Remember “Sweet Feet” from the movie Holes? If you suffer from perpetually smelly feet, you probably feel like him. Hopefully yours aren’t so bad as to need a magical cure, but if they are, there is hope (although no magic will be required). There are plenty of ways to combat stinky soles — whether you want to simply stop the stench or replace it with something more pleasant.
If you know you’re prone to foot odor, start your day smart. Powders such as baking soda or baby powder, can be rubbed on the bottom of feet or sprinkled in shoes to absorb extra moisture. Because this moisture is often the source the foot smell, and certainly makes it worse, this method can prevent your feet from smelling in the first place. Baby powder has a nice smell, but baking soda is a powerful odor neutralizer.
Make Changes to Your Footwear
If you don’t wear socks with your closed shoes, you are practically asking for smelly feet. Socks absorb moisture and keep sweat from building up inside your shoes, which in turn can help prevent odor. Some people also find that certain materials, such as rubber and plastic, make their feet sweat more because they don’t allow the feet to breathe. If you find that your feet are still sweating even after taking these precautions, you can try applying an antiperspirant to your feet before putting on socks and shoes.
Keeping feet well groomed is one of the best ways to combat foot odor. Long toenails can lead to issues for your feet, so make sure they stay tamed. You can also try soaking your feet in a salt bath, using kosher or Epsom salt. Salt carries purifying qualities and can also help exfoliate dead skin from the feet, removing areas that could be trapping sweat and stink.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils contain compounds which smell great and can act as a refresher for your shoes and feet. Their pleasant scents can cover up bad smells, should they occur. The best essential oils for smelly feet include eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, lavender, and tea tree oils. You can add a few drops of oil to a salt bath, helping you relax while giving your feet some desirable fragrance. You can also make a foot spray with witch hazel and a few drops of oil. Sprays like these can be used on your feet, socks and shoes, but can also serve as a body spray. Make sure to dilute oils with a carrier oil if you have sensitive skin.