If you frequently battle stinky feet after a long day wearing shoes, you’re not alone. Smelly feet are a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors like sweat, bacteria growth, and wearing nonbreathable footwear. The moisture and lack of airflow leads to an environment perfect for odor-causing bacteria to multiply.
Luckily, there are several tried and true home remedies you can use to freshen up sweaty, smelly feet. With a little time and effort, you can get rid of foot odor and prevent it from returning once you take your shoes off. Here’s how to get rid of smelly feet after wearing shoes all day:
Wash Your Feet Daily
One of the simplest and most effective ways to combat smelly feet is to wash them every day. Use antimicrobial soap and lukewarm water to cleanse away bacteria, dead skin cells, and sweat that builds up, especially between the toes. Be sure to completely dry your feet afterwards, including between the toes, as any lingering moisture left behind can allow odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
Soak in Vinegar Water
White vinegar is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, making it great for stopping foot odor in its tracks. Its acids break down dead skin and kills odor-causing bacteria and fungi. Fill a basin with warm water and add 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes, then scrub with an exfoliating washcloth or pumice stone. Rinse and dry thoroughly. The vinegar soak will deodorize your feet and restore freshness.
Applying an over-the-counter antiperspirant to your clean, dry feet can help curb sweating, the main culprit behind smelly feet. Look for aluminum chloride as the active ingredient. Apply it before bed so it can fully absorb while you sleep. It works by plugging sweat ducts to decrease moisture. Reapply daily for best results in combatting sweaty, smelly feet.
Use Deodorant Powder
Sprinkle antibacterial foot powder inside your shoes to absorb moisture and prevent foot odor all day. Look for products containing zinc oxide, baking soda, activated charcoal, or arrowroot powder, as these ingredients soak up sweat and neutralize odors. Shake powder into socks and shoes in the morning and refresh midday if you experience excessive sweating or dampness between the toes.
Wear Moisture-Wicking Socks
Wear moisture-wicking socks made of synthetic and natural fibers like polyester, Dri-FIT fabric, wool, or bamboo rayon. Unlike cotton, these fabrics whisk sweat away from feet to keep them dry. Damp, sweaty feet cause odors. Look for socks with extra cushioning in pressure points to prevent blisters and excess moisture buildup too. Change socks halfway through the day if they become noticeably wet.
Use Odor-Fighting Insoles
Insoles treated with antimicrobial copper fibers, baking soda, activated charcoal, or zinc oxide prevent foot odor by absorbing sweat and neutralizing odors inside shoes. They provide an extra barrier between your feet and shoes to cut down on bacteria growth. Swap out old insoles in favor of these sweat-fighting products. Some also feature extra cushioning for all-day comfort.
Rotate Your Shoes
Give shoes at least 24 hours between wears to fully air out and dry. Rotating between different pairs prevents excess moisture buildup inside that allows odor-causing bacteria to rapidly multiply. If shoes are washable, toss them in the machine to kill bacteria inside. Let all shoes completely air dry before wearing again. Having designated indoor and outdoor shoe options aids rotation.
Attacks smelly shoes directly by disinfecting the inner fabric. Remove shoe inserts and laces first. Then spray a non-bleach shoe disinfectant over interior surfaces until damp. Most formulas contain odor-neutralizing ingredients alongside antimicrobials to eradicate bacteria behind persistent smells. Allow shoes to air dry fully afterwards. Re-treat whenever odors return.
See a Podiatrist
If you deal with excessively sweaty feet no matter what preventative measures you try, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. See a podiatrist to discuss prescription-strength antiperspirants or other treatment options to curb perspiration and body odor. Custom orthotic inserts may also help. Addressing underlying foot problems improves comfort and sweating issues.
Practice Proper Foot Hygiene
Prevent foot odor by adopting habits like trimming toenails monthly, exfoliating skin with a pumice stone weekly, and always wearing clean, dry socks that wick moisture. Go barefoot when possible to give your feet a chance to breathe. And be diligent about washing feet daily. Proper hygiene limits bacterial and fungal growth responsible for bad foot smells.
Smelly feet can put a damper on your day, but these dermatologist-approved home remedies help rid feet of odor quickly and prevent it from recurring. With consistent use of moisture-fighting products and good foot hygiene habits, you’ll stop foot odor in its tracks so you can maintain freshness no matter what shoes you wear.