10 Tips On How To Prevent Stinky Feet

By MaryAnn DePietro, CRT. May 7th 2016

It may not be something you talk about every day, but stinky feet happen to everyone once in a while. Your feet work hard all day, but why do they sometimes smell so bad? According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, foot odor is caused by bacteria and fungus in shoes, which is transferred onto the skin. Whether you typically hide your head in shame or laugh it off, if you could prevent smelly feet you would. Below are some ideas to stop the stink.

1. Apply An Antiperspirant To The Soles Of Your Feet

Antiperspirant is not only for under your arms. Consider applying it to the soles of your feet every day. Antiperspirant applied to your feet blocks the ducts leading to the sweat glands. This prevents the sweat from reaching the skin and helps reduce odor.

2. Wash Your Feet With Water And Baking Soda

Add some baking soda to your soap and water when you wash your feet. Baking soda will not reduce sweat, but it can decrease the amount of odor produced. In addition to using it to wash your feet, baking soda can be added to the laundry to wash stinky sneakers and socks. It will help absorb some of the unpleasant smell.

3. Take Zinc And Magnesium Supplements

Mineral deficiencies can cause a variety of symptoms including one which may surprise you. Certain mineral deficiencies, such as zinc and magnesium, can cause an increase in body odor, according to Columbia University. You can increase zinc in your diet by eating foods, such as beef, salmon, pumpkin seeds and yogurt. Magnesium rich foods include brown rice, black beans and almonds. It is always advisable to talk with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.

4. Wear Cotton Socks

If stinky feet are an issue for you, always wear socks with your shoes. Without socks, the sweat from your feet goes directly onto the shoes. Socks help absorb some sweat and may reduce bacteria growth in the shoes. Socks made of cotton or wool are your best bet, since both materials absorb more sweat than nylon socks. Be sure your feet are completely dry before putting your socks on. Putting socks on wet feet can trap moisture and increase odor.

5. Use Acne Soap With 10-Percent Benzoyl Peroxide On Your Feet

Since bacteria are often the cause of stinky feet, using antibacterial acne soap may help. Look for acne soap with 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, which can reduce bacteria. Be aware benzoyl peroxide can cause drying depending on how long it is used.

6. Put Dryer Sheets In Your Shoes

It may seem odd to place dryer sheets in your shoes, but it can help absorb foot odor. Place a full dryer sheet in your shoes or sneakers overnight. The dryer sheet will help remove the bad smell and keep your shoes smelling fresh.

7. Bathe Your Feet In Mouthwash

Mouthwash is not just for fresh breath. It can also be used to keep your feet from getting too smelly. Soak your feet in a mixture of water and mouthwash once a day. The mouthwash can help remove bacteria from your feet, the same way it washes away bacteria from your mouth. If bathing your feet in mouthwash is too weird for you, consider rubbing your feet with a cotton ball soaked in mouthwash.

8. Dust Your Feet With Cornstarch

Before putting your socks on, dust your feet with cornstarch. Cornstarch can help absorb sweat, which leads to odor. Be sure to dust the entire foot including between your toes. Make sure your feet are completely dry before applying the cornstarch, or it can cake.

9. Wear Open Toe Shoes Or Go Barefoot When Appropriate

Your feet need to air out. Wearing opened toe shoes helps your feet breathe, which may decrease how much they sweat. In addition, going barefoot when it is appropriate can also help keep your feet dry and fresher. (For more information on going barefoot, check out Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Walking Barefoot.)

10. Alternate Which Shoes You Wear

Switching shoes as much as possible can help reduce foot odor. At the very least, try to avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Once your shoes get wet from sweat, it takes several hours for them to completely dry. This is especially true when it comes to wearing shoes you sweat a lot in, such as sneakers and work boots. Taking insoles out your shoes after you wear them also helps the shoes dry out better.

Having stinky feet is simply an embarrassing fact of life. Most people will get smelly feet once in a while. Although you cannot completely stop your feet from sweating, using some of the above methods may reduce foot odor. Trying various methods in combination with each other may work best to combat stinky feet.


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