Most of us have known someone who has smelly feet, or perhaps you have cleared out a room with your own stinky tootsies. Your hoofs, piggies, or whatever you like to call them, get a real workout. You stand with them, walk and run, so they are bound to get sweaty and in some cases stinky. Up to 15 percent of the population has really bad foot odor.
Why feet can smell
Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments, but a pair of feet also has 250,000 sweat glands. These glands can make up to one cup of sweat every day. Our feet produce more sweat per square inch of skin than any other part of our body.
A lot of the moisture that our feet produce evaporates before it has a chance to attract bacteria; however, if we wear socks and shoes that don’t allow for evaporation, that moisture can get trapped and bacteria starts to grow. At first the bacteria cling to shoes and socks, but eventually they stick to the skin causing foot odor. While this is a common problem, it is not the only cause of foot odor. Some people with smelly feet may be experiencing a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis. People with this disorder sweat more than the body would normally need to in order to maintain optimal temperature. It is a condition that can be treated with medical assistance. People can also sweat to the point where they produce foot odor if they are under a lot of stress, take certain medications, are undergoing hormonal changes (puberty or menopause), are under the influence of drugs or have poor hygiene.
Tackling smelly feet with home remedies
If you have foot odor the good news is that there is likely a home remedy that can solve the issue. The great thing about a home remedy is that it often cures the problem and feels soothing at the same time.
Some of the home remedies listed below have been known to be very helpful when it comes to stamping out unpleasant foot odor.
1. Baking Soda
It neutralizes the pH of sweat and reduces bacteria. Just add one tablespoon for every quart of water and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes every night for about a week.
Alum powder has antiseptic properties and can cause pores to close so bacteria doesn’t grow. Mix one teaspoon of alum in one cup of water and wash your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, sprinkle some alum powder on your dry feet.
3. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt kills foot odor and fights microbes that can cause bacteria. Mix two teaspoons of the salt in half a bucket of water and soak your feet for about 10 minutes before going to sleep at night.
4. Lavender Oil
Many people don’t realize that lavender oil not only smells good, it kills bacteria and has antifungal abilities. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a bucket of warm water and soak your feet for up to 15 minutes. Repeat twice daily for a few days.
5. Black Tea
The tannic acid in black tea helps kill bacteria that can produce foot odor. It also helps close pores, thus decreasing sweat. Boil two tea bags in three cups of hot water and then add it to half a bucket of normal water to lower the temperature. Soak your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes each day for a week.
Vinegar creates an acidic environment so that bacteria can’t survive. One-half cup of vinegar in six to eight cups of hot water will work. Soak your feet in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash your feet afterwards with soap to remove the vinegar smell.
7. Rosemary and Sage
Sage has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It also helps close pores. Rosemary also has antibacterial and antifungal abilities. Fill a basin with boiling water and add one teaspoon of dried rosemary and one to two teaspoons of sage to it. Let it steep until it is cool enough to put your feet into. Soak your feet for 30 minutes twice a day.
How to prevent smelly feet
Let’s be honest, smelly feet can be embarrassing. If you want to prevent foot odor there are many different steps you can take. Podiatrists (foot specialists) say in most cases foot odor is due to poor hygiene or wearing the same shoes over and over again. Wearing different shoes on successive days so they have a chance to dry out is one of the best ways to avoid smelly toes. Washing your feet every day and changing your socks is also very important. Choosing socks that are made of cotton is wise since nylon can create more sweat.
You can go the extra mile and purchase feet-fresh socks. These are socks that have ventilation panels in them to keep feet dry. There is also the option of getting antibacterial socks that have chemicals in them that fight odor-producing bacteria.
Many foot specialists suggest wearing leather or canvas shoes instead of plastic because they allow your feet to breathe. Of course, in the summer open-toe sandals are helpful and going barefoot at home in the evenings is a good way to expose your feet to the air.
As you can tell, it is really not that difficult to prevent foot odor and when the alternative is being labeled a stink bomb – well you get the idea.
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