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Many people suffer from the embarrassing problem of foot odor. The issue of smelly and stinking feet is scientifically known as bromhidrosis. There are two factors that contribute to foot odor – sweat and bacteria. Sweat itself does not lead to foot odor, it is the bacteria that grow in the sweat and feed on the dead skin cells of the feet that cause the foul smell. One of the easiest ways to get rid of dead skin on feet is through regular scrubbing and exfoliation. Some natural remedies containing potent astringents can also be used to control sweat production. Here is a list of time-tested home remedies that can help eliminate foot odor without causing any side effects.
Causes of Foot Odor
The cheesy smell that is released when we open our shoes after returning home is caused due to decomposition of the sweat by bacteria. Here are some of the main causes of smelly feet:
- Wearing same shoes every day without allowing the sweat to dry out completely.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Hormonal changes in teenagers and pregnant women.
- Excessive stress and tension
- Hyperhidrosis – A condition in which a person sweats more than normal
15 Useful Home Remedies for Smelly Feet
Stop embarrassing yourself among your family and friends because of your stinky feet and use these all-natural remedies to remove foot odor permanently.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most effective foot odor remedies that not only keeps the feet fragrant for a long time, but its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties helps kill the bacteria that causes the infection and lead to foot odor in the front place. One can apply lavender oil even if one has sensitive or irritated skin, broken skin, cracked heels or blisters because of its mild and soothing nature.
Prepare a soothing foot soak by adding a few drops of lavender oil in warm water. Soak your feet in this infusion for 20 minutes and pat dry. Repeat this soak 2 times daily for a few days to get rid of foot odor permanently.
Alum is one of the most functional home remedies for smelly feet, and has powerful antiseptic and astringent properties. It prevents the bacteria growth in feet that cause foot odor. The astringent properties of alum shrink the sweat glands on feet so that it perspires less. Alum is widely used in deodorants thanks to its antiperspirant properties. Alum is available in both crystal and powdered form, and you can buy either the crystal or the powder.
Take one teaspoon of alum powder and mix it in 1 cup of warm water. Wash your feet with this solution. Let it absorb for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this method 1 time every day.
Epsom salt is widely used in foot soaks in order to achieve soft and smooth skin. It is also used in spa and beauty salons. It is one of the best home remedies which fights microbial infections and neutralizes foot odor. The astringent properties of the salt reduce sweat in the feet. The detoxifying properties of Epsom salt also help in relieving aching feet by driving out the toxins from the body which include bacteria, fungus, and dead skin cells.
Add 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in half a bucket of warm water. Immerse your feet in the soak for 15 minutes every night before going to sleep. Repeat this nightly ritual daily to get rid of smelly feet.
White vinegar is not only used as marinate for various dishes, but is also used in home remedies for skin and hair. It is one of the most amazing home remedies for dull hair. It is also an inexpensive remedy to eliminate foot odor which is readily available in the kitchen. Soaking your feet in vinegar creates an acidic environment which is inhospitable to the bacteria. It also helps in getting rid of the nasty foot smell.
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to 6 cups of hot water and add a few drops of lavender oil to it. Steep your feet in this mixture for 15 minutes and then wash your feet with soap. Repeat it 1 time daily for desirable results.
Black tea not only provides your body with useful antioxidants and works as one of the most potent hair fall home remedies, but it is also a powerful remedy to remove foot odor. The tannic acid in black tea kills the odor-producing bacteria, and its astringent properties shrink the pores so that the mouth of sweat is reduced, which usually functions as the breeding ground for bacteria. You can refresh your feet with a black tea soak.
Put 2 black tea bags in 3 cups of boiling water and boil till the tea is strong. Add it to half bucket of normal water and soak your feet in this tea solution. Repeat this treatment 1 time daily for 1 week to get rid of annoying foot odor.
Ginger is not only a popular kitchen herb for spicing up dishes, but is also well known for its potent medicinal properties which make it a potent home remedy for various health issues and ailments. Ginger oil is also used as an effective natural remedy for scalp psoriasis. Ginger is one of the natural remedies for foot odor that is easily available in the kitchen. The detoxifying properties of ginger promote healthy sweating and promote the production of protein dermicidin that moves to the surface of the skin and provides protection against micro-organisms such as fungi and bacteria that cause infection and foot odor.
Crush a medium sized piece of ginger root to make a thick puree and steep it in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Strain this liquid and use it to massage your feet at night before going to bed. Repeat this treatment daily for 1 week to get amazing results.
Sage and Rosemary Foot Soak
Both sage and rosemary have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties which help in killing foot odor causing bacteria, making them a useful natural cure for foot odor. The tannic acid found in sage has astringent properties which reduce the production of sweat from the sweat glands. Less sweat means fewer bacteria. Sage is also used as a remedy for hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.
Fill a foot basin with boiling water and add 1 tablespoon each of dried sage and rosemary to it and let it steep till you can put your feet in the water in a comfortable way. Soak your feet in this infusion for 20 minutes daily for 1 week. You can also put a few dried sage leaves inside your shoes to cut out the smell from the shoes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best natural foot odor remedies that show immediate results. Apple cider vinegar has several uses for both skin and hair, and it is also used as a home remedy for weight loss. The acidic environment created by apple cider vinegar makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive. It also helps in regulating the pH level of the skin and getting rid of the odor-causing bacteria permanently.
Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to 5 cups of warm water and soak your feet in this concoction for 15 minutes 2 times a day for 1 week to get wonderful results. You can also steep your socks in apple cider vinegar.
One of the best ways to get rid of foot odor is to remove the deposits of dead skin cells and calluses from the feet with the help of regular exfoliation. A natural scrubber not only cleans your feet but also prevents the formation of corns and calluses, some of the main reasons for foot odor. A mixture of sugar, water, and isopropyl alcohol makes one of the most effective glowing skin home remedies. The sugar scrub eliminates the dead skin cells whereas the alcohol destroys the bacteria.
Mix 1 part of isopropyl alcohol (91% or above) with 5 parts of water and 7 to 9 parts of sugar in order to make a grainy mixture and scrub your feet with this mixture for 10 minutes. Then wash your feet with water. Repeat this treatment 3 times a week for best results. Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes before using the sugar scrub.
Boric acid is yet another beneficial home remedy to eliminate foot odor. Boric acid is derived from boron, sodium salts and oxygen, and is present in many foods, talcum powders, antiseptics, soaps, pesticides and more. The strong antiseptic properties of boric acid help in destroying the bacteria and molds that cause foot odor, and cure foot diseases like athlete’s foot.
Borax can also be used instead of boric acid in order to treat foot odor problems. You can sprinkle some borax powder inside your shoes to cut out the abominable smell.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a one-stop remedy for almost all types of skin and hair problems, and it is considered one of the best natural remedies for dandruff. Baking soda stabilizes the pH of the skin and prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungus. It also helps in making the skin of your feet soft and smooth. Lemons have astringent properties that reduce sweat production and also provide a refreshing scent to your feet.
Add 1/4th cup of baking soda to 8 cups of lukewarm water and add the juice of 1 whole lemon to it. Soak your feet in this infusion for 20 minutes and then dry your feet.
Salt and Water Soak
One of the major reasons for foot odor is excessive sweating. Soaking your feet in salt water can help in controlling excessive sweating by pulling moisture out of the skin, thereby decreasing the amount of bacteria present on the foot. It also helps in exfoliating the skin and removing the dead skin cells on which the bacteria feeds. You can use moderately coarse pure salt or kosher salt for this remedy.
Add 1 cup of kosher salt in a tub of lukewarm water and soak your feet in it for 20 minutes. Repeat this treatment 1 time daily for 2 weeks to get rid of foot odor for good.
Essential Oils Soak
Essential oils are widely used in spa and aromatherapy treatments in order to calm and relax the mind and relieve stress. Fragrant essential oils are also useful in getting rid of nagging foot odor problems. The potent antifungal and antibacterial properties of essential oils treat infections and also render a pleasant smell to the feet.
A mixture of tea tree oil and lavender oil can be used to eliminate foot odor effectively. Add 8 drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil to half bucket of lukewarm water and plunge your feet in it for 20 minutes. Repeat this treatment daily in order to remove foot odor.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree essential oil is extremely beneficial for treating a wide range of skin diseases and is an amazing natural remedy for pimples and acne. It also helps in getting rid of foot odor naturally by healing fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. It also neutralizes foot odor. This strong essential oil can be combined with water or some other carrier oil.
Add 8 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of water and apply this water on your feet. Let it air dry. Repeat this cure every night before going to bed. You can also mix tea tree oil with lavender oil and apply the mixture directly to your feet every night.
Oatmeal is a rich source of complex carbs and fiber, and the benefits of oatmeal for weight loss are numerous. But oatmeal is also used in home remedies for the skin and it works as a powerful exfoliating agent. Scrubbing is one of the easiest ways to get rid of foot odor as scrubbing removes the deposits of dead skin cells from your feet and cuts out the food supply to the odor causing bacteria.
Prepare a scrub by adding 2 teaspoons of oatmeal to a cup of lukewarm water. Rub this scrub on your feet and massage for 10 minutes. Wash it away with lukewarm water and pat dry your feet. Repeat this process 4 to 5 times every week.
Important Tips to Prevent Foot Odor
Keeping a few easy and simple tips in mind can help keep foot odor away altogether.
- Wash Your Feet – Practice proper personal hygiene and clean your feet on a daily basis by washing them with soap and lukewarm water, especially in between the toes.
- Exfoliate – While most of us concentrate on exfoliating our body, we completely forget about our feet. The dead skin cells on the feet act as a food supply to the odor causing bacteria. So make sure to scrub your feet periodically in order to remove dead skin cells, calluses, and corns.
- Keep Moisture at Bay – Moisture in the form of sweat and water acts as a breeding ground for bacteria. So, keep your feet fresh and dry at all times including the spaces between the toes.
- Use Antiperspirant – Application of antiperspirant on your feet shrinks the sweat ducts of the feet and reduces the production of sweat.
- Pick the Right Socks – Using socks made of nylon or any other synthetic material don’t allow your feet to breathe, and traps moisture around your feet. Therefore, always use cotton socks which let your feet breathe.
- Wear Fresh Socks Every Day – Don’t wear the same socks on two consecutive days. The socks absorb the sweat from your feet. Wearing the same socks on the next day reheats and produces a bad smell. So, make it a point to wear clean socks every day.
- Wear Open Toe Shoes When Possible – Open toe shoes and sandals let your feet breathe and allow oxygen to mingle around your feet so that they remain cool, fresh and sweat-free. Opt for shoes made from leather or canvas material.
- Rotate Your Shoes – Try not to wear the same shoes every day. Rotate them every two days so that the inside the shoes can dry out completely.
- Keep Your Shoes Clean and Dry – After you get back home, don’t store away your damp and sweaty shoes in a dark closet. It acts as the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, keep them in an open place so that they can dry out before you wear them the next day.
- Talcum Powder – Sprinkle some talcum powder into your shoes before wearing them. It not only helps in keeping your feet dry but also makes them smell nice.
Say goodbye to the embarrassing problem of foot odor with these potent home remedies to eliminate foot odor and practice good hygiene in order to prevent it altogether.