How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet for Good?

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How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet for Good? 2

We’ve all experienced it – kicking off our shoes at the end of a long day only to get a whiff of an unpleasant foot odor wafting up. Smelly feet can be embarrassing and make you uncomfortable in social situations. But the good news is there are ways to get rid of stinky feet for good. With some adjustments to your foot hygiene regimen and being proactive about preventing sweaty feet, you can say goodbye to embarrassing foot odor.

The Causes

Before exploring solutions, it helps to understand what causes smelly feet in the first place. Sweaty feet mixed with bacteria on the skin of the foot results in the breakdown of sweat into acidic molecules that give off those unpleasant odors. This excess sweat accumulates easily in shoes and socks throughout the day. Certain contributing factors also make this issue worse, including:

  • Wearing tight, non-breathable shoes and socks – this prevents ventilation and causes sweat to accumulate
  • Having especially sweaty feet (hyperhidrosis)
  • Skin conditions like athlete’s foot
  • Not washing feet daily
  • Wearing the same shoes day after day without letting them air out

By pinpointing the factors above that apply to you, you can start creating a targeted smelly feet treatment plan.

Proper Foot Hygiene

The first line of defense against foot odor is developing consistent foot hygiene habits. Washing your feet daily with soap and water is critical – be sure to scrub between the toes where bacteria loves to collect. Dry your feet thoroughly afterwards, especially between the toes.

It also helps to soak feet regularly in an antibacterial foot soak. Look for one containing ingredients like eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, mint, or sage. These natural extracts have antimicrobial properties to kill bacteria. Soak feet for 15-20 minutes as needed – this can instantly freshen smelly feet.

Exfoliating the feet once a week also helps slough off dead skin cells where smelly bacteria accumulate. Use a foot scrub containing things like pumice, aloe vera, oatmeal or shea butter. Be extra gentle if you have sensitive skin or conditions like eczema.

The Right Footwear

Choosing “breathable” shoes is crucial for keeping sweat accumulation and foot odor at bay. Look for shoes and socks made of natural, moisture-wicking fabrics like leather, canvas, mesh and wool. Avoid synthetic materials that trap sweat. Going barefoot when possible also allows feet to dry out.

The general rule is to alternate between different pairs of shoes day to day and allow them a full 24 hours to air out between wears. You can stuff them with newspaper or purchase shoe deodorizing products to help absorb moisture. Some people even put their shoes in the freezer overnight to kill bacteria – just be careful of odors when taking them back out!

Medicated Solutions

Over-the-counter remedies can provide extra defense when foot hygiene and breathable shoes still aren’t cutting it. Look for antiperspirants, deodorants, powders and sprays formulated especially for feet. These often contain ingredients like aluminum chloride, alcohol, and zinc oxide to curb sweating and kill odor-causing bacteria.

Medicated insoles and foot powders containing antimicrobial silver ions can slip inside shoes for ongoing protection. Change your insoles every 3-6 months as they lose effectiveness. Baking soda and medicated foot soaks can also make quick homemade remedies.

When to See a Doctor

If you develop symptoms like redness, scaling, itching blisters or excessive peeling on the feet, it’s time to see your doctor or dermatologist. You may have developed a fungal infection or skin condition exacerbating foot odor issues. Athlete’s foot is one of the most common contributing causes of smelly feet.

Likewise, if excessive foot sweating is seriously disrupting your daily activities, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. See your physician to discuss treatment options like prescription-strength antiperspirants, iontophoresis treatments, BOTOX injections or medications. Custom orthotics may also help.

Other Tips for Prevention

Here are some final foot care tips for keeping odor at bay:

  • Change your socks at least once throughout the day, especially after exercising
  • Apply foot powder inside socks to help absorb moisture
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or anti-fungal cream before bed to seal in moisture as a protective barrier
  • Check your feet regularly for cuts, scratches or irritations that could become infected

Say Goodbye to Smelly Feet

Smelly feet can really put a damper on your confidence. But implementing a diligent foot care regimen focused on cleanliness, breathability and moisture control can get this issue under control. Pay attention to your foot health and don’t ignore symptoms of developing infections. With some TLC for your feet, you can toss those smelly shoes for good!