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Smelly Feet, Stinky, Odor, Causes, Get rid, Cure, Treatment & Home Remedies

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Why do my feet smell so badly? Can I get rid of smelly feet and odor? Foot smelling is a problem that can affect anyone.  In the discussion, unlock important information about smelly or stinky feet,  causes, treatment and cures, including home remedies.

What Causes Smelly Feet

Smelly feet, stinky feet or foot odor is a problem that can affect anyone at any age. We have done enough on our part to enable you to understand all the common conditions that may result in foot odor.

Smelly feet
Smelly feet

Primarily, foot order is as a result of your skin producing bad-smelling substances due to various reason. Medical terms used to refer to smelly feet include bromhidrosis, axillary bromhidrosis and plantar malodor. Here are the possible causes of smelly feet.

1. Bacteria

The first most common cause of smelly feet or foot smelling is the presence of bacteria in your feet skin. Some bacteria are found naturally occurring on the skin. While some may cause infections, other species of bacteria are actually useful to humans.

One of the bacteria strains responsible for causing foot odor is Brevibacterium and Staphylococcus epidermisAccording to Bodymint.com, as these microorganisms feed, methanethial gas is produced. This gas has a chees-like or rotten cabbage odour. Staphylococcus epidermis can cause sweaty smelly feet if it interacts with sweat.

Another bacteria which is a cause of foot odor is Propionibacterium. Unlike the above, Propionibacterium is rod-shaped micro-organisms are mainly found in the sebaceous sweat glands found in the skin feet. Your stinky feet smell because this bacteria metabolizes amino acids into a compound known as propionic or propanoic acid/Ethanecaboxylic acid.

2. Poor Feet Hygiene

Secondly, neglect to sufficient cleanliness is what causes smelly feet and shoes. You are most at risk of developing sweaty stinky feet if you ignore your feet. Poor hygiene creates a favorable breeding ground for the bacteria to multiply.  Hence, with limited perspiration, you are more likely to get foot odor in shoes which others may refer to as bad foot odor.

Smelly feet
Poor higene may cause smelly feet

3. Hormonal Imbalance

Can hormonal changes be causing your feet to smell? The response is yes. Causes of smelly feet pose a big challenge to women during pregnancy when progesterone and Oestrogen hormones are produced in varying concentrations.

Furthermore, many youths who are at puberty may become worried when their feet stink making them be socially disturbed when they experience bad foot odor.

Unless individuals have problems regulating hormones, shifts in hormones may not require treatment as symptoms of may go away when the body develops to control the production of hormones.

Continued Use of Footwear

Another cause of smelly feet is using your footwear, what you use daily or most of the time. Now, to explain this, if you wear a closed single pair of shoes daily you can be a victim of smelly feet. Some shoes don’t allow evaporation to occur immediately after some perspiration has taken place.

A bad foot odor occurs after the sweat undergoes decomposition, dead skin cells and forming part of the dirt inside the shoes. In addition to the dark and warmth that elevates temperature around feet in shoes, some footwear materials may increase the rate of perspiration.

Apart from shoes, if you have foot odor whenever you remove shoes, your socks may be another contributing factor. Examples of sock materials that contribute to smelly feet include synthetic nylon, polyester, or socks with rubber strands.

Although certain synthetic materials are medicated, such socks not only increase perspiration but also create a conducive environment for bacteria. This is a common problem for men and is what causes smelly feet in men, leave alone the stinky shoes.


Hyperhidrosis is one health condition that causes the production of more sweat than it is required for normal sweating. Causes of this condition include increased activity of the sympathetic nerves, heredity factors, anxiety disorders, hormonal imbalance, etc.

However much sweat your body or feet produce, sweat itself is odorless. People who suffer from hyperhidrosis tend to have smelling feet if they have not tried to cure hyperhidrosis or have no strategies to reduce the excessive sweating or practice poor feet hygiene altogether.

Is hyperhidrosis what makes your feet stink even smelly feet in sandals? As we mentioned earlier, bacteria causes feet to smell. This implies that sweat from this condition invites more bacteria whose metabolic activity leads to the formation of smelling substances such as isovaleric acid that causes foot odor in shoes.

Other Causes of Smelly Feet

We have provided brief explanations on what may trigger smelly feet.

  • Diabetic conditions such as high blood sugar, heart problems, etc.
  • Poor diet especially foods deficient in Zinc supplements, essential vitamins, for instance, Vitamin and C,
  • Stress – interferes with normal blood circulation, sleeping disorders, etc.
  • Alcohol consumption in large quantities,
  • Certain medication and drugs which makes your body produce reactions,
  • Athlete’s foot,
  • Nail fungus infections,

What Causes Smelly Feet in Children?

Children, especially todlers are very active and their growth rates are almost triple grown-ups. This means they experince more perspiration, and hence are more susceptible to microorganism’s infection. Most common causes of stinky feet in babies include bacterial infection, improper footwear and poor general hygiene

The best way to get rid or avoid feet smelling in children is to ensure proper hygiene and make a closer follow-up. Any instances of foul and unusual smell from your child’s feet must be attended to by a foot specialist or dermatologist timely.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Feet

Smelling feet can be most embarrassing and offending thing that is why curing them is all that everyone with feet odor needs. The better way to handle or tackle this problem is to find out what really causes foot smell or odor.

Before you think of reaching for any treatment or cures for stinky feet find some time to see a podiatrist in order ascertain the actual causes of sweaty feet to determine what makes feet stink.

Topical Creams and Powder treatments

One of the common means to get rid of smelly feet is use of creams. The major categories of these products are OTCs and prescription creams.

1. Zinc Sulphate

An element known as Zinc is identified as a natural anti-bacterial agent; this is a reason why many podiatrists have recommended certain Zinc cream/powder compounds to be effective cures for smelly feet caused by bacterial influence.

Some of the common Zinc creams used to cure stinky feet, smelly feet and odour are Zinc Sulphate, Zinc oxide powder. The good thing with zinc topical creams is not only the effectiveness but also has no reported cases of major side effects.

2. Aluminum Chloride

Secondly, you may treat and cure stinky feet if you tackle the underlying cause. As we saw earlier one of the possible causes of sweaty smelly feet is hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

Aluminum Chloride is another effective and active antiperspirant substance for foot odor treatment by controlling sweating. Moreover, there are clinic strength and prescription strength. Get the correct and right advice from the physician in order to get cure for smelly feet.


After trying all the above treatment and cures for smelly feet and see no changes, then the last option to think about is surgery. This method of treatment does not cure stinky feet, instead, tries to eliminate or regulate foot sweating that directly leads to stinky feet.

It is very important to consider its side effects that may come afterward. It may be costly. Therefore consider having a consultation with your doctor or surgeon before going for it.

When to see your doctor

If you think that your smelling feet is caused by sweating and is not resolved you need advanced treatment.

Best Products for Smelly Feet

To help you with more tips for smelling feet solutions there are good products which will be useful in reducing odor from smelling feet. Probably these products are what you need before you try medicine for smelly feet. Let us now look at them one by one and thereafter you would choose what will work best for you.

1. Anti-bacterial Soaps

One of the best way to reduce or get rid of foot odor is washing your feet using anti-bacterial soap such as Hibiscrub.

2. Antiperspirant Sprays or Deodorants

How to get rid of smelling feet using products
How to get rid of smelling feet using products

If your feet smell comes from sweaty feet then you really need an antiperspirant foot odor spray to reduce moisture content or stop much sweating. For convenience purposes, spray your antiperspirant on feet before going to bed. Deodorants can be effective stinking feet cure only for people with mild foot odor or stench.

For convenience purposes, spray your antiperspirant on feet before going to bed. Deodorants can be effective stinking feet cure only for people with mild foot odor or stench.

3. Try Some Sanitizers

A good foot odor spray or hand sanitizer can help you kill bacteria thus reduce foot odor.

Sanitizer for mild smelling feet
Sanitizer for mild smelling feet

Home Remedies for Smelly Feet

Home remedies for smelly feet are safe to use, more affordable and easy to apply.

1. Fresh Vinegar and Baking Soda foot soak

Before you can start doing this remedy for smelly feet, ensure that your feet are cleaned and dry.

Home remedies for foot odor
Home remedies for foot odor
  • Measure equal amounts water and vinegar into a foot trough.
  • Add a little/three tablespoons of baking soda and immediately or you may soak and then add the baking soda.
  • After 5 minutes remove your feet and dry them.
  • You may also smear a light layer of thyme oil and thereafter wash your feet before going to bed.

CAUTION: If your fiends have been complaining that your feet have a vinegary odor this might not be best for you.

2. Exfoliate Daily

Do you know that deposits of dead skin layers could be a cause of foot odor? Here is a basic remedy for constant sweaty smelling foot problem which you can utilize to stop smelly feet.

It is so simple that you already have a hint on what to do for stinky feet. Use pumice stone or foot file to remove dead skin layer including the foot sole. Be careful while scrubbing the skin layer especially if your skin is very sensitive to avoid inflammation.

3. Apply Foot Powder

Before walking away from home to your office sprinkle some powder into the shoes, in between your toes or all over the inner soles. Examples of such powders are talcum or baby powder.

4. Black Tea Soak

Another simple remedy for sweaty feet is tea. Tea has tannic acid that will be helpful in keeping your feet dry. Do the following procedure every single day to see your foot odor improve.

  • Put clean hot water in your foot trough and then add a few black tea bags.
  • Allow it steep then soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • Rinse your feet and dry them well.

5. Kosher Salt Solution

Clean your feet thoroughly ready for kosher salt soak. After soaking thoroughly wash and dry your feet.

Best Cure for Smelly Feet and foot Odour?

What can I do to eliminate foot odor and smelly feet? Some causes of smelly feet can be treated easily but others may take longer. Amongst the best cure for foot odor includes Zinc Sulphate, exfoliation, use of foot powder such as Zinc oxide, foot odor sprays e.g. clinic-strength antiperspirants.

Tips to Stop Smelly feet

What is the solution for smelly feet of yours? There are a number of measures which if well observed and taken can have a turning point to your smelly feet. The measures not only prevent the causes of smelly feet but also ensure that you save a lot and avoid treatment for foot odor and other health expenses.

Some preventive measures are actually included in home remedies for smelly sweaty feet. Here is a brief description on what to avoid, what use for feet smell and stop smelly feet.

1. Use Proper Footwear

The first preliminary steps towards eliminating foot odor is to ask yourself what to use for smelly feet.

Apart from simply being a matter of changing footwear, is about going for the best. To cut it short, best shoes for smelly feet are those made of leather material, opened, perforated or meshed. Leather will give a room for your feet to do ‘breathing’ in the meantime promoting air circulation, cooling them simultaneously.

Furthermore, take your time to look for recommended socks after you have got your best shoes. The following are examples of such socks for smelly feet:

  • Woolen socks,
  • Cotton socks,
  • Acrylic socks,

2. Change your Footwear Regularly.

Alternate at least two pairs of shoes with several pairs of good socks that you have bought. In addition, it would also be a great deal to get insoles (medicated or sweat absorbing) washed, aired sufficiently and changed.

3. Aerate your shoes.

Do this more often to allow for fresh air and evaporation of sweat from both your socks and feet. Don’t forget to wash shoes regularly.

Do this more often to allow for fresh air and evaporation of sweat from both your socks and feet. Don’t forget to wash shoes regularly.

4. Dry Your Shoes

Get shoe dryer to do the extra work for you.

5. Keep your Toenails Short

Trim your toenails to avoid instances of ingrown toenails.


In summary, proper feet care is just as good as getting rid of smelly feet. What did you find useful from the smelly sweaty feet solutions that you adopted? We hope you better controlled your foot odor, eliminated foot odor and curbed smelling feet with treatments, home remedies for foot odor even after curing the causes of smelly feet. Give us your feedback

Reference and Sources
  1. Ten ways to get rid of smelly feet:https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319002.php
  2. Foot Odor: http://bodymint.com/foot-odor-what-causes-stinky-feet/
  3. How to get rid of foot odor: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Foot-Odor
  4. How to stop smelly feet: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/foothealth/Pages/smellyfeet.aspx
  5. Foot Odor Causes, Treatment, and Prevention: http://www.footvitals.com/skin/foot-odor.htmlReviewed by Dr. Mark Feder.
  6. Smelly Feet Cures: http://www.smellyfeetcures.com/.

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