How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet (2022)

If you have smelly feet, you are not alone. Bromodosis, the medical term for foot odor, can happen for many reasons and is a common problem. Your feet may stink because of sweat buildup there. If you don’t address your moist feet, this can lead to bacterial growth, causing an unpleasant odor.

Sometimes, though, stinky feet can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.This article will discuss the causes of foot odor, home remedies to use, and medical treatments you may need.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet (1)

Causes of Stinky Feet

Your foot odor may stem from any of several causes.

Trapped Sweat and Hyperhidrosis

You can get sweaty feet because it’s hot outside or you’re exercising vigorously. Still, your feet can also sweat excessively for other reasons like:

  • Being pregnant
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes
  • Stress
  • Spending long hours on your feet
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Taking certain medications
  • Underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disease or diabetes

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that involves extreme sweating. It can affect any area of the body, including the feet.

When sweat isn’t cleaned off and gets trapped between your toes, bacteria can start to proliferate, creating a smelly situation.

Bacteria

Bacteria can grow due to trapped sweat, but you can also contract abacterial infectionthat causes your feet to smell. Typically, this happens because a cut, wound, or ingrown toenail becomes infected. Left untreated, it can start to smell. A festering wound that stinks is definitely a sign to seek medical attention.

An abrasion on your foot is unlikely to get infected and smelly if you take care of it. But some people are more likely to develop foot infections, including:

  • Older adults
  • People with diabetes
  • People with a compromised immune system

Fungi

Fungal foot infections are common causes of smelly feet. Your feet are a favorite spot for fungi. The moist crevices between your toes are the perfect home for fungi to hang out and thrive.

And fungal infections can be hard to get rid of, which means the smell can stick around. Some fungal infections that can affect your feet include:

  • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)
  • Toenail fungus (onychomycosis)

Both of these can cause your feet to stink.

(Video) How to get rid of stinky, smelly feet.

Poor Hygiene

Unsurprisingly, not washing your feet can cause them to start to smell, too. The same goes if you’re regularly wearing unwashed socks or shoes.

Poor Shoe Care

Your foot odor may stem from wearing smelly shoes. Sweat can soak into your footwear and cause bacterial growth that eventually leads to a nasty smell. The key is to let your shoes or boots dry out completely before you step into them again to prevent this from happening.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, like those that happen during pregnancy, can also cause stinky feet. Increased hormone production during pregnancy can cause you to sweat more, which, in turn, can lead to bad foot odors.

It’s Treatable

Smelly feet are a common problem and nothing to be embarrassed about. The issue is also very treatable. You can try various home remedies, but if those don’t solve the problem, a podiatrist or dermatologist can help you find a solution.

Home Remedies for Smelly Feet

There are several steps you can take at home to improve your foot odor problem.

Good Foot Hygiene

Keeping your feet clean by washing them daily with soap and water can help keep them from getting smelly. Other good hygiene tactics to use include:

  • Using antibacterial soap to prevent bacterial buildup
  • Always thoroughly drying your feet
  • Changing socks daily
  • Keeping your toenails clean and trim
  • Removing dead skin and calluses (thickened areas of skin)​​

If you sweat excessively, you can also try changing up the shoes you wear. Wear a bigger size if your shoes are too tight. Opt for open-toed shoes, if possible. Foot powders and antiperspirants can also help keep your feet dry and bacteria free. In addition, you can find medicated insoles at most pharmacies.

Sock and Shoe Care

If sweat gets into your footwear, it can cause bacteria to grow in the nooks and crannies and lead to a smell.

Changing your socks every day and wearing socks made of materials that wick sweat can help prevent smelly feet. Cotton socks retain sweat, while socks made of synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and polypropylene will wick moisture away from the skin.

If you sweat a lot, you may want to strike preemptively and apply antibacterial powder in your shoes to sop up the sweat and keep them dry.

Another way to keep smells from developing is to rotate your shoes (alternating days that you wear a given pair), especially during times of the year when wet or hot weather is the norm.

Medical Treatments for Stinky Feet

If you have excessive sweating, your healthcare professional may recommend a medical procedure or medication to address it.

Iontophoresis

Doctors prescribe this procedure to treat excessive sweating, particularly of the hands and feet. You place your feet (or hands) in a basin of water and an electrical current is applied. It’s unlikely to cause any severe side effects, but it needs to be done weekly to provide lasting results.

(Video) Foot Odor: How to Fix Stinky Feet or Smelly Feet [BEST Remedies 2022!]

Some people may experience:

  • Skin irritation
  • Dry skin
  • Discomfort

Botox

Doctors may also recommend Botox (botulinum toxin) to treat excessive sweating. Research suggests that it can reduce sweating by up to 87%. Results can occur within a few days after treatment and last several months—sometimes up to a year.

The biggest drawback is that injections to the feet tend to be quite painful. And some evidence suggests that it’s less effective for foot sweating than for other types of excessive sweating, such as under the arms.

Prescription Medication

A doctor may prescribe prescription drugs to treat excessive sweating. These block sweating from occurring in the first place. However, they can be dangerous because they stop your natural cooling-off mechanism.

Other side effects include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth

Summary

It’s not uncommon for feet to smell. Your feet are a prime spot for bacteria and fungi to grow. Footwear like shoes and socks can also cause odor. Often, at-home hygiene efforts can help reduce or prevent foot odor. However, you’ll sometimes need to see a doctor to treat an underlying condition causing the problem.

A Word From Verywell

Having smelly feet can be embarrassing. Usually, taking a few extra steps to make sure you’re cleaning your feet and keeping them dry, as well as taking care of your footwear, should solve the problem. If you’re worried about constant foot odor, you may want to talk to a doctor to find out the root cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why have my feet started to smell?

    It might be for several reasons, including a bacterial or fungal infection or hormonal changes. Have you changed any habits recently? Your new shoes could be trapping sweat, leading to a foul odor. Or maybe you’re taking a new medication that’s impacting your body’s ability to regulate its temperature, increasing sweat production.

  • What can I soak my stinky feet in?

    (Video) Salamat Dok: Homemade Foot Odor Eliminator | Discussion

    Soaking them in vinegar and water can help prevent bacterial growth. An Epsom salt soak can also help dry out your feet.

9 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. NHS. How to stop smelly feet.

  2. International Hyperhydrosis Society. Sweaty feet.

  3. Mogilnicka I, et al. Microbiota and malodor—Etiology and management. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(8):2886. doi:10.3390/ijms21082886

  4. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. Athlete's foot overview.

  5. NHS. Common health problems in pregnancy.

  6. International Hyperhidrosis Society. Iontophoresis.

    (Video) Smelly Feet Natural Home Remedies | How to Get Rid of Stinky Feet & Foot Odor | |Foot Care Tips |

  7. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hyperhidrosis: Diagnosis and treatment.

  8. International Hyperhidrosis Society. OnabotulinumtoxinA injections (Botox).

  9. ClevelandClinic. 4 ways you can avoid stinky feet.

FAQs

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet? ›

Smelly feet can be alleviated by foot powders, vinegar soaks and better foot hygiene.
...
  1. Wash and Scrub Your Feet. ...
  2. Apply Antiperspirant. ...
  3. Soak Your Feet in an Apple Cider Vinegar Solution. ...
  4. Use Foot Powders and Antibacterial Insoles. ...
  5. Try Essential Oils.
Nov 5, 2019

How do I get my feet to stop smelling so bad? ›

What Can You Do?
  1. Be clean. Wash your feet every day. ...
  2. Wear the right socks. Cotton, some wools, and special knits made for athletes will absorb sweat and allow your feet to breathe. ...
  3. Make sure your shoes aren't too tight. ...
  4. Switch shoes. ...
  5. Kill those germs. ...
  6. Wash shoes or insoles. ...
  7. Avoid shoes made of plastic. ...
  8. Go barefoot.

How do you get rid of stinky feet naturally? ›

You can neutralize your foot odor with a warm water foot soak. Simply fill up a foot basin with warm or cold water, add in 1/3 a cup of apple cider vinegar and soak your feet for 15 minutes. You can perform this foot soak multiple times per day if necessary.

Why do my feet stink so bad? ›

So, if the bacteria on your foot isn't what causes foot odor, fungus might be the culprit. Many people know the fungus as athlete's foot, and it can also cause the foot to smell unpleasant. Dr. Antonopoulos says other foot odor causes include poor hygiene, wearing the same shoes every day and some disease processes.

What causes stinky feet? ›

The main causes of smelly feet are a build-up of sweat and bacteria on them and fungal infections like athlete's foot. The amount you sweat can be affected by: hot weather. exercise.

What is the best product for smelly feet? ›

'I'm a Podiatrist, And These Are the 5 Products I Recommend for Stinky Summer Feet'
  • Tea Tree Oil Foot Soak.
  • FunkAway Aerospray.
  • SteriShoe Essential Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizer.
  • Gold Bond No Mess Foot Powder Spray.
  • Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion.
Jul 2, 2020

What foods cause stinky feet? ›

Foods that Help Make Your Feet Stink
  • Sulfur-rich foods - and not just eggs e.g., onion, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beer, tea, and coffee.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Greasy foods such as fast foods.
  • Chocolate.
  • Refined carbs e.g., white bread, white rice, white pasta, pastries.
  • Low-carbs (particularly on the keto diet)
Jun 27, 2021

Does smelly feet mean your healthy? ›

So while foot odor doesn't necessarily signify a health problem, in rare instances, it can be a sign of a medical issue. For example, hyperhidrosis, a condition in which one's sweat glands produce excessive sweat, can lead to excessive odor.

Why do my feet smell so bad even after I wash them? ›

Bromodosis, or smelly feet, is a very common medical condition. It's due to a buildup of sweat, which results bacteria growth on the skin. These bacteria cause bad odors. Fungal infections like athlete's foot can also lead to bromodosis.

Does peeing on your feet stop them smelling? ›

Some people say urine might cure athlete's foot because of the urea that it contains. It would have to be a very large amount of urea (more than how much is normally found in urine) for it to be considered useful to treat tinea pedis (“athlete's foot”). So in reality, no, it probably does not work.

No one wants to deal with the embarrassment of stinky feet. The good news is there are plenty of home remedies. Here's how to get rid of stinky feet.

While most of us have suffered from foot perspiration, damp feet and odor at some point in our lives, for many, sweaty, stinky feet can be a relentless problem that causes much discomfort.. A study conducted at the Skin and Care Foundation in Australia reported that sweaty feet commonly comes with an offensive odor or stinky feet, known as bromhidrosis.. However, for those who have the problem of stinky feet, the good news is that with a daily hygiene routine, you can eliminate stinky feet and rid yourself of the embarrassment that it may cause.. Sweaty feet, known as palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, means excessive sweating and usually causes stinky feet.. Because the foot has around 250,000 sweat glands, feet tend to sweat more than other parts of the body.. Smelly feet happen when bacteria on the skin breaks down the sweat as it comes from the pores, and usually a cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes.. Other causes can be related to daily stress, an injury due to some structural issue in the foot area, standing on your feet all day, wearing the same shoes daily without allowing them to dry, poor personal hygiene, hormonal changes in the body — in particular in teens and pregnant women — and, of course, athletes who may experience fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot .. Takeaways Sweaty feet commonly comes with an offensive odor or stinky feet, known as bromhidrosis.. Home remedies and prevention methods for stinky feet include practicing good hygiene, using foot powder or a foot scrub, soaking your feet, rotating shoes, wearing and changing socks frequently, and changing your diet.. Smelly feet happen when bacteria on the skin breaks down the sweat as it comes from the pores, and usually a cheesy smell is released as the sweat decomposes.. Other causes can be related to daily stress, an injury due to some structural issue in the foot area, standing on your feet all day, wearing the same shoes daily without allowing them to dry, poor personal hygiene, hormonal changes in the body — in particular in teens and pregnant women — and, of course, athletes who may experience fungal infections.

Follow these 7 tips to get rid of smelly feet and keep them smelling fresh.

Most people get the odd case of smelly feet (medically known as bromodosis) from time to time, especially when their feet are sweating more than usual.. Perhaps you’re spending all day on your feet or you’re wearing shoes that make your feet sweat a lot.. Whatever the cause, when your feet start to sweat a lot, the extra sweat encourages bacteria to grow on your feet and produce smelly substances.. You can usually get rid of smelly feet quickly and cheaply by washing and drying your feet more often.. But sometimes, smelly feet may be a sign of an underlying medical condition and you may need to ask a doctor for advice.. If you wear the same pair of shoes 2 or more days in a row, the sweat in them may not get a chance to completely dry out, which can make your shoes and feet smelly.. Socks are useful for preventing blisters and keeping your feet dry by absorbing the excess moisture from sweat.. But they can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure you wear a new pair of socks every day, and change them after exercise or any activity that makes your feet sweat.. But avoid nylon socks, which make your feet sweat more.. Try to wear socks if you’re wearing closed shoes, as a layer of material between your foot and your shoe absorbs any sweat.. This helps prevent your skin from getting soggy when your feet sweat – the ideal environment for bacteria to grow.. Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) in a shallow bath or a basin of warm water and soak your feet in it for 10 to 20 minutes – and remember to dry your feet thoroughly afterwards.. Although smelly feet are most commonly caused by sweaty feet and poor hygiene, sometimes, they may mean you have an underlying medical condition, including. you can usually treat smelly feet quickly and easily by improving your foot hygiene with home treatment and advice from a pharmacist keeping your feet clean and dry can help reduce the growth of bacteria that cause bad foot odour to help the skin on your feet breathe, wear clean and dry shoes and socks made from natural fibres there are many foot treatment products that can help to reduce your feet sweating and smelling speak to a doctor if self-care measures aren’t working for you, as an underlying medical condition could be causing your smelly feet

If you have smelly feet, don’t surrender to the stench. Here are our tips for identifying the cause and mounting an effective counterattack.

The question then becomes which foot odor remedy will keep your feet drier, cleaner and fresher when shrouded in socks and shoes for hours.. If your feet smell bad, don’t surrender to the stench.. Let’s slap a bullseye on that horrible foot odor and get to work.. Sweat glands, of course.. There are about on your feet that create about a half a pint of perspiration each day.. Powder or antiperspirant – Underarms are another bodily region known for sweating—and smelling.. Exfoliating foot peel – Dead skin on your feet is another odor trap.. Normal sweat and the resulting bacteria aren’t always the culprit for smelly feet.. Hyperhidrosis is caused by overactive nerves that keep the sweat glands working overtime.. Even if you’ve successfully reined in your foot odor, your shoes could still be holding onto that stubborn stink.. Find what works for you and don’t let up, because your sweat glands definitely won’t.

Are you looking for excellent ways how to get rid of smelly feet vinegar? Don’t feel embarrassed as you aren’t alone here who is nodding your

The bacteria production increased more by wearing wet, smelly shoes repeatedly without letting them dry properly.. However, some of the most common causes of feet smelling like vinegar include:. When you’re sweating, your feet can release a lot of sweat and body odor.. Most essential oils have anti-bacterial formulas suitable to reduce infection and smell.. Or simply add a few drops of any essential oil in lukewarm water with some Epsom salt (optional) and soak feet for 10 minutes.. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and reduces infection and stinky smell.. Epsom salt is used for exfoliation, and it reduces the nasty feet odor and kills bacteria.. Simply rub some sodium bicarbonate on your feet to disinfect them and make them dry, or add some baking soda in water and soak your feet for 10 minutes.. Apply regularly twice a day to stop bacterial buildup and foul odor.. Your feet may smell like vinegar and embarrass you like hell.. Don’t wear wet shoes.. Let them dry properly, and try to keep more than one pair of shoes regularly.

If you’re dealing with tough foot odors, it’s time to put your foot down. Just because smelly feet are a fact of life doesn’t mean they have to run your life.

If you’re dealing with tough foot odors, it’s time to put your foot down.. The good news doesn’t stop there: There are countless proven ways to get rid of smelly feet —from medical interventions to home remedies to drugstore product solutions to simple footwear habit shifts—so you can attack from all angles.. And with the right treatments and habit changes, most foot odor disappears (or is at least reduced) quite quickly.. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: The most important part of solving foot odor is being educated on foot odor.. To learn more about how to get rid of smelly feet, check out the proven stinky feet remedies and expert foot odor advice below.. According to Cleveland Clinic, foot odor happens when the bacteria that live on your skin and in your shoes eat your sweat.. While everyone’s feet sweat (and therefore no one is immune to bromodosis), some people are more susceptible to the condition.. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes a person to sweat excessively even without exposure to heat or exercise.. Some people diagnosed with cancer can also experience bromodosis due to hormone changes from the illness itself or from treatment.. Keeping your feet dry is the main way to prevent the condition, whether that is thoroughly drying them after a shower or changing your shoes and socks after getting caught in the rain.. It’s also recommended to clean (and dry) feet thoroughly after bathing or showering to mitigate the smelly feet condition (more on that later.). Choosing a more breathable material for your go-to shoes can help your smelly feet air out, even while pounding the pavement.. If you struggle with particularly sweaty feet, you can even powder your feet a little before putting on shoes to help prevent an excess of moisture from seeping into your shoes throughout the day.. Any excess wetness between toes could cause bacteria to grow, leading to more problems with bromodosis.

Imagine this, you just came back from work, and sat on your couch to relax a bit. As soon as you remove your footwear, you’re met with an unfamiliar odour. If you experience this almost on a daily basis, it’s time to look for a solution. Smelly feet are very common, especially in the summers. But how can you take care of them from the comfort of your home itself? Let’s find out.

Despite the sweltering summer heat, we often wear socks to protect our feet in summers, and we like how soft it makes our feet.. Well, if your search feed is flooded with queries like ‘how to stop smelly feet’ or ‘how to get rid of stinky feet’ or ‘why does my feet smell, you’re not alone or helpless.. Use The Right Ingredients- One well known and reliable smelly feet remedy is soaking your feet in warm water with a mix of either epsom salt or vinegar.. However, in case you have sore feet or scratches, avoid using vinegar on your feet.. Notice Your Footwear- At times, when you’re busy looking for complicated home remedies for smelly feet, you don’t realise that the solution is probably lying at home, in your shoe rack.. While at home, try to roam bare feet to allow your feet some breathing space.. Add Some Fragrance Apart from the useful home remedies for smelly feet , give yourself some wholesome TLC, using a natural foot cream.. Enriched with the natural goodness of neem, peppermint and virgin king coconut oil, this foot cream moisturises and repairs dull and cracked heels, curbs bacterial breakout, and makes your feet smooth and soft.Now that you know how to get rid of smelly feet in summer, you must also check out our blog on how to prevent tanning in summer.. A lot of fungal activity on the feet can also lead to a condition called athlete’s feet, which could be medically damaging in nature.. You can get rid of smelly feet by wearing clean socks, comfortable footwear, and keeping your feet well washed and clean.

Videos

1. Getting rid of stinky feet
(WLUK-TV FOX 11)
2. How To Easily Eliminate Sweaty Feet And Foot Odor
(Pete & Pedro)
3. How To Keep Your Feet Odour Free | How To Remove Bad Odour From Your Shoes
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4. Do you suffer with sweaty smelly feet? | Benjamin Marble DPM
(Pueblo Ankle & Foot Care)
5. How to Get Rid of Foot Odor Fast and Naturally - Smelly Feet Cure
(WaysAndHow)
6. How to Get Rid of Stinky Shoe and Sneaker Stench
(The Doctors)

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