Having smelly feet could be quite embarrassing. Foot odor often occurs when you sweat on your feet and there is poor air circulation around your feet because of your socks or shoes. Bacteria, on your feet, then thrive on the unhygienic nature of your sweaty feet by feeding off the sweat and dead skin cells around your feet. These bacteria are what cause the nasty foot odor.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with stinky feet;
- Wear shoes with some form of breathability i.e. shoes that allow some form of airflow such as leather or cotton shoes. Avoid plastic shoes.
- Ensure you maintain a trim toenail.
- Exfoliate the feet regularly to get rid of dead skin cells that bacteria can feed on.
- Ensure you wash your feet every day.
- Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes for two consecutive days. Strive to rotate your shoes.
- Always wear socks with your shoes.
- You could wipe the interior of your shoes with antibacterial wipes.
- Avoid stressful situations that make you sweat more. You could also practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
- Keep your shoe, and feet, dry and clean as much as possible.
- You could also use medicated insoles that have a deodorizing effect on your shoes.
- Wear open toe shoes when possible.
Below are 18 home remedies and natural treatments for foot odor;
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil has potent antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, making it an exceptional choice for eradicating feet odor. Lavender also smells so nice and helps in eliminating bacteria. For this remedy, soak your feet in warm water with a few sweet-smelling drops of lavender oil for at least 20 to 25 minutes. Your foot odor will dissipate after this treatment.
2. Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate)
Epsom salt has potent properties that help to fight microbial infections and as a result, it eliminates foot odor. Alternatively, it can be used to minimize foot ache by using it as a detoxifying foot wash. Put two tablespoons of the salt in a small bath filled with warm water. Then, immerse your feet in the bath. For best results, do this every night for 10 to 20 minutes, right before you go to bed.
3. Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is an active agent in alleviating foot odor. It’s antibacterial properties neutralizes the impact of body fluids, such as sweat, that could trigger foot odor. Put some baking soda in water, about one tablespoon of baking soda for every four pints of water. Soak your feet in this baking soda solution for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this treatment every night, for at least a week, to eradicate foot odor.
4. Black Tea
Black tea has tannic acid which is potent in the inhibition of bacteria that causes feet odor. This black tea treatment is often prescribed by experienced allopaths as a remedy for foot odor due to its bacteria-inhibiting properties and its ability to close pores which consequentially eliminates or reduces sweat that bacteria thrive on.
For this remedy, heat two bags of black tea in three cups of water, until it boils. Add cold water to reduce the temperature. Then, soak your feet in this warm black tea for about 10 or 15 minutes. This natural treatment should be done every day for a week or until change is observed.
Vinegar has acidic content which inhibits the growth of bacteria. Thus, vinegar is highly effective in battling foot odor. Any form of vinegar is useable but apple cider vinegar is to be favored for better results. For this natural treatment, put half a cup of vinegar in eight cups of lukewarm water. Then, soak feet in this solution for about 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, wash and dry your feet to remove the vinegar smell.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps in removing foot odor caused by bacterial or fungal infections. It can be mixed with another oil, such as coconut or almond oil, for use or can simply be used alone.
For this treatment, soak feet in a basin of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Clean up and dry after wash. Then put six drops of tea tree oil in one teaspoon of almond oil and stir. Rub this solution between toes carefully. Either olive or coconut oil can be used in place of almond oil. Apply, in this pattern, three times daily for a week.
Radish works as a disinfectant, which is very important for avoiding foot odor. It’s antimicrobial and soothing properties reduce foot odor by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms. For this natural treatment; cut, grind or mash radishes, so as to help extract its juice, and then mix the juice in a basin of warm water. Put foot, in this basin, for 20 minutes and dry with a towel.
8. Sugar Scrub
Aside sweat and bacteria, dead skin and calluses are other causes of foot odor. Sugar scrub helps remove these dead skin and calluses to erase foot odor. For this sugar scrub treatment, soak your feet in warm water for some minutes and dry your feet thereafter. Then, put 10 teaspoons of sugar in 6 teaspoons of clean water and a little rubbing alcohol, if available, and mix. Use this mixture to scrub the feet gently for ten minutes before finally washing your feet with warm water.
9. Sage Leaves
Sage leaves have tannic acid which exhibits astringent properties and can temporarily constrict the feet’s sweat glands, thus, curtailing sweat production. Furthermore, sage’s antimicrobial properties help to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. For this remedy, steep sage leaves in warm water for about 10 minutes. Then, soak feet in the resultant solution for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat this remedy regularly for fast dissipation of foot odor.
The advantages of Rosemary are its antibacterial and astringent properties. These properties help in minimizing the production of sweat and as a result, inhibit the growth of bacteria. Add 2 teaspoons of dried sage and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary to a foot basin with warm water. Stir well and allow it to steep. Then soak your feet in for about 30 minutes. Repeat 1-2 times a day to reduce odor.
11. Salt Scrub with Oils
Salt scrub is used to remove dead skin cells on the feet. This should be used with a pumice stone daily, during baths, to take off dead skin. Put three tablespoons of Epsom salt plus two teaspoons of olive or jojoba oil and an essential oil like lavender oil, rosemary oil or sage oil. Wash and dry feet in warm water before you apply the salt scrub. Then, gently rub feet, with the salt scrub, for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash off with warm water and dab to dry thereafter. Repeat this treatment three times a week for odor-free feet.
12. Oatmeal Scrub
Oatmeal is also used as a homemade treatment for numerous skin problems because it works as an effective exfoliating agent. Scrubbing oatmeal on the skin is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get rid of foot odor. Scrubbing removes dead skin from your feet which odor-causing bacteria feed on. For this homemade remedy, add 2 teaspoons of oatmeal to one cup of warm water. Use this scrub on your feet and massage this scrub on your feet for 10 minutes. Wash it off using warm water and dab until your feet are dry. Repeat this process 4 times per week.
Alum powder is used as an antiseptic which eliminates bacterial growth and closes the sweat glands temporarily, thus, reducing perspiration which is a major cause of foot odor. Put one teaspoon of alum powder in two cups of warm water and stir till mixed properly. Wash the feet with this solution gently and thoroughly. Do not clean off but leave the mixture to dry. Another option is to sprinkle alum powder on the feet daily.
Ginger helps the body eradicate germs and is a great remedy for foot odor. For this remedy, mash a piece of ginger into a paste. Then, apply the paste on your feet. Leave this paste on your feet for about 15 minutes before washing off. Repeat this natural treatment regularly.
Cedarwood oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties making it a good remedy for combating foot odor. Cedarwood oil can be combined with coconut oil for additional health benefits because coconut oil has lauric acid which has healing properties that make it effective as a skin rejuvenating agent. For this remedy, mix 3 to 4 drops of cedarwood oil and one drop of coconut oil. Then, rub and massage this mixture on your feet. Ensure you are careful after applying this oil mixture since your leg is well lubricated and you could slip and fall.
16. Boric Acid
Boric acid is also a potent remedy that kills bacteria that causes foot odor. For this remedy, simply sprinkle boric acid on your smelly feet for a couple of days. The foot odor would eventually dissipate. Alternatively, you could mix a little quantity of boric acid and white vinegar with a cup of water. Then spray the resultant solution on your feet or inside your shoe.
17. Talcum / Baby Powder
Another popular way to reduce the problem of stinky feet is to use talcum powder or baby powder on your feet. Being astringent in nature, these powders help absorb and dry out your sweat. Just sprinkle talcum powder or even baby powder generously on your feet. Do this two or three times a day for a few days to combat foot odor. You can also sprinkle it in your shoes.
18. Thyme Oil
Thyme oil contains strong antiseptic properties that help wade off foot odor coupled with a fresh fragrance that overpowers pungent odors. For this treatment, add few drops of thyme oil in warm water and soak your feet for 15 – 20 minutes daily.
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