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Smelly Feet? Treat Them With These Home Remedies

Smelly feet, which is scientifically called bromhidrosis, is pretty common and yet very embarrassing. But they can be treated effectively with these home remedies for foot odor.

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Usually foot odor is caused by sweat that develops in our feet and then stays trapped because of the shoes or the socks we are wearing. The bacteria present on the skin devours this sweat, dirt and the dead cells, thus giving out a filthy smell.

Suggested read: All you need to know about how to get rid of corn on the feet with home remedies

Before we get into the home remedies, let us have a look at the symptoms and causes of foot odor.

Symptoms of foot odor

According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Some people naturally sweat more or less than other people. Body odor also can vary from person to person.”

However, if the symptoms are severe, then you might have to get yourself tested by a professional.

Mayo clinic says,

“You should consult a doctor if,

  • You suddenly begin to sweat much more or less than usual

  • Sweating disrupts your daily routine

  • You experience night sweats for no apparent reason

  • You notice a change in your body odor”

But what are the causes behind foot odor? Let’s find out.

Causes of foot odor

Foot odor is mainly causes by sweat, which cannot get evaporated and when it comes in contact with the bacteria on the skin, produces a foul smell.

According to Dr. Erika M. Schwartz, DPM, FACFAS, of the American Podiatric Medical Association,

“The feet have about half a million sweat glands, and this can lead to a whole lot of sweat. When you wear socks and shoes, the sweat gets trapped inside. Bacteria and fungus can thrive in this type of warm, moist environment, and can produce odor.”

Our skin has two types of sweat-producing glands, namely, the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands. While the former is found in almost all the parts of out body, the apocrine sweat glands are found mainly in areas that have too many hair follicles. Also, the eccrine glands open straight onto the surface of our skin. Apocrine glands open onto the armpits and the groins, so before opening into the skin, they empty into our hair follicles instead.

When we get fever, it is the eccrine glands that produce sweat and empty it onto the surface of our skin. The sweat evaporates because of the heat of the skin. This sweat that is secreted is made of only water and salt.

The sweat produced by the apocrine glands are usually milky. You are likely to secrete this under emotional stress or pressure. Until the fluid combines with the bacteria on our skin, it is odorless.

To get rid of smelly feet, you can try an array of natural cures. We will share a few with you today. However, it is important that you follow the cures religiously to get improved results. If you follow these remedies diligently, then some of them might solve your problem in a week only.

Applying talcum powder is one of the oldest ways that people have been getting rid of the filthy smell of sweaty feet. This is because talcum powder kills the bacteria, which automatically helps get rid of the smell.

If you have tried this, and the smell of your feet is too strong to be dealt by the powder, then give these home treatments a chance.

Home remedies for foot odor

Here are 10 home remedies that will help you cure smelly feet.

1. Baking Soda

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Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is the first on this list of remedies to get rid of foot odor. Baking soda successfully neutralizes the pH of our sweat. This will help reduce the bacteria, which in turn will help get rid of the odor.

Bring a bowl of water to boil. Now to this, add about two teaspoons for every quart of water. Mix the soda. Now pour the mix in a bucket and soak your feet in the bucket for about 20 minutes. You will have to do this once every night before sleeping. You will observe the change in just a week’s time.

Alternatively, you can scatter some baking soda in your shoes as well as your socks before wearing them.

2. Lavender Oil


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The next remedy on the list is lavender oil. Lavender oil has a beautiful fragrance, but that is not the only reason why it is a good remedy for foot odor. Lavender oil also kills the bacteria.

Lavender essential oils have antifungal qualities which helps cure foo odor.

Bring a bowl of water to boil. Pour it in a bucket. Add to this 5 to 6 drops of lavender oil. Now dip your feet into this water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

For this remedy to work, you will have to repeat it two times every day for a week.

3. Alum

Alum, for its astringent as well as antiseptic qualities is a popular home remedy for smelly feet. Alum averts the growth of bacteria, so it is a long-term solution, though you will have to keep repeating this treatment once every day for a week.

Heat a cup of water. Now add half a tablespoon of alum powder to this water. You need to wash your feet regularly with this solution. After your dry your feet sprinkle a pinch of the powder on them.

4. Epsom Salt

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Epsom salt fights the microbial infection in our feet and nullifies the odor. You might want to try a foot bath with two teaspoons of Epsom salt to soothe the ache in your feet.

For foot odor, mix a tablespoon of Epsom salt in about half a bucket of warm water. Dip your feet in this solution. After about 15 minutes, dry your feet properly with a clean towel.

You should try this remedy before you go to sleep because then you can air your feet as you will not have to sweat shoes or socks.

Suggested read: 10 amazingly effective home remedies for itchy hands and feet

5. Black Tea

Black tea contains tannic acid which successfully destroys the bacteria which is causing your feet to smell.

Black tea also shuts the skin pores on our feet, which helps reduce the sweat production thus nipping the problem in the bud.

Bring three cups of water to boil. Add two tea bags and let them steep. Throw the bags, and pour the tea in half a bucket of normal water. Now soak your feet into this solution for about half an hour.

For best results, you should do this twice a day, for a week.

6. Vinegar

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Vinegar can come to your rescue when it comes to getting rid of smelly feet. This is because vinegar creates an acidic environment on your feet by lowering the pH level, in which the bacteria cannot live.

You can use any kind of vinegar for the remedy, but we suggest you go for apple cider vinegar.

In half a bucket of hot water, add one and a half cup of apple cider vinegar. Soak your feet in this diluted apple cider vinegar solution, for 15 minutes, after which you should wash it properly with soap to get rid of the vinegar smell.

According to Dr. Kosinski,

“Try soaking feet daily in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Here, the aim is to reduce the level of bacteria that cause odor.”

7. Borax

A very strong disinfectant, borax will kill the bacteria that is causing your feet to smell, in no time.

In a spray bottle, pour one and a half cup of vinegar. Now add one and half cup of borax and two cups of water. Spray the mix into your shoes to get rid of the smell.

You can also dust your shoes insides with borax powder before slipping into them.

8. Sugar Scrub


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To get rid of foot odor, you need to remove the dead skin cells in your feet that are causing the smell. You should, every day, scrub your feet before the calluses form in them.

To scrub, prepare your own homemade scrub with sugar.

You need to mix clean water with sugar and isopropyl alcohol. Make sure you use less water than the sugar, so that your scrub is thick enough. Mix isopropyl alcohol with water in the ratio 1:5.

Now scrub your feet using the homemade mix for 10 minutes. Be gentle around the toes, but rigorous near the ankles. This will help you get rid of the bacteria and the calluses.

Now wash your feet and dry them using a clean towel. You should do it thrice a day for a week, and you will notice visible results.

You might want to dip your feet in a bucket of warm water for about 30 minutes before using the sugar scrub, for it to be more effective.

Suggested read: 11 essential home remedies for soft, beautiful feet

That is a wrap on home remedies for foot odor. Did you find this useful? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you want home remedies for a particular disorder or problem, then do let us know. We will churn you a post on that!

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Article Name
8 Super Effective Home Remedies For Foot Odor
Smelly feet is pretty common and yet very embarrassing, but they can be treated effectively with these home remedies for foot odor.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.