baths’ or spa’s provide not only relief for the feet but also for actually the whole body.
Dr. Scholl’s DR6624 Toe-Touch Foot Spa with Bubbles and Massage
Making a ritual of proper foot care is part of a structural solution
2. Wear Leather Shoes and Cotton Socks
change shoes every day, make use of insoles
Again, the environment the bacteria live in is what has to be taken on. Socks and shoes may become hatchery’s of foul odor causing bacteria. So make sure to fight the source.
After you have washed your feet make sure to wear cotton socks. I prefer to wear cotton sports socks (these are also available in black or blue) because their fabric is thicker than most socks so they tend to absorb more sweat.
When you buy socks take a look at the label on how much percent of the socks are made of cotton. Many times they are also made partly of synthetics but make sure your socks contain at least 70% cotton. Preferably more.
Wear leather shoes or cloth (cotton) shoes. Stay away of synthetic leather shoes because these will only make smelly feet worse. When your shoes are already smelly it’s time to buy new ones.
Some people say you can try to clean them with charcoal, baking soda or other things but I in some cases they are just beyond any help.
Wearing open shoes such as sandals, open toed shoes, or flip flops allows air to flow around your feet. More cooling equals less sweat. The sweat that is produced has the chance to evaporate due to air circulation.
Go barefoot or on socks when you can. For example at home or at the office. I always walked on my socks when on the office. If you can’t or feel a bit conscious about how co-workers may look at you, you can also change socks during the day. Make sure to keep a plastic bag with you to put the socks you wore that morning in.
Change shoes on alternate days. This way they can dry out between wearings. A 24-hour breathing period is recommended to remove the smell. Sweaty shoes breed bacteria. Use replaceable (leather) insoles and change them periodically.
For faster results start off with changing socks and shoes the same day. For instead when you are home from work.
Put replacable insoles in your shoes. Specialized odor eater insoles exist of charcoal which is also used in air filters and other filter systems. While filtering bad odor these soles can also be part of a quick solution.
If you don’t have time to start treating your smelly feet thoroughly yet you using these soles will remove bad odor partially.
Other, often recommended insoles are Cedarsoles. The cedar wood inside the soles combats bacteria because of its natural, antifungal, and antibacterial action.
Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X Odor Fighting Insoles, 1-Pair Packages (Pack of 4)
3. Use a Quality Antiperspirant Foot Spray
aluminum chloride liquid or spray prevents sweaty feet
This is the crux of curing smelly feet. Apply antiperspirant on your feet. This is really important because it will take away the source of the smell. Washing with antibacterial soap alone won’t cut it.
There are many types of foot antiperspirants but the one that really works like a charm is the spray that contains aluminum chloride (Aluminum hydroxychloride).
This is what I got prescribed by my doctor the first time and if you’ll use it regularly this will keep your feet dry and fresh. It worked for me but you have to keep using it.
The best one available on Amazon is Drysol Dab On.
Many supposedly effective foot sprays contain natural ingredients. Although this sounds great the downside is they do not work for people with bromhidrosis or hyperhidrosis.
This spray has to be applied in the evening before going to bed. The next morning it will be washed off. If you do this you will notice, probably already after the first time you use it that your feet will feel differently.
Aluminum hydroxychloride is the silver bullet in curing smelly feet
Your feet will feel dryer, fresher, cleaner and will tend to sweat far less.
Tip: Apply the spray by dabbing with a slightly moist cotton pad for better absorption
Ultimate Cure for Smelly Feet
aluminum chloride hexahydrate | Drysol
Aluminum chloride is what my doctor advised me to use and it works. Even after applying this once I noticed my feet feeling dryer and cleaner.
It seems like it takes the sweat and moist out of your feet. It is recommended to apply in the evening, before going to bed and wash it off the next morning.
Drysol is such a special antiperspirant containing aluminum chloride. It works by blocking the sweat glands openings. It is essential to keep using it on a regular basis otherwise it will not work that well.
Maxim Prescription Strength Antiperspirant & Deodorant – Doctor and Dermatologist Recommended
How does it work?
Antiperspirants like aluminum chloride react with electrolytes present in sweat, forming “gel plugs” that close up your sweat ducts.
Note: not all your sweat ducts are blocked. Your feet still sweat, only less.
Our feet have the highest concentration sweat ducts per square inch on our body which is why blocking off some of these pores is such an effective measure.
Zinc Cream, Shoe Powder & Insoles
Additional Home Remedies for Smelly Feet, Shoes & Socks
These are things you can do to speed up the process. They are not per se necessary because the 3 steps above should be sufficient. But because we all tend to forget to apply the spray or wash our feet the steps below can be great additions.
4. Zinc Cream for Dry Feet
Try to make a habit of applying zinc cream on your feet after washing them with antibacterial soap.
I must admit I don’t always do this because of time shortage (we’re all in a hurry in the morning) but I try to use zinc cream as much as possible.
Zinc is known to have a drying and antibacterial effect on the skin. Zinc is also has an excellent record in the treatment of sensitive skin.
Margarite Zinc Cream
5. Powder your Shoes & Socks
destroy bacteria and odor
Make your smelly shoes fresher with odor eaters. These powders help destroying bacteria and remove smell. A very popular foot powder is On Your Toes Foot Bactericide Powder.
Dr. Scholl’s Odor Destroyers Medicated Shoe Shot Powder – 10 oz
Other powders you can use to rub your feet with:
- Talcum powder. Just like aluminum chloride, it’s an astringent. Astringents are substances that cause body tissues (such as skin) to tighten. Because of that it’ll dry out your feet.
- Baking soda. This stuff is highly alkaline which kills the bacteria.
- Baby powder. Like baking soda this is also used to put into shoes and socks.
- Dryer sheets : insert half of a standard sheet in each shoe overnight to reduce the smell.
powder shoes and socks with baking soda.
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda also seems an effective and cheap way of reducing the amount of bacteria in shoes and socks.
It is recommended to put it both in the shoe and in the socks. After a few days the odor should have been reduced or removed.
A holistic approach increases the chance on succes
More Smelly Feet Cure Tips
some additional advice
Tip 1 – Shave excessive hair of your feet / toes
Hair on the feet, especially on the toes, may contribute to the odor’s intensity by adding increased surface area in which the bacteria can thrive. Source Wikipedia.
Tip – 2 Scrub your feet
By scrubbing you are removing dead skin cells and bacteria that feed on these cells. Often a simple wascloth will do the job. A washcloth is also less irritating and drying to your skin. Scrubbing, or exfoliating can also be done by using a brush, pumice stone, loofah or foot brush. Do this when washing your feet. Make sure to scrub between your toes too.
Tip 3 – Dry your feet well after washing them
Moisture left behind after washing your feet makes the bacteria breed like rabbits. If your feet stay a little moist, e.g. between the toes this provides an extremely fertile environment for the bacteria responsible for the smell. So always make sure to dry your feet well. Don’t forget to dry between your toes.
Tip 4 – Don’t wear shoes without socks
This will make your feet sweat faster and more.
Tip 5 – Use a pumice stone
Use a pumice stone when showering to slough off the dead skin cells on your feet. The bacteria that cause a cheesy smell feed on these skin cells. A bonus, it will help you feet keep moisturized.
Tip 6 – Wash your socks inside out
This way the inside is exposed more thus allowing dead skin cells to be washed away.
Tip -7 Wash your shoes
Some people never wash their shoes. Many shoes can be washed in the washing machine. And if you have smelly feet you should.
I always put them in a pillowcase for protection. You can also use a sneaker wash and dry bag. The good thing about these is that you can hang it on the inside of the washer/dryer door so there’s no banging of shoes during the process. They cost 5 bucks or less.
Tip 8 – Use natural air refresheners in you shoes
When you are not going to wear them, put cloves or cedar wood shavings inside your shoes. This will remove odors. It’s for the same reason that cedar soles are so popular.
Tip 9 – Use a shoe dryer to fight the bacteria
There are simple devices that use dry air to safely dry footwear. Soe dryers are known to be an effective means to remove moisture, odor, and bacteria from your shoes, boots, and also gloves. The convection air currents slowly but steadily dry wet, sweaty shoes killing off the odor-causing bacteria.
If sweaty feet is a serious problem, a shoe dryer will pay for itself after a while because they also make your shoes last longer. This is, by far, the most popular, well-reviewed feet dryer on Amazon.
Tip 10- Cut down on alcohol intake
Drinking alcoholic beverages will increase perspiration of the feet.