Category Archives: Natural cures

coconut oil for smelly feet and foot fungus

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Foot Fungus, Sweating, and Odor

Coconut oil is the prodigal son of the natural remedies world. It has so many uses that entire books have been dedicated to it.

Coconut oil can do anything from helping you lose weight to alleviating allergies to fighting dandruff.

One of the many benefits of coconut oil is its ability to fight foot fungus most commonly associated with athlete’s foot.

It can even be used to help sweating of the feet, leaving your feet clean and dry with no bad foot odor, all while providing a natural solution with no harmful side effects. Three properties of coconut oil work together to provide this benefit.


1. Antiperspirant-  Coconut Oil for Sweating

Coconut oil has actually been utilized in some parts of world, particularly Asian nations like India and Sri Lanka for different purposes.

One of the uses of this oil as a massage oil for its wholesome benefits for the body. If you do not deal with generalized sweating, you can leave out the massage part and simply use coconut oil under arms.

By rubbing coconut oil underneath your armpits or on the bottoms of your feet, and letting it absorb into your skin, you can go about your day free from the fear of sweating.


How does it work?

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid known to kill bacteria that can often cause sweating with odor in a person’s armpits. To prevent this odor, you have to prevent yourself from sweating in the first place.

The light fragrance of the oil also keep you refreshingly fresh. You simply need to take a little coconut oil onto your fingers and rub it under your arms to obtain rid of sweating.

Or make this natural antiperspirant utilizing coconut oil and baking soda at home.

Antiperspirants are different from deodorants in that they not only prevent the smell, but they first stop you from sweating that produces the unpleasant odor. Whereas deodorant is anti-smell, antiperspirant is anti-sweat.

Does it stain socks, shoes, and clothes?

Among the myths connected with coconut oil is that it spots clothes but if you take a percentage of oil and massage it well into your skin, it will not even stain your garments.

Oils tend to leave greasy stains on clothing, but coconut oil’s properties make it less likely to stain if used in moderate amounts.

More about antiperspirants for feet.


2. Coconut oil as a foot deodorant

Aside from simply stopping the sweating, coconut oil also works well as a deodorant. Its naturally pleasant scent and quick absorption into the skin make it ideal for both an antiperspirant and deodorant.

Your armpits will smell great, and you only need a little coconut oil for it to work. Coconut oil is sold for as low as $7 in a pretty sizable jar, which is much lower than clinical strength or prescribed deodorants/antiperspirants are sold for. It saves you money and is all-natural.


3. Coconut oil softens and moisturizes your feet

Coconut oil also works as a top-notch moisturizer. It contains skin-healthy vitamins that soften dull, dry or flaky skin and leave it hydrated and soft to the touch. This moisturizing agent works on any parts of the body.

Since foot odor causing bacteria feed on skin flakes, moisturizing can help control stinky feet.

Between working out and running around, our feet get a beating on a day-to-day basis. Before bed, soften cracked, rough skin and calluses by exfoliating your feet and then applying a generous layer of coconut oil.

Since it has natural antibacterial properties, it’ll deodorize as it softens. Then slip on some socks to wake up with much smoother, better smelling soles.

Bonus: To enhance its benefits, add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the mix and apply both before bed and throughout the day. Treating your feet to this combo not only keeps stinky smells at bay, but may also help treat Athlete’s foot.

Coconut oil is great for other body parts too. 

Use it on your lips as substitute for balm or chapstick. Rub it on your face after cleansing your skin for a facial moisturizer. It can even be used in homemade scrubs to exfoliate.


4. Cure foot fungus  a.k.a.  Athletes foot

Coconut oil has powerful anti-fungal properties. These properties are due largely to the presence of lauric acid.

Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which has been shown to control the activity of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Coconut oil has been proven effective in killing the tinea pedis fungus and at reducing the scaly, red rash caused by the fungus.

In addition to fighting back against unwanted fungi, coconut oil provides a layer of protection for the skin.

It is an effective and deeply nourishing moisturizer that can replace other foot lotions permanently. There are two ways to use coconut oil to attack Athlete’s Foot.

Antibiotics and anti-fungal medications can be expensive, and many times the side effects aren’t worth the fuss to get them.

Some have even found that these medications don’t solve the problem, like blogger Seth Roberts when the fungus tinea pedis made a reappearance shortly after he had cleared it up with medication.

Coconut oil’s fatty acids not only kill bacteria that cause body odor, but it also eliminates “viruses, fungi and protozoa,” which lab tests have verified. It has even been shown to prevent absorption of bacteria into the body by creating a protective layer across the skin.

The bacteria found in athlete’s foot are quickly eradicated by coconut oil’s lauric acid, which when used against the fungus, is

“converted into monolaurin, a compound that is highly toxic to  viruses, bacteria, funguses and other microorganisms because of its ability to disrupt their lipid membranes and virtually destroy them.”

With its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties, coconut oil can also soothe the uncomfortable hot, itchy feeling of athlete’s foot.

Seth does warn that, when using coconut oil as an anti-fungal medicine, it is important not to reinfect your feet with socks or shoes that still have the bacteria on them.

Much like surfaces that have been touched when you have had the flu, your socks and shoes must be sanitized before you can wear them again, otherwise you’ll end up with another case of foot fungus.

Re-contamination can happen easily, so make sure you have a shoe sanitizer on hand, which uses a UV light or ozone to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria when passed over the inside of your shoe.

Learn about tea tree oil for foot fungus.


Wrapping it up

The miracle of coconut oil lends itself to remedies of all sorts. Next time you’re shopping around for a natural cure-all, take a look at the various uses for coconut oil before spending a fortune on prescriptions or beauty products that don’t give you the right bang for your buck. Most likely, you will find the solution in the organic foods aisle in a jar marked “Coconut Oil.”


You may also like:

The Best Socks For Sweaty Smelly Feet

Top 4 Best Shoe Sanitizer & Deodorizer Devices

Top 13 Best Foot Odor Control Products


Image: YouTube.

freshen up stinky shoes

How To De-Stink Smelly Shoes? Disinfect, Then Deodorize

Do your shoes stink permanently? Experiencing foul odors ascending from your shoes even when they are on your feet? Then you could say it’s about time do de-stink them.

There are various ways to get rid of the smell your shoes emit and most of them are fairly easy to accomplish. Certain methods are more effective than others though.

Before we delve into the ins and outs of freshening up your shoes, first this..

  • Some shoes are beyond recovery. If your shoes really stink do your feet a favor and throw them out.

These shoes are probably invested with bacteria. The bacteria may have taken over the inner and outer linings, the fabric, the deepest pores in the soles. The microbes thriving there are hard, if not impossible to drive out.

In other words, really raunchy shoes just don’t benefit from any de-stink treatment.

More importantly, if you do wear them you will nullify your smelly feet cure efforts.

I mean, if you thoroughly wash your feet, wear appropriate socks, use a quality antiperspirant and at the same time wear those old musty shoes you are giving those pesky bacteria a chance to proliferate. In that case, all those other efforts have been for nothing.

For shoes that aren’t totally wasted, here are some proven de-stink methods.

How to get rid of the stink in footwear?

Step 1. Disinfect

Step 2. Deodorize

You will have to disinfect them to get rid of the bacteria in the shoes. After that you can deodorize them.

If you don’t first disinfect your shoes the smell is likely to be back in no time. * Some substances may have both qualities allowing you to disinfect and deodorize at once.


How to properly disinfect your shoes

The following are common methods to get rid of the bacteria, fungi and other micro organisms in shoes. Although all of these remedies are rampant over the internet they are not all equally effective. Some are just plain old wives tales.

Let’s take a look at efficiency and other pros and cons of each method based on contemporary research and common sense.


Disinfect: to clean (something) especially by using a chemical substance that kills all germs and bacteria

The freezer method. Take the pair of smelly shoes and place them into a plastic bag, don’t forget to seal them tightly. Place the bag into the freezer overnight and thaw the next day in the sun. Extreme cold, just like extreme heat, can take out bacteria.

  • Does it work? The problem with this method is that freezing is ineffective since such low temperatures do not kill bacteria. Freezing mostly renders bacteria inactive. Which is why  it doesn’t work well. I tried it and in my experience the smell returned rather quickly upon wearing. It seemed to me as if not all bacteria were killed off. Which I now know is probably true since freezing may kill some but not all bacteria.


Dryer sheets can prove helpful. Simply slide them into your shoes, and enjoy the fresh scent they will leave behind. Because their mild to moderate antibacterial action and fragrances they are a popular means to freshen shoes.

  • Does it work? Again, not a solution for the stinkier shoes since soaking shoes in a potent antimicrobial solution is more effective. Also, dryer sheets may contain all kinds of hazardous target chemicals such as chloroform, pentane, and ethyl acetate. Fragrances are increasingly known to trigger asthma and to stimulate growth of breast cancer cells in lab studies.


The washing machine. Sometimes simply a good washing can help take the smelly away. Remove the soles and laces, and put the shoes into a pillow case. Wash in the washing machine in 40-50 degree water twice and air dry. Don’t forget to wash the soles and laces too.

  • Does it work? One study concluded that washing at 60°C (140°F) for 10 minutes is sufficient to decontaminate hospital uniforms and significantly reduce the bacterial load. So yes washing shoes in the machine is likely to help freshen up stinky shoes by killing bacteria. Not all shoes are suitable for a treatment in the washer though.


Steaming. If your washer or dryer has a steam function, you can use it to destroy bacteria and fungus that are present. You can also try using a (hand-held) steam machine commonly used to remove wrinkles from clothing to clean them thoroughly.

  • Does it work? Steam is also a potent bactericidal. Its high temperaturs are likely to kill odor-causing bacteria and fungi.  There are even special anti-bacterial steam cleaners on the market. These are clinically proven to remove 99,99% of bacteria. Remember that you have to be careful with suede shoes.

Rubbing alcohol. One of the more potent remedies. Dab some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton swab or a Q Tip, and rub that into your shoes. Not only does it dry relatively quickly, but it evaporates liquids like sweat.

  • Does it work? Yes. There’s however a more effective method than the one described above. More in a bit.


Vinegar. It is commonly thought that vinegar, a.k.a. acetic acid is a great odor killer. Advice like, “Use half water, half vinegar, spritz, let dry and follow up with some baking soda”, is omnipresent.

  • Does it work? Vinegar may be able to remove odors but it it’s not your best option when it comes to fighting bacteria.

In the popular media, vinegar is commonly recommended for treating nail fungus, head lice, and warts, yet scientific support for these treatment strategies is lacking.

Whether or not the popular food preservative actually helps reducing shoe odor remains to be seen.

Studies comparing vinegar with commercial chemical cleaners also show that

natural products were less effective than commercial household disinfectants

This particular PubMed study assessed the efficacy of natural products such as baking soda, vinegar and common commercial disinfectants such as

  • Lysol Vesphene IIse Disinfectant Spray,
  • Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner,
  • TBQ,
  • Clorox,
  • and Mr. Clean Ultra, ethanol.


We have to point out that this study examined the antimicrobial activity against selected potential human pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and viruses. It did not research the disinfecting activity of these compounds specifically against bacteria living on the feet.

However, it will be obvious to conclude that there are better disinfectants for shoes then vinegar.

Recommended shoe disinfection method:

Rubbing alcohol soak and bleach spray. recommends the following treatment.

  • Soak the shoes in a rubbing alcohol solution. The alcohol seeps into the inner parts of the shoes where it will kill them.
  • After seeping for a while, remove the shoes and let them dry, in a place with sufficient air circulation, preferably directly placed in the sun.
  • Bleach mixed with some water should then be sprayed evenly on the outside and inside of the shoes. All parts need to be sprayed. The bleach kills fungus and germs.
  • Porous surfaces and the inside of footwear should be applied with anti fungal shoe spray to help kill fungus that may cause athletes foot which can cause odor too.


If you dont’ want to soak your shoes use a spray such as Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner instead. You could use an antiseptic powder in addtion to reach in crevices and seams.

Foot powders

There are numerous antifungal foot powders, and various foot sprays, that can assist in keeping odors at bay. While they are generally recommended for athlete’s foot, which can contribute to foot odor, these are formulated to cut into the stink.

DIY foot powders. Some people swear by mixing baking soda and zinc for an odor and fungal fighting powder that you can simply sprinkle into your shoes and leave overnight.

  • Does it work? Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is known for its deodorizing ability. This study on PubMed for instance also demonstrates its germ fighting ability. However, baking soda is NOT a sanitzer nor disinfectant. In other words, it is not able to kill most bacteria. This corresponds with my own baking soda for shoe odor removal experiences. So it can help remove foul odor but you will have to use something in addition to kill bacteria. On they explain the difference:

A product that “sanitizes” means it can kill 99.9% of identified germs as written on its label. “Disinfect” does the same thing, with a “nearly 100%” batting average. According to the California Childcare Health Program, baking soda doesn’t “kill germs well enough to be used to sanitize” nor does it mention disinfection as one of baking soda’s uses.


Commerical foot powders. Now we know that baking soda, despite its reputation isn’t a sanitizer pur sang.

If you will be using a commercial foot powder you’ll have to look at the label. It’s not for no reason Arm and Hammer does not mention “sanitizing” or even “disinfecting” on its packaging. The words “baking, cleaning and deodorizing” are listed.

Commerical foot powders however often contain zinc oxide. Among other ingredients. Zinc oxide has superior antibacterial action, relieves itch and has a soothing effect. Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NP) are also used in the food industry,

ZnO NP […] can be applied as a potent sanitizing agent for disinfecting and sterilizing food industry equipment and containers against the attack and contamination with foodborne pathogenic bacteria. (Source. Wiley Online Library)

Examples of commercial foot and shoe powders are Gold Bond, Tinactin. These are mainly used to prevent Athlete’s foot and skin rash.


How to deodorize your shoes

Cat litter. Quirky but effective. As strange as it may sound: cat litter actually isn’t such a weird remedy since the stuff is produced for odor prevention and deodorization.

Simply fill an old sock, seal it shut and loop it into your shoe overnight. Just remove anytime you plan to wear them, and put them back after.

Charcoal. Charcoal is commonly used in air filters because of its deodorizing properties. Therefore charcoal can work wonders in removing odor from shoes too. Fill a cloth bag or old socks with charcoal, insert these in the footwear and keep it there during the night.

Tea tree oil based deodorizer spray. This Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer can be used on both feet and shoes and has raving user reviews. It’s all-natural containing essential oils of tea tree, mint, eucalyptus, and thyme.

Deodorizing insoles. Shoe inserts made out of cedar wood, bamboo or containing charcoal can help remove nasty scents. These however do not attack the problem at the source.

freshen up stinky shoes
lemon won’t help you much when your shoes are really stinky


Why masking scents doesn’t really help

According to some people, masking odors is an effective way of reducing footwear odor. Commonly used all-natural remedies are fresh orange peel, or grapefruit, lemon or limes. They simply place them into shoes for that fresh, citrus scent.

Others use a few drops of lavender oil dripped onto the soles of each shoe so that it can give off a flowery scent that eliminates the reek.

Well, if your shoes really stink this isn’t going to help.

Natural methods such as spraying some lavender oil are nice for when there’s only a really mild scent. Fact is that these remedies do not kill of the bacteria living in your shoes.

For really smelly shoes it’s time to take out the big guns.


Once you managed to freshen up your footwear you may want to take some preventative action. Here are some things to consider.

Damp or damaged insoles need to be taken care of properly. Remove them from the shoes, and dry them out. Dry the entire shoe beneath a heater or in the sun on a hot day. To quicken the process, remove the laces and lift the tongue up. This will destroy any bacteria currently in the insole.

Or simply buy insoles that don’t allow bacteria to grow. Bacteria are one of the primary causes of foot odor, along with wearing shoes made from unbreathable material synthetic or plastic materials.

  • Cedar wood insoles are antifungal, odor repellant and smell delightful. Simply pick up a pair and stick them into your shoes to regularly combat stinky shoes.


Click here for The Ultimate Guide on How To Prevent Foot Odor.


Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row but rotate. Shoes can take 36 hours or longer to dry completely. If you wear them every day, they’ll never dry completely and bacteria have free play.

Once your shoes are fresh again, wear good socks, wash your feet properly, use insoles, and if necessary an effective antiperspirant and you are good to go.

Perhaps you have to throw in an occasional foot soak, but then your feet will probably be fresh n ‘dry.


Or de-stink shoes with this device:

StinkBOSS Shoe Sanitizer, Deodorizer & Dryer Review



Image: Yogma.

Do Essential Oils Cure Sweaty Smelly Feet?

There’s a wide range of websites providing you with information on aromatherapy. Often, claims are made regarding the topical application of essential oils to cure foot odor.

If such sources aren’t backed by either trustworthy reviews (e.g. your own personal experiences or those of peers) or PubMed and Wiley Interscience studies we are not sure how to judge these statements.

Fact is that there’s little clinically backed evidence to support the wide variety of therapeutic claims made by aromatherapists.

So we did some desk research to find out what sources are available regarding the topical use of essential oils in order to combat stinky feet.

In medical terms, whether or not there’s a clinical indication for essential oils as a plantar hyperhidrosis remedy.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are extracts from specific plant species, and are designed to contain the true essence of the plant from which they are derived.

They are actually not “oily” to the touch, but instead are pure liquid extracts that are distilled from the plant using various means, and then concentrated to form the extract.

They usually come in small bottles and the liquid is concentrated enough such that only a few drops are needed for each use. The uses of essential oils range from aromatherapy, to natural remedies for physical discomfort, to household cleaning, to insect repellents.

Essential oils are commonly used for inhalation and, generally in diluted form, for topical treatment.

essential oils
essential oils

Why Essential Oils for Smelly Feet?

Foot odor is caused by the interaction of microbes (chiefly, bacteria) with the sweat and dead skin cells on your feet. The metabolism of these bacteria can leave odiferous byproducts that are “cheesy” in smell.

One way of combatting foot odors is establishing a treatment regimen that uses essential oils. According to proponents of the use of these oils there are several essential oils that can be used on smelly feet.

What does research say?

PubMed Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®):

Topical application of aromatic oils may exert antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.


This is obviousdly very generic information. However, these aspects may be helpful in curing feet sweating and subsequent foot odor since it’s the bacteria that cause the smell.

More specific information was offered by another case study that showed..

..that the use of an ‘oil-powder compound’ consisting of arrowroot, baking soda, basil oil, clove oil, tea tree oil, and sage oil reduced bacterial and fungal growth in shoes and socks.

In fact, a number of essential oils may be beneficial for the relief of foot odors, as explained in the following paragraphs:

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is distilled from the leaf of Eucalyptus, sp. Eucalyptus oil has a long history of use as a pharmaceutical, antiseptic, repellent, flavoring, fragrance, and also in industrial processes.

To make the essential oil, leaves of Eucalyptus are steam-distilled into a plant extract (“Eucalyptus oil,” 2014). Two aspects of Eucalyptus oil can help foot odors: Its antiseptic properties can retard the growth of bacteria, and its fresh fragrance can help mask your foot odors.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is extracted from the flower spikes of the lavender flower, Lavandula, sp. Lavender has long been raised for its flavor, scent, and medicinal properties.

This essential oil has anti-microbial properties when used on the skin, and a very pleasing natural aroma to help mask smelly foot odors.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has a long history of use in aromatherapy and as a folk medicine. Active chemicals in peppermint oil include terpenoids and flavonoids.

Terpenoids add peppermint’s aromatic component, while flavonoids provide an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory component. These compounds help peppermint oil to retard microbial growth and mask any foot odors with a pleasant smell, while also helping to relive inflammation of your tired feet.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is also known as melaleuca oil. It is extracted of the leaves of the narrow-leaved tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia (not to be mistaken with the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, from which tea beverages are derived).

It is known to have a fresh, camphor-like smell, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties (“Tea tree oil,” 2014). Applied to the feet, tea tree oil can help fight the growth of microbes that cause foot odor, and its potent natural fragrance can help mask any existing foot odors you might have.

In a study on the antimicrobial and medicinal properties of tea tree oil researchers concluded that:

There’s a wide range of laboratory studies that support the long-held beliefs that Tea Tree Oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

This study concludes “there is still a lack of clinical evidence demonstrating efficacy against bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.”

Which may lead you to think that tea tree oil may be useful as a preventative agent only. To help you keep the bacteria on your feet at bay.

However, other studies, also referred to on WebMD show tea tree oil does help cure Athlete’s foot. It also reduces allergic skin reactions and helps cure toenail infections.

Thyme Oil

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. Thyme’s uses date back to the time of the ancient Egyptians.

Thyme oil contains 24-50% thymol, which is the component which gives thyme its flavor and odor. Thymol has very strong anti-bacterial/antifungal properties (“Thyme,” 2014). In therapy for smelly feet, thyme oil can help retard the growth of odor-causing bacteria, and its pleasant fragrance can also help mask foul foot-odors that are present.

Sage Oil

Sage (S. officinalis) extract and tea are a folk medicine that has been traditionally used to treat excessive sweating.

Clinical trials provide evidence for some of its proclaimed medicinal properties. Whether or not essential sage oil is a potent remedy for smelly feet remains to be seen. Based on the available data it is somewhat promising.

In Summary

Certain essential oils may help combat foot odors in two ways.

  • First, they tend to have anti-microbial and/or anti-fungal properties, so they act against the microbes which can cause smelly feet.
  • Secondly, they tend to have a very pleasant natural aroma, which can help mask any foot odors that are present. These oils are a holistic and natural way to combat foot odor, without having to resort to using drugs or other non-natural topical treatments. Masking foot odor however is not a real cure.

So do essential oils cure sweaty smelly feet?

How potent these botanical remedies are is not clear though. Tea tree oil shows to help cure other foot conditions. A blend of essential botanical oils and other compounds demonstrated to inhibit bacterial growth on feet while wearing shoes and socks.

However, real convincing clinical evidence does not exist. If you have a serious foot sweating and odor problem giving this treatment a try would probably not hurt. Some things may work for some people so why not give it a shot. If I did, I would go for tea tree essential oil or perhaps sage.

Do keep in mind that, based on what’s proven by science, other, more valid remedies are most likely better able to help you out.


Image by ilovememphis.


Top 6 Best Foot Soaks For Foot Odor

A popular type of foot odor home remedies are foot soaks. Claims on which soak works best are almost as abundant as the bacteria feeding on sweat on your feet.

Truth is that not all soaks are equal in terms of efficacy.  Although lots of prescription medications work wonders, inexpensive home remedies such as soaks can be just as effective.

Here are the 23 most effective soaks along with some info about their efficacy. If available either from studies, anecdotal reports, or personal experiences.

What you should know,

Foot soaks commonly have three types of action:

  1. astringent
  2. antibacterial
  3. deodorizing

Some odor-killing foot soaks only have one method of action. This does not automatically mean that the more types of action one foot soaks offers, the better it is in getting rid of foot  odor.

The synergistic effect may play a role in the efficacy of a cure however this is no set rule. This because a remedy may employ only one of the three actions but a really powerful one thus it can still be superior over others with more methods of action.

For example a really strong astringent may help cure sweaty feet better than a substance that’s mildly both astringent, antibacterial and deodorizing.

Top 6 Best Odor-Fighting Foot Soaks:


#6. Vodka soak  / wipe

On the Mythbusters TV show (episode 41) Adam and Jamie did a comparison of a foot powder wash vs. wiping a foot with vodka. Their experiment showed that foot odor was eliminated by both treatments.

Soaking your feet in vodka may work even better.

Won’t I get drunk?

Don’t worry (or get your hopes up), the Danish urban legend that you can get drunk by submerging your feet in alcohol is just that, a myth. Three doctors put this claim to the test. Read more about it on Discover Magazine.

How to use?

Wipe your feet down with a vodka-soaked washcloth. This will kill bacteria and thus reduce foul odor.

Or submerge your stinky tootsies in a moderate sized foot basin with water and vodka. Don’t fill it up too much as this will become a costly habit (the more water the more vodka you need). Not to mention a waste. Vodka has other great uses too right?



#5. Potassium permanganate foot bath

Does it work?

This old-school method is one of the more potent foot soaks. Potassium permanganate, (KMn04) (Permanganate of Potash) is a powerful chemical known to effectively kill fungi and bacteria.

How to use?

Add a few crystals or a table spoon potassium permanganate to  a quart of water. a quart of water.  The foot soak needs to color dark purple (see instructions on the package for more detailed dilution rates)

Soak for about 30 minutes. Don’t be surprised if your toenails and calluses start turning brown. It’s harmless.

Caution: topical use is safe in weak dilutions containing no more than 0.04 percent of potassium permanganate only. More about potassium permanganate foot soaks.




#4. Apple cider vinegar soak

If you have to believe many health gurus apple cider vinegar is close to a divine panacea, an all-natural medicine descended straight from Heaven.

The hailed liquid is said to help with weight loss, digestive problems, to sinusitis and allergies. Skeptics may be inclined to waive apple cider vinegar‘s ability to cure foot odor to that same category of old wives tales but it’s actually doctor-approved.

Does it work?

“Apple cider vinegar kills bacteria and dries excess sweat, the two main causes of foot odor,”

says New York City-based podiatrist Johanna Youner, DPM.

“It’s a really good, effective and cheap cure,”

The popular cure-all has antibacterial properties, partially due to its abundant levels of phenolics and acetic acid. Its acidity helps get rid of the foul odor and reduces the build up of sweat.

How to use?

Add a ½ cup of apple cider vinegar to a quart of lukewarm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes. Soak twice a week or more often if necessary.



White vinegar

White vinegar is a more affordable alternative to apple cider vinegar. White vinegar is a popular green, non-toxic household cleaner for a reason;  it’s a natural disinfectant and deodorizer.

Does it work?


How to use?

Mix about 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Soak your feet in the diluted foot bath.


#3. Mouth wash / Listerine soak

Who would have though that the same refreshing liquid you rinse your mouth with can also be used to fight foot odor? There’s even more, mouth wash also helps cure foot Athlete’s foot and other forms of fungus.

Does it work?

You bet it does. Here’s why.

Listerine (or other brands) is an antiseptic (kills bacteria) and an astringent as well so it reduces the amount you sweat after soaking. Listerine contains ethanol, which kills bacteria, fungi, and germs that can cause athlete’s foot.

Not to forget it’s a deodorizer too. Contrary to some other popular foot soaks mouth wash brings triple action to the table.

Bonus: mouthwashes also soften hard parts of skin on your feet. This is an added benefit because when feet sweat these parts become soggy and can harbor even more bacteria.

How to use?

Wet a wash cloth with mouthwash and treat your feet with it after a shower. Make sure to rub it in well. Thorough contact makes that the skins crevices and cracks in your foot soles are treated too.

Or, mix one part Listerine with two parts warm water in a tub and soak your feet for about 20 minutes.

Podiatrist Eric Reynolds, DPM on WebMD, recommends to apply a moisturizer such as Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Creme when your ready with soaking. The cream contains hydrating urea making this treatment even more effective.

“Both types of mouthwash—with and without alcohol— contain antimicrobial properties that reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth,”



#2. Epsom salt foot soaks

Epsom salt soaks fall in the category ‘Granny knows best’. My father always told me to use this cure as it worked wonders for him.

Epsom salt is a versatile beast. The popular mineral is used by Hollywood celebrities and the less-famous alike to cure tummy bloating, to detox, exfoliate skin, to slim waistlines, and de-puff skin.

Gwyneth Palthrow swears by an Epsom salt bath as an effective hangover cure. On top of that it’s praised for its use as a jet-lag remedy.

Does it work?

Epsom salt works great as a foot soak for stinky feet too since it is rich in magnesium sulphate. This substance not only neutralizes foot odor, it softens skin (be gone thy nasty hard skin patches!), reduces inflammation and even soothes aching feet.

Mouth wash and vodka work too but Epsom salt is more affordable .

How to use?

Dissolve ½ cup of Epsom salt in about 10 cups of warm water and soak your feet for 30 minutes. For best results do this two times per day.

Remove the loosened dead skin, calluses and corns with a foot file or pumice stone.



#1. Baking soda and Tea Tree oil soak

Baking soda is the apogee of household products in terms of versatility. What can’t you do with the household powerhouse? Also when it comes to curing foot odor, baking soda is a true workhorse. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, is no less of a Jack-of-all-trades.

Does it work?

The salt also called sodium bicarbonate, bread soda, cooking soda, and bicarbonate of soda is praised for its potent odor control abilities.

It kills bacteria and fungus *, and, if that’s not enough, softens your feet like Cleopatra’s honey and milk baths did for the Egyptian queen.

  • * It helps prevent and cure toenail fungus but existing, persisting toenail fungus may require 100% tea tree oil application.

The reason we proclaim the Epsom salt & Tea Tree oil foot soak as the number one best soak you can get is because it combines the best of both worlds.

Tea tree oil is known worldwide for its antimicrobial action. The clinically proven odor-fighter helps you get rid of bacteria, fungi, spores, and other unwanted critters.

Besides neutralizing foul odors, the amazing essential oil has antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal activity as well as anti-inflammatory effects.

Renowned sources such as WebMD state that Melaleuca Oil (as it’s called as well) not only removes foul odors but relieves common foot problems such as itching, scaling, burning, and inflammation.   

The combination of ingredients is why this soak does it all.

It removes odors like, is an astringent thus reduces sweating, smells good, soothes skin, softens hard skin patches, takes care of nail problems, and relieves pain.

How to use?

Add 1 ounce of foot soak, approximately 1 ½ tablespoons to a foot basin with warm water. Mix with hands until dissolved.

Soak your feet for about 15 minutes. Insert more salts for a more stringent or aromatic foot bath.

Go get this popular Tea Tree oil and Epsom salt foot soak now. Your feet will thank you. As will your family members.

Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak With Epsom Salt


5 Other popular foot soaks


If you just need a mild soak that may help rid the slightest whiff, the following soaks may help.  But trust me, if you suffer from serious foot stink you will want to use one of the top 5 above, those are just may more potent.

Black tea foot soak

Recommended by Dr. Oz and other well-known sources. Also called the tea bag soak, this very popular remedy’s method of action has to do with the tannins present in tea.

Tannins are plant polyphenols with astringent properties. Astringents temporarily close up the pores in your feet thus reducing the amount you sweat. This home remedy may stain your feet so keep that in mind before you put on your white socks.

How to use?

Cook water, place a few black tea bags in it. Let it cool off and soak your feet for at least 20 minutes. Repeat this a few times a week and see how it turns out for you.

Does it work?

It didn’t help me much. It’s not potent enough. There are stronger astringents out there (as well as substances that also kill bacteria and deodorize). Read my review here.

soaking your feet in black tea is a common home remedy for foot odor


Sage Soak

Sage, with its camphor-like scent, is a tonic herb. It contains oils and tannins that have astringent properties.
Does it work?

Sage leaves have antifungal and antibacterial properties, and a pleasant smell to help mask foot odors. The tannic acid in sage helps retard bacterial growth and close pores to reduce sweating.

How to use?

Make a tea mixture with sage leaves and soak the feet in it for 15 minutes.

Lemon water soak

Lemon is an astringent too. In theory lemon will help with excessive sweating because of the same principle as black tea. It’s supposed to shrink pores and the citric acid present in lemon also kills bacteria and because of its fresh scent it’s often used as a natural deodorant.

How to use? / Does it work?

Haven’t used it myself. People are known to mix lemon juice with baking soda making a paste that’s applied to the feet.

For example before going to bed. To me this seems more effective than just bathing in lemon juice diluted in water. Soaking your feet in pure lemon juice may be more potent but will be costly in practice.


Bleach foot bath

Common household bleach isn’t just a popular liquid among doomsday preppers to disinfect water for drinking purposes.

How to use?

Some people soak their feet in household bleach diluted with water. About a cup of bleach would be appropriate in a bath of water ( about a quart cup in a tub).

Does it work?

Just think about it, 8 tiny drops are used by disaster preppers to purify a gallon of water so bathing your feet in a stronger solution will definitely kill bacteria living on your feet.


Despite its popularity it’s commonly advised not to use bleach (sodium hypochlorite) on the skin. It can cause irritation, blisters and burns.

This soak may be too harsh to do regularly and detergents present in the bleach may be detrimental to your health. Not for the faint-of-skin and organic-minded among us.

Sea water, an ancient smelly feet cure

Salty sea water works wonders as a toenail fungus cure but if it works as a cure for your stinky feet?

Does it work?

Sea water, because of its salt content may help eliminate bacteria but it’s not an astringent.

Since it has not the multiple action other remedies do have this may probably not be the most effective cure. It’s likely to be a nice addition to a cure involving more thorough ways to prevent foot odor.

How to use?

If you frequent the beach anyway, make sure to get those feet in the water but don’t count on curing your condition over night.




Wrapping it up

Although the chemistry of these foot baths is given, every individual is different and what works for some may not work for another.

Generally speaking, these 6 foot baths are your most powerful options in getting rid of foot odor.

Depending on if you have additional goals such as curing dry or dead skin, warts, toenail fungus you may want to opt for another treatment but even then, the allround remedies we listed are your best bet.

Don’t forget to use a good antiperspirant on your feet for optimal effectiveness.


Which foot soaks did you try?

Did they work?


Image credits: sea water: Christina Xu , foot powder: Pixabay, vodka:  Villamon, feet, Pixabay, lemon water: Sam Fox, apple cider vinegar: Wisegeek 





Your Diet May Cause Foot Odor – Foods to Avoid and Eat

Everybody knows that your diet influences the way you smell. It’s common knowledge that eating heaps of garlic the day before a first date may not be conducive to the atmosphere (and outcome) of the rendezvous.

Just as there’s truth to the fact that people who eat lots of dairy seem to have a distinct body odor in the perception of those who are less fond of dairy.

And following this logic there’s also a possible link between your diet and the way your tootsies reek. Of course, body, and thus foot odor, is also determined by your overall health, genetics,  and personal hygiene.

Foot odor is a problem that many people struggle with. It’s embarrassing and limits your freedom.  You’ll think twice going to that friend’s house with white carpet when you know you’re going to have to take your shoes off inside the door.

When eliminating, or significantly reducing, foot odor it can be helpful to pay more attention to your diet.

In fact, the foods you eat play a major role in the odors produced by your body, and altering that diet can help get rid of that embarrassing smell. Here’s which foods to avoid and which foods to eat more often.

Foods to avoid

Foods high in sulfur

  • A number of compounds found in foods, such as sulfites, can produce an unpleasant smell when they are broken down in the body and released through sweat. Foods that are considered healthy may need to be avoided.  Some vegetables when digested are broken down into sulfur-like compounds, which can create unpleasant smells.

Some people have a food sensitivity to sulfites causing a prominent odor sometimes described as an onion smell.

Vegetables like broccoli, fish like salmon and tuna, and red meats can also cause unwanted odors. Onion, garlic,  cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beer, tea, and coffee are examples of sulfur rich foods. Eliminating such foods can help clear up foul foot odor.

Don’t overdo it though with the cutting back because sulfur-containing vegetables are very healthy. They contain unique potent anti-carcinogenic compounds.

Sweat inducing foods

  • Foods that make you overproduce sweat. Both spicy and foods that are temperature wise hot, such as hot soup can make you perspire. Consuming less of these can assist you in your attempt to eliminate foot odor.

A good place to start is by limiting foods that are spicy such as peppers, greasy such as fast food, chocolate, and white bread, high in fat such as high fat milk, high in sodium (salt) and contain elements such as caffeine.

These foods increase sweat production so unfortunately you may have to curb the coffee and fried chicken cravings.

Refined carbs

  • Another major culprit are foods that are considered refined carbs. These include white bread, white pasta, white rice and pastries. Many pastries contain flour and refined carbs that contribute to body odor.

Strive for a balance of complex carbs, healthy fats and protein to reduce stinky feet.

Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld, the founder of the Institute for Integrative Podiatric Medicine mentions:

“Diets high in refined carbohydrates will often serve as food for bacteria and fungus in the body. The body intends to rid itself of bacteria through dead skin cells. However, when they collect in the skin of the foot through perspiration and are enclosed in a shoe, the odor can become extreme.”

With that being said, don make the mistake thinking low carb is the way to go.

Low carb diet

  • When on low carbohydrate diets people often consume high amounts of protein. A common side effect of such diets is keto breath or ketosis odor.

The lack of carbs makes the body increase ketone production causing the distinct smell often described as acetone or rotting fruit.

Such diets can result in quite the odorous process:

I’ve done the no carb / low carb system before and it really seems to be the only thing that works for me but this time around I have noticed that my feet REALLY stink. Now, before you tell me I am crazy or give me the “get new shoes” routine I have to say this – I’ve never had stinky feet. Sure there were some days that they weren’t smelling like a bed of roses but these are like DEATH FEET.(source: Elite Fitness)

Protein rich foods

  • High protein foods such as eggs, fish and red meat are commonly high in compounds such a choline and carnitine. When these compounds are broken down in the body it can lead to the production of trimethylamine, a substance known to produce a fishy smell. Fish particularly rich in choline are  tuna and salmon.

Yeast and sugar

  • An overabundance of yeast and sugar may contribute to bacterial growth which is a the indirect cause of smelly feet. Reduce your intake of yeast and sugar containing foods.

Note: of course adjusting your diet will work best when you take other measures too. Here’s the multi-modal cure that helped me get rid of the smell.

This wide range of foods that influence body odor and potentially your stinky feet may have you wonder, is there anything left to eat?

Yep, rest assured, there is. Everybody is different and maintaining a well-balanced varied diet is essential to your health. It’s probably best to see if you eat lots of a particular food mentioned here. If you do, try eliminating it for a while from your diet and see if it helps.

Apart from that,

Foods to eat

A more proactive approach in getting rid of the pong could be by incorporating nutrients in your diet that are known to reduce body odor.

There are tons of foods out there that won’t contribute to that embarrassing scent. Foods that are high in fiber like fruit and leafy vegetables help to flush out the system and get rid of existing toxins.

Fruits and chlorophyll rich foods

  • Eating things like citrus fruit and kale are thought to produce a sweeter body and foot odor. Green leafy vegetables, super sprouts, kelp, and seaweed are high in chlorophyll which is known to remove toxins from the body.

Wild edible greens such as chickweed, miners lettuce, micro-algae and watercress are abundant sources of “wild chlorophyll”. This nutrient could is said to boost wound and ulcer healing and is thought to help combat foot odor too.

These claims however have not been proven by clinical evidence and more research is needed to confirm these claims.


  • These foods, along with spices and herbs such as mint, peppermint, parsley, and rosemary contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a compound that aids in the neutralization of many odors before they’re processed and emitted through the skin in sweat.

Sage is a herb that aids in reducing sweat, leaving less of a chance that smelly compounds will make their way to the surface of your skin.


  • A lack of zinc in your diet  can cause stinky feet. Make sure you’re getting enough zinc by eating zinc rich foods or by taking zinc supplements.

The RDA for men is about 11 grams and for women it is about 8.  Zinc-rich foods are peanuts, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate.  You can also use zinc cream for stinky feet

Wrapping it up

Certain foods form compounds contributing to sweat and unpleasant smells.  Limiting those can go a long way in reducing distress and embarrassment of your malodorous feet.

Making an effort to eat more foods that neutralize or improve body odor can be helpful too in curing those dreaded stinky feet.

Maintaining a healthy diet not only improves your overall health but it can also keep you smelling sweet.

Don’t forget about The Holy Quaternity when it comes to ridding yourself of smelly feet:



Is Bathing Your Feet In Tea An Effective Smelly Feet Cure?

On one of his TV shows, Dr. Oz said soaking your feet in tea stops sweaty (and thus smelly) feet. Many people say this helps them cure smelly feet.

But is this remedy truly effective?

How does it work?

The method of action when taking tea foot baths is caused by tannins. The tannins present in tea dry, constrict, and shrink the tissue in your feet. Tannins are so called astringents.

astringent, any of a group of substances that cause the contraction or shrinkage of tissues and that dry up secretions (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

bathing in black tea as a smelly feet cure
my friend bathed his feet in black tea for a few days in a row

When you drink tea you can feel the action of tannins when you get that typical dry mouth feel. You may also recognize this feeling when drinking wine because wine is also rich in tannins.

When you put your feet in tea it can reduce sweating because it shrinks sweat gland openings. The tannins in tea also kill bacteria that produce the smell when your feet sweat.

Depending on how smelly your feet are, you will have to take tea foot baths for a while, each bath at least an hour in order to be succesful.

At least that’s what some sources say. In order to confirm this I put this remedy to the test. I let my friend bathe his feet daily in a black tea bath.

The first thing he noticed that it didn’t have much effect. The dry feeling you get when you use aluminumhydroxide is absent. Even after a few days of sitting in a tea bath for at least 20 minutes this feeling did not occur. Neither did his feet become less sweaty or feel dryer.

Note, on the photo there are two tea bags. On days afterwards he used up to 5 bags per bowl.

Conclusion: tea may help if you have really mildly sweaty feet but we know there are better remedies.


Are there studies done on this topic?

Yes, studies show that topical tannins are able to alter proteins existing on the surface of your skin. At least one study concludes;

topical tannins can reduce the openings of sweat ducts and thus reduce sweating locally.

As a bonus the researchers state that “tannins also have antimicrobial properties that help to reduce odorous bacterial by-products” (van Wyk and Wink 2004).


Is tea the most potent remedy for sweaty feet?

No, if your feet are seriously sweaty, you may want to use another astringent that is more powerful.

After all, who has the time to make liters of strong (preferably black) tea and then bathe their feet in it for half an hour and repeating this regularly.

That’s why aluminum chloride, which is a more powerful astringent, may be a more convenient solution for treating those stinky feet.

Studies show aluminum chloride to be effective and as a bonus, it shows to cure athlete’s foot too.

aluminum chloride showed pronounced astringency and was the only compound to bring about rapid resolution of the signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot in open-ended clinical trials.

So concluding, if you suffer from mildly smelly feet, an ocassional tea soaking treatment may be nice, natural way to improve the situation.

However, if you need heavier measures, go for aluminum chloride in combination with some other measures.

Tea Tree Oil a Cure for Smelly Feet? Studies on Odor, Athletes Foot, and Toenail Fungus

The medical term for foot odor is bromodosis and it is a year-round problem caused by two things: sweat combined with bacteria, and the growth of fungus.

When feet sweat, moisture is trapped in shoes which gives rise to odor causing bacteria and create the perfect conditions in which fungus thrive.

Shoes are then stored in dark closets and under beds and unless the shoes are fully dried by the time they are worn again, bacteria and fungus continue to grow causing the shoes – and the feet – to smell.

Pregnant women and teenagers are most prone to foot odor because heightened hormones produce more sweat, but anyone can suffer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who work on their feet all day, who are stressed or anxious, or those who suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis (increased sweat in the feet) are all prone to bouts of bromodosis.

In order to treat foot odor, the most common natural remedies include keeping feet – and shoes – dry with frequent changes of socks, adequate shoe-drying time, and foot baths.

But these treatments will not halt the growth of fungus. Warm, damp foot conditions can also promote conditions like athlete’s foot and fungal growth in the bed of the toenail.

For this type of foot odor, a more aggressive treatment is required.

Natural Treatment with Tea Tree Oil

The Aboriginal People of Australia have known about the medicinal benefits of tea trea oil for several millennia.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has well documented antibacterial and astringent properties and is useful in treating a number of skin conditions including abrasions, insect bites, stings, and boils.

But can you treat foot odor with tea trea oil?

There is no well-designed scientific research confirming its effectiveness.  Small scale clinical studies have had positive results for treating athlete’s foot and nail fungus but whether it’s an effective cure for smelly feet remains unclear.

Tea tree oil is an excellent anti-fungal agent and clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating both athlete’s foot and fungal nail infections.

Clinical research shows it is an effective cure for

  • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)
  • Fungus infections of the nails (onychomycosis)

100% solutions of tea tree oil are recommended here since lower concentrations don’t appear to be as effective as medications such as clotrimazole or terbinafine.

In one double-blind randomized trial published in the Journal of Family Practice, onychomycosis patients either received a twice daily application of 1% clotrimazole or a 100% solution of tea tree oil.

Onychomycosis is a nail condition caused by a fungus. After six months both groups were tested again and had similar rates of recovery. Three months later, they had similar rates of relapse.

In another study published in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health, patients were given either a cream containing 2% butenafine hydrochloride and 5% Melaleuca alternifolia oil (tea tree oil) or a placebo.

After 16 weeks, 80% of patients treated with the cream were cured compared to none of the placebo patients.

“The chemicals in tea tree oil may kill bacteria and fungus, and reduce allergic skin reactions.” –WebMD

If The Shoe Fits, Clean It

While the science is looking quite favorable and evidence exists that you can treat foot odor with tea tree oil, there are some side-effects with it’s use, typically mild skin irritation.

Nor have the effects of tea tree oil been fully studied in pregnant women and children, so some caution with these groups is appropriate.

And it must be noted that an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Athlete’s foot is quite common in the warm, moist environs of gyms and swimming pools and proper foot hygiene is a must.

Wearing flip flops or other footwear in gyms and public swimming pools, keeping feet (and shoes) clean and dry, wearing the right socks, and replacing old footwear that may have been contaminated by a previous fungal infection are all good preventive strategies.

When it comes to curing smelly feet, I would opt for the more conventional yet proven effective method.

But if the worst happens and fungal infection such as athlete’s foot or a nasty toenail infection occurs?

Reach for the tea trea oil – it’s natural, and it works.