How do I get Rid of Foot Odor?

Amy Hunter

There are several reasons why someone may experience foot odor. Sometimes the issue can be one of hygiene, while for others it can be a medical condition. Finally, some people just have stronger body odors than others. Regardless of the reason, to avoid embarrassment it is important to address the issue.

Foot odor is a common problem.
Foot odor is a common problem.

The first step toward keeping your feet smelling fresh is to rotate between several pairs of shoes. This allows each pair of shoes to dry out completely between each wearing. Wearing the same pair of shoes on a daily basis is a sure way to have stinky feet and even have shoes that develop such a strong odor that it is impossible to remove.

Washing the feet with soap and water and drying them carefully helps alleviate foot odor.
Washing the feet with soap and water and drying them carefully helps alleviate foot odor.

Next, step up the hygiene on your feet. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly twice each day. Before you put on shoes or socks, apply a deodorizing foot powder to your feet, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes.

Sometimes shoes can develop an odor.
Sometimes shoes can develop an odor.

Keep your toenails clipped and apply lotion to any areas where the skin is rough. This reduces the areas where sweat and odor causing bacteria can settle. Reducing sweat and bacteria reduces the odor that your feet generate.

If you have a problem with foot odor, it is helpful to choose shoes made from natural materials, such as leather. Manmade materials, like plastic and vinyl, don’t breathe. This keeps moisture trapped against the foot and can lead to foot odor in people with even the best hygiene. If you have a pair of shoes that you love and they are made of manmade materials, wear them sparingly, and sprinkle extra foot powder inside the shoes before putting them on. After wearing them, allow them to air out before tossing them into your closet.

The best hygiene in the world will not help if you continually wear shoes that already have a foot odor. You don’t have to throw away all of your shoes, but proper cleaning is important. Any shoes that can be machine washed will benefit from doing that.

For shoes that cannot be machine washed, wipe the inside of them out with a cloth dampened with antibacterial cleaning liquid. Once you have wiped the inside of the shoes out, set them outside in the sun to dry. The sunlight does a great job of killing the odor causing bacteria in the shoes. Finally, store you shoes with a ball of loosely crumpled newspaper inside. The newspaper helps to absorb foot odors.

Foot odor can be caused by poor hygiene or by a medical condition.
Foot odor can be caused by poor hygiene or by a medical condition.

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Discussion Comments


I soak my feet in water with a few drops of lavender oil. I also put baking soda in my shoes about once a week to eliminate foot odors.


@turkay1-- Most people have the same issue, you're not the only one.

Are you wearing 100% cotton socks and leather shoes? If not, that might be the problem. Socks that are not cotton don't absorb sweat and moisture and cause bacteria growth and odor. The same goes for synthetic shoes.

If you switch to cotton socks and leather shoes, and if you also apply a foot powder to your feet before wearing socks, I'm sure the bad foot odor will go away.

Also, avoid wearing shoes without socks because once the sweat and odor from the feet absorb into the shoes, it's very hard to get out.


I think being barefoot is the only way I can prevent foot odor. I don't have a foot odor problem in the summer because I'm always wearing open shoes sandals. But the rest of the year, I have foot odor constantly. I shower every day, I do foot soaks and I don't have any foot infections. But still, when I get home from work and take off my shoes, the odor is very apparent. I'm so fed up with it.

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