Hi! I’m Dr. Karim Maghraby. As a physician scientist and avid runner, I can tell you most people get at one point or another. The problem is that (bromodosis) can interfere with your daily life.
That’s why I wrote this article to share some effective home remedies for . Please bear in mind this is not medical advice. I cannot diagnose nor treat bromodosis remotely; all I can do is share some information.
Having said that, let’s go over and shoes!
An epsom salt foot bath
Bacteria that make feet smelly need to survive. Epsom salts drains excess from your . As a result, it becomes hard for those -producing bacteria to survive.
Some people on Reddit seem to think can kill a (e.g. ). It does not do this. If this is what you’re going for, read Tip #2 and use it together with .
1. Get a tub of warm water.
2. Dissolve a half-cup of in the water.
3. Take a 10-20 minute , then dry.
If necessary, use a pumice stone or exfoliator to remove afterwards. Bacteria feed on these. G will reduce further.
Add or hydrogen peroxide to your bath for even more odor relief.
A vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide foot bath
raw . kills the fungi and bacteria that give your feet an . Hydrogen peroxide does the same. Personally, I like hydrogen peroxide and
Note that a bath like this only kills microbes on the surface of your . To make the bath more effective, massage the water into your feet, toes and nails. Get the area between the toes too.
1. Get a tub.
2. Mix three parts warm water to one part hydrogen peroxide or .
2. Take a 10-20 minute in the tub.
Avoid baths if your is weak or damaged. can irritate cuts, sore spots, scratches, etc. If this is your situation, use hydrogen peroxide only.
Washing your feet with a good fungus. It also gets rid of many other . You can use the soap in the shower or in a bath. will kill early-stage
Make sure to dry your feet well afterwards. By removing excess , you’ll leave nothing for bacteria and fungus to feed on.
For the best effect, exfoliate your feet and then use . Make sure to dry your feet well
can help kill off and toe fungus. I suggest 70% or weaker; stronger solutions will irritate your . There are a few ways to use it.
1. Make a 1-to-1 bath with and warm water. your feet for 20 minutes.
2. Apply a moderate or weak isopropyl solution to the affected area. Stronger concentrations (80%+) are to be avoided.
3. If you have and , treat the inside of your shoe with a weak isopropyl solution. Test in a spot area first to make sure it won’t ruin the material.
The right socks
Wearing the right socks helps reduce . Look for:
1. -wicking socks
These will usually use cotton and a man-made material like nylon. These absorb and have good breathability.
2. Moderately thick socks
These can hold a little . Avoid thick , though. These can run hot.
3. Merino wool socks
These wick away and can hold up to 3 times their weight in water. They’re also highly breathable.
Keep a pair of on you at all times, especially when doing sports. This way you can keep your feet dry, preventing from getting out of control.
Antiperspirant spray or powder
can make shoes and feet stinky. A quality can help.
Do not use regular products meant to control and . Feet a lot more than any other body part; even the armpits. You need a -specific product.
People with medical conditions will need doctor-prescribed products. Most people, though, will do well with over-the-counter stuff.
reduce . products up water – and can also reduce . Look for ingredients like , and aluminum chloride. products
To see our top picks, read our guide on best and shoe deodorizers. The page also includes a DIY recipe. It also explains how , and can help beat .
Leafy greens, seaweed, and zinc-rich foods (e.g. peanuts, dark chocolate) help our feet less. Eating foods high in water, such as grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupes, helps as well.
Other foods and drinks, including alcohol, spices, and caffeine, can make us .
To reduce and , eat more -reducing and less -inducing food.
Stinky shoe care
Stinky shoes can carry microbes that cause . They can also carry these microbes feed on – though this is more rare. Either way, shoes can be a major reason for .
To fix this, use a quality . That way, your shoes will . good even if you have
You could also us a weak solution, but we don’t recommend it. can ruin smooth surfaces like leather, and it doesn’t work well on padded shoes.
Don’t wear the same pairs of shoes two days in a row. This will let shoes dry out and prevent -causing bacteria from building up on them. Same for insoles.
Two types of can help with and feet.
1. Ventilated models prevent or reduce . These are pictured above.
2. treated with microbe-resistant molecules stop bacteria and fungus from spreading.
To see our top choices, check out our article on the best socks and insoles for .
In some cases, even doctor-prescribed and antiperspirants won’t help.
If this is your situation, you may need one of the following to deal with your problem.
A plantar injection of Botox into the of your feet can reduce . The con is that these injections only last 3-4 months and can feel uncomfortable.
This medical treatment applies . gland-blocking medication using a small electrical current. It reduces caused by
Each iontophoresis session lasts 20-40 minutes. Expect to get one per week until stops.
10c. Prescription medication
This category includes heavy-duty ointments, soaps, and antiperspirants. If you , injections and systemic medication could also be an option. excessively all over with resulting
Is foot odor bad?
Bad , known as bromodosis (1) in medicine, is both common and natural. Our feet have more glands than any other body part; even the armpits. That’s why it’s normal for our feet to produce a lot of (i.e. ).
This contains nutritious elements: sugars, salts, and amino acids. Bacteria and fungi that produce a feed on them. Some well-known examples are staphylococcus epidermidis and bacillus subtilis (2).
These bacteria love wet, warm environments. Since our feet have so many glands, they’re the perfect home for them. Therefore, the more we , the more our feet .
Are bacteria bad?
Bacteria like Bacillus subtilis and staphylococcus epidermidis aren’t bad. In fact, they increase our body’s immunity and contribute to healthhy (3). They produce a strong but they’re not bad.
According to the Institute of Preventive Health, one in six adults complain of . This makes one of the most natural health problems out there.
With , most people’s is very manageable.
Most of the time, are normal and easy to deal with. Have on hand; reduce ( ); keep your shoes clean and bacteria-free.
For a light microbial or , use or take a bath. For the bath, mix warm water with , hydrogen peroxide, and/or .
If the problem persists, see a doctor. In some cases, you’ll need medical help for your .
Want to see good over-the-counter products for and shoe ? Here are our favorite deodorizers and socks for , .
1. NHS. Bromodosis (). (2020). Available at: https://111.wales.nhs.uk/Bromodosis(smellyfeet)/.
2. Ara, K. et al. due to microbial metabolism and its control. Can. J. Microbiol. 52, 357-364 (2006).
3. Chiller, K., Selkin, B. A. & Murakawa, G. J. Microflora and Bacterial Infections of the . J. Investig. Dermatology Symp. Proc. 6, 170-174 (2001).
4. Semkova, K., Gergovska, M., Kazandjieva, J. & Tsankov, N. Hyperhidrosis, bromhidrosis, and chromhidrosis: Fold (intertriginous) dermatoses. Clin. Dermatol. 33, 483-491 (2015).