Does Cornstarch Help with Foot Odor?

With many deodorizers and antiperspirants on the market promising a cure, it can be hard to know what remedies are truly effective. Some claim that using cornstarch on the feet can absorb sweat and bacteria to reduce or prevent foot odor. But does this traditional trick really work?

I spoke to two people who have tried using cornstarch as a remedy for their foot odor issues to find out if it provides real relief or not.

Sarah, age 24, has struggled with sweaty feet and associated odor since her teen years. She found that her feet would become especially smelly when wearing closed shoes during the hot summer months. She tried many drugstore sprays, powders, and insoles, but nothing kept the odor at bay for long. After reading about it online, she decided to give cornstarch a try.

“I started sprinkling some cornstarch in my shoes and socks every morning. It does seem to help absorb a bit of the moisture at first,” Sarah said. “But after a full day on my feet at work, my socks and shoes still end up really stinky and gross. The cornstarch seems to lose its effectiveness after a few hours.”

She notes that she has to reapply the cornstarch every time she takes off her shoes to get any sort of odor relief. Even then, the benefits are short-lived.

“Maybe it works better for people with milder cases,” Sarah said. “But for me, the cornstarch doesn’t really make a noticeable difference in foot odor. I end up having to change socks halfway through the day anyway.”

Mike, age 36, plays sports and spends a lot of time in athletic shoes. No matter what he tried, his feet sweated excessively and smelled quite bad after a workout or practice. Looking for budget-friendly solutions, Mike picked up a box of cornstarch and started shaking it in his shoes and socks daily.

“I had some high hopes that this would be the cure, but honestly I’m disappointed with the results,” Mike said. “It seems to absorb a little moisture at first, but doesn’t do much for odor after I’ve been active.”

He found that his feet still produced the same amount of sweat and smell during a game or workout. Immediately afterwards, his socks were just as wet and smelly. The cornstarch remedy provided very temporary relief from moisture at best.

“Maybe cornstarch works for people with mild sweating issues,” Mike said. “But for athletes and those of us with really sweaty feet, I can’t recommend it. It didn’t make an actual difference in odor or sweat reduction for me.”

Based on Sarah and Mike’s experiences, cornstarch does not seem to be very effective at controlling foot odor caused by heavy sweating. While it may initially absorb some moisture, its effects wear off quickly. People with more moderate sweat issues may see better results. But for those with chronic, excessive foot sweating and odor, cornstarch is unlikely to provide significant relief.