Are you suffering from smelly feet? Do people wrinkle their noses when you walk by? Stinky feet are embarrassing and getting rid of foot odor is not that simple as just using foot deodorant. To get rid of foot odor, read on here first to find out why do feet smell? Knowing the causes of smelly feet will make it easy to figure out how best to get rid of it.
Why do feet smell: Most people say that sweating causes smelly feet. But it’s not as simple as that. Foot odor is not the same type as other types of body odor. Mainly the body odor stems from genitals and armpits, which are surrounded by apocrine sweat glands. On the other hand rest of the body encompasses eccrine sweat glands. There is difference between these two types. Surprisingly all sweat is odorless in itself. However, the sweat emanating from apocrine glands includes protein and amino acids that feed bacteria residing on the skin. It’s the bacteria who are the culprit to produce body odor.
On the other hand sweat from eccrine glands residing on feet is thin and watery. Being thin and watery, it evaporates quite fast and therefore normally does not produce odor. The sweat glands are concentrated on the feet and produce lots of sweat, but all the sweat evaporates fast and does not cause smell. So why do feet smell?
These days people normally are wearing socks and shoes most of the time. The sweat remains trapped inside the socks for long time. The Brevibacterium resides on your feet, as it relishes eating the dry, dead skin. Moreover it also thrives in damp and warm environments and sweaty socks become a perfect home for them. As the Brevibacteria eat the dry, dead skin, the amino acid converts into methanethiol, a gas that is known as smelling like rotten eggs or cabbage. Another culprit is Staphylococcus epidermis. This bacterium eats another amino acid also residing on your skin and generates isovaleric acid. This produces a foot odor, which is more vinegary. The both or either of these can sometimes go wild to result into stinky feet.
How to get rid of foot odor
Getting rid of stinky feet means tackling with two different problems: (i) Bacteria and (ii) Sweat. Everyone has bacteria on one’s skin. So what you have to do is to reduce the odor-emitting bacteria by washing your feet thoroughly.
A. Follow these steps to keep your feet clean and the odor causing bacteria at bay:
1. Scrub your feet: The objective is to slough off dead skin cells from your feet. This way you will stop supply of food to the Brevibacteria. So wash your feet with an antibacterial soap. So while taking bath, take out time to exfoliate your feet completely with the help of a washcloth, pumice stone or brush. Also scrub between the toes.
2. Dry your feet: The moisture, whether sweat or water, is responsible for breeding bacteria. So dry out your feet completely, including the space between the toes.
3. Consider using hand sanitizer: Apply a scented or unscented hand sanitizer to eliminate germs to restrain bacteria growth.
4. Consider using antiperspirant: You may use similar kind of antiperspirant on your feet that you use for your underarms. However ensure to keep separate sticks for these two areas.
(i) Make sure not to apply just before going out, as it will make your shoes slipping or sliding on your feet.
(ii) Apply it onto clean and dry feet. Antiperspirant blocks off your sweat ducts, so it keeps your feet dry and fresh during the day.
5. Vinegar and alcohol solution: Make a mixture of normal vinegar and isopropyl alcohol in equal proportions. Keep it in a bottle. Use a medicine dropper to dribble this everyday over and between toes and irritated skin on the feet and disperse it. Whereas vinegar cures fungus, the alcohol restrains bacteria growth to curb feet odor.
You can also immerse your feet in a solution of regular vinegar and water in equal proportions to get rid of smelly feet. To make it more effective add a spoon of baking soda to get rid of bad smell.
6. Talcum powder or Baking Soda:
(i) Rub your feet with talcum powder, as it works as an astringent so as to keep your feet dry.
(ii) Baking soda is anti-bacteria, so helps in gettiing rid of stinky feet.
B. Follow these steps to keep your footwear fresh to prevent foot odor:
1. Change your socks every day: Always try to wear clean and dry socks. As your feet sweat, your socks absorb the sweat. When you take them off, they dry out. If you wear the same socks second day, the sweat is going to reheat and produce bad smell.
(i) Consider changing your socks once during the day and never put the same socks next day.
(ii) While washing your socks, turn them inside out. This will help in washing away the flakes of dead skin.
(iii) Always try to wear socks made of absorbent material, like cotton or wool, depending upon the weather. Avoid socks made from non-absorbent material, as the moisture gets trapped around your feet which results into a cozy home for bacteria to thrive in.
2. Open-toes shoes and sandals: They let your feet breathe and the air flow circulates around your feet. In this process your feet remain cool and sweat much less. Even if your feet sweat, it will evaporate much faster due to the air flows around your feet.
When you need to wear shoes during colder months, make it sure that you wear leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe. Never wear rubber or plastic shoes.
3. Rotate your shoes: Do not wear the same shoes over two days in a row. Rotate them so that they dry out fully. It takes at least 24 hours for them to dry out wholly. This will ensure that the bacteria don’t set up their home in the moisture.
(ii) To let the shoes dry out completely take out the insoles. If your shoes get wet, put crumpled newspaper inside the shoes to let them dry out quickly overnight.
4. Keep your shoes dry and clean: When you reach back home take off your shoes and keep them in open to dry out completely overnight. Never keep them in a closet. If possible wash them occasionally, but ensure they dry out completely before you wear them.
5. Remove your shoes during the day whenever it’s possible to do so. This way you can keep your feet and shoes dry.
C. Home remedies to get rid of stinky feet: Even after trying above steps, if your foot odor does not go away try these home remedies:
1. Use bleach: Mix about 2 tablespoons of bleach with a gallon of water. Immerse your feet in the solution for about 10 minutes. If your feet feel dry after this, apply a little of baby oil to your feet.
2. Salt Water: Mix a cup of kosher salt for each quart of water. Soak your feet in this solution, and then let your feet dry out completely.
3. Baking Soda: Mix one tablespoon of baking soda for each quart of water. Its application will make your skin alkaline, which prevents bacterial growth.
4. Talcum powder: Spread some talcum powder over your feet before wearing socks and putting on shoes. It will keep your feet dry and smell nice.
See a doctor: If after trying above remedies you still have foul foot odor, it can be due to some medical problem. You need to consult your doctor or a podiatrist.
If you know any tips about how to get rid of stinking feet, please share with us by mentioning these in the comments here below.