Get Rid of Smelly Feet With These Soaking Solutions

Stinky feet is often caused by sweat mixing with bacteria on your feet. While good hygiene habits like washing and drying your feet well can help, sometimes you need extra solutions to really tackle foot odor. Foot soaks are an easy and effective way to cleanse your feet, kill bacteria, and leave your feet fresh. Here are some of the best ingredients to use for a foot soak that can help banish smelly feet.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and gently disinfectant that can help neutralize foot odor. It helps balance pH levels on your skin to inhibit bacteria growth. Baking soda also absorbs moisture, which deprives bacteria of the damp environment they need to thrive. For a foot soak, dissolve 1⁄4 cup of baking soda in a basin of warm water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes to relieve odor. The baking soda will continue working even after your feet are dry. Do this foot soak a few times per week to keep odor at bay.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, can soften rough skin and exfoliate your feet to remove dead skin cells. This helps eliminate bacteria hiding in cracked skin or calluses. Epsom salts also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to cleanse your feet. Add 1⁄2 cup Epsom salts to warm foot soak water and relax for 20 minutes. The magnesium in Epsom salts may also help regulate sweat, which means less foot odor. Soak with Epsom salts a couple times a week for clean, soft feet.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antibacterial and antifungal ingredient that can kill germs on your feet leading to odors. It creates an acidic environment that makes it hard for bacteria and fungi to survive. Add 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar to a foot bath and soak for 15 minutes. You can also combine it with other ingredients like Epsom salts. Use an apple cider vinegar foot soak a few times a week to deodorize feet.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves of the tea tree. It has strong disinfecting qualities and acts as an antimicrobial agent against bacteria and fungi. Add several drops of tea tree oil to a foot bath to cleanse and deodorize your feet. You can also dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil and apply it directly to your feet and between your toes where bacteria collects. The refreshing scent of tea tree oil will leave your feet smelling nice.

Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a natural odor neutralizer and sanitizer. It kills bacteria and provides a fresh, clean scent. Squeeze the juice from 2 lemons into your foot soak water and relax for 15 minutes. You can also rub halved lemons directly on your feet and between toes. The vitamin C in lemons also removes dead skin cells. Use lemon juice soaks a couple times a week to eliminate foot odor.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has absorbing properties that can remove impurities and odors. When used in a foot soak, it pulls bacteria, fungi, and sweat residue off your skin. This helps deodorize smelly feet. Mix 2 tablespoons of activated charcoal powder into your foot bath and soak feet for 20 minutes. Rinse your feet well afterwards to remove the charcoal. The black pigment in activated charcoal can temporarily stain your feet. Use this foot soak once or twice a week.

Essential Oils

Many essential oils have natural antibacterial and antimicrobial powers along with lovely scents. Great options to add to a foot soak include lavender, rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils. Add several drops of your chosen essential oils to a foot bath and relax for 15 to 20 minutes. The essential oils will cleanse bacteria and leave your feet smelling fresh. You can use essential oil foot soaks a few times a week.

Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

For severe foot odor, try this cleansing combination. Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 1 part white vinegar. Soak your feet in this solution for 20 minutes to kill bacteria. The vinegar tackles fungi while the hydrogen peroxide disinfects. Do this strong solution periodically as needed when foot odor is particularly bad. Rinse your feet well and moisturize after soaking.


An oatmeal foot soak can soothe dry, cracked feet while also fighting bacteria. The antioxidants and avenanthramides in oats have natural anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. They help relieve itchy, uncomfortable feet. At the same time, saponins in oats have a gentle cleansing effect. Add 1 cup of powdered oatmeal to your foot bath and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Use this soak as often as needed for soft, deodorized feet.

Foot Soaking Tips

To get the most out of a foot soak, follow these tips:

  • Use a large basin that allows you to immerse your feet completely. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Time your foot soak for the evening before bed to keep feet clean overnight.
  • Use warm water for soaking. Make sure it’s comfortable but not too hot.
  • Disinfect your foot tub before and after each use to prevent bacterial spread.
  • Exfoliate with a foot scrub or pumice stone first to remove dead skin. This helps ingredients penetrate.
  • Rinse and dry feet well after soaking. Wear clean, breathable socks.
  • Moisturize feet with a lightweight lotion after to prevent cracked skin.
  • Soak feet a few times per week for maintenance. Increase frequency if odor persists.

Foul foot odor can be frustrating. But instead of just masking it with perfumes, treat the problem at its source with a targeted foot soak using ingredients that kill odor-causing bacteria. With a little time and consistency, you can get fresh, clean smelling feet. Say goodbye to embarrassment and let your feet breathe easy again.