Foot odor natural remedies are plentiful, but which ones work, and which ones are just old wives' tales?
Of all the parts of the body, the feet are perhaps the hardest working - and some might say the most neglected. With dozens of tiny bones absorbing the impact of every step, the feet are a miracle of nature.
Lining the soles of the feet are thousands of sweat glands. Sweating is our body's natural way to cleanse impurities, and our skin is both a barrier to protect our internal organs and an excretory organ. During normal metabolism, chemical byproducts of digestion, assimilation and all metabolic processes need to be removed from the body. Some are excreted through exhalation from the lungs. Others leave through urine or feces. Yet still other chemicals exit via perspiration; and therein lies the culprit behind foot odor. Natural remedies can help.
Causes of Foot Odor
Bacteria thrive in warm, moist and dark conditions. Feet encased in shoes provide the perfect environment to grow colonies of bacteria. Before panicking and running for the antibacterial soap, understand that some bacteria is very normal. Problems occur when the perspiration exiting the feet contain strong odors or when certain bacteria or entire bacterial colonies thrive on the feet. It's the byproducts of the bacteria that create telltale foot odor.
Foot Odor Natural Remedies
Now that you know what causes foot odor, you'll better understand what researchers believe causes very strong foot odor. If stinky feet are a problem, avoid:
- Eating strong-tasting or smelling foods: Avoid foods such as onion, garlic and strong spices. The same chemicals that give these foods the strong taste are excreted through the skin, and that includes the skin of the feet. They can contribute to strong foot odor.
- Closed shoes: Closed shoes, such as boots or tightly laced sneakers, cause feet to sweat and provide that dark, moist, warm area that bacteria love. If possible, wear sandals or open shoes to allow perspiration to evaporate.
- Synthetic socks: Synthetic socks contain nylon and other man made fibers. Cotton or wool tend to allow moisture to evaporate more easily and can reduce foot odor. Try different types of socks. You may also want to change your socks twice a day or more frequently.
- Wearing the same shoes daily: If you can, rotate the shoes you wear so you're not wearing the same pair every day. This gives the shoe lining a chance to dry out in between wearing and can reduce the bacteria growing inside the shoe, another cause of odor.
Natural Remedies for Foot Odor
Keeping feet dry and reducing the amount of bacteria are the keys to treating strong foot odor. Try some of the following natural remedies in addition to the practical suggestions listed above:
- Cornstarch: You can find cornstarch in the grocery store in the baking aisle. Sprinkle it inside your shoes to absorb moisture.
- Wash feet frequently: Daily foot washing with a good antibacterial soap is a must.
- Tea bags: Place five regular black tea bags in a pot of warm water. Soak feet in the water and discard tea bags and tea.
- Vinegar: Add vinegar to warm water and bathe the feet for 15 minutes. Repeat several times a week. This creates an acidic environment which bacteria do not like.
Herbal Treatments for Foot Odor
The most frequently recommended herbal treatment for foot odor is sage. Simple sage, picked from the garden and sprinkled into a warm foot bath, has helped some. Use any culinary sage, crush it with a mortar and pestle, add it to water, and bathe the feet.
When to See a Doctor
Although seeing a doctor for strong foot odor may sound like a frivolous reason to make an appointment with a medical professional, it's possible that a strong foot odor indicates an infection or another health condition. It might be worth mentioning at your next check up or visit.
Most of the foot odor natural remedies suggested are innocuous and shouldn't cause any reaction, but if you notice a rash, peeling, burning or blistered feet, see your doctor. Another common foot problem may at work.