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9 Easy Solutions For Stinky Feet That Actually Work

stinky feet

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

stinky feet

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.

Related: This Is How To Remove Odor From Stinky Shoes

stinky feet

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.)

stinky feet

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.

stinky feet

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.

Related: How To Make Sleep Salve For Better Sleep And Softer Feet

stinky feet

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.

stinky feet

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.

stinky feet

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.

stinky feet

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.

stinky feet

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!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • I have found a tea foot soak works. Make a strong tea using 4 teabags and boiling water in a jug. Cool and pour into a basin and soak for 20 minutes. Do this for a week or so and then when necessary. The tannins in the tea dry sweat glands keeping bacteria at bay.

  • Used (or new) dryer sheets are fantastic disposable shoe liners. Use in all types of shoes from sneakers to dress shoes. Toss at end of day or even change them midday if needed. I actually don’t use dryer sheets in the dryer but buy the bulk packs for cheap just for this purpose.

  • In addition to all of your great tips, washing my socks inside out with vinegar has helped me immensely. Gym socks in hot, and the others in warm or cold depending on the material (merino wool in cold for sure).

  • I’ve found that checking the fabric content of socks before I buy them makes all the difference. I never buy socks made of polyester in any amount (even 5%). Now all of my family members don’t have stinky feet.

    • This was going to be my reply. Wearing socks with high polyester content makes your feet stink, especially when you wear them in trainers, nothing but plastic on your feet makes them stink ang much more likely to get athletes foot and such

  • I’ve found when odor gets out of control the 1-2 weeks of epsom salt soaks kicks it. But the other tips here have to be in place as well. For me that’s: 1. Spraying rubbing alcohol inside and drying all my shoes (even dress shoes) in the dryer on high heat on a sneaker rack, once per month or so. 2. Using used dryer sheets (or even new ones) as cheap shoe liners in any shoes where they won’t show. Use a fresh pair of dryer sheets every wearing. Doing these two things has greatly prolonged the useful life of all my shoes.

  • I finally gave up battling athletes foot with antifungal creams. I mix zinc powder into moisturizer. I doubles as sunscreen. A form of zinc used to be the active ingredient in desenex. I use that instead of soap on my feet. It does a really good job against odor too. Haven’t had any more recurrences and it’s been years.

  • I have suffered from smelly shoes since before high school. My sister told me this trick and it works well. Besides changing out shoes each day… Put rubbing alcohol in a travel spray bottle and spray the insides of shoes each evening. It kills bacteria and smell. Works like a charm.

  • One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is health reasons why your feet may stink. If the problem is severe and persistent, please have your kidneys checked. A simple blood test next time you are at the doctors will tell you if they are functioning properly. We had a nephew who always had smelly feet. in his twenties, his eyes started to turn yellow. After testing he found out he only had one working kidney and it was failing. He was told that the horrible smelly feet he had from grade school, was a symptom of kidney problems. If family and friends beg you to leave your shoes on, and the above solutions don’t help, please make an appointment for a check up.

  • Hi y’all, smelly feet had been the bane of my existence until I started scrubbing my feet with a nail brush, drying them well; then I would slather them with hand sanitizer, foot cream, then Bag Balm. Last thing socks and shoes!! I’ve been doing it for years and couldn’t be happier!

  • I have had the best luck with Odor Eaters foot powder (I buy it at Walmart). It beats baby powder and baking soda hands down. I’ve used this on sneakers, boots, and nasty soccer cleats! It has become so popular in my house that I actually have to take a sharpie marker and put peoples names on their own individual bottle of this powder. It doesn’t just cut the odor but it helps keep my feet dry. If I have to wash any sneakers/shoes, I leave them by the dehumidifier overnight and they will be completely dry by morning. (Dehumidifier is great in drying out car seats too – my daughter was frequently car sick so I was had to dismantle the car seat and wash all its components many times.)

  • The most effective thing for our family, has been a boot dryer. If you can’t alternate shoes or they are just plain wet, this is super effective. It is very low heat so it doesn’t damage leather and will dry them overnight. Bonus points for drying wet gloves. Keeping shoes dry so mold and fungus don’t grow in them ( and wearing socks!) were the solution for us.

  • Also effective: soaking feet in very warm tea bath (just brew regular tea); using an antibacterial soap on your feet when bathing/showering; ensure dry feet using a hair dryer after towel drying; using an anti-persperant deodorant (spray) on dry feet, allowing feet to dry thoroughly after application. Your hints are also sensible and worth incorporating. Thank you for your post!

  • I haven’t done this yet. I was wondering if anyone knew if soaking your feet in a mixture of brewed tea bags with water works.I have tried the baby powder on very hot days sprinkled inside my sandals. I’ve also used the deodorant on my feet trick. I didn’t notice much of difference with that trick.

    • Hi Christy I used to soak in tea water but the trick is to scrub your feet you need to remove dead skin cells. I just found doing my latest trick really works for me but every one has to find the right method for them. Just keep on trying. Good Luck

  • I got rid of smelly feet by washing all my shoes and washing my feet morning and night. I also spray deodorant on my feet straight after washing and drying really well then slip on my shoes. I have had no more smelly feet when I chuck my shoes off after a hard days work.

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