You may be able to relieve stinky feet by using certain soaps and over-the-counter products. Some practices like avoiding tight shoes may help.
Bromodosis, or smelly feet, is a very common medical condition. It’s due to a buildup of sweat, which results bacteria growth on the skin. These bacteria cause bad odors. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can also lead to bromodosis.
The good news is that bromodosis is easy, quick, and inexpensive to treat.
These tips can help reduce your foot odor. The key is making sure you follow them regularly and carefully.
Keep your feet clean and neat
- Use a mild soap and scrub brush to wash your feet at least once a day. The best time to do this is during your morning or evening shower. It’s important to dry your feet completely after washing. Pay special attention between your toes, where any wetness can easily cause bacteria to grow.
- Clip your toenails often so they’re short, and make sure to clean them regularly.
- Remove the hard, dead skin from your feet with a foot file. Hard skin gets soggy and soft when it’s wet, creating a place where bacteria like to live.
- Change your socks at least once a day. If you’re in a hot environment, exercising, or in any other situation where your feet may become sweaty, you should change your socks more often.
- Have two pairs of shoes that you alternate wearing every other day. This allows each pair to thoroughly dry out from sweat or moisture for a full day before being worn again. You can remove the insoles in your shoes to help them dry again. Wet shoes allow bacteria to grow on your feet more quickly.
- Choose socks that absorb moisture rather than keep it on your feet. These include thick, soft socks made out of natural fibers or sports socks.
- Wear open-toed sandals in warm weather, and go barefoot indoors when appropriate to allow your feet to stay dry.
- Avoid shoes that are tight or may retain moisture.
- Use a cotton ball to apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to your feet every night. This will help to dry out your feet. Avoid applying it to any cracks in your skin.
- Apply an antifungal foot spray or medicated foot powder on your feet once daily.
- Insert medicated deodorant insoles into your shoes.
- If you need to quickly cut down on your foot odor, it’s safe to apply antiperspirant or deodorant spray to your feet.
- Try various types of antifungal and antibacterial soaps until you find one that works best for you.
- Make your own foot soak using Listerine or vinegar.
Pay attention to your socks and shoes
Use these foot products
Home treatments will normally do a good job of helping to reduce or eliminate your foot odor. However, if home treatments don’t help alleviate your bromodosis, or if you’re concerned that the sweating and odors are severe, you should see your doctor. They may prescribe stronger antiperspirants and foot soaps, and can offer advice on medical treatments for excessive sweating (hyperhydrosis).
Your feet produce a lot of sweat. They have more sweat glands than any other part of the body. These glands release sweat all throughout the day to help cool your body and keep your skin moist.
Everyone’s feet sweat, but teenagers and pregnant women are most prone to very sweaty feet because their bodies produce hormones that make them sweat more. People who are on their feet all day at work, are under a lot of stress, or have a medical condition that makes them sweat more than others tend to have sweatier feet.
There are naturally some bacteria on the feet. These bacteria help break down sweat on the feet as it’s released. If bacteria and sweat build up, a foul odor can form. Extra bacteria tend to form when a person sweats in their shoes, takes them off, and then puts them back on without allowing them to fully dry.
Poor hygiene can also play a role in causing bromodosis. Infrequent foot washing or not changing your socks at least once a day can allow extra bacteria to begin to grow on your feet. This can cause foot odor to worsen.
Although it’s a common condition, bromodosis can make you feel self-conscious. The good news is that bromodosis is quite simple to treat. With daily attention, you should be able to reduce or eliminate your foot odor within a week.
The key is making foot care a regular part of your hygienic routine. Home treatments are usually very effective, but in severe cases your doctor can prescribe stronger treatments.