Q. My daughter exercises almost every day. She’s very athletic and she takes great care with her appearance and her hygiene, showering after every workout and every evening as well.
Unfortunately, her feet smell. Her brother teases her mercilessly if she takes her shoes off to watch TV. I don’t want to meddle, but I feel bad for her. Is there any home remedy that would help control the foot odor?

A. Lots of folks are plagued with smelly feet. Over the years we have accumulated lots of home remedies including:
* dust feet and shoes with baking soda before putting on socks
* soak smelly feet in a warm Epsom salt solution several nights in a row
* soak feet in baking soda solution 30 minutes a night for a month
* use an antiperspirant on the feet
* steep five tea bags five minutes in a quart of boiling water, cool, then soak feet 30 minutes
* wear shoes of leather, not synthetics
* spray feet and shoes with rubbing alcohol
* ask the pharmacist to make a foot powder of equal parts fluffy tannic acid, talc and bentonite.

We have many other suggestions in our free Guide to Smelly Feet. You can download this Guide here.

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  1. SM
    Reply

    I used to have this problem a lot. A couple of things worked for me:
    First, bathing normally does not wash the feet. The feet needs to be washed well with soap. There is simply no need for other exotic methods. Second, the bacteria from the feet goes to the walls of the shoes and live there. They get active the next time the shoe is put on. Just like using fresh socks every time, washing the shoe regularly will help.

  2. PS
    Reply

    How did you find out about the zinc tablets?

  3. ml
    Reply

    Take 1-2 zinc tablets/day for 2-3 weeks. My entire family found this lasted many years & saved $$$ replacing socks & shoes.

  4. Christopher
    Reply

    Okay I used to have a smelly foot problem. But I found out why our plumbing is higher than her feet. “Yes this is going to sound gross” when bathing do not apply soap directly to the soles of your feet, only wash your feet with a white washcloth. Next your last 2 to 3 minutes in the shower at home not in the gym urinate on your feet than let the water rinse them “only the water flowing over and around your feet”.
    Stay away from chemicals with heavy metals and synthetic materials. That means purchase American-made hundred percent cotton socks. (Change in two new stocks or the stock that came off the left foot put back on the left foot and the same goes for the right foot).

  5. M.S.
    Reply

    Smelly feet are often caused by the same bacteria that cause “athletes foot” even if you have no symptoms such as itchiness or cracks between the toes. I found that spraying with “Lotrimin” liquid anytime the feet begin to smell will kill the bacteria and the smell is gone. I use the liquid spray because it gets into all of the small wrinkles and crevices in the skin.

  6. BJA
    Reply

    Smelly feet come from a zinc deficiency. After taking 1 tablet daily of zinc 50 mg for a few weeks, the feet will not smell.

  7. BP
    Reply

    I suffered with smelly feet for YEARS before discovering that washing my feet every day with Palmolive Gold completely eliminated the problem. Kills the bacteria that cause the stink. I tried multiple soaps and Palmolive Gold is the one that worked. Unfortunately, is hard to find now! I have to order it online.

  8. KB
    Reply

    My shoes and feet smell, because I wear shoes all day without socks. My friend recently told me about shoe pads that absorb moisture and odor. They have silver in them which is kills bacteria and smell. I’ve been using them everyday, and they seem to really work.

  9. MCD
    Reply

    I have found that a swipe of stick anti-perspirant on the underside of the toes does the trick. No more stinky feet.

  10. Margie
    Reply

    Taking a shower does not mean that she washes her feet really well. I think soaking the feet in a small tub with warm water and bubble bath works really well. After they soak for about five minutes, use a foot brush to clean with soap, rinse and pat dry and
    use a nice foot cream. Also I found that taking charcoal tablets daily cuts down on all body odor.

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