How to Stop Work Boot Odor

by Hallie Engel

A close-up of a man wearing work boots and driving a forklift.

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Wearing hot, heavy work boots every day can lead to sweaty feet and a less-than-fresh scent. To keep your feet and boots clean and clear, wash your feet daily with anti-bacterial soap; after work, go barefoot or wear flip-flops so your feet can breath easy. If you still can't control the odor, discuss the problem with your doctor.

Basic Foot Care

Giving your feet extra attention keeps them, and your work boots, smelling sweet. After bathing, dry your feet thoroughly and swab between your toes with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, or even vodka, which dries out the skin and destroys bacteria. Before putting your socks and boots on, spritz your feet with an odor-stopping spray, though WebMD says regular underarm deodorant works just as well and costs less.

Don't Forget Your Socks

Always wear socks with your work boots, as they soak up stinky sweat, keeping footwear fresh. Change your socks daily and avoid any made from artificial materials, like nylon, which trap germs. Instead, the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management recommends thick, soft socks made from natural fibers, like cotton. Some socks have antibacterial properties that combat foot odors, making them an ideal choice.

Caring for Your Boots

Before putting your work boots on, treat them with an odor-fighting powder or spray. If possible, invest in a second pair of boots and wear them on alternate days so they have time to thoroughly air out. Choose boots made from natural materials, like leather, that encourage oxygen flow, as artificial fabrics trap the germs that lead to odor. When you’re not wearing your boots, store them in the open, as bacteria thrives in dark, damp closets.

Odor-Preventing Foot Soaks

When your work boots come off, soak your feet in one pint of hot water mixed with a couple quarts of cool water and two black tea bags. Use the soak for a half an hour every night for a week; acids in the tea will kill germs, reduce sweating and close pores, helping to stop odor. For another simple soak, mix two parts of water with one part vinegar, and use it daily for a week.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.