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Smelly Feet: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Foot Odor

smelly feet

Smelly feet, known as bromodosis in medicine, is a common condition that everyone can get from time to time.

Despite the fact that this condition ( most of the time ) is not a sign of a serious problem, it can make an individual feel embarrassed and ashamed. And, if the condition continues too long it can be strong enough to ruin one’s social relationships.

If you suffer from smelly feet, the good news is that there are quite effective ways that you can use to get rid of this problem faster and cheaper than you might think.

In this article, we are going to investigate the most effective ways to get rid of smelly feet.

However, before that, it would be sensible to briefly talk about the causes and risk factors of smelly feet.


What Causes Smelly Feet?

Even though we aren’t able to see them, our feet naturally host numerous germs. These germs, mainly bacteria, are the main source of the unwelcome odour on the feet. 

According to experts, bacteria that lives on the skin eats the feet’s sweat buildup, which occurs when the sweat doesn’t evaporate. And,  after eating a buildup of sweat, bacteria produce a kind of acid, that causes the bad odour.

What may surprise you is human feet have the most sweat glands in the human body. Therefore, feet are a perfect area for bacteria to flourish.


Risk factors for Smelly Feet

There are certain factors that set the stage for smelly feet. Identifying these risk factors may enable you to eliminate them, hence, reduce the risk of having smelly feet.

Winter: In the winter months, the risk of having smelly feet is higher relative to the summer months. Because people tend to wear more comfortable and open shoes like a slipper or training shoes that allow sweat to evaporate in summer months. 

Tight shoes: Wearing tight shoes may block air flow, consequently, increases the risk of bad odour in the feet.

Pregnancy: Due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, pregnant women have a higher chance of getting smelly feet. 

Puberty: Like during pregnancy, puberty is a period where a person goes through hormonal changes. These changes can trigger unwelcome feet odour.

Stress: Since stress or too much pressure heats the body, the body responds by sweating to reduce the body heat. The increased sweat in feet due to stress paves the way for bacterial reproduction.

Genetics: According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal as to foot odour, some people may be genetically more susceptible to get sweaty feet.


Best ways to get rid of smelly feet

Thus far, we have learnt a lot about smelly feet condition, including the main causes and risk factors. It is now time to discover the best and simple ways to get rid of smelly feet.

Let’s start to investigate the best and simple ways to get rid of smelly feet.


1- Wear Breathable Socks

Wearing breathable socks is one of the most effective ways to get rid of smelly feet. Because, if the socks don’t allow the sweat to evaporates, then moist remains on the feet. And, that causes bacteria overgrowth, which in turn, increases the risk of having smelly feet.

Avoid synthetic and nylon socks, opt for cotton-made socks to prevent smelly feet.


2- Wear Breathable Shoes

The same rule applies to your shoe choice. If your shoes are not breathable, it will lock the moisture inside. And, that will cause bad odour in the feet by creating the best environment for bacteria to thrive.

Therefore, be careful when you choose your shoes. Opt for shoes with mesh panels.


3- Change your Socks during the day

Especially in winter months, you might be wearing your shoes for long hours for being outside due to work or any other reason. Therefore, during the day your feet most likely perspire and socks get wet.

If you leave your socks covered in sweat for an extended period of time, it triggers bacteria overgrowth and smelly feet. For this reason, taking a pair of socks along with you when you go out and change the socks, in the case of your socks getting sweaty, will prevent bacteria from thriving in moist/wet socks.


4- Don’t wear the same shoes

It might be too luxurious for you, but, this one is rather significant if you are inclined to overcome smelly feet. If you wear shoes for long hours during the day, then the changes your shoes get wet is high due to perspiration.

If so, allow the shoes covered in sweat to dry out fully the other day, and wear another pair of shoes. This practice will certainly reduce the risk of bacteria overgrowth, hence, the risk of smelly feet.

Continue to apply the ” not wearing the same shoes two days in a row” ritual to avoid smelly feet.


5- Change Insoles

Another way to avoid smelly feet is to change insoles. Using different insoles while the used one left to dry out may reduce the bacteria accumulation.

Or, you can buy anti-bacterial spray to use on the insoles to dispel bacteria growth.


6- Keep the Feet Clean

As you might have guessed, one of the most effective ways to avoid bad feet odour is to clean the feet on a daily basis. Washing your feet and also scrubbing your feet, if possible, will remove dead skin cells on which bacteria like growing.

Make sure you do dry out your feet after washing. Prefer clean socks to wear after completely drying out the feet.


7- Wash with Salty- water

Your feet may be prone to sweating due to genetic or other reasons. If so, washing the feet with salty water can dry out the feet and help you overcome smelly feet condition.

Add 5 glasses of water and 4 teaspoons of salt to the washbowl and soak your feet in this water for around 15 minutes.

Thereafter, dry your feet out thoroughly and wear your socks.


8- Wash with Vinegar

Vinegar, like salt, is effective to combat smelly feet. Vinegar contains some forms of acid that prevent bacteria from breeding in the feet.

Add 2 litres of water and 2 glasses of vinegar to a washbowl, and stir it slightly. Then, let your feet remain in this mixture for 12-13 minutes. After the remaining 12-13 minutes wash your feet with soap and rinse.

Again, don’t forget to dry your feet out thoroughly after using vinegar foot soak. Using this method once or max twice a week will help you get rid of smelly feet.


9- Spend time Barefoot

If your feet perspire, while you are at home, take the socks off and let your feet breathe. That will enable moisture to evaporate and stops bacteria from overgrowing.


10-  Use Antiperspirant

As we said many times throughout the article, perspiring is the main cause of smelly feet. It bears repeating your feet has the most sweat glands than any other part of your body. Therefore, the region tends to perspire.

As such, using antiperspirant can come to your aid, if you suffer from smelly feet too often.

In the case of antiperspirant doesn’t stop sweating your dermatologist can prescribe a stronger one.