How to Fix Smelly Feet

ogre64/iStock/Getty Images

If your loved ones duck for cover as soon as you take off your shoes, you probably haven’t found a way to fix your smelly feet. Foot odor, also known as bromhidrosis, is caused by bacteria that multiply in your warm, damp shoe environment, according to Discovery Health. Fortunately for your loved ones' noses, you don't have to have smelly feet forever; you just need to be willing to try some methods that reduce the damp environment and that deodorize any scent that lingers.

Wash your feet every day. Using a mild, antibacterial soap will help reduce the amount of bacteria that thrive on your feet, says Health Services at Columbia. The amount you should wash your feet depends on how offensive the odor is. You may need to wash your feet multiple times in a day if your foot odor is strong, but Health Services at Columbia recommends cutting back if you begin to notice that your feet have become dry, cracked and scaly.

Dry your feet thoroughly after you wash them. The microorganisms that cause your feet to smell thrive within the moist spaces between your toes. Pat your feet dry, then shake on an over-the-counter foot powder that contains an ingredient called aluminum chloride hexahydrate, says Discovery Health. This should help prevent some sweating.

Choose shoes and socks that will keep your feet as dry as possible. The shoes that would best prevent your feet from becoming too sweaty are sandals, which expose your feet to open air, and shoes made of breathable materials such as leather and canvas, according to Discovery Health. The best socks to wear on a regular basis are wool and cotton socks, which absorb moisture, and the best socks to wear when you're active are moisture-wicking specialty athletic socks. Moreover, Discovery Health recommends sprinkling the insides of your shoes with cornstarch to help absorb any excess moisture.

Rotate your shoes from day to day. This will allow your shoes to air out between uses. If you have old shoes that are still wearable, change their insoles to restore some freshness, suggests Health Services at Columbia.

Soak your feet regularly. Draw a tub full of warm water and pour in some Epsom salts and white vinegar; the combination can reduce the amount of bacteria and moisture on your skin, according to Health Services at Columbia.

Walk barefoot in the grass. This will have the dual effect of airing out your feet and helping you unwind, both of which can reduce the amount of sweat you produce. If you're not interested in walking in the grass, at least take a yoga class, meditate or seek counseling if you believe that your sweating is related to your stress levels.