Do you shy away from taking off your socks and shoes when you are around other people or is the smell emanating from your feet unbearable for you too? Then, you might be suffering from bromodrosis or simply termed smelly feet or foot odor!
Yes, it can be an embarrassing problem!
This condition usually occurs when your feet sweat and the sweat does not evaporate because you are wearing shoes or socks. Bacteria naturally present on your skin grow as they feed on the sweat and dead skin cells, producing the foul smell.
Why Do We Develop Smelly Feet
- Anyone can develop smelly feet any time of the year, not just in hot humid summers. However, it is more common in pregnant women and teens due to hormonal changes that make them sweat more.
- A person who is on his feet the whole day or too stressed is likely to sweat more.
- Certain shoes and socks increase the volume of sweat produced, so the feet remain damp when you wear socks and shoes for a long time. These moist and dark conditions are just perfect for the bacteria to grow. These bacteria (depending upon the species) produce isovaleric acid from a substance leucine present in the sweat. It is isovaleric acid that gives the ‘smelly feet’ odor. The ‘smell’ can be really bad depending upon the species of bacteria and chemical substances produced.
- If you suffer from a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis, you may sweat abnormally.
- Lack of proper hygiene also can result in smelly feet. People who don’t wash their feet frequently or change their socks during the day create the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow.
Many natural cures are worth trying to get rid of annoying foot odor. You’ll need to follow them religiously for a certain period of time to get good results. Most are able to resolve the problem within a week or so.
- If you don’t have talcum powder, you can use a good quality antiperspirant on your feet to keep them dry for a longer period of time. There are many other easy and simple home treatments for foot odor.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for foot odor.
1. Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is an effective remedy to eliminate foot odor. It neutralizes the pH of sweat and reduces bacteria.
- Add baking soda in warm water (one tablespoon for every quart of water) and soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes every night for one week.
- You can also sprinkle baking soda in both your shoes and socks before wearing them.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil not only smells good but also helps kill bacteria. Plus, it has antioxidant and antifungal properties that are effective in treating foot odor.
- Put a few drops of lavender essential oil in warm water.
- Soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Repeat twice daily for a few days.
3. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate that has a lot of applications ranging from gardening, household, beauty to medicinal purposes. Epsom salt can also minimize the smell coming from your feet as it fights microbial infection and neutralizes foot odor. A detoxifying foot bath with Epsom salt is also soothing for aching feet.
- Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a small foot tub filled with warm water.
- Soak your feet in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes. For best results, do this before going to sleep so that you do not have to wear socks or shoes for a few hours.
4. Black Tea
Black tea has tannic acid that helps kill the bacteria that produce foot odor. It also helps close pores on your feet, thereby reducing the amount of sweat on which the bacteria feed. It is recommended as one of the most effective home remedies by doctors.
- Boil two black tea bags in three cups of hot water. Add some more water to lower the temperature of the solution.
- Soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do this daily for about a week.
Vinegar is beneficial in getting rid of smelly feet as it creates an acidic environment in which bacteria cannot survive. You can use any type of vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar for this home remedy.
- Prepare a mixture of one-half cup of vinegar and 4 pints (8 cups) of hot water.
- Soak your feet in it for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Finally, wash your feet thoroughly with soap to remove the vinegar smell.
6. Cedarwood Oil
Cedarwood oil is thought to be one of the first essential oils to be extracted from nature.
In addition to its use in aromatherapy, it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties to name a few. All these make it a good remedy for combating foot odor.
You can use cedarwood oil effectively with coconut oil that has amazing health benefits. Coconut oil has lauric acid that kills bacteria. Plus, it has skin rejuvenating properties. It is even used as a base ingredient in many beauty products because its effect lasts longer on the skin than many other oils.
- Mix 5 drops of good quality cedarwood oil to 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil.
- Gently rub it on your feet and massage. Allow it to be absorbed for some minutes before walking or wearing socks. Be careful not to slip on the floor.
- Do this once daily for one week.