Does Epsom Salt Help Smelly Feet?

Smelly feet can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem. The medical term for smelly feet is bromodosis. It’s caused by sweat mixing with bacteria on the skin. This causes an unpleasant odor. While there are many products on the market that claim to help with smelly feet, some people turn to home remedies like Epsom salt soaks. But does Epsom salt actually help?

Epsom Salt History

Epsom salt is not actually salt, but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound called magnesium sulfate. It got the name Epsom salt because it was originally discovered in the bitter saline springs in Epsom, England.

Magnesium sulfate crystals have been used for health and beauty purposes for centuries. Some benefits of Epsom salt include:

  • Easing muscle cramps and tension
  • Exfoliating skin and smoothing roughness
  • Drawing out splinters and infections
  • Soothing foot pain and swelling

Magnesium is also a natural stress and anxiety reliever. For all these reasons, Epsom salt soaks and foot baths have remained popular home remedies.

The Science Behind Epsom Salt for Smelly Feet

There are a few ways Epsom salt may help combat foot odor:

Exfoliates skin – The grains of Epsom salt can help remove dead skin cells when massaged onto feet. Exfoliation helps remove bacteria that get trapped in layers of skin.

Reduces sweat – Magnesium absorbs through the skin to help regulate sweat production and body temperature. Less sweat means less food for odor-causing bacteria.

Neutralizes odors – Epsom salt has antimicrobial properties that may help neutralize foot bacteria and related odors.

Relaxes muscles – Magnesium eases muscle tension and strain, which can reduce sweating and related foot odor.

Simple soothing soak – The warm water softens skin and allows dead skin cells to shed easily.

While there’s no definitive scientific proof that Epsom salt alleviates foot odor, there is some anecdotal evidence and scientific theories to support it. At the very least, it can enhance general foot hygiene as part of a regular regimen.

How to Use Epsom Salt for Smelly Feet

Taking an Epsom salt foot bath is easy:

  • Fill a basin with warm water – as hot as comfortable without burning.
  • Add 1/2 cup Epsom salt and stir until dissolved.
  • Soak feet 10-15 minutes to allow magnesium absorption.
  • For extra exfoliation, rub salt grains gently over feet.
  • Rinse and dry feet well after soaking, especially between toes.
  • Follow up with an antibacterial foot powder or spray.

For ongoing foot odor, aim to soak feet 2-3 times per week. Pair this with other foot care like washing socks regularly, using antibacterial soaps, applying foot powder, and wearing breathable shoes. Also treat any underlying medical causes of excessive sweating or infections.

The benefits of Epsom salt are greatest when used consistently over time. This allows the exfoliating and deodorizing effects to build up. Don’t expect foot odor to vanish after a single soak. But with regular use, Epsom salt may help reduce smelly feet.

Other Home Remedies for Foot Odor

If Epsom salt doesn’t provide enough odor relief, try combining it with other natural ingredients:

  • Baking soda – Has odor-fighting properties and softens skin.
  • Essential oils – Oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and sage have antimicrobial effects.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Can kill bacteria and balance skin pH to control odor.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Disinfects feet and fizzes away dead skin cells.

There are also many other homemade recipes for foot soaks using combinations of ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, baking soda, and essential oils. Play around to find one that works for your feet.

For most people, Epsom salt can be a simple, affordable home solution for controlling mild to moderate foot odor. It likely won’t eliminate smelly feet entirely on its own. But combined with good foot hygiene, it can be a piece of the odor-fighting process. Soak feet in Epsom salt regularly, and you may notice your feet staying fresher for longer. Just don’t expect miraculous results from a single soak. Be patient and persistent in caring for your feet.