Having smelly feet can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem. The feet have more sweat glands per square inch than any other part of the body, meaning they are prone to sweating and developing odor. While good hygiene habits like washing and drying the feet daily are important, many people find that using hot water provides extra relief for particularly smelly feet. In this article, we’ll take a look at the possible benefits of using hot water for smelly feet as well as some other remedies you can try.
How Hot Water May Help With Smelly Feet
There are a few reasons why soaking the feet in hot water could help combat foot odor:
- Kills odor-causing bacteria: Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments like the inside of shoes. Hot water can help kill some of these odor-causing bacteria that grow on the feet and lead to unpleasant smells. The heat helps sanitize and disinfect the feet.
- Opens pores and cleans feet: The hot temperature causes the pores on the feet to open up. This allows sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria to be released and washed away more effectively than with lukewarm or cool water. The heat penetrates deeper to give feet a thorough cleaning.
- Softens calluses: If the feet have thick patches of hard, dead skin (calluses), these can trap sweat and bacteria and lead to an odor. Soaking calluses in hot water helps soften and exfoliate the dead skin cells so they can be scrubbed off more easily. This eliminates bacteria hiding places.
- Improves circulation: The blood vessels in the feet expand when exposed to hot water. This improves circulation, bringing fresh blood into the feet. Better circulation can help reduce excessive sweating and bacteria buildup leading to foot odor.
- Relaxing and soothing: A warm foot soak is therapeutic and relaxing. This helps open pores and loosen dead skin too. The heat may also have a small antimicrobial effect.
Other Remedies To Try for Smelly Feet
Using hot water can be helpful for combating smelly feet, but it’s most effective when combined with other strategies like:
- Washing feet daily with antibacterial soap, especially between the toes
- Scrubbing feet with a foot scrubber or pumice stone to remove dead skin
- Using antibacterial foot spray or powder after washing feet
- Wearing moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry
- Using antifungal foot spray or powder to kill fungi like athlete’s foot
- Letting shoes completely dry out between wears to prevent bacteria growth
- Using deodorizing ball of foot insoles or shoes inserts
- Getting rid of old shoes and socks with embedded odors and replacing them
- Seeing a podiatrist if excessive foot sweating or odor persists
The ideal temperature for foot soaks is typically between 100-110°F. Soaking for 10-15 minutes allows time to kill germs and soften calluses. Be sure to fully dry feet afterwards, especially between the toes where moisture gets trapped. Only use hot water if your feet don’t have any open cuts or sores, as this can cause irritation. Check with your doctor if foot odor persists despite home remedies.
In summary, using hot water can be an easy and effective home remedy for reducing foot odor. Combining a hot foot soak with other hygiene habits gives smelly feet the best chance of smelling fresh. Consistency is key to managing this common problem. With some discipline about foot care, you can confidently take your shoes off and enjoy odor-free feet.