The main cause of smelly feet is sweat which, although it has no odour in itself, creates an environment for bacterial growth. It’s actually the waste products from these bacteria that create the smell. Even the most fastidiously clean people can suffer from foot odour.
The following treatments may be useful, depending on the cause of the problem:
Wash your feet daily in warm water using a deodorant soap or antibacterial soap. Other foot bath options include:
- Tea – Tea contains tannic acid, which will dry your feet out, reducing the amount of sweat and odour. Soak your feet for 30 minutes in a litre of cooled water containing two teabags left to thoroughly infuse.
- White vinegar/Apple cider- It combats bacterial growth and reduces smells, and is as good for your feet as your kitchen counters. Dilute half a cup in enough water for a footbath and soak for a few minutes.
- Epsom salts – The Epsom salt acts as an astringent to reduce sweating, and may kill bacteria. Mix two cups of Epsom salt into a basin half-full with warm water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes twice a day.
Methylated spirits applied once or twice a day (especially between the toes) can help dry the skin (don’t use if the skin between your toes is broken).
Moisture-wicking socks may help, or take an extra pair of socks to school or work to change over.
Deodorant – there is a variety of foot deodorants on the market. Check your chemist.
Lavender oil/tea tree oil – Not only smells good, it helps kill bacteria. Rub a few drops onto your feet and massage it in before you go to bed at night. Cover your feet with socks.
Especially if you are pr
one to athlete’s foot or nail fungus, blow-dry your feet with a hair dryer that’s turned to the lowest temperature. This helps avoid infection and reduces moisture.
Dust your feet with talcum powder or foot powder before you put on your shoes and socks. It will absorb odour-causing sweat. A natural alternative is cornflour or baking soda
Buy odour-absorbing insoles (charcoal) and cut them to fit. Replace them every three to six months.
Natural fibres will let your feet breathe better if you wear cotton socks or leather shoes rather than synthetic fibres. Wear shoes with open-mesh sides or sandals that allow your feet to ‘breathe.’
Check the care instructions on your athletic shoes. If they’re washable, toss them into the washing machine at least once a month. If your shoes have removable insoles, take them out to dry every time you remove your shoes. And toss them in the washer from time to time.
Alternate between at least two pairs of shoes. After you’ve worn one pair, set them aside and let them air out for at least 24 hours.
Spray your footwear with disinfectant/deodoriser such as Glen 20 or tea tree oil. Each time you put your shoes away, insert a sachet filled with cedar chips into them.
Store your shoes in a place that’s bright and ventilated, not in a dark closet, where bacteria thrive. Sunlight will kill bacteria and dry out footwear