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Natural Ways to Combat Foot Odor

Men and women spend hours in shoes; Athletic shoes, dress shoes, leisure shoes. Most of the time our feet don’t have the chance to breathe, when they do they can smell worse for the wear. No one wants to be the person at the office, school, or event who has noticeable foot odor. The primary cause of odor is that shoes are manufactured from absorbent padding and fabric leading to the retention of moisture and odors.


Combating foot odor begins with proper care including cleansing, pedicures, and adequate footwear. But, not everyone can afford regular pedicures, or may not have the time.


 Home techniques for reducing foot odor:


  • Baking Soda – Sprinkle some into your shoes immediately after wearing, catching odors before they have a chance to adhere to the lining. Consider adding in a body powder that contains essential oils. Sage can also do wonders for odor absorption and smells good, just remember to remove it before wear.


  • Shoe Spray – Sprays can be purchased from major retailers or even created at home. A suggested recipe is 1/8 cup of vodka, 1/4 cup of distilled water, and an essential oil. If you can find it, use an essential oil that includes antibacterial properties like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, or peppermint. Use your shoe spray after each wear.


  • Cedar Blocks and Cedar Chips – Cedar has exceptional absorption properties. Many people use cedar to keep stored-away clothes dry and odor free. Put a cedar block, or sprinkle cedar chips, into your shoes when they are not being worn. Note: Remember to remove the cedar block before wearing.


  • Deodorant – That’s right! Stick deodorant used to combat armpit perspiration can also be used to kill-off foot odors. Simply apply deodorant to the bottoms of your feet before putting on your shoes. If you plan on doing this after being on your feet for a while (post-shower), make sure to clean your feet properly before deodorant application.


  • Scrub and Soak – Scrub or soak your feet weekly. Rub in a soothing lotion to hydrate your feet after, and to provide a little pseudo-massage to keep your circulation flowing.


More aggressive foot odor control:


  • Black Tea Soak – Soak your feet in a pot of strong black tea. The tannins in the tea will remove the odors from your feet, so it is important to use only black tea and not a substitute. Sit for 15-20 minutes and pat dry.


  • Salt Scrub –Exfoliate skin using an easy, make at home recipe:  1/8 cup salt, 1/8 cup of olive oil, and 3 or 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Mix well, apply, scrub, and rinse.


  • Vanilla Extract – Use a cotton ball to apply and rub vanilla extract into the feet. This gives a lovely sweet smell to even the most pungent odors. The alcohol within the extract will work to remove odors while leaving your feet lightly scented in vanilla. Note: This tip is not for people with dry-skin as the alcohol will dry out the feet.


  • Epsom Salt Soak – Mix Epsom salts with mustard seed and ginger to not only remove odors, but also toxins from the skin.