Tips to Keep Your Feet Fresh and Odor-Free

The bacteria on our feet feed on sweat and dead skin cells, causing odors. Luckily, there are many ways to help control foot odor and keep your feet clean, dry and smelling fresh.

Wash Your Feet Daily

Make sure to wash your feet with soap and water every day, especially between the toes where bacteria love to congregate. Use a washcloth or loofah to gently scrub away dirt, sweat and bacteria that can cause odors. After washing, be sure to rinse and dry your feet thoroughly. Drying between the toes is crucial to prevent fungal infections.

Soak Feet Periodically

Periodically soaking your feet can help soften calluses, remove dead skin and draw out impurities. Make a foot bath by filling a basin with warm water and adding a handful of Epsom salt. Soak feet for 15-20 minutes to cleanse pores and freshen feet. Essential oils like peppermint, rosemary or tea tree oil can also be added to foot baths for their anti-bacterial and soothing properties.

Exfoliate and Moisturize

Use a pumice stone or foot scrubber to gently exfoliate your feet a few times per week in the shower. This removes layers of dead, flaky skin that bacteria feed on. Apply a moisturizing foot cream after exfoliation focusing on heels and other extra dry areas. The moisture creates a protective barrier and prevents cracks that can harbor odor-causing germs.

Wear Clean, Dry Socks

Wear a fresh pair of clean, dry socks every day. Damp socks from sweat provide the perfect place for bacteria to thrive. Choose socks made of moisture wicking materials like wool or polypropylene that pull sweat away from the feet. Rotate pairs of shoes so you aren’t wearing the same pair two days in a row.

Use Antiperspirant or Deodorant

Applying an antiperspirant or deodorant to the soles of your feet can help prevent sweating and bacteria overgrowth. Spray or roll on an over-the-counter antiperspirant before bed. Make sure your feet are clean and dry first. An aluminum-free natural deodorant can also be used.

Sprinkle with Absorbing Powder

Sprinkle antibacterial powder onto your feet and in your shoes to help soak up moisture. Look for types that contain ingredients like baking soda, cornstarch, tea tree oil or activated charcoal to neutralize odors. Change your foot powder daily.

Wear Breathable Shoes

Choose shoes made of natural materials like leather or mesh that allow ventilation and air flow. Avoid shoes made of synthetic materials that don’t breathe and make your feet sweat more. Alternate pairs of shoes to give each pair time to thoroughly dry out between wears.

Let Your Feet Breathe

When possible, let your feet breathe by going barefoot or wearing open sandals. This prevents sweat from being trapped against your skin and allows feet to air out. Bacteria thrive in the dark, moist environment inside shoes.

Trim Toenails

Keep toenails trimmed to prevent odor-causing bacteria and fungus from accumulating underneath them. Use clean clippers and cut nails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.

Making a few simple foot hygiene habits part of your daily routine can go a long way towards preventing unpleasant foot odors. With regular cleansing, exfoliation and dryness, your feet will stay fresh inside your shoes. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if odor persists despite your best efforts.