How Long to Soak Feet to Get Rid of Smell?

Smelly feet is often caused by sweating, which creates a moist environment where bacteria and fungi thrive. Soaking your feet can help get rid of foot odor by cleaning off sweat and bacteria. But how long should you soak for maximum de-stinking?

To effectively reduce foot odor, plan to soak your feet for 15-30 minutes. This allows enough time for the water and ingredients to work their magic. Here are some tips for an effective foot soak:

  • Use warm water, not hot. Hot water can dry out your skin. Warm water opens pores to allow cleansing.
  • Add baking soda or epsom salts. These ingredients help neutralize odors and skin bacteria. Dissolve 1⁄4 cup in a basin of warm water.
  • Consider essential oils. Tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and peppermint oils naturally fight odor-causing bacteria. Add several drops to the soak.
  • Scrub with a washcloth or pumice stone. Gently scrubbing removes dead skin and builds up that bacteria feed on. Focus on heels and between toes.
  • Rinse and dry completely. Leave no moist areas for bacteria to thrive. Pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply foot powder. Look for antibacterial varieties containing zinc oxide or aluminum starch. These create a protective barrier.
  • Use cotton socks. Cotton breathes better than synthetic fibers that trap sweat. Change frequently.
  • Treat shoes and inserts. Remove inserts and wash with detergent. Sprinkle shoe interiors with borax or baking soda. Let air out between wears.

How often you need to soak feet depends on the severity of the odor. For maintenance, aim for 2-3 times per week. Those with excessive sweat or odor may need daily soaking. Be sure to soak for long enough each time – never less than 15 minutes.

If foot soaks don’t seem to be helping, the odor may require more aggressive treatment. See a podiatrist to rule out bacterial or fungal infections. Conditions like athlete’s foot are common causes of stubborn foot odor. Prescription medication or medicated soaks may be needed.

Don’t be shy to ask your doctor for help with smelly feet. Simple maintenance like regular soaks can keep odor at bay. But some feet require extra TLC. A podiatrist can evaluate any underlying causes and provide treatment options. With the right plan, you can soak your feet back to odor-free freshness.