When I was dating my husband it took him two months before he took off his shoes in my presence. He warned me beforehand that his feet stank, and my gosh, they really did.
An unfortunate fly flew over his shoes and fell dead (may be unconscious, I did not check). I liked him a lot, so I decided to fix it. If you have a similar problem in your life, may be some of my tricks will help you solve it.
First, you should understand why feet stink. The main culprit here is bacteria that feed on your dead skin cells. The ideal condition for these bacteria to grow is dark, warm, wet environment. To prevent bacteria from growing you should control this environment, and to do so you should take following steps.
1. Get yourself a pedicure.
Haven’t you notice that people who get pedicures regularly almost never have a problem with feet odor? Since the bacteria are multiplying by eating your dead skin cells, first thing you should do is to get rid of this dead skin. Rubbing your feet with pumice stone can help, but chances are, if you haven’t had a pedicure for a long time (or never), there are layers upon layers of calluses on your feet, and it makes your feet a feasting ground for bacteria. So, man up and get this pedicure. You may even like it so much, you will become a customer.
2. Wash your feet!
This seems obvious but it is not as easy as it sounds. Your task is to get rid of all the possible bacteria and the dead skin cells that the bacteria are so fond of eating. So, if you just lather up and wash away the foam with water, the smell will remain. Completely "wipe" your feet with the brush or pumice stone and use with anti-bacterial soap. And do not forget to rub between your toes. Wash your feet at least 1 time per day. And then wipe your feet dry.
3. Use hand sanitizer.
Scented hand sanitizer kills germs, prevents the growth of bacteria and masking bad odors. You can use it on your feet between socks changing during the day.
4. Change your socks twice every day.
If you have to wear closed shoes all day, try to change your socks at least twice a day. Keep an extra pair in your locker or bag. Use hand sanitizer or microbacterial wipes to wipe your feet before putting on a new pair.
Couple more things about socks:
- While washing your socks, turn them inside out to remove the remains of dead skin cells inside the socks. Add bleach to water when you wash your socks.
- Try to wear cotton or wool socks that absorb moisture. Synthetic "non-absorbent" socks hold moisture around your feet, forming a "nook" for bacteria.
- Never wear the same pair of socks twice without a thorough washing.
- Only omit socks if you wear open shoes. Always wear socks if you are wearing closed shoes! If anything, you should wear 2 pairs of socks to absorb more moisture.
5. Soak feet.
Every day your feet produce half a liter of sweat (about 2 cups). How soaking your feet can help? Most of feet soaking recipes aim at killing bacteria, plus it helps soften the dead skin for easy removal. Make sure that your feet are completely dry after each soak.
Here are some "recipes":
- Add 1 tablespoon of bleach for about 4 (1 gallon) of warm water. Soak your feet for about 5-10 min every day for a week. If you feel that your skin become too dry, you may add a little of baby oil. Within a day bad smell will be barely noticeable or disappear altogether. Bleach kills bacteria.
- Brew a strong, black tea. Soak your feet for 30 minutes. The tannins in the tea kills the bacteria and also make the skin of your feet dry.
- Salt water: half a cup of salt per ¼ gallon of warm water. After soaking, do not rinse your feet. Just wipe them off.
- Baking soda makes the skin more "alkaline", which does not let bacteria multiply. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a quart of water.
- Vinegar "oxidizes" skin. Dilute a half cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Some people have foot odor that reminds vinegar. If this is you, then the vinegar soak can worsen your situation and should be avoided.
6. Take care of your shoes.
Make sure that your shoes are completely dry before you wear them; otherwise it encourages the bacteria growth inside your shoes as well as on your feet. On average, one shoe dries completely within 24 hours after a day of wearing, so it is essential to have several pairs of shoes that you can swap. 24 hours seem like a long time for shoes to dry, but remember that feet can produce two cups of sweat in one day, and this amount of moisture will not disappear quickly. Pull out the insoles to speed up the drying process. Crumple old newspaper or paper towels inside wet shoes to absorb moisture. Remember, wearing the same closed shoes day after day is a recipe for "fragrant" feet.
More points about shoes:
- Wear open shoes. In open shoes your feet are cooled and they don't sweat as much. If you can't wear open shoes, opt for genuine leather or natural materials that allow your feet to "breathe".
- Regularly wash your shoes, not only outside but also inside. Some shoes can be washed in the washing machine. Just make sure they are completely dry before you put them on.
- Use cedar insoles. Cedar absorbs moisture and odors.
7. Use standard antiperspirants.
You can use ordinary antiperspirants on your feet. Make sure that you use a antiperspirant, not a deodorant, which only masks the smell. Antiperspirants prevent your feet from sweating, therefore reducing the amount of moisture.
8. Rub your feet and toes with talc.
Use baby powder. It is an astringent substance that will make your feet dry. You can use baking soda, which will create an alkaline environment unfavorable for the bacteria. Cornstarch also absorbs sweat. But do not overdo it to avoid irritating lumps.
9. Go barefoot.
Always take the opportunity to remove your shoes to dry as the legs, and the very shoes.
And if nothing else worked, there are some extra tips:
- Make sure you get a daily dose of zinc. Due to lack of zinc bad breath may come not only from your feet, but also out of your mouth and the body in general. So make sure that you get the required daily amount of zinc through your diet, or take zinc supplement.
- Stress can stimulate sweating. Therefore, if you are under a lot of stress, it can worsen your situation.
- Unpleasant foot odor also can be caused by fungus. In this case you should see the doctor to get a prescription to treat the fungus, before you do anything else.