foot odor home remedies
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foot odor home remediesNo one wants smelly feet, it can be awkward and embarrassing. The smell does not come from the sweat itself, but is created when mixed with bacteria. This is termed as bromhidrosis in medical terminology. The foot has thousands of sweat glands that produce sweat which is composed of water, sodium chloride, minerals, fats and certain acids. The foot also has millions of bacteria that thrives naturally on the sweat and skin cells.

Hyperhidrosis is one of the causes of foot odor, and men will be affected first. Pregnant women and teenager sweat a lot due to hormonal changes, people who exercise and stand a lot get more sweat. Sweaty feet, fungal infections (athlete’s foot), poor hygiene, stress, diabetes, alcohol, drugs, moist or warm feet, old age, lack of ventilation for feet, tight footwear, heart diseases, certain medications, etc. are some of the causes for foot odor.

Home Remedies for Foot Odor:

These simple and natural home remedies to get rid of the bad odor and keep the feet sweat free.

1. Baking Soda

Here baking soda helps to create an alkaline environment, neutralizes the pH of the skin and sweat that in turn helps to clear the bacteria from the body.

Process 1:

  • Pour warm water into a foot bath basin.
  • Add ¼ cup of baking soda and stir well.
  • Soak feet for 20 minutes.
  • Take your feet out and pat dry.
  • Repeat this process regularly.
  • Note: Squeeze in the juice from a fresh lemon and for added benefits.

Process 2:

This method removes the moist from shoes and kills the bacteria.

  • Stir 3 tablespoons each of baking soda and dried sage leaves and store in an airtight container.
  • Sprinkle some of this into shoes.
  • Shake your shoes to cover the area.
  • Leave overnight or the whole day.
  • Remove the excess mixture from the shoes.
  • Follow this process regularly.

Process 3:

  • Stir ½ cup each of baking soda and peroxide, body wash in a tub filled with lukewarm water.
  • Soak feet for 20 minutes.
  • Rub the feet with pumice stone to remove dead skin, clear the moisture and bacteria.
  • Pat dry feet with a clean towel.
  • Repeat this process regularly.

2. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is a mineral compound contains magnesium and sulfate and it is easily absorbed by the skin. Magnesium reduces inflammation sulfate improves the absorption and flushes out the toxins from body including fungus or bacteria along with dead skin cells to leave the foot fresh without smell.


  • Add warm water and ½ cup of Epsom salt to foot basin and mix well.
  • Soak feet for 15 minutes and then pat dry.
  • Follow this nightly for more effective results.
  • Repeat this process regularly to get rid of the foot odor.

3. Ginger

Ginger detoxifies the body fights against the germs.

Process 1:

  • Crush a 2 inch piece of ginger finely.
  • Keep this pulp in gauze and tie tightly.
  • Soak in ½ cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use the ginger pulp to massage the feet daily before bed.
  • Repeat nightly to get rid of odor.

Process 2:

  • Grind some ginger to get a smooth paste.
  • Apply to the feet and leave for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Repeat regularly.

Process 3:

  • Add ginger pieces to a liter boiling water.
  • Boil for 15 minutes and allow it to cool.
  • Pour water in a foot basin and soak feet for 15 minutes.
  • Take your feet out and pat dry.
  • Continue doing this process regularly.

Process 4:

  • Blend medium sized ginger root tomake a puree.
  • Add this to a cup of hot water and stir well.
  • Allow to steep for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Strain and apply to the feet.
  • Massage gently for few minutes before bed.
  • Continue this process at every night for 2 weeks.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic in nature and it creates an acidic environment, which is not good for bacteria to survive in. However you may need to use an essential oil to get rid of the vinegar smell after.


  • Vinegar (either apple cider vinegar) – 1/2 cup
  • Warm water – 7 to 9 cups
  • Foot bath basin or any big bowel
  • Thyme essential oil (optional) – 2 to 5 drops


  • Fill a foot basin with 9 cups of warm water.
  • Add ½ cup of either apple cider vinegar or plain vinegar and 5 drops of thyme essential oil to it.
  • Stir it well and soak for 25 minutes and pat dry.
  • Repeat regularly until you get relief from foot odor.

5. Black Tea

It contains tannic acid that has astringent property which helps to contract the body tissues, narrowing the foot glands so that they perspire less.


  • Fill a foot basin with warm water.
  • Add 4 black tea bags and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.
  • Soak your feet in this for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Take out your feet and dry them thoroughly.
  • Follow this process regularly.
  • You can use green or lemon tea bags.

6. Tea Tree Oil

This helps with foot odor caused by fungal infections especially athlete’s foot. This can be used on its own or with carrier oil.


  • Fill a foot basin with warm water.
  • Soak feet in this water for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Wash feet with mild soap and pat dry with clean towel.
  • Dilute 6 drops of tea tree oil in 1 teaspoon of almond oil and stir well.
  • Apply between the toes and rub gently.
  • After a few minutes, wash this off with warm water.
  • Repeat this 3 times a day.
  • Do patch test if you want to use undiluted tea tree oil.
  • You can use any carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil) instead of almond oil.

7. Radish

Radish contains phosphorus, zinc, vitamin C and certain B vitamins. It has disinfectant property which plays a key role in preventing the foot odor. Radish cures the skin disorders by preventing the bacteria and other micro – organisms to eliminate the foot odor.

Process 1:

  • Cut and grind 6 radishes to extract the juice.
  • Mix the juice and warm water in a foot basin.
  • Soak your feet for 20 minutes and then pat dry.
  • Repeat regularly.

Process 2:

  • Mix radish paste, ginger paste and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Apply to the feet and massage for 5 minutes.
  • Leave for 10 minutes and wash with water.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a week to get rid of foot odor.

Process 3:

  • Grind 12 radishes and squeeze to extract the juice.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon glycerin and stir well.
  • Pour this in an empty spray bottle and use this to spray on feet when you have odor.

8. Sage Leaves

These leaves contain tannic acid which has astringent property which temporarily shrinks the sweat glands on the feet, thus reducing the production of sweat. Sage has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties which helps to kill the bacteria and prevents the foot odor.

Process 1:

  • Fill a foot basin with 8 cups of hot water.
  • Add either 10 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon of dries sage leaves.
  • Allow it to steep for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Place your feet in the water and let it soak for 25 minutes.
  • Remove feet and dry thoroughly.
  • Repeat regularly.
  • Or you can also drink a cup of sage tea before going to bed.
  • Or Put dried ground sage inside your shoes and socks so it absorbs the odor.

Process 2:

Rosemary has antibacterial, anti-fungal and astringent property which minimizes sweat production in sweat glands.

  • Fill a foot basin with enough warm water and add 2 teaspoons of dried sage and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary.
  • Stir it well and allow it to steep.
  • Soak your feet for about 30 minutes.
  • Repeat 1-2 times a day to reduce odor.

9. Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrub removes the dead skin and calluses to eliminate the foot odor.


  • Wash and soak your feet in warm water before using the scrub.
  • Mix 9 teaspoons of sugar, 5 teaspoons of clean water and 1 teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol (91% or above) in a bowl.
  • Apply this mixture on the feet and scrub gently for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Wash the feet with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat at least 3 times a week.

10. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender has an antibacterial property which helps to prevent the bacteria. A benefit of this oil is that it can be applied on the broken skin.


  • Fill a foot basin with warm water and add 6 drops of lavender oil.
  • Stir and place your feet in it for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Pat dry and repeat daily.

11. Salt Scrub with Oils

This remedy is used to clear the dead skin cells on the feet where bacteria can prosper. You should use the pumice stone daily while taking a bath to clear the dead skin and have a pedicure regularly. Regular usage of scrubs also results in clean and dead skin free feet.


  • Mix 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt, 2 teaspoons of olive or jojoba oil and any essential oils like lavender, rosemary or sage oil.
  • Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Dry your feet completely and then apply this salt scrub.
  • Leave for 5 minutes and rub gently for 10 minutes.
  • Wash with warm water and pat dry.
  • Repeat 3 times a week to clear the foot odor.

12. Zinc Rich Foods

If you have dry and scaly feet along with odor then there is a possibility that you’re suffering from deficiency in zinc. Unhealthy skin is composed of more bacterial and other micro-organisms which results in foot odor. Regular intake of zinc rich food helps to reduce the problem.

Here are some zinc rich foods to include in your diet:

  • Oysters
  • Poultry
  • Crab and Lobster
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Red meat
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cocoa powder and chocolates
  • Mushrooms
  • Beans
  • Nuts, especially cashews and almonds

13. Alum

Alum powder has antiseptic and astringent properties which inhibits the bacterial growth and contract the sweat glands so that you will perspire less. This is one of the main components in deodorants.


  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of alum powder in 2 cups of warm water.
  • Wash the feet thoroughly with this solution.
  • Leave for15 minutes to air dry.
  • Or you can also sprinkle some alum powder on the feet regularly.
  • Follow this process regularly.

14. Boric Acid

Boric acid is generally derived from the boron mineral, sodium salts and oxygen and is used in soaps, antiseptics, wood preservatives, pesticides, etc. It is acidic and mildly toxic that helps to eliminate the bacteria and molds that causing this foot odor.


  • Add ½ cup of borax and ½ cup of vinegar to 2cups of water.
  • Stir it well and wash your shoes in this solution.
  • If you’re shoe is completely non – washable then fill a spray bottle with this solution and spray into the shoes.
  • This is not best for people with sensitive skin.
  • Alternatively just sprinkle some of the powder into the shoes.
  • Follow this twice a week.

15. Shoe Maintenance

Wearing shoes stops air flow to feet which creates moisturize environment in the shoe. Bacteria grow fast in moist and causes foot odor very quickly. Follow these tips to prevent foot odor.

  • Wear open shoes. If you are using closed shoes select leather or canvas shoes so that the foot can breathe.
  • Wash shoes frequent washing to prevent the problem. Do not put them in a dryer as this can increase bacteria growth.
  • If you’re air drying the shoes then take out the insoles and place a crumpled newspaper inside the shoe so that the paper will absorb the moisture.
  • Sprinkle some cornstarch, deodorizing foot powder, baking soda, talcum powder or baby powder to get rid of the moisture and bacteria.
  • Remove shoes whenever you sit for longer time.
  • Keep cedar wood shavings or whole cloves inside the shoes if you are not going to wear them for a long time.
  • Always keep shoes in a bright and ventilated place.
  • Use odor – absorbing insoles in your shoes and replace every 4-6 months.
  • Remove and wash the innersoles in your shoes whenever you can.

16. Socks Maintenance

Socks also need to be taken care of to stop the growth of bacteria.

  • Change your socks daily and wear a clean pair.
  • Wash your socks inside-out to remove any dead skin flakes.
  • Wear cotton or wool socks.
  • Always wear socks when wearing closed shoes.

Tips to Prevent Foot Odor:

Small changes in your lifestyle with foot care helps to get rid of foot odor.

  • Keep feet dry and clean.
  • Stress causes sweating. Practice meditation, yoga, deep breathing to reduce stress.
  • Brush and clip the toe nails regularly.
  • Use foot deodorant or anti-bacterial soap to clear the bacteria. Blow dry the feet after washing.
  • Soak your feet in water with a few drops of thyme oil for 15-20 minutes a day as it contains strong antiseptic property, however do not use on broken skin.
  • Add few drops of Listerine mouthwash to lukewarm water and soak feet for 10 minutes. It kills the bacteria and freshens the feet.
  • Regularly apply some hand sanitizer after soaking and drying. it kills the bacteria on the feet and inhibit the bacterial growth.
  • Soak oatmeal in warm water and rub this paste on feet to remove dead skin and the bacteria. Finally wash with lukewarm water and pat dry. Apply moisturizer and wear socks.
  • Soak your feet in vodka for about 10 – 15 minutes to kill the bacteria.
  • Even Jell – O especially lemon Jell – O helps to prevent the odor. Soak feet in this.
  • Every night before going to bed, apply some vegetable oil on the feet and rub it gently. Wear socks and leave it overnight to get rid of the moisture, bacteria, toenail fungus and foot odor.
  • Drink less alcohol and quit smoking because they cause sweating.
  • Avoid eating foods like garlic, scallions, onions, peppers, etc. which has powerful aroma and flavor that passes through blood stream and concentrate more in the sweat.
  • Consult your doctor if you are not able to get relief from problem within a week as excessive sweating can be a symptom of certain health conditions.

We hope you try these remedies to prevent your foot odor problem. Please share any questions or experiences you have with us.

  1. Wearing cedar wood insoles is another remedy against food odor. Those insoles are very practical and a good solution for those like me who don’t have much time to care about their feet.

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