Having stinky feet can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem. The smell can be off-putting to those around you and make you self-conscious. When regular hygiene fails to solve the issue, using a disinfectant spray like Lysol may seem like a quick fix. However, this is not recommended and can actually make the problem worse. Here’s what you need to know about using Lysol on smelly feet.
What Causes Smelly Feet?
There are a few common culprits behind foot odor:
- Sweat – Excessive sweating, especially in shoes and socks, provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive and produce foul odors.
- Bacteria – Naturally occurring bacteria on the skin break down sweat and dead skin cells, producing pungent compounds that cause odor. Common offenders are micrococcus sedentarius and corynebacteria species.
- Fungal infections – Infections like athlete’s foot caused by tinea fungi can lead to itching, peeling, and smelly feet. The infection alters skin cell production and creates an imbalance.
- Poor hygiene – Infrequent washing, changing socks, and wearing closed shoes for too long allows odors to build up. Dead skin cell accumulation also traps bacteria and sweat.
- Medical conditions – Problems like hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), diabetes, and obesity can increase foot sweating and odor. Circulatory issues may also play a role.
Why Lysol is Not Recommended
At first glance, Lysol seems like an easy way to fight foot bacteria and odor. However, there are several reasons why spraying this household disinfectant on feet is not a good idea:
- Skin irritation – Lysol contains harsh ingredients like quaternary ammonium compounds that can dry out and irritate skin. Prolonged use could cause cracking, peeling, redness, and even chemical burns on feet.
- Toxic fumes – Spraying Lysol directly on skin could result in inhaling dangerous fumes that should not be breathed in. This could cause coughing, breathing difficulties, and nose/throat irritation.
- Disruption of healthy bacteria – While Lysol kills odor-causing bacteria, it also destroys beneficial bacteria that protect skin. This allows fungal and stubborn bacteria strains to take over and worsens odor.
- Absorption risks – Chemicals in Lysol can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and body. Long-term exposure needs to be avoided.
- Masking, not treating – Lysol only masks odors temporarily. It does not address underlying causes of foot odor like excessive sweating or infections. The smell will keep returning unless you treat the root issue.
- Environmental impact – Improper disposal of Lysol can contaminate groundwater. The chemicals also eradicate beneficial microbes in the environment. Sustainable cures are better options.
Healthy Ways to Treat Smelly Feet
Using Lysol regularly comes with risks and provides no long-term relief. Here are some safe and effective ways to say goodbye to stinky feet instead:
- Wash feet daily – Make sure to scrub between toes and dry feet fully after bathing or showering. Change socks daily to avoid bacterial buildup.
- Soak feet – Soaking feet in a basin with warm water and antibacterial ingredients like apple cider vinegar, black tea, or salt water kills bacteria.
- Exfoliate – Gently scrubbing feet with a pumice stone or foot scrubber removes dead skin cells and lightens calluses where bacteria collect.
- Dry fully – After washing, dry feet thoroughly including between toes. Dampness encourages fungal and bacterial growth. Use a fan or hair dryer on cool setting if needed.
- Use antibacterial soap – Look for soaps with tea tree oil, eucalyptus, or menthol to reduce bacteria while washing feet. Avoid harsh soaps that dry skin.
- Wear clean, breathable socks – Choose moisture-wicking fabrics and change socks at least daily. Alternate pairs to allow proper drying.
- Apply foot powder – Sprinkling medicated antifungal or antibacterial powder on feet helps absorb sweat and fight odor.
- Use OTC treatments – Over-the-counter sprays, insoles, or creams with zinc oxide can aid with odor and athlete’s foot.
- Consider prescription medications – For excessive sweating, oral medications or Botox injections can be used to reduce foot sweat and odor.
Say Goodbye to Smelly Feet for Good
While using Lysol spray on smelly feet may seem tempting, it should be avoided. This household disinfectant can actually harm skin and make odor worse in the long run. For fresh, healthy feet, stick to good hygiene practices, moisture control, targeted OTC treatments, and seeking medical help if needed. With some consistency, you can banish foot odor the safe way and walk with confidence again.