The Best Antibacterial Products for Smelly Feet

Having smelly feet can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem. The odor is often caused by bacteria growth on the feet, especially in the moist environment created by sweat. Using antibacterial products can help kill odor-causing bacteria and control foot odor. There are several effective antibacterial options to consider for getting rid of smelly feet.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil that has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. It contains compounds like terpinen-4-ol that are toxic to a wide range of bacteria and fungi that cause foot odor. Tea tree oil foot soaks, scrubs and creams can eliminate odor-causing microbes on the feet.

To make a simple tea tree foot bath, add several drops of tea tree essential oil to a basin of warm water and soak feet for 15-20 minutes. For a scrub, mix a few drops of the oil with coarse salt or sugar and gently scrub feet in the shower. There are also ready-made tea tree foot creams that can be massaged into feet after washing. Used 1-2 times per day, these tea tree solutions can keep odor at bay.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another household staple that can be used to neutralize foot odor. It is alkaline and helps counteract sweat acidity on the feet, making it harder for bacteria to thrive. Baking soda also absorbs moisture and perspiration that bacteria feed on.

Make a foot bath by pouring 1 cup of baking soda into a tub of warm water and soaking for 15 minutes. For a foot scrub, mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water to form a paste, then gently scrub on feet and rinse. Baking soda can also be sprinkled directly into shoes and socks to absorb odor. Using it 2-3 times a week helps deodorize smelly feet.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a powerful antibacterial agent that can eliminate a wide variety of odor-causing bacteria on the feet. It contains thymol and carvacrol compounds that break down the cell walls and membranes of bacteria. Oregano foot soaks, scrubs and rubs can successfully attack bacteria responsible for foot odor.

Add several drops of oregano essential oil to foot bath water or mix with a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil and massage directly onto feet. For a scrub, combine oregano oil with coarse salt or baking soda and gently scrub on feet in the shower 1-2 times per week. This can deeply cleanse feet and control odor.


The antibacterial components in Listerine mouthwash can also be used to treat smelly feet. Listerine contains essential oils like eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate and thymol, which disrupt bacteria cell membranes and kill microbes.

Soaking feet in a basin with 1 part Listerine and 2 parts warm water for 15-20 minutes can reduce odor-causing bacteria. The Listerine foot bath can be done once or twice per day as needed. For added benefit, scrub feet with a bristle brush while soaking to help dislodge bacteria.


Betadine contains the antibacterial agent povidone-iodine and can be used as an antiseptic foot soak. Povidone-iodine releases free iodine which penetrates bacterial cell walls and essentially disrupts the organisms. This helps eliminate the main source of foot odor.

Mix 2 tablespoons of Betadine first aid antiseptic with 1 gallon of warm water. Soak feet for 20 minutes every day until odor dissipates. Make sure to rinse feet thoroughly after soaking to prevent any skin irritation or staining from the Betadine solution.


Vinegar has antimicrobial effects against bacteria that make feet smell. White vinegar foot soaks can help restore the natural acidity of skin that gets disrupted by perspiration. This makes the environment less hospitable to the bacteria that causes odor. The acetic acid in vinegar also breaks down tough odors and kills bacteria and fungi.

Mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water and soak feet for 15 minutes daily. For a foot scrub, combine 1⁄4 cup vinegar with 1⁄4 cup coarse salt or baking soda and gently scrub on feet when showering. Rinse feet well after vinegar application. Repeat vinegar soaks or scrubs as often as needed to combat odor.

Essential Oils

Many essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and lemongrass have natural antibacterial compounds and can be used to make homemade foot sprays. To make a spray, fill a 4 ounce spray bottle with 1⁄4 cup witch hazel or distilled water. Add 15-20 drops of your chosen antibacterial essential oil(s). Shake well before each use and spray directly on clean feet whenever you notice foot odor, allowing it to dry. The antibacterial oils will help destroy odor-causing bacteria.

Keeping feet clean and using targeted antibacterial treatments can help control unpleasant foot odor. Consistently using tea tree oil, baking soda, oregano oil, Listerine, Betadine, vinegar or essential oils will help kill bacteria, balance skin pH and prevent smelly feet. Find the antibacterial foot product that works best for your needs and use it diligently for fresh smelling feet.