tinky feet or bromodosis is a common problem that you can face throughout the year due to excessive sweating of feet or daily repeating the same shoes. Your feet can sweat at any weather and at any temperature. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and teenage years may make your feet sweat more. Excessive sweating of feet may also take place if your shoes are very tight; you have hyperhidrosis or are constantly on your feet throughout the day. If your shoes absorb the sweat and you do not dry them properly before wearing it again then also your feet become stinky. Usually, it is a harmless condition that can be easily taken care off. But at times, it could be an indicator of some underlying health condition. You can consult a physician in case the measures you are using fail to reduce the stink or your perspiration level is too high. [1]

Causes of Stinky Feet

  • Overactivity of sweat glands
  • Genetics
  • Changes in levels of hormones
  • Improper or poor personal hygiene
  • Standing throughout the day
  • Regular stress
  • Bacteria on epidermis that breakdown the sweat
  • Infections caused by a fungus
  • Daily wearing a particular pair of shoes and not letting it dry
  • Structural problems in the foot causing injury [2]

Medical Treatments for Smelly Feet

At times, when stinky feet cannot be taken care of by natural methods or improving personal hygiene, doctors may use one of the following techniques:

1. Botox

Plantar injections of botulinum toxin or Botox are administered into the feet. The effect may last for three to four months and then again you may need to go for it. It could be a painful procedure.

2. Iontophoresis

In this method, mild electric current is delivered to the epidermis of your feet through water. It helps reduce the level of sweating in your feet. [3]

Six Natural Methods to Get Rid of Stinky Feet

1. Maintaining Good Feet Hygiene

  • You need to wash your feet daily with a gentle soap and scrub brush.
  • Select an antibacterial or antifungal soap that suits you and use it at least once to wash your feet.
  • Post washing dries them thoroughly taking care to wipe well the region between your toes to inhibit bacterial growth.
  • You can use medicated foot powder or antifungal foot spray once a day.
  • Preferably wear a pair of thick socks made of natural fiber. Your socks should soak up the moisture from your feet.
  • An antiperspirant spray or a deodorant can quickly diminish the stink.
  • You can even apply a little bit of rubbing alcohol on your feet daily to keep them dry.
  • Avoid putting on the same pair of shoes on two consecutive days. Give them a day to dry. Tight shoes should not be worn.
  • Your toenails should be kept clean and short.
  • The dead and hard skin accumulating on your feet creates an ideal condition for the breeding of bacteria.
  • Therefore, using a foot file to remove the dead and hard skin. [4]

2. Prepare a Natural Foot Soak

  • Grapefruit seed extract and vinegar: Add a cup of vinegar to a foot basin full of warm water. Pour in this few drops of liquid grapefruit seed extract and soak your feet in it for at least ten minutes daily. The soak induces an antibacterial effect that helps to reduce the smell. You can reap the benefits in a few days. If your feet have broken skin, you can abstain from this soak. [5]
  • Tea: Soaking your feet in tea can also help against foot odor. [6]
  • Vinegar and yogurt: A combination of these two in warm water can also get you relief from stinky feet. [6]
  • Warm oatmeal: Soaking feet in it can also ease the bad smell. [6]
  • Epsom salt and lavender buds: You need to add half cup each of dried lavender buds and Epsom salt in basin of warm water and soak your feet in it for half an hour. It will revitalize you and help you get rid of the stink. [7]

3. Use Do It Yourself or Natural Foot Sprays or Foot Powders

  • Hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar: Take a teaspoon of three percent hydrogen peroxide and combine it with eight ounces of water in a spray bottle. If you are using white vinegar, there is no need to dilute it. Spray either of these after every shower. These induce a bactericidal effect. Let it dry and then walk or wear your socks or shoes. At night, post-spraying, you can even apply coconut oil. This will further help soften your feet and inhibit bacterial growth. [8]
  • Do it yourself powder for your shoes: Combine baking soda, cornstarch, and baking powder in equal quantities in a coffee filter, staple it and place it in your shoes for the night. This will help dry the interior of your shoes. [8]
  • Essential oil based foot powder: Mix ten drops each of tea tree essential oil and peppermint essential oil with half a cup of arrowroot powder or cornstarch and a quarter cup of baking soda. Shake well and the foot powder is ready. At night sprinkle it in your shoes and shake it off in the morning before wearing. Your shoes will absorb it and this will help eliminate the bacteria and resultant stink. [9]

4. Points to Keep in Mind Regarding Your Socks

  • Change socks daily: You need to change your socks every day, especially if your feet sweat a lot. Otherwise the socks will keep on absorbing the sweat regularly, dry up, get reheated when you wear them without washing and start stinking. [10]
  • Material of socks: Go for woolen or cotton socks which are absorbent. Materials like nylon easily become breeding ground for bacteria as they trap the moisture.
  • Care while washing: Wash socks inside out so that if there are any dead skin flakes, they get washed away.
  • Add baking soda: Dust some baking soda in your socks daily as it will absorb moisture from your feet. You can periodically skip it if your feet become too dry.
  • Socks with closed shoes: Always wear socks with closed shoes.

5. Taking Care of Your Footwear

  • Type of shoes: Instead of plastic, go for breathable material like canvas or leather shoes. Apart from colder months try to wear open-toed shoes and sandals. It could reduce unnecessary sweating by allowing air to circulate around your feet. The sweat would quickly evaporate.[10]
  • Insoles of cedar wood: When you are not using a particular pair of shoe cedar wood insoles can be placed in them. The natural essential oil of cedarwood has bacteria fighting properties. This can keep bad odor at bay. By virtue of its antifungal properties, it also keeps toe fungus and athlete’s foot at bay. This would also give you relief from regular application of creams or powders.
  • Cloves or cedar wood: Place few whole cloves or shavings of cedar wood inside your shoes and leave them for a few days when you are not using them. This will diminish the bad odor.
  • Dry your shoes: You need to give a day to your shoes to dry up well so that bacteria cannot invade. Insoles can be taken out and dried. You can even place crumpled newspaper inside your shoes to dry them up overnight.
  • Take them out often: Remove your shoes as and when possible. This will keep your feet and shoes drier.
  • Wash your shoes: If your shoes are washable then wash them daily and dry well before putting them on.
  • Shoe dryer: Use it to dry your shoes before you wear them.

6. Dietary Modification

  • Limit refined carbohydrates intake: Cut down on these as they make our body ideal for fungal bacterial growth.
  • Balanced diet: You need to consume a balanced diet with the right amounts of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. [11]
  • Avoid alcohol: Abstain from alcohol to reduce unnecessary sweating.
  • Take vitamin A and chlorophyll: You need to increase your intake of food rich in chlorophyll and vitamin A as this help fight bad smell internally. Include parsley, spirulina and green juices in your diet. [12]

Do It Yourself Foot Spray for Mitigating Foot Odor

Four drops each of peppermint essential oil and tea tree essential oil
Eight drops each of eucalyptus essential oil and grapefruit seed extract
Three tablespoons of witch hazel
A tablespoon of distilled water

Take a small spray bottle and with a funnel add the contents into it.
Shake it well to mix.
Spray generous amounts and let your feet dry.
Now you can wear your socks or shoes.[13]

How it works
The spray has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils work on foot odor.
Peppermint oil relaxes your foot muscles and inhibits bad odor.

Do It Yourself Odor Managing Foot Soak

A quarter cup each of raw honey and baking soda
A cup of Epsom salt
Pieces of lime
Juice of one lemon
Three cups of warm water

In a foot, basin adds the water, baking soda and Epsom salt.
Add in the lemon juice, lime pieces, and honey.
Stir and soak your feet in it for half an hour. [13]

How it works
Baking soda will exfoliate your feet.
Epsom salt works on bad odor and rough skin.
Honey bestows its antiseptic properties whereas lime is rejuvenating.

Do It Yourself Antifungal Powder for Smelly Toes

Two drops each of frankincense essential oil,
Cinnamon essential oil and clove essential oil
Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
One and half tablespoon of Bentonite clay
A glass jar or a shaker bottle

Take a small bowl and in it mix together cayenne pepper and bentonite clay.
Pour in the essential oil and mix.
Transfer the powder to a glass jar and it is ready to use.
Sprinkle on your feet and wash your hands. The powder should not go inside your eyes as it has cayenne.
You can even put it inside your socks and then wear it. Even at night you can apply it.
Continue using it two times a day for seven to fourteen days. [14]

How it works
Cayenne powder’s constituent capsaicin destroys the foot fungus.
Bentonite clay can soak in microorganisms and toxins that your feet are exposed to.
Frankincense oil bestows the mix with antiseptic benefits.
Cinnamon oil works against fungal infections.
Clove oil also has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.

Do It Yourself Foot Odor Killing Soak

Three cups of vodka
Four drops of eucalyptus oil
Two cups of water
Two teaspoons of mint leaves that have been crushed
A half cup of olive oil

Take a foot basin and combine all the ingredients.
Soak your feet in it for fifteen minutes to get rid of bad smell.

How it works
The eucalyptus oil and mint leaves freshen up your feet leaving behind a good smell.
Vodka, on the other hand, is effective in killing odor-causing bacteria. [15]

Do It Yourself Fragrant Foot Scrub

Two to three drops each of rosemary and peppermint essential oils
A quarter cup of olive or almond oil
A cup full of coarse sea salt
Half a teaspoon of dried rosemary or two sprigs of fresh rosemary that has been crushed

Mix all the ingredients and scrub your feet with it.
Use warm water to rinse it off and apply a moisturizer.

How it works
The scrub will help remove dead skin, soften it and leave your feet smelling nice. [16]

Do It Yourself Anti Stink Foot Cream

Six ounces each of cocoa butter and aloe vera juice
Two ounces each of grapeseed and sweet almond oils
An ounce of tapioca starch
One and a half ounces of emulsifying wax
Five ounces of essential oil blend (equal quantities of chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and cedarwood essential oil)
Around eleven ounces of distilled water

Take the wax and the oils in a saucepan and place over low heat. Stir it from time to time to melt the wax.
In another saucepan take the aloe vera juice and water and warm it. Dissolve the tapioca starch in it.
Now mix contents of both the saucepans together to get an emulsion.
As the mixture cools to sixty degree Celsius mix in the preservative.
Transfer to sterile glass jar and put the lid when it cools down.
Apply every morning to get rid of stinky feet. [17]

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