Have you got stinky feet? It's okay, you can admit it, and in so doing take your first step toward many future odorless steps with a few home remedies to remove the causes of smelly feet!
All feet are liable to some odor, since they are often the warmest parts of our bodies and are trapped in socks, shoes, and the like where heat, moisture, and darkness can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to live and produce odorous byproducts of their digestion. Then again, some feet are just stinkier than others, whether due to genetics, diet, illness, or foot care and general hygiene habits.
Natural Cures for Foot Odor: Obviously, increased foot cleaning habits will help reduce foot odor, to start. Sprinkling alum or baking soda in your socks and shoes can help absorb and/or kill off foot odor. Soaking the feet in something like diluted vinegar or hydrogen peroxide may kill off odor-causing bacteria.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 02/09/2009: Monica from Salt lake City, Utah: "Alum cured my stinky feet/stinky shoes. You can find Alum in the Spice/Herb section of any grocery store, and is very affordable. You don't need much just put it in your shoes before you wear them. I put enough in to coat the entire sole of the shoe, and I lightly very lightly shake out the excess. You will want to put in every time you wear them for a week or so or equivalent if you do not wear them everyday. Not only will the smell be gone and completely neutralized, it has a cleaning effect to the sole of the shoe as well. It completely took out the dark area of the shoe where you would normally see your foot print. Now I do not have to leave my shoes outside, nor do I have to come in and soak or wash them. Not to mention No more embarrassment. Only down side (but very worth it to me) it has a texture of very fine grit sand. If you can handle feeling like there is a little bit of sand in your shoe (for a week) then this is very much your cure!! Not sure if the smell comes back, all my shoes I have only went through the week process once and not had to since. Its been approx. 3 months and still no foot or shoe odor."Replies
[WARNING!] 02/21/2011: Errica from Ft. Myers, Fl replies: "I just read about ALUM and it is bad for you. It said that it is toxic to humans. "Alum is approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as a food additive, but in large quantities well, an ounce or more it is toxic to humans. As a result, efforts have been made and are being made to wean us of our alum dependency" "
02/22/2011: Robert Henry from Ten Mile, Tn Usa replies: "Errica, you are right on because Alum is Aluminum Sulfate. Aluminum is a heavy metal and ends up in your brain. For years I used Alum to make pickles crisp but no more. We have also thrown out all our Aluminum cookware. Ball has out a product now called Pickle Crisp which is Calcium Chloride. This is what the commercial folks have used for years to make their pickled veggies crisp. It is now available to all.
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 07/17/2009: Angie from Los Angeles, CA: "ACV FOR FEET ODOR
I used the acv for my daughter. Her feet smelled really bad since her feet are very sweaty. I soaked her feet for about 5 min in water and poured some ACV and the following day when she took her shoes off her feet were still sweaty but they did not smell at all. So relieved that this works for her because she has always been self conscious about the bad odor."
[YEA] 06/02/2010: Regulator555 from Grand Rapids, Mi, Usa: "For my husband's smelly feet: 1) Use a stainless steel callus shaver to shave off the dead skin (a pumice stone may work if the skin isn't too thick) on clean, dry feet 2) Soak your feet for at least 20 minutes in a pan of warm water to which you have added a 1/2 cup of baking soda. My husband was plagued for years with smelly feet. After shaving off the dead skin (he had tons) and soaking them in BS, it cured the stench. I think the calluses store up the funk. :-)"Replies
09/04/2010: Susan from San Francisco, Ca replies: "The Baking Soda was a great trick for me, but only if I was wearing shoes and socks. My problem was that my feet were NEVER dry so I couldn't get rid of or reduce the bacteria. Even after I washed and dried them they were still damp. My feet dried out (and stopped smelling) the day after I quit smoking. I've been cigarette free (and smelly feet free) for 8 years."
[YEA] 08/09/2009: Not My Real Name from Kansas City Area, Mo: "I was plagued with stinky feet since childhood. I sprinkled baking soda GENEROUSLY into my shoes and wore them. My feet felt wet the whole time but there was no odor from my feet or shoes after one day. I kept doing this for months and have had no problems from stinky feet now for years. This is hard on the shoe so make sure that you are wearing shoes that are not expensive. Ironing your socks may also help. When I bathe I wash my feet with dial or safeguard deodorant soap. I have not used baking soda in my shoes now for years, I only wash them during my bath."
[YEA] 07/01/2008: Donna from Janesville, WI: "Not sure if bleach is considered to be natural, but it was a miracle for my husband's stinky feet! It was so bad that he could clear a room if he took his shoes off. All you do is take 1 gallon of warm water and add 1/2 a cup of bleach to it. Soak your feet for 5 or 10 min. and your feet will smell fresh as can be! It will last for months on end! Thank you Earth Clinic~you are truly a God Send. Many blessings~donna"
EC: Thanks, Donna. New remedy page now created for stinky feet!
11/04/2008: Lynette from Atlanta, GA replies: "I use a small quanity of bleach in my bath also. But, PLEASE DO NOT use bleach to soak your feet if you are a diabetic. My dad did this and it caused deep open wounds on the feet. Please, please, please not if you are diabetic!"
11/05/2010: Suzanne from Abbotsford, Bc Canada replies: "PLEASE don't soak any body parts in bleach! Use diluted hydrogen peroxide, if you must. However, 25 mg. of zinc per day (1/2 a tab here) helped my family with excessive smell (not just feet), and it may do the same for you."
06/15/2012: Lily from Ny replies: "I tried bleach and it didn't work for me. What does work for me is triple antibiotic cream bought at the drug store and benzoyl peroxide on top of that. I do it 2x a day."
[YEA] 08/14/2010: Gale from Monterey, Tn.: "When my children got bad feet odor and their feet would stink either from their shoes or sweating, we would sprinkle a little boric acid in their shoes an in their socks for a couple days and their feet would be fine, no more stinking. Gale"
Freeze Shoes, Socks
09/16/2011: Harmonious1 from Alamogordo, Nm: "If your feet stink, simply place your shoes in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer overnight. Do this with all your shoes, socks too, if necessary. This worked for all in my family."
[YEA] 12/28/2012: Palemauve from Beijing, China: "Hi! I'm surprised to find that the best remedy for stinky feet is not available on earth clinic!
Since childhood, I've been plagued by very stinky feet, and its been a subject of humiliation many times over. Although I didn't have the opportunity to try all the various solutions that people have recommended, I found one that just solved my problem without having to buy or prepare anything. I came across some sites that recommended urinating on your feet, as the bacteria in your urine counters with the bacteria on your feet (something like that, ) removing the smell pretty much permanantly!
I just simply peed on my feet while in the shower and let it sit for about a minute, while rubbing my feet against each other. No joke, after my shower, the smell was gone! Not just for a few hours, but for years! (PS: pee on them before you have your shower and before you run the water.)
There's no risk, no mess, and you don't have to buy anything. I just can't understand the people who get grossed out by this. Its natural remedy at its finest. If you'd never been plagued by stinky feet, I guess you wouldn't understand right? Good luck to all you guys who have this problem, and I hope it works for you!"
[YEA] 12/05/2008: Rachel from New York, New York: "I found the best cure for treating foot odor is to soak the feet in warm water and vinegar for 15 - 20 minutes. The vinegar helps to destroy the fungus causing the odor. I've tried it myself and it works! 2-3 soaks a week should help control the problem. Good luck."