The People's Perspective on Medicine

Zinc Banishes Foot Odor

Q. My 17-year-old granddaughter has a problem with smelly feet. My son had the same problem at that age. Do you have any home remedies to recommend?

A. Readers have shared lots of home remedies for foot odor. Here is one:

“Years ago my stepson, age 15, had such stinky feet even he couldn’t stand them. His aunt came to visit and when the boy came home, his mom said, ‘Don’t take those shoes off in here!’ The aunt asked why and his mom explained we couldn’t stand the odor. The aunt reminded her of the old rhyme–zinc for stink.

“We bought a bottle of zinc pills. A whole tablet made him sick to his stomach so we cut them in half. After a month, his feet no longer smelled and he didn’t need zinc any more.”

Other people have found that soaking feet in a baking soda, dilute vinegar, Epsom salts or strong tea solution can be helpful. You can find more details in our free Guide to Smelly Feet.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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stinky feet means you have weak kidneys! You should become a vegetarian! Red meat is very hard on kidneys. Your kidneys cannot filter the toxins in your blood properly… better you eat a plant base diet and give your kidneys a rest!

worried that taking zinc daily might be harmful.

put deodorant under your foot & between your toes. anywhere else you wet. best to use roll on deodorant it works. just rub it in.

Palmolive Gold soap eliminated my smelly foot problem.

Isn’t zinc also good for acne?

tea oil…or vicks vaporub at night & can also help. cover feet with something. do it for few weeks.

Get rid of those plastic shoes. Even partial plastic shoes can make feet smell.

It also helps to scrub feet often, paying particular attention in between toes and under nails with a foot/nail brush. Doing towards the end of a bath or shower will work best to remove dead skin. Adding a cup of hydrogen peroxide and/or vinegar to soaking water once a week helps with odor and fungus issues. Make sure to dry completely, especially between toes, before putting on socks and shoes. Always use clean socks, avoid wearing socks around the house or to bed, and alternate days using the same pair of shoes so they have time to dry completely between uses.

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