Each one of your feet has about 125,000 different sweat glands, more than any other body part based on surface area, so it’s easy to see why they can become one of the smelliest body parts. In particular when we are wearing shoes and socks, the sweat we produce becomes trapped inside, and that moist, warm, enclosed space becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which are actually the cause of the smell.
With all that in mind, there are two different ways a person can go about tackling foot odour, which are most effective when used together. The first way is to tackle the feet directly, which can involve techniques like having foot baths, or using special anti-perspirant. The other way to tackle this issue is through your footwear, which can mean having a stricter washing schedule, or wearing different shoes.
When dealing with foot odour, the first thing to do is to begin washing your feet more thoroughly. Many of us fail to give our feet the same attention as our hair, body, and arms when we are in the shower, assuming that the water and soap will run down our body and do the work for us. But the best thing to do is to make sure to give your feet a proper rub, covering the top of your feet, the soles, and in between the toes.
Another popular option is to try a daily foot bath. Vinegar baths are made up of one-third vinegar with two-thirds water, and are a very effective way to aggressively fight the odour-causing bacteria. You can also make a tea soak using ⅔ tea bags for every pint of water. Simply put the bags in warm (not boiling) water, wash your feet, and soak for about 20 minutes. A third option is to put half a cup of sea salt in for every 4 cups of water and soak for 10-15 minutes.
No matter how well you take care of your feet, foot odour won’t go away unless you manage your footwear properly as well. The first course of action to take here is to buy breathable materials. For socks, you’ll want to avoid synthetics like polyester or nylon, and opt instead for natural choices, like cotton or wool. For shoes, leather or canvas, like converse and vans, are good choices, although shoes made out of synthetics could also be designed in such a way as to still allow air flow, so do some research and ask an assistant before purchasing a new pair.
Once you have your footwear purchased, you need to put in the effort to keep it all clean. Set out a washing basket near your sock drawer, and make sure to rotate them religiously, wearing each pair only once. If you have a long day, such as work followed by a night out, you may want to bring a second pair and change at some point.
For shoes, the most effective way to eliminate odour is with an antibacterial spray that you can use each morning. If you can’t or don’t want to buy a spray, a light dusting of baking powder at night will work to get rid of any smell by morning.
These are a few tips to help people deal with foot odour, which is something we all experience. However, some people will find that it is a more persistent issue for them compared to others. If this is the case for you, there are extra-strength antiperspirants and prescription medication that may help, so if you have tried these techniques and are still not satisfied, you may benefit from speaking to a professional.