How to get the smell out of your shoes

Stinky Shoes = Smelly Foot

by kaori

Does an offensive, strange odor come from your closet or shoe rack? If some of your shoes are culprits, you can throw away the shoes if possible or air them out for a while to see if the smell goes away. However, you may have to eliminate the cause of the smell: your foot smell 🙁

If the smell is strong enough to make people leave a room, you may have bromodosis – the medical term for stinky feet. Many people have suffered from damp feet, foot odor, and perspiration at some point. For some, stinky feet can be a constant problem that causes a lot of discomforts.

While sweating is a healthy and natural process, it leaves a stinky foot odor if it is excessive. The feet of several individuals perspire in hot weather and during exercise; however, if you have bromodosis (stinky feet), you will always experience excessive sweating and stinky feet without engaging in vigorous activity.

Unfortunately, bromodosis affects many people’s social life, particularly if it involves going to the gym, beach, or any spot where you need to remove your shoes.

Causes of smelly feet

No one wants to experience the embarrassment and trauma stinky feet cause. So the question is, what makes your feet smell so bad? Bromodosis occurs when microbes metabolize dead skin cells from an individual’s feet into a foul odor. The odor is caused by the microbes that dwell on the feet, which thrive when moisture is formed by sweat.
Other common causes of stinky feet include:

  • The type of socks you wear
  • How often you clean your feet.
  • Different skin conditions
  • Excessive anxiety

If a certain health condition makes you sweat excessively, you will also notice excessive sweating in the underarms, palms, and groin areas. Also, excessive perspiration may mean that you are suffering from other health conditions aside bromodosis. Hence it is advisable to discuss any condition with your physician.

*If you are curious more about the cause of smelly feet, the American Chemical Society’s “why Feet Smell” is an interesting video to watch!*

How to prevent stinky feet: home remedy

You can do basic things at home to help prevent stinky feet. They include:

1. Change your diet and lifestyle

According to Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld, people who want to live an active lifestyle can control stinky feet by changing their diet and lifestyle. He also explained that when bacteria gather in the foot via perspiration and then are confined in footwear, the smell gets very extreme. However, your diet can mitigate inflammation by balancing protein and reducing refined carbohydrates by eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties.

Furthermore, reducing the consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes can help relieve perspiration, smelly shoes, and stinky feet.

2. Good hygiene

Preventing stinky feet is as easy as maintaining good hygiene daily, including cleaning your feet with soap with antibacterial properties. It is vital to wash your feet daily and always dry them, specifically between your toes and under your toes. After drying with a towel, dip cotton wool in apple cider vinegar or witch hazel and apply between your toes.

Trim your toenails and keep them clean; this will help avert toenail fungus. Also, if you have any hard skin, use a foot file and remove them gently. Hard skin makes the skin become soggy and this is the perfect breeding place for bacteria.

3. Exfoliating your feet

A pumice stone such as Natural Earth Lava Pumice Stone or scrub such as Baby Foot Exfoliant Foot Peel helps remove dead skin tissues, which bacteria feed on. If you have smelly feet, use a scrub three times weekly to prevent dead skin cells from building up.

4. Epsom salt soak

Epsom Salt is made of naturally occurring minerals magnesium and sulfate.  It is called a slat because of its chemical structure. Regular salt is 97.5% sodium chloride and is different from Epsom Salt. Espom Salt Council says Epsom Salt is a great natural skin exfoliant to remove dry skin, calluses, and rough patches. It has been used for centuries to ease pains or soften skin.

Place warm water in a bowl or tub, add Epsom salts (one-half cup), and let dissolve. Soak your feet for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and dry your feet completely.

You can buy Epsom Salt in most pharmacies or grocery stores or online. Council recommends you buy only packages labeled “USP” and with a “drug facts” box.

5. Vinegar soak

According to Dr. Joy Rowland, DPM, Vinegar makes your skin inhospitable to bacteria. Add one part white vinegar or apple cider and two parts warm water to a bowl or tub. Place your feet in the solution and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. However, do not use cider vinegar soak, especially if you have sores, cuts, or scratches because vinegar can irritate injured skin.

Remedies for stinky shoes

1. Rotate your shoes

Wearing the same shoes daily can help prevent stinky feet and shoe odor. Rotate 2 your shoes frequently so they can dry out properly.

Put on well-fitting footwear made with quality leather material. Such footwear doesn’t soak up sweat compared to shoes made of cloth. Wear flip-flops and sandals with an open-toed design when possible.

Let your feet breathe by going barefooted at home or with breathable slippers – airing your feet can help prevent stinky feet and smelly shoes.

Detaching your shoe insoles is another effective remedy for stinky shoes. Also, you can switch the insoles with antibacterial or odor-reducing insoles. Make sure you remove the insoles regularly and allow the insoles to dry.

2. The use of powders that prevent the smell

Another remedy is using spray powders on the feet like Dr. Scholl’s Odor-x Sport Foot and Sneaker Spray Powder. It is a dual-action formula that prevents athlete’s foot, wetness, and odor when used daily. Moreover, it instantly destroys odor when sprayed on the feet and sneakers.

Another powder product that may be useful is Gran’s Remedy. It is made in New Zealand and marketed around the world. I have known the product since it became popular in Japan. It is an effective solution that helps prevent the buildup of bacteria! It leaves your feet and smelling fresh by just sprinkling a handful of powders for 7 to 10 days. It works like a magic!

3. The use of cedar shoe tree

Cedar absorbs and eliminates odors, and it is used as a deodorant in a closet.  Cedar shoe tree (such as this) may not eliminate all the shoe smell but helps eliminate shoe smells and retain the shape.  I recommend using the shoe tree for nice shoes to hold the shape and help reduce the smells of the shoes and the closet.

Final thoughts

If you notice a foul odor when you take off your shoes, inspect your feet for any cuts or sores that may be infected. If there are no signs of sores, you can try the home remedies discussed in the article. If you wear stinky shoes your foot gets smelly too, so do not forget to air out the shoes and wear different shoes!

Shoe Rack | Good Luck

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