Human feet contain nearly 3000 sweat glands and it is no wonder that they sweat leading to stinky feet, smelly socks and shoes. Apart from bacteria, a prominent cause of stinky feet is pitted keratolysis-a condition that affects athletes and active people. This is characterized by distinctive odor and appearance. Today we will consider some home remedies to get your feet to stop stinking as well as some natural cures for pitted keratolysis.
1. Follow basic hygiene
Bacteria are the most common reason behind smelly feet. So wash your feet really well. Clip your toenails and use an antibacterial soap to keep the feet clean and dry. Always wipe your feet after bathing. This is necessary to reduce moisture which encourages fungal growth. You can even use antiperspirant deodorant sticks on the feet before wearing your socks.
2. Choose proper footwear
If possible, go for open toed footwear to discourage sweating. This is necessary for ventilation. Wherever possible, go without shoes and socks, especially when indoors. For outside use, always choose cotton, soft socks that absorb sweat and odor. Apply some baby powder inside the socks and shoes to prevent smelly feet and shoes.
3. Daily foot baths
After a long day at work, soak your feet in a foot bath. Use some of our foot soak and foot scrub recipes to give yourself a soothing pedicure at home. Soak your feet in hot water for at least 20 minutes then gently scrub the feet to remove dead skin cells. Wipe the feet dry and apply some baby powder on the feet.
4. Baking soda
Baking soda is nature’s gift to mankind. You can use it to shine your teeth, remove odors from around the home and also to ward off smelly, stinky feet. Liberally dust your feet with baking soda before wearing your socks and shoes. This remedy will reduce perspiration and also eliminate the bacteria that cause stinky feet. An alternative way of using baking soda for smelly feet is to soak them in a solution of water and baking soda. Soak for at least 15 minutes, and then dry off. This remedy reduces acidity of the feet making them less susceptible to bacteria.
5. Benzoyl peroxide(Acne cream)
Benzoyl peroxide (BP)is a well known acne cure that can also ward off smelly feet and treat pitted keratolysis. Apply any acne cream containing BP on the feet and leave on for a couple of hours. Wear socks so that the cream does not get all over your floors. For pitted keratolysis, use an acne cream with erythromycin (2%) topical solution.
6. Epsom salts
To a gallon of water, add a cup of Epsom salts. Soak your feet in this foot bath for 15 minutes twice a day. Epsom salts reduce perspiration and eliminate bacteria that cause smelly feet.
Mouthwash that contains alcohol can eliminate the bacteria causing foot odor. Wash and dry your feet and soak a cotton swab in mouthwash to apply between toes, on the heels and balls of the feet. Pay special attention to the skin surrounding the toenails. Let the feet dry completely before wearing soft socks.
8. Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil is well known for its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Add a few drops to coconut oil and massage the feet with it. Place socks over the feet and let the skin absorb the oil. Wash off after an hour. Repeat application several times a day or use it overnight.
9. White vinegar
Soak your feet in a basin of water mixed with a cupful of white vinegar. Do this daily for 20 minutes so that the acetic acid in the vinegar eliminates all bacteria causing the smelly feet. Avoid this remedy if you have open cuts or sores on the feet. You can also use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.
This is a surprising remedy to eliminate smelly feet for good. Mix an entire packet of Jello in water and soak your feet in it. The gelatin in the Jello fills up the cracks and sweat glands to eliminate odor.
11. Baby powder or corn starch powder
Liberally sprinkle corn starch powder in your socks and shoes. You can also use baby powder. This will absorb all sweat and leave you with odorless feet.
12. Black tea
Black tea has tannin, an acid known for its antibacterial properties. Soak your feet in strongly brewed black tea (use 2-3 tea bags per pint of water) for up to 10 minutes, every day for a week. Dry your feet thoroughly and apply baking soda before wearing socks.
13. Ground sage
Ground sage eliminates odors so sprinkle some inside your smelly shoes and socks liberally for instantly freshening up the feet.
Keep a tube of Neosporin ointment in your medical cabinet. At bedtime, apply a thin layer on the feet to eliminate odor causing bacterium. Wear socks to prevent the ointment from getting on your sheets. This is a well known cure for pitted keratolysis.
15. Lemon juice
Like baking soda and vinegar, lemon juice is also a deodorizer. Add juice from 3 large lemons to half a bucket of water and soak your feet in it for 20 minutes. The antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties in lemon juice will kill off microbes and leave you with clean, fresh feet.
Soak a cotton ball in vodka and use it to wipe down the feet. The alcohol in vodka will eliminate all odor causing bacteria and prevent smelly stinky feet.
Alum is an affordable and readily available remedy for stinky feet due to pitted keratolysis. Powdered alum has a texture of gritty sand, so this remedy can cause a bit of discomfort. Add the alum inside the socks and shoes. Not only will this remedy absorb odor, it will also remove black patches caused by feet inside the shoes.
Add half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Soak the feet in this mixture for 5-10 minutes. The effect of this remedy can even last for months. So use it to get rid of smelly feet permanently.
19. Boric acid
Sprinkle boric acid powder inside shoes and socks to get rid of smelly feet and shoes.
20. Cedar insoles
This is a natural remedy to get rid of smelly shoes and socks. Insert the insoles in the shoes and leave it on overnight. The cedar absorbs the odors and leaves your shoes smelling fresh.
21. Always dry shoes to prevent stinky feet
Place bundles of old newspapers inside wet shoes to dry them. This is one of the best preventive home remedies for smelly shoes. You must also avoid wearing the same set of shoes consistently in a week. Alternate sports shoes with sneakers or buy two pairs that you can use every other day. This way, no one pair is worn over and over.
22. Freeze the socks and shoes
Freeze your shoes and socks by placing them in plastic bags. Leave them in the cold overnight to completely eliminate odors.
23. Milk of magnesia
Apply just a bit of milk of magnesia to stinky feet before wearing socks. A little goes a long way and your feet and shoes will be completely free of odor.
24. Cure underlying deficiencies
Take a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral pill. Often deficiencies can cause odors, both in the armpits and on the feet. You must also take zinc as deficiency of this important mineral can lead to body an foot odor.
25. Use a foot odor spray
Many foot odor sprays are available in the market and these can help you get rid of stinky feet on a daily basis.
Persistent foot odor along with white patches could indicate pitted keratolysis or other fungal or bacterial infections. Do see your doctor if these home remedies for smelly feet and shoes do not show satisfactory results.