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Best Disinfectants and Treatments for Smelly Feet

Having stinky feet can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem. The odor is often caused by bacteria growth on the skin of the feet, as well as excessive sweat. Finding the right disinfectants and treatments to eliminate foot odor is key to fresh, odor-free feet.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is excellent for getting rid of foot odor. Add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to a foot soak or mix 5 drops with a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub it directly onto clean feet, especially between the toes. The strong aroma of tea tree oil helps mask odors while it works to kill bacteria. Use it daily after showering and before bed. After regular use, the bacteria buildup will be eliminated and foot odor significantly reduced.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile and effective odor absorber and foot disinfectant. It neutralizes acids and destroys bacteria and fungi. Make a paste with 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Scrub it onto clean, dry feet and between the toes where bacteria accumulates. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda also makes an excellent foot soak – mix 1⁄4 cup with a basin of warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes. Use baking soda on feet a few times per week to remove odor.


White vinegar is a commonly used disinfectant and cleaning agent. It kills 99% of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and wipe your feet down with a cotton pad soaked in the solution. The acidic vinegar dissolves dead skin cells and destroys odor-causing bacteria. Use daily after showering, especially between the toes. Dry your feet thoroughly afterwards. You can also add 1⁄2 cup vinegar to a foot bath. Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Vinegar restores the natural pH of your skin, inhibiting microbial growth.

Essential Oils

Essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, tea tree, rosemary and lavender have natural antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds that destroy odor-causing bacteria. Add 5-10 drops of your chosen oil(s) to a basin of warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes. The oils will cleanse and disinfect. These oils also have a pleasant aroma that masks foot odor. Apply diluted oils directly to feet after washing as well.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a powerful antibacterial agent. It contains thymol and carvacrol, two antibacterial and antifungal compounds that destroy fungi and bacteria like staphylococcus that causes foot odor. Mix 2-4 drops of oregano oil with a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil and apply directly to clean feet. Make sure to dilute oregano oil before applying to skin because it can irritate. Use daily to eliminate odor-causing bacteria.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant against bacteria responsible for foot odor. It kills microbes by oxidizing their cell membranes. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray feet liberally after washing and drying. Make sure to get between the toes. Let it sit for a minute before drying feet. Use daily, especially after exercise when feet sweat more. The oxygen bubbles also help dislodge dead skin cells.


Betadine contains povidone-iodine, which gives it antiseptic powers. It kills fungi and bacteria like streptococcus and staphylococcus that live on feet and cause odor. After washing and drying feet, use a cotton pad to apply betadine over the entire foot, between the toes and on nail beds where moisture gets trapped. Let it dry before putting on socks and shoes. The iodine continues working even after it dries. Use daily to fully remove bacteria causing odor.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol contains ethanol, which gives it disinfectant abilities. It destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi residing on the skin that can lead to foot odor. After thoroughly washing and drying feet, rub rubbing alcohol over the entire foot using a cotton pad. Make sure to get between toes. The alcohol kills microbes and dries out the skin. Use once or twice daily, especially if you have sweaty feet. Just take care applying between toes, as too much can dry out skin.

Listerine Mouthwash

Listerine contains essential oils like thymol, eucalyptol, menthol and methyl salicylate that give it antibacterial and antifungal properties. It inhibits odor-causing bacteria like streptococcus mutans. Pour some into a foot bath and soak feet for 15 minutes. Or put some on a cotton pad and wipe over clean, dry feet. Use daily. The strong menthol smell also helps mask odor.

With regular use of these disinfecting treatments, you can successfully eliminate foot odor issues. Combine different solutions in a foot soak for maximum bacteria-fighting power. Keep feet clean and dry and change socks daily. Disinfect shoes and socks in the wash to avoid recontamination. With consistency, you can get fresh, odor-free feet.