Feet may get a bad rap, but the real culprit behind their odour isn’t the feet themselves. While stinky feet can certainly be embarrassing, especially when taking off your shoes in public, the actual source of the odour might surprise you. It’s not the feet themselves, but rather the tiny residents living on them—bacteria.
These microscopic roommates aren’t inherently bad, but when they feast on dead skin cells and sweat in warm, moist environments like your shoes and socks, they produce an unpleasant byproduct: acid. And like any other waste disposal, this acid has a distinct, often unwelcome, odour.
But don’t despair. While not a medical problem, foot odour can be unpleasant. The good news is that researchers have discovered effective ways to combat these odour-causing germs and keep your feet (and their companions) smelling fresh.
How do I get my feet to stop stinking?
As the temperature rises, so does the chance of sweaty feet, especially if you’re wearing closed-toe shoes. This combination of hot weather and sweaty feet can, unfortunately, lead to unpleasant foot odours and even infections. But don’t worry…
There are easy things you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep your feet clean, dry, and smelling fresh. So ditch the fear of taking off your shoes in public and enjoy the warm weather with these simple tips.
Here are some tips to get rid of stinky feet:
1. Soak your feet
Forget just giving your feet a quick rinse while showering. For truly clean and happy feet, consider taking some extra time for a luxurious soak. Two great options are vinegar and Epsom salt.
Epsom salt magic: Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt in a warm tub or large bowl of water. Relax and soak your feet for 10–20 minutes. This creates an environment less welcoming to bacteria, helping keep your feet feeling fresh and healthy.
Vinegar power: Looking for an alternative? Add some vinegar (white or apple cider, your choice) to a warm tub or large bowl of water and soak for 15-20 minutes once a week. Vinegar also helps make your skin less friendly to bacteria but be sure to skip this method if you have any open sores, cuts, or scratches, as it can sting.
Give your feet a little extra TLC with these simple soaks and enjoy the benefits of fresher, more comfortable feet.
2. Keep your feet dry
Keeping your feet dry is key to battling bad foot odour. Here’s why: Bacteria love moisture, and the stink we associate with sweaty feet comes from these tiny critters multiplying happily in a damp environment.
Pack an extra pair of socks in your bag and take a minute to swap them out during the day, especially when the weather heats up. Opting for cotton socks and shoes made from natural materials like leather also helps, as they allow your feet to breathe and prevent moisture buildup.
So, after that refreshing bath, soak, or swim, be sure to give your feet some extra TLC by drying them thoroughly. Remember, dry feet = fewer bacteria = happier feet and noses!
3. Disinfect your shoes
Ever open your closet only to be greeted by the unpleasant surprise of stinky shoes you haven’t worn in a while? Don’t worry! Throwing them away isn’t an option. You can actually revive them with a handy disinfectant spray and some sunshine.
Here’s what you do: Grab a kitchen spray with ethanol and other sanitising ingredients, which work wonders at killing odour-causing bacteria. Take out the shoe’s insole and give it a good spritz with the spray. Then, let it bask in the sunshine for 24 hours before putting it back in the shoe. The sun’s natural germ-fighting power will work its magic too, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and ready to wear again.
4. Use powder
It can be a drag to have sweaty feet, but don’t worry; there are ways to tackle the moisture and keep your feet feeling fresh. Here are a couple of options:
Sprinkle magic: For a simple solution, try sprinkling a little cornflour or even regular underarm antiperspirant into your shoes before slipping them on. These powders can help absorb moisture and keep your feet drier throughout the day.
Doctor’s help: If the sprinkling trick isn’t doing the job, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor! They can assess your situation and, if needed, prescribe medication specifically designed to manage foot moisture, leaving you feeling more comfortable and confident.
Remember, happy feet are healthy feet, and they start with feeling dry and fresh. Don’t be shy about exploring different options and finding what works best for you.
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