How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet?

Having smelly feet can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem. The medical term for smelly feet is bromodosis. It’s caused by sweat mixing with bacteria on the skin. This leads to a buildup of odor-causing bacteria. There are many potential treatments and remedies that can help eliminate foot odor and promote fresh, odor-free feet.

Causes of Smelly Feet

Sweat itself is odorless. The unpleasant smell is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat and dead skin cells. Several factors can contribute to smelly feet:

  • Overactive sweat glands – This leads to excess perspiration which breeds more bacteria.
  • Not properly drying between the toes – Dampness allows odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
  • Going barefoot – Shoes and socks help absorb moisture and sweat.
  • Wearing the same shoes every day – Shoes need 24 hours to fully dry out before wearing again.
  • Poor hygiene – Not washing feet daily removes bacteria and dead skin cells.
  • Hyperhidrosis – A condition characterized by excessive sweating.
  • Fungal infections like athlete’s foot – Cause additional moisture and peeling skin.

Home Remedies and Treatments

There are many over-the-counter products and home remedies that can treat smelly feet. Combining proper foot hygiene with these solutions can help eliminate odor:

  • Wash feet daily – Use antibacterial soap and dry thoroughly especially between the toes.
  • Rotate shoes – Allow shoes a full 24 hours to dry before wearing again.
  • Change socks daily – Cotton socks absorb moisture better than synthetic fabrics.
  • Soak feet – A 20 minute foot soak with epsom salt can reduce bacteria and odors.
  • Foot powder – Helps absorb moisture and reduces friction that causes sweat.
  • Antiperspirant – Applying an over-the-counter antiperspirant to clean feet can reduce sweating.
  • Tea tree oil – Has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties to fight bacteria.
  • Apple cider vinegar – The mild acidity kills odor-causing bacteria and fungi.
  • Baking soda – Creates an alkaline environment to neutralize foot odor.
  • Activated charcoal – Absorbs odor and moisture. Can be used in foot powder recipes.

Specialized Products

There are many specialized foot care products available to treat excessive foot sweating and odor:

  • Antifungal spray – Kills fungal infections like athlete’s foot that can contribute to foot odor.
  • Medicated insoles – Provided added moisture wicking and odor absorption.
  • Odor absorbing shoe inserts – Place inserts in shoes to help absorb foot odor.
  • Antibacterial soap – Contains ingredients like triclosan to kill bacteria.
  • Foot deodorant – Deodorizes feet throughout the day to prevent odor.

When to See a Doctor

Home treatments are often effective for mild to moderate foot odor. But if at-home remedies do not improve smelly feet, you may need to visit a doctor. A podiatrist can assess and diagnose the underlying cause and provide prescription strength treatments. More severe cases of excessive sweating and odor may require:

  • Prescription antiperspirant – Stronger than over-the-counter versions.
  • Iontophoresis – Mild electric current to prevent sweat gland activity.
  • Botox injections – Temporarily blocks sweat gland stimulation.
  • MiraDry treatment – Non-invasive procedure using electromagnetic energy.
  • Surgery – Severing nerve connections or removing sweat glands.

Don’t let smelly feet hamper your confidence. Consistent foot hygiene along with the use of moisture absorbing and bacteria killing products can help you achieve fresh smelling feet. If odor persists despite diligent at-home treatment, consulting a podiatrist can provide access to prescription strength solutions.