What You Can Do to Stop Terrible Foot Odour
Published: August 31, 2019
Last modified: April 15, 2021
The likeliest cause for persistent foot odour is sweaty feet. Bacteria like warm, moist environments, so shoes and socks that are damp from sweat are the perfect spots for it to grow. When you don’t address the moisture, the bacteria thrive and create a pungent smell. If you want to stop feeling humiliated by foot odour, you should read ahead.
Start by Cleaning Your Shoes
The easiest cleaning method is to sprinkle baking soda inside of the smelly shoes and then leave them alone for 24 hours. Baking soda will soak up the moisture and remove the odour. All you have to do is shake the powder out of the shoe later.
Another quick trick is to put the smelly shoes in a large plastic zip-lock bag and then store them in the freezer for a few hours. The cold temperature will kill the bacteria in the shoes in the same way that it kills bacteria living on food. Or, you could dry the shoes outdoors in the direct sunshine. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is a natural disinfectant.
Certain types of shoes can be tossed in the washing machine. A pair of tennis canvas shoes? Perfect. A pair of leather dress shoes? No.
If you want to clean shoes in the washing machine, you should remove the laces and insoles ahead of time. If the laces or insoles look too worn down, replace them. Put the shoes inside of a pillowcase or mesh bag and then put it in the drum. Add in some towels. These steps will keep the shoes from bouncing around.
Run the machine on a gentle cycle with cold water, using liquid detergent and a splash of vinegar. When the cycle is over, let the shoes air dry. Stuff them with newspaper. The paper will absorb the moisture and help them retain their shape.
Check for Fungus
A foul odour sometimes accompanies the foot fungus commonly known as Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis). Inspect your feet for other symptoms like flaky skin, redness and itching/burning sensations on your feet.
Toe fungus is another cause of foot odour. A bad case of Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, meaning that you could have both conditions.
There are some home remedies for foot fungus and odour like black tea soaks and tea tree oil, but you’re better off trying a topical anti-fungal cream from the pharmacy. If that doesn’t work, you may need a prescription of anti-fungal pills.
If the problem keeps coming back, you might need to visit a foot clinic and have an appointment with a chiropodist. They could suggest reducing the thickness of the toenail to allow the anti-fungal treatment to penetrate better.
Of course, the ultimate way to prevent foot odour is to practice good hygiene habits. You won’t have to deal with any future foot problems when you take care of them in the present.
Here are some simple good hygiene habits that will lessen your chances of foot odour:
- Wash your feet every day with soap and water.
- Always wear socks with your closed-toe shoes.
- Change your socks when they get sweaty.
- Rotate your shoes every day.
- Air out your shoes after every use.
- Don’t store your shoes in an enclosed space, like a gym bag.
Foot odour doesn’t have to follow you for the rest of your life. When you take good care of your shoes and your feet, you’ll find that that the odour goes away. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be comfortable taking off your sneakers in front of company.
Book an appointment
You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).