Smelly Feet – How to Fight and Prevent Foot Odor

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We’ve all experienced a musty scent emanating from our socks at one time or another, but for some people, foot odor is an everyday problem that affects their self-esteem. In extreme cases, it may even prevent them from social interactions.

We have all been in places where foot odor hung in the air and nearly suffocated us. Most of us consider this offensive, but many people have a difficult time getting rid of this nuisance to prevent a social embarrassment.

Where does foot odor come from?

Feet contain a lot of sweat glands, therefore it is natural for them to sweat profusely. Unfortunately, keeping feet enclosed in shoes for most of the day does not allow for the sweat to evaporate. That renders the feet and shoes wet. Damp shoes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Mix moisture and bacteria together, enclose that mixture in airtight environment, and you get impressive foot odor.

Consider these tips to prevent smelly feet:

– Never wear the same shoes two days in a row. They need at least 24 hours to dry out.

– Consider shoes that allow airflow: sandals in the summer, or shoes with leather soles. Canvas shoes that breath easily can also be worn.

– Have to work overtime? Take an extra pair of socks to work and change them mid-day. You can also carry an extra pair of shoes in the trunk and change shoes during lunch.

– Wear socks made out of natural fibers that allow airflow: cotton, wool, or bamboo. Consider buying socks that wick, which move moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate.

– Before heading out the door in the morning, rub talc or baby powder on your feet (and between your toes!) before putting socks on. That will control moisture to some extent. But do not let the powder cake in between the toes as it may promote more moisture and odor.

– When you come from work, change wet socks, and wear house slippers, not shoes.

Once the foot odor settles in, you can take these steps to eliminate it:

– Soak your feet in a solution of warm water and ½ cup of baking soda at the end of the day. You may add a couple of drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil.

– Dry feet thoroughly, including between your toes.

– Rub baby powder or talc on your feet. Wipe off excess.

– Wear natural fiber socks only (cotton, wool, or bamboo). Preferably ones that wick.

If your foot odor is offensive and whatever you try does not resolve it, if your feet itch or hurt, or you have redness, swelling, or drainage, talk to your health care provider for a solution.


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