Q. I have the worst-smelling feet I have ever encountered. I have tried everything to get rid of the odor and nothing works.

I am a welder and have to wear steel-toe boots. I put odor-fighting insoles in them. They work for a week and then the smell is back again. My girlfriend always tells me that they are really bad, and they are.

I wash my feet when I get home from work and three hours later they are really STINKY again. Is there anything I can do get rid of this horrible problem?

A. Such a persistent smell may be caused by bacteria or fungi that have taken up residence on your feet. We have been collecting remedies for this problem for decades. Here are some favorites:

Military veterans have reported that urinating on the feet in the shower is a tried and true (and cheap) approach. Others tell us that foot soaks with baking soda, dilute vinegar or Listerine can also help. A waitress reported that Campho-Phenique “worked wonders.”

We are sending you our Guide to Solutions for Smelly Feet. It can also be downloaded for free from the Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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  1. dustin

    Okay if it’s the boots that smell. Try ground up coffee beans. My cat peed in nine and the smell was bad I put coffee beans in them and it took the smell away.

  2. Big bad Jon

    BICARBONATE OF SODA This is a must for those feet that find their way onto your beloved ones lap at the end of the day, Just sprinkle a tea spoon in side of boot or shoe and shake around then turn upside down so it reaches the roof of the boot or shoe lasts for days, also as a brilliant stomach acid cure or bad heart burn (gone instantly) mixed in a glass of warm water (hold your nose when drinking because it tastes vile) beware of the big BURPS when its neutralizing the stomach acid, and also any smelly odors like milk or and other hard smelling odours (Old wives remedy that is brilliant and fault proof).

  3. mike

    I have washed my feet in vinegar and after drying, applied talc powder to absorb any excess moisture-this has been real helpful. Also, change socks at lunch and wear only white athletic/gym socks. The dyes in other socks may contribute to odor.
    Urinating on feet not only will help w odor, but is highly effective in conditioning feet for heavy use-like distance running or hiking. It sounds taboo,and for some may be, but is effective.
    Also, dietary changes may help. I still have problem after eating lots of garlic. Biofeedback may help control any psychological aspects that create excess perspiration. While you still need to wear the steel toe boots, you could also modify the lining so your feet can brethe better.

  4. RSP

    Dr. Mehmet Oz suggests a foot bath using tea. The tannins in the tea seem to remove foot odor. Please pass this suggestion on to this poor guy! Thanks!

  5. EWR

    About 30 years ago I had a boyfriend who had terrible foot odor, maybe from wearing steel toe boots. I’d read that lemon juice could help relieve the odor so he tried it. He just cut a lemmon in half and rubbed it on his feet and the results were amazing! It really helped get rid of the odor and it made his skin feel good as well.

  6. Rycke B.

    Dr. Dean Edell, some years ago, recommended triple anti-biotic cream for stinky feet–something I wish I’d heard of before my husband died. I’ve never had to use it on my feet, but it has worked several times to clear up underarm bacterial infections that produce a strong rancid sweat odor in spite of bathing.

  7. R Powell

    After reading about the man with foot odor, I felt i should reply.
    About 30 years ago, I had the same circumstance; a job requiring leather steel-toe boots.
    After a few months my feet also developed a strong aroma.
    The cure for me was to buy an extra pair [or two] of boots. As soon as I got home from work, I changed into sneakers or went barefoot.
    Then I wore a different pair of boots to work every day, never putting on a damp pair of boots.
    I haven’t had a problem since.
    I still always have several pair of boots or shoes and rotate them. Of coarse a clean pair of socks every morning.
    Now I can wear the same pair of boots or shoes for a week or more with no problem.
    R Powell

  8. Maxwell

    Is is your feet or your boots?Improperly tanned leather will make your feet and shoes stink like something dead. Also, A Boot Dryer will help dry your boots every night from daily sweat. Try changing socks at lunchtime every day.

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