If you experience funky feet and smelly shoes, then you already know how overwhelmingly embarrassing the lousy odor can get. Whether it’s your feet or your shoes to blame, you would definitely be way better without the stench. Let’s face it, stinky feet and shoes can have a significant impact on your social and private life; they could even be the only thing holding you back sometimes. The good news is, there is a wide array of solutions you can employ to get yourself out of this situation. However, you must first identify the reason behind your cheesy feet or stinky shoes. Let’s take a look at some possible causes and solutions.

Underlying Reasons for Smelly Feet

Basically, feet produce a smelly odor as a result of sweating. Note that, your feet contain a massive 250,000 plus sweat glands. As such, your feet have the largest concentration of sweat glands in the body. Therefore, when this sweat interacts with bacteria, which are naturally found on your feet, it is broken down into isovaleric acid that is responsible for the foul smell. Note that, sweat doesn’t smell on its own until it gets broken down by the bacteria; the medical term for cheesy feet is bromodosis. Be informed that it is normal to have sweaty feet due to the numerous sweat glands located in your feet. However, if you find yourself sweating more than expected, you may be having a condition known as Hyperhidrosis, which triggers the excessive sweating of feet. Your feet and shoes may also be smelling due to negligence or rather poor hygiene.

Lucky for you, there are plenty and simple tricks you can use to keep that aroma at bay. Here is a comprehensive guideline on how best to manage your feet and shoes, and avoid constant embarrassment.

Taking Care of Your Feet

1. Washing and Exfoliating Your Feet Regularly

Having known that the primary cause of that unpleasant smell is your feet, it only makes sense that their hygiene debuts at number one on the list of solutions. Washing feet with antibacterial soap helps fight with bad odorFirst of all, dirty feet attract bacteria; it is, therefore, paramount to wash your feet every day preferably with an antibacterial soap to avoid build up. Concentrate specifically between your toes and dry them completely afterward because bacteria love to thrive in moist areas. Secondly, make sure to remove your feet’s dead skin cells regularly (2-3 times a week) using pumice stone or an exfoliating brush. Removing the dead skin, which bacteria love to feed on will help you keep it at low levels, ultimately eliminating the stench.

2. Spraying Your Feet with Antiperspirant or Deodorant

Antiperspirants and deodorants work the same way for your feet as they do your underarms. Therefore, to reduce the sweat and the odor that comes with it, consider purchasing either or both sprays. A strong deodorant is a good solution since you can use it both for your feet and shoes.

3. Using Foot Powder

Foot powder is sure to keep your feet dry all day by absorbing all the sweat. Even better, you can go for an antifungal foot powder that will play dual purpose of drying and keeping your feet fungus-free. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle your legs with cornstarch before putting on your shoes since it functions the same way as foot powder.

4. Using an Alcohol Wipe

Who knew alcohol could be used to cure fusty feet; well, using alcohol is one sure way of killing the bacteria on your feet and inside your shoe. Rubbing your feet with an alcohol wipe closes the sweating pores temporarily and therefore reduces sweating significantly. Make sure to wipe your feet daily before putting on your socks for amazing results. Additionally, place alcohol-soaked cotton balls in your shoe overnight for even better results.

5. Soaking your feet in different homemade remedies

Homemade remedies such as black tea, salty water, vinegar solution, baking soda solution and other easily accessible products such as lavender oil are apparently quite handy when it comes to fixing cheesy feet. For instance, the tannic acids found in black tea are very effective at killing bacteria as well as blocking pores to prevent excessive sweating. You’ll need to boil approximately two teabags for 15 minutes, dilute your tea until its warm and then dip in your feet for about 20 minutes.

Likewise, you can mix vinegar with warm water and then soaking your legs for 25 minutes every day for one week. This will help to neutralize the odor and kill bacteria. The same applies to baking soda which contains sodium carbonate, known to kill bacteria. Note that, sprinkling baking powder in your shoes overnight can also do the trick of eliminating the odor from your shoes.

However, if you choose to use lavender oil, the procedure entails rubbing a few drops on your feet before retiring to bed. Alternatively, you can mix the oil with warm water and soak in your feet. The good thing is, the oil not only kills bacteria but leaves your feet smelling good; Yay! Now we’re getting there. Lastly, dissolve a spoonful of salt in warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes. Salty water absorbs the wetness off your skin leaving it nicely dry, therefore, making it hard for bacteria to survive as well as reducing the amount of sweat your feet produce.

Taking Care of Your Shoes

After your feet, the next step in removing the stench from your feet and shoes is taking proper care of your shoes. Most of the time, your shoes contribute majorly to the bad odor. This could be due to poor hygiene, or maybe you are wearing the wrong type of shoes. Here are tips to put your shoe in check.

1. Wearing the right shoes

If you have sweaty feet, wearing breathable shoes could do you some justice. Proper aeration is essential to keep your feet dry. In other words, avoid putting on plastic or leather shoes.

2. Leaving Teabags in your shoes the whole night

If your shoes smell, then it means they are a hotbed for bacteria, therefore, placing wet teabags in your shoe overnight will help to eliminate the infestation, subsequently reducing the bad smell. As highlighted before, black tea contains acids that kill bacteria. Other things you can leave in your shoes overnight include orange and lemon peels, cedar wood chips, and cat litter, all these items work by absorbing the stench in your shoes, leaving them smelling nice.

3. Freezing or Drying Your Shoes

The point behind this idea is simple, bacteria cannot survive below certain

Freezing and warming your shoes will help kill bacteria and bad odor from feet and shoes
Photo by Macondo

temperatures and therefore freezing your shoes overnight kills them. However, remember to wrap them in a plastic bag before putting them in your freezer to avoid contaminating your food. On the other hand, drying your shoes near the heater or leaving them out on the sun is another effective solution. Remember bacteria thrives in moist places.

4. Airing Your Shoes by Having More Than One Pair

Giving your shoes a well-deserved rest will ensure they air out properly, doing away with the bad smell in the process. Make sure to loses the laces and remove the insoles on the days you are not wearing a particular pair.

All in all, simple practices such as wearing clean socks and of the right material (avoid nylon, preferably wool or cotton) every day, and drying your feet completely before wearing socks can have a great impact on your feet’s and shoes’ aroma. Otherwise, follow these simple tricks to stay confident all day.

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