If removing your footwear at the end of the day calls to mind the scent of a postgame locker room, give these natural home remedies a try.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Baking Soda. Don't just let those shoes sit there without odor support! Bring on the baking soda! Deodorize shoes by sprinkling 1 or 2 teaspoons baking soda inside to absorb moisture and hide odors. For added fragrance, combine 3 tablespoons baking soda with 3 tablespoons ground, dried sage leaves. Combine the sage and baking soda and place into an airtight glass jar. After removing your shoes for the day, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each shoe. Shake and leave overnight. The following day, keep the sage-soda in the shoes. In the evening remove excess sage-soda mix, and replace it with a fresh supply. Repeat nightly.
Another way to use baking soda is in a foot bath. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to a bowl of warm water. Soak feet every night for a month.
Cornstarch. A less fancy solution to keeping shoes deodorized and dry is to sprinkle the inside with 1 to 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
Salt. Add table salt or Epsom salts to water for a foot soak. Pour a few teaspoons of salt into a tub of warm water. Soak for ten minutes.
Vinegar. Soak your feet several times a week in an apple cider or plain vinegar bath. Mix 1/3 cup vinegar into a bowl of warm water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Ginger. Mash a 1- or 2-inch piece of ginger into a pulp, put it into a handkerchief or piece of gauze, and soak it in some hot water for a few minutes. Rub the ginger liquid onto each foot nightly after taking a shower. Try for two weeks.
Radish. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, but you can squeeze an anti-stink solution from a radish. Juice about two dozen radishes, add 1/4 teaspoon glycerine, and pour in a squirt or spray-top bottle. Spritz on toes to reduce foot odor.
Home Remedies from the Sink
Black tea. Soak tootsies in black tea. Tannic acid, a component of tea, is thought to have astringent properties that prevent feet from perspiring. To make a foot-tea soak, brew 5 bags black tea in 1 quart boiling water. Let cool, add ice cubes (during summertime), and soak in this "iced tea for the toes" bath for 20 to 30 minutes.
Water. A remedy for sweaty feet involves alternating footbaths of hot and cold water to help reduce blood flow to your feet and reduce perspiration. After luxuriating in a hot foot bath, shock those toes by dipping them into a second foot bath containing cool water, ice cubes, and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice (if available). Rub your feet with alcohol following the bath. Try this dual treatment once a day, especially in warmer months.
With some diligence on your part and a few natural home remedies, you can banish foot odor for good.
For related information about foot odor and other ailments, visit these links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- If that unpleasant odor isn't restricted to your feet, find help at Home Remedies for Body Odor.
- When your dogs are barking (and we don't mean the canine variety), read Home Remedies for Foot Pain to find relief.
- Learn about the science behind your olfactory system in How Does the Sense of Smell Work?
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.