Dealing with foot odor and its effects on footwear, especially slippers, poses a problem that is both embarrassing and challenging. We become accustomed to our own odors and tend not to notice them on ourselves, our clothing or our footwear. It often comes as a shock when others point them out to us. Avoid these unpleasant situations by following a few easy steps that will make your slippers smell freshly laundered and your feet healthy and clean.
Wash your feet every day and wear wool socks. Use a brush with abundant bristles and a long handle. When taking a shower or bath, charge the bristles with your anti-bacterial soap and start scrubbing, gently but firmly. Rinse your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, and pat your feet dry, making sure to dry between the toes. Wool socks wick away moisture, keeping your feet dry and odor-free. They now come in ultra-thin weaves appropriate for summer.
Keep your slippers clean by reading the manufacturer's care instructions and washing accordingly. You may be able to run them through a gentle cycle with cold water and a non-bleach detergent in your washing machine, after which you should leave them out in a warm, dry place and then wear them so that they conform once again to the shape of your feet. Don't use the dryer. Washing by hand is always a possibility, in which case you should use warm water and a cleaning solvent safe for your slippers.
Fill a sock liner with baking soda until it fits snugly in a slipper. Do this with the other sock liner too. Baking soda can neutralize most odors caused by perspiration and bacteria; keeping these in your slippers can remove the funky buildup from sweaty feet that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. Refresh these "sock absorbers" about once every three months.
Line your slippers with scented dryer sheets and then place your slippers in a warm place overnight, or, best of all, in a part of your house that catches a lot of sunlight during the day time. Dryer sheets are well scented straight out of the box, but providing a little warmth will increase their odor-neutralizing powers and release their fresh scent.
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Paul Argodale has written for the "Village Voice" in New York City, as well as several specialized academic journals. He holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and philosophy.