How to Clean Smelly Feet

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Fetid foot odor may be mostly a hygiene issue, but it can cause severe social embarrassment -- and can be hard to combat. The main cause of smelly feet is bacteria growing in the sweat-moist crevices of your skin, shoes and socks. Prevention is as important as treatment, but cleaning stinking feet is an important component of both. In other words, washing your feet daily is the most important step you can take to remedy the problem.

Step 1

Fill a basin or bathtub with warm water, and let your feet soak in it until the skin softens. Add a half cup of vinegar for extra odor-fighting and disinfecting purposes. Or, instead of vinegar, use Epsom salts, which in addition to combating foot odor have the side benefit of soothing aching muscles -- perfect for an end-of-the-day treat for tired feet.

Step 2

Place some soap on your washcloth, and scrub the skin of your feet thoroughly. You can do this while your feet are submerged or over the basin, as you prefer. Don't neglect between the toes. Consider using an antibacterial soap to help kill off the pathogens that cause food odor, unless your skin is particularly sensitive. In that case, try castile or another mild soap.

Step 3

Exfoliate. You can use a washcloth and soap for this if you scrub thoroughly, but for stubborn calluses you might prefer to use a foot brush or pumice stone.

Step 4

Rinse your feet clean with cool water. Make sure to rinse away any stray soap suds; left in place, they can cause irritation, and bacteria and fungus can find harbor in irritated skin.

Step 5

Wipe your feet -- especially between the toes -- with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. This helps to disinfect the skin. Vodka, often recommended as a home remedy for stinky feet, also works. Make sure to thoroughly air-dry after application and before putting on socks or shoes.

Step 6

Dry your feet with a clean towel. Again, take special care to dry between the toes. Remember that bacteria love to grow where it's moist. Take away their hiding places by toweling thoroughly.