Foot Care Tips: How to Treat Smelly Feet

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on January 4, 2018

woman with smelly feetIf you’re one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from foot odor, to the point that you’re embarrassed to take off your shoes when you’re with other people, we can help.

While foot odor is distressing, there are plenty of treatment options to help you keep your toes smelling sweet. Our foot care tips will have you removing your shoes with no fear of unpleasant smells.

Why do feet smell?

First, let’s talk about the causes of bromhidrosis, which is the medical term for foot odor. Your feet have almost half a million sweat glands, which leads to quite a lot of sweat. If you’re always wearing shoes and socks, especially if your footwear isn’t breathable, your feet are warm and moist, the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Conditions like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus can lead to foot odor. Diabetics and people with heart disease or immune deficiencies are at a higher risk of having wound-related foot odor.

What can I do to treat foot odor?

If you have smelly feet, our foot care tips can help to eliminate the causes and help you avoid embarrassment when you take your shoes off.

Clean your feet every day with antibacterial soap

If your feet smell, make a special effort to keep them clean and dry. We recommend using an antibacterial soap and taking care to wash between your toes, bacteria’s favorite place to grow.

Wear clean socks

Putting clean socks on your feet every day is another important part of avoiding foot odor. Dirty socks can also harbor odor-causing bacteria.

If you work out or participate in sports, hike or enjoy activities that get you sweaty, make sure to put clean socks on after you’re done. Your end goal is to have clean, dry feet all day to prevent bacteria from developing and multiplying on your toes.

Home-remedy foot baths

You can also try at home foot baths to make your feet inhospitable to bacteria. You may try soaking your feet in a salt bath for 20 minutes a day. Just mix Epsom salt or kosher salt with warm water. You could also add tea tree oil, which has antibacterial qualities to your saltwater foot bath.

Other common foot bath options are to mix one part white vinegar with two parts water or to brew and cool tea. Salt, vinegar, and tea are known for their drying properties, which can help prevent bacteria.  

See your trusted New Hampshire podiatrist

If your at-home efforts to keep your feet clean and dry don’t help to reduce your foot odor, you should make an appointment with your trusted podiatrist. If you have a condition like athlete’s foot or toenail fungus that is causing your foot odor, effective treatment from your podiatrist can not only clears any infections from your feet but also gets rid of the side effect of smelly feet.

Similarly, if you have diabetes or an immunologic condition, you have a higher risk of developing foot wounds and infections. You should see your trusted podiatrist regularly to protect your feet and get treatment for any issues as quickly as possible.

Can I prevent smelly feet?

It is possible to prevent foot odor by following our foot care tips to keep your feet clean and dry.

Wash your feet with antibacterial soap every day

As mentioned above, washing your feet with an antibacterial soap daily can help to prevent odor-causing bacteria from developing.

Try foot and shoe deodorants and antiperspirants

If you have sweaty feet, you can also try foot deodorants and antiperspirants. There are plenty of products on the market to put on your feet or in your shoes to keep your feet dry and comfortable all day. That said, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Just sprinkling some common kitchen cornstarch into your shoes will help to absorb any excess moisture.

Wear correct footwear

Wearing sock and shoes made of breathable material that allow sweat and moisture to evaporate can also help to reduce your risk of foot odor. There are a wide variety of breathable and moisture-wicking socks available on the market today.

Changing your socks regularly, especially after an athletic activity is an easy way to keep your feet clean and dry. It also helps to rotate your shoes, especially athletic shoes, allowing them to air out before you put them back on.


Smelly feet can be embarrassing, but with our foot care tips, you can easily get rid of the causes of your foot odor and protect your feet from developing odor-causing bacteria. If you’re concerned about foot odor or think that you have an infection, schedule a consultation with us today. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain - or odor!

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Topics: General Foot Care

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