It's very common to have stinky feet, and no matter how much you wash them, you may still experience the problem. A condition known as bromodosis occurs when bacteria builds up on your skin, which causes bad odors. We'll explore what exactly causes it, and what you can do about it today.
What makes your feet stink?
There are two parts to what makes your feet emit foul odor. One is sweat, and the other is bacteria.
Let’s take a look at sweat first. Your feet sweat a lot. In fact, the soles of your feet have the sweat glands, along with your palms. Thus, it’s natural that your feet would get sweaty regardless of temperature or weather. Many things can affect how much you sweat through your feet, such as if you have a job that keeps you on your feet all day, or if you have a medical condition that makes you sweat even more.
Now, we turn to bacteria. Usually, there are occurring bacteria that live on your feet which break down sweat, and this process of breaking down sweat is what emits the odor. If there is more sweat on your feet, then the bacteria will proliferate and become more active.
So let’s combine the two. Sweat builds up on your feet and increases the amount of moisture in the area. This in turn builds up more bacteria which produces that awful stink. More moisture leads to more bacteria, which finally leads to more smell. Easy enough right? Now that you know how smelly feet are caused, let's figure out what you can do about it.
1. Wash Your Feet Properly
The first and foremost thing is having clean feet. A lot of guys think that they wash their feet, but in reality they’re not. Most guys likely just pass the soap over their feet and call it a job done or just think wetting their feet in the shower will do it.
Instead, wash your feet properly. Get a scrub brush, apply soap on it and wash your feet thoroughly all around. And most importantly, dry your feet completely. Particularly, pay special attention between your toes because this is where even a little amount of wetness can easily lead to bacterial growth. Plus, a lot of people tend to forget to wipe between their toes, allowing moisture to linger on.
You can also try to use antibacterial soap if you really have a bad case of smelly feet. These soaps are specially designed to eradicate bacteria on your feet. Make sure to see a pharmacist to see which product is the right one for you.
2. Keep a Pedicure Routine
Despite what you might think, a pedicure is more than just painting your toenails. It’s more about keeping your feet clean than anything, and you certainly don’t have to go to the spa to get it. In fact, it’s super easy and simple. You only need to do two things mainly. One is keeping your toenails cut short and clean. The other is removing hard skin on your foot with a foot file. When your feet get damp, hard skin can become quite soggy and soft, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
3. Keep Your Moisture in Control
Since moisture is the main culprit, if you find yourself with persistent smelly feet you should focus on keeping your moisture in check. There are many ways to do this. First, you can try applying rubbing alcohol to your feet, which helps with keeping your feet dry. Alternately you can also use foot powders, as well as antiperspirants. Even normal underarm deodorants can work well to keep your feet dry and make sure it smells fresh down there.
Additionally, just paying attention to your shoes can also help a lot in terms of keeping your feet dry. First, try not to wear the same pair of shoes for two days in a row. This allows your shoes to completely dry out from sweat or moisture.
In terms of wearing the right shoes, there are three main things to look out for: material, size, and occasion. Materials such as leather and canvas let your feet breathe. So try to get shoes made from such fabrics instead of plastic or rubber which keeps moisture in. Tighter shoes make your feet sweat more, so try to give your feet some slack by choosing slightly bigger sizes. And finally, let your feet out whenever it’s okay to do so. Wear open-toed sandals in summer. Be barefoot indoors when it’s okay to do so.
4. Raise Your Sock Game
Unless you’re going barefoot in your shoes (which is not recommended), your socks are the layers that touch your feet the most. This means that having the right socks can really help you keep your bad odor under control.
First, change your socks at least once a day. Your socks will retain all that sweat throughout the day which will lead to moisture build up. Simply switching out your used pair for a new one does wonders for keeping your feet dry.
Plus, choose socks made from materials that have moisture wicking properties. Modal and merino wool are excellent choices. Otherwise, choose cotton socks and be sure to change them when they do get wet.
5. Make a Foot Soak
If your foot odor is really refusing to go away, try making a foot soak. You can either make one from Listerine, or vinegar. Both products have active ingredients that have anti-fungal properties to help eliminate the odor-producing bacteria living on your feet.
Just add one part Listerine or vinegar, and two parts water into a small tub. Make sure that it’s enough to cover your entire feet. Soak for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, and do it as often as you need to until the smell goes away. As usual, make sure to dry your feet thoroughly after the foot soak.