10 Home Remedies to Eliminate Foot Odor

Foot odor can have a great impact on the self-esteem of those who suffer from it. Fortunately, there are some home remedies to improve this symptom.
10 Home Remedies to Eliminate Foot Odor
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Reviewed and approved by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 22 December, 2021

Stinky feet are a very annoying and frequent condition in the general population. It can even be embarrassing and unpleasant for the person suffering from it. In fact, it’s even a health condition capable of altering your quality of life. For this reason, we want to share with you 10 homemade strategies to manage foot odor. Keep reading!

What is bromhidrosis?

Bromhidrosis is a fairly common medical condition, which occurs as a result of the accumulation of sweat on the skin and the overgrowth of bacteria on it. These microorganisms help break down this body fluid as it’s released, and it’s this combination of factors that causes foot odor.

According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, about 5% of the world’s people suffer from problems related to excessive sweating.

It’s important to note that the feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body and release sweat throughout the day. This is a strategy to cool the body and keep the skin moist.

In turn, the feet of adolescents and pregnant women are more likely to be sweaty, because their hormonal content promotes the production of sweat.

A woman lying on the floor plugging her nose because someone's stinky feet.

Home remedies to eliminate foot odor

In some cases, home remedies can reduce foot odor but are insufficient in alleviating bromhidrosis. In these cases, you need to consult a specialist.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends taking some simple steps to reduce foot odor. The most important thing is to implement them regularly and with great care.

1. Keep your feet neat and clean

Experts recommend using a sponge and mild soap to perform proper foot hygiene every day. After bathing, it’s important to dry them well, especially in the interdigital area, where bacteria tend to proliferate very easily.

Likewise, it’s important to clean your toenails and trim your nails regularly.

2. Wear cotton socks

Socks made with absorbent materials are the most appropriate, especially for feet with hyperhidrosis. For example, thick and soft sports socks made of natural fibers (yarn or cotton).

It’s also important to change them on a regular basis, which helps reduce foot odor.

3. Choose the appropriate footwear

As a general rule, it’s best to keep your feet dry and ventilated. For this reason, tight and closed shoes should be avoided and replaced with open sandals. Especially on warm days.

Footwear that has to be breathable, that is, have materials that allow sweat to be eliminated. For example, mesh panels or other permeable fabrics. You even need to let them dry completely between one use and another or alternate them.

4. Replace and clean templates

Another recommended option is to change the insoles of your shoes for odor-reducing or antibacterial insoles.

Keep in mind that these items must be completely dry once they’re no longer used. Antibacterial or disinfectant sprays are also an excellent option to place on the insoles and improve their odors.

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5. Soak your feet in salt

Foot baths in salt are not only recommended to improve inflammation, but also to reduce recurring odors.

6. Exfoliate your feet regularly

The use of exfoliating creams or some mechanical exfoliation element contributes to the elimination of dead skin cells, which serve as a substrate for bacteria. This treatment is usually indicated twice a week for people with smelly feet.

7. Use antiperspirant for feet

Although antiperspirants are used for the armpits, applying them to the feet can reduce the incidence of sweating. These products are the first line of treatment for hyperhidrosis, as they’re easy to use, inexpensive, and non-invasive.

8. Wash the skin of your feet with vinegar

Soaking your feet in vinegar is contraindicated when the skin surface is injured (cuts, sores, or cracks) because it causes great irritation. However, it tends to regulate the pH of the skin and favors the elimination of the bacteria that produce unpleasant odors.

9. Clean shoes with cornstarch or starch

The use of cornstarch or starch as an antiperspirant powder inside shoes is a fairly common tip. This practice helps absorb the moisture that develops inside the footwear.

Excessive sweating of the feet increases the risk of developing a fungal infection, so it’s essential to keep them dry.

10. Witch hazel

A woman soaking her feet.

Pine essential oil and witch hazel are helpful for massaging smelly feet and controlling odor-causing bacteria. However, don’t use too much, as it’s strong and can dry out the skin.

What to keep in mind about foot odor

According to the Institute of Preventive Foot Health, an estimated 16% of adults over the age of 21 suffer from foot odor. With this in mind, hyperhidrosis along with bromhidrosis are the most common conditions.

Both conditions can alter the self-esteem and quality of life of those who suffer from them. For this, there are hygienic measures and medical treatments that can be put into practice in order to improve the emotional and social aspect of the person, while reducing symptoms.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.