It’s not a fun feeling to be accused of dropping a stink bomb every time you take off your shoes, yet having smelly feet (called bromodosis in the medical world) can sometimes seem like an unwinnable battle. The good news, however, is that once you know the opposing forces you’re dealing with, it’s actually quite easy to kick foot odor to the curb.
Many people assume that sweat is what causes stinky feet, but in all actuality, it’s the bacteria that thrive in sweaty environments that cause the area to stink. The bacteria feed on the sweat and produce a noxious smelling gas as they munch on their meal. So the best way to eliminate foot odor is to eliminate sweat, which will then in turn eliminate the odor causing bacteria. Easy peasy!
In addition to these home remedies that combat foot odor, soaking your feet in bacteria-killing solutions is a great way to get your feet feeling fresh. We’ve put together a list of the most powerful foot soaks for smelly feet, so take off your shoes and socks, sit back, relax and soak in the glory of knowing you’ll soon by foot odor free.
Salt Water Soak
Salt naturally draws away moisture, meaning bacteria will have less of a chance to thrive when it’s used. Simply dissolve about a cup of table salt or Epsom salt in a large basin of warm water and soak your feet for about 20 minutes. Repeat on a daily basis for up to two weeks to get your feet smelling fresh.
Apple Cider Vinegar Soak
Organic apple cider vinegar not only acts a natural disinfectant, it also has a drying effect that can help reduce the bacteria on your feet. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a large basin and soak your feet for 20 minutes. Repeat on a daily basis for up to one week to get your feet smelling fresh.
Tea Tree Soak
Black tea acts as a natural antibiotic and reduces the size of pores and glands, meaning your feet will sweat less. Brew a few cups of black tea and add about a quart of cold water to the mixture. Soak your feet in the solution for 30 minutes. Repeat on a daily basis for up to one week to rid your feet of odor.
Sage and Rosemary Soak
Not only are sage and rosemary astringents (which helps reduce the size of the sweat glands on your feet), they both have natural antibacterial and antifungals properties. You can either place a few drops of sage and rosemary essential oils in a basin of warm water and soak for 30 minutes per day, or you can boil one teaspoon of dried sage and one teaspoon of dried rosemary in enough water to fill a small basin and soak for 30 minutes per day. If you choose the latter option, wait for the boiling water to cool to a comfortable temperature before beginning your soak. Done daily, either method should have your feet back to normal in about a week.
Baking Soda and Lemon Soak
Baking soda is a natural odor killer (ask your refrigerator — it knows), and lemon acts as an astringent to help reduce pore size. To make this effective soak, dissolve 1/4 cup of baking soda in a basin of warm water and squeeze in the juice of one to two lemons. Soak for 20 minutes daily for up to one week to get your feet smelling their best.
Lavender Oil Soak
Lavender oil not only smells great, it has antibacterial properties to keep your feet smelling fresh. Simple place a few drops of the oil in a basin of warm water and soak your feet in the solution for about 20 minutes. Do this daily for up to two weeks to keep your feet smelling fresh.
As with any foot soak, it’s important that you thoroughly dry your feet afterward to help keep moisture, sweat and bacteria at bay.