The topic of stinky feet is not a particularly glamorous one, but sometimes life isn’t glamorous! Sometimes life is smelly and kind of embarrassing. But that’s okay, because smelly and embarrassing things happen all of us, and this is a supportive space. :-) And honestly, I have received a LOT of questions and comments on the topic of stinky feet over the past several years. So if you are struggling with stinky feet, rest assured that you are not alone! It’s a common problem, and it’s totally solvable too.
Today I’ll be sharing 9 practical tips for dealing with stinky feet. You might notice that these tips cover a lot of ground, from shoe choice and foot soaks, to shoe inserts and diet changes. That’s because food odor can can be caused by a lot of different factors, so there isn’t really a single solution. In my experience, it’s always best to have options when you’re trying to solve a complicated problem, and I feel certain that there’s a solution in here for everyone. :-) (And if you have a miraculous stinky feet solution that isn’t mentioned here, we’d love to hear about it! Tell us all about it in a comment at the bottom of this post.)
9 Simple Remedies For Stinky Feet
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1. Change Your Shoes
If you wear the same pair of shoes every day, they may not have a chance to dry out completely. And sweating into a pair of sweaty shoes is a surefire way to create an odor issue! Try to cycle through a few different pairs of shoes, so each pair gets more time to dry out between uses. And let you shoes air out in a well-lit and well-ventilated area (rather than stashing them in dark and stuffy closet).
It’s also important to note that stinky shoes may actually be to blame for stinky feet! Learn how to remove odor from shoes at the link below.
2. Try A Foot Soak
This foot soak works wonders on athlete’s foot, but it can also work for anyone suffering from foot odor! The soak helps to kill fungus and odor-causing bacteria, leaving your feet clean and smelling fresh. Just add 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup Epsom salt, and 10 drops tea tree oil to 2 quarts warm water. Pour the mixture into a foot bath or dish tub, and soak your feet in it for about 30 minutes. Repeat the foot soak once or twice per day until the odor disappears. (For extreme cases, reduce the amount of water to 1 quart.)
3. Dry Your Feet
After bathing, showering, or doing a foot soak, make sure to dry your feet thoroughly. Make sure to pay particular attention to the areas underneath and between your toes! Moisture can quickly lead to odor, so keeping your feet dry is critical.
4. Use A Salve
I like to rub my homemade sleep salve on my feet before going to bed. Not only do the essential oils promote restful sleep, but they also have antibacterial qualities! Try cover your feet with a thin layer of this salve before bed. You’ll wake up with softer, fresher-smelling feet! Get the recipe for my sleep salve at the link below.
5. Use A Powder
If your feet tend to get sweaty throughout the day, consider using a powder to help absorb excess moisture. Baby powder is a classic choice, but many people swear by cornstarch and baking soda. All you have to do is coat your feet with a light layer of your powder of choice before putting your socks on in the morning.
6. Wear Socks
Wear socks as often as possible. Socks help absorb the sweat your feet produce, which helps prevent odors from developing in your shoes. Also, make sure you’re putting on a clean pair of socks everyday. Dirty socks will only make the odor situation worse! (If you have particularly sweaty feet, you may even want to change into a clean pair of socks halfway through the day if it’s really hot outside.)
Another note about socks—choose natural materials like cotton and wool. They are going to be more breathable, which is good if you’re concerned about odor. Synthetic fibers may trap moisture, and contribute to odor instead of preventing it.
7. Wear Breathable Shoes
Speaking of breathability, it’s not just important for your socks. You should also choose shoes that made from breathable materials, like leather or canvas. They allow sweat to evaporate more readily, which helps keep feet dry and odor-free.
8. Use Shoe Inserts
Certain shoe inserts may be able to help prevent foot odor. I found this pair made of activated charcoal on Amazon. Activated charcoal is often used to absorb unpleasant odors, so these may be a big help! They come in one large size, but you can use scissors to trim them down to fit into smaller shoes. See the inserts on Amazon here.
9. Cut Back On Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, white pasta, and white rice, could be contributing to your foot odor. Refined carbs create a favorable environment for bacteria and fungus to thrive and cause all sorts of unpleasant odor issues. Instead, focus on eating a more balanced diet that features protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs (like whole grains, fruits, and veggies.)
These simple tips are designed to reduce and prevent run-of-the-mill foot odor. However, foot odor can also be caused by infections, and these can be really serious. If you have any redness or swelling around your feet or toes, or if there is a particularly foul odor, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially where your feet are concerned!