How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet OR Foot Odor?

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet ?

Smelly feet, called Bromodosis in medical terminology, the situation in which feet excessively sweat emitting a strong odor. Smelly feet might be an embarrassing moment for many people, but at the same time, it might be an indication of some serious ailments. One should be careful about his/her body odor. Stinky feet can be a problem when you visit someone, or when you come home after a long tiring day, you have to smell the displeasing odor of your feet.

Why feet smell bad?

There are many sweat glands in our feet. In fact, there is a greater number of sweat glands per square inch than any other part of our body. This is the reason why our feet get sweaty more often. When feet produce sweat, they become wet. Wet feet are an invite for bacteria. Bacteria find their habitat in socks and shoes, creating a strong odor.

The sweat coming out of the sweat glands isn’t smelly itself, but the decomposition caused by bacteria make it smelly. If the sweat produced by the pores on feet is not allowed to evaporate, it causes stink by facilitating the growth of bacteria. The bad odor of feet may arise from some serious situations and may also lead to some severe effects.

Symptoms of Smelly Feet

This may sound weird as the biggest symptom of smelly feet is the odor that makes it unbearable. But along with this smell, some other symptoms are also observed in the patients of Bromodosis, these are

  • Rashes
  • Infection
  • Blistering on skin
  • Excessive moisture on the skin

What causes stinky feet all of a sudden?

Several reasons may lead to smelly feet. People are usually negligent towards their hygiene and many other minor routine things that can lead to smelly feet. Some of the major reasons are,

Poor Hygiene:

People usually don’t care about their feet. Hygiene includes taking care of your whole body. Pampering your face and forgetting about the care that your feet need might lead to smelly feet. Using creams can avoid it. But thorough cleaning can eliminate it before even starting.

Wearing Same Shoes and Socks Repeatedly:

Smelly feet may result from wearing the same socks and shoes repeatedly. One needs to change them regularly. Especially in summers, one cannot wear the same socks twice. By properly managing footwear, many people can get rid of smelly feet.

Keeping Footwear in Closed Room:

One reason why shoes make feet stink is keeping them in dark and closed rooms. It means shoes are not allowed to soak properly. If a person wears shoes continuously without soaking them properly, it will eventually cause odor. It is necessary to soak shoes appropriately.


Where stress can cause headaches, migraines, and mental breakdowns; it can also cause your feet to stink. You will observe that if somehow due to some reason you are stress, your feet will start stinking. Stress is not considered to be the cause of any physical change in the body by many people, but it really is. Another factor that can contribute is physical stress. If you put more stress on your feet, it may also result in bad odor at the end of the day.

UN-breathable Material of Shoes and Socks:

Some shoes are made of UN-breathable material, this checks sweat from evaporating. It creates a humid environment in which bacteria easily grow, thus resulting in smelly feet. Some socks, such as the ones made up of synthetic materials do the same function.

What Medical Conditions Cause Stinky Feet?

Stinky feet or any other change in the human body may lead to something severe. Every change in the body is the precondition of something bigger. Smelly feet are also included in the symptoms of many diseases. Some of these diseases are,


It is the condition of excessive sweating. Hyperhidrosis may also cause smelly feet. This excessive sweating facilitates bacterial growth and causes the breakdown of skin chemicals. This may not only lead to an irritating smell, but it can also cause social anxiety. It also causes embarrassment.


Diaphoretic, also called Secondary Hyperhidrosis, is the abnormal excessive sweating when the environment is cold. It indicates an abnormality in the health of a person. This condition needs immediate medical attention. Because it usually leads to or is driven by serious medical conditions such as cardiac failure, thyroid problems, diabetes mellitus, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.


Smelly feet may be related to Diabetes Mellitus. It is not necessary that everyone having smelly feet should suffer from Diabetes, but the patients having Diabetes Mellitus should care especially for their feet. Smelly feet in patients with Diabetes may be an indication of a serious stage of Diabetes. Wound, ulcer, peripheral neuropathy, and peripheral artery disease are the diseases that smelly feet may indicate to the patients of Diabetes Mellitus.

Athlete’s Foot:

It is a fungal infection, known as Tinea Pedis in medical terminology, which causes infection between the toes due to the excessive secretion of sweat from the pores (present between toes). The fungus that causes this infection usually inhabits a moist and warm environment.

It starts from feet, but it doesn’t limit to feet. In fact, it spreads from feet to hands. It is known as Athlete’s Foot because it usually affects athletes. Athletes have to practice a lot; they sweat more excessively than a normal person. They provide the perfect moisture for the growth of this fungus. This fungus easily transfers to others, from showers and swimming pools.

This infection is not a life-threatening disease, but if not cured properly can cause severe problems. We cannot ignore this by assuming it just a bad odor of feet.

Pitted Keratolysis:

This is named so because in this condition white pits appear on the sole of the feet. This is because bacteria eat up the skin of the feet soles. This is characterized by a cheesy smell. It causes depressions in the upper layer of skin, particularly on the weight-bearing areas of skin.

Hormonal Changes:

Hormonal changes in the body can cause smelly feet. This is because hormonal changes lead to excessive production of sweat. This is the reason pregnant women and teenagers are more vulnerable to stinky feet. Similarly, the hormones released during the stress condition of our body can also cause smelly feet.

Why does Sweating accelerate In Summer?

Sweat is primarily produced for the cooling body. The production of sweat increases with the increase in temperature. In summer, the temperature of the surroundings is high. To keep the temperature of the body inside the optimum limit, the body produces sweat. Sweat glands located at the feet also produce sweat. If somehow that sweat is not able to evaporate, it may cause smelly feet.

How to Get Rid of Foot Odor in Shoes?

Get Rid of Foot Odor in Shoes

Some reasons cause smelly feet. Similarly, some prevention tips can prevent smelly feet. If a person suspects that his feet may smell bad, he can go for prevention. Some prevention tips are :

  • Use antiperspirant spray or deodorant to wash your feet.
  • Dry your feet well after washing, don’t leave them damp.
  • Dab your feet area between the toes, as it has a maximum number of pores. Leaving it moist is like inviting bacteria.
  • Use antibacterial bath soaps for washing your feet.
  • Using talcum powder before wearing shoes.
  • Avoiding using narrow fitting shoes.
  • Use detachable insole, change, and clean them properly.
  • Change your socks daily.
  • Avoid wearing nylon socks.
  • Avoid using open-toed shoes.
  • Use Shoes made up of breathable material.
  • Use ventilated footwear.
  • Soak your shoes properly.
  • Don’t grow your toenails big, cut them regularly.
  • Use medicated insoles.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet? Treatment:

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet ? Smelly feet are not a big problem but it doesn’t mean that you should leave it unattended. If, for some reason, you were not able to prevent it, and you fell prey to it; here is how you can treat it. Some easy hacks that you can do easily to cure it are,

Black Tea:

The main component of black tea is tannic acid. The main benefit of using black tea for the cure of smelly feet is that it closes the pores along with killing the bacteria and bad odor. You can get rid of smelly feet just by soaking your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in water mixed with black tea.


It is the process in which dried skin is removed from the body. This process includes removing the dead and dry skin from feet so that bacteria couldn’t find any place to inhabit. This can be done by rubbing the feet with a pumice stone.

Vinegar or Salt Soak:

It involves soaking one’s feet in water mixed with vinegar/salt. For preparing vinegar soak, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar is used, and you need to soak your feet in water for almost 15 to 20 minutes. For salt soak, Epsom salt is mixed in warm water and you need to soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes. This is believed to be one of the best methods for treating smelly feet.

Using Oils:

You can get rid of smelly feet by using several oils. Lavender oil has anti-fungal properties. When you soak your feet in water mixed with lavender oil, it not only kills the bad odor of your feet but also kills bacteria that are the primary cause of that smell.

Cedar wood oil is used in the treatment of many diseases as it has antiseptic properties. This is also used in the same way. You can enjoy its amazing results by mixing it in water and soaking your feet for a few minutes in it.

Baking Soda:

It is famous for absorbing moisture and canceling the effect of pH that the sweat produces. There are two ways you can use it in two different ways. You can sprinkle it over the insole of your shoes, or you can mix it in water and soak your feet in it. Both ways have their own effectiveness.

Medicated Treatment for Smelly Feet

Besides these home remedies, some medicated treatments can cure smelly feet effectively and efficiently. Some of them are described here,


If there are severe sweat conditions, which are unable to control and are creating serious problems then this medication is used. In this process, a current is passed from the skin utilizing water. Water used as a transfer medium contains anti-inflammatory substances. These substances such as CaCl, when taken up by the body, stop excessive sweating.

Botox Injection:

It is a painful treatment and lasts for almost three to four months. It involves the process in which Botulinum toxin (Botox) is injected into the feet of the patient. This chemical blocks the signal coming from the brain that induces precipitation, consequently, no sweat is produced.

Medicated Solutions and Orals:

In some cases, medicated solutions can also be used for treating smelly feet. Erythromycin or Clindamycin are famous solutions which are used for treatment. They can clear the odor in almost 3 to 4 weeks. They are prescribed to apply twice a day until the condition gets better. Oral medicines can also be used. Erythromycin used as a solution can also be used as an oral. Some drugs most commonly used for treating this situation are,

  • Benzyl Peroxide
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Griseofulvin


Feet, the most neglected part of our body, can cause severe problems if not taken care of properly. We should not be careless in this regard. As we take care of other parts of our body, similarly, we should also take care of our feet.

A minor bad odor problem may lead to several serious issues. Though you should try some home remedies if your feet smell bad, don’t delay to contact a doctor if your feet don’t show any betterment. Make sure you don’t wear too narrow socks/ footwear, or you put an extra burden on your feet. Take care of your feet.