Foot odor can be a big problem for many people. Many of us spend a lot of time on our feet these days whether it’s while we’re working, engaging in our favorite sporting activities, or any number of other things. This can leave with feet that are both sore and highly odorous, making things very unpleasant for you and those around you. Not only can foot odor make you self conscious about taking off your shoes in front of others, it is a sure sign of unhealthy bacteria build-up, and possibly fungal growth. If you’re experiencing this problem, start taking action to eliminate your foot odor.

The main cause of offensive foot odor is bacteria. Many people imagine that sweat is the culprit, but sweat itself does not make feet smell. What it does is create an ideal breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. They love warm, damp places, so the inside of a sweaty sock is practically heaven to a family of bacteria. The first step to eliminating foot odor is to make sure that the feet are clean, in order to reduce the amount of bacteria already on the feet. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly each day, paying special attention to the spaces in between the toes.

The socks and shoes you wear can have a dramatic effect on your foot odor problem. Polyesters and other synthetic fibers often cause heat and moisture to get trapped inside your shoes, causing both discomfort and offensive odors. Wear natural fibers and materials whenever possible. Cotton or wool socks pull moisture away from the feet, helping them stay dry. Wear clean socks every day, and change them if you’ve been sweating a lot or if you’ve been out in the rain. Lightly treating your feet, socks, and shoes with talcum powder can be a great way to help keep them dry while you’re up on your feet all day.

Several common home remedies have long been trusted for working to eliminate foot odors. A foot bath of diluted white vinegar is one of the most well known treatments, and its validity is supported by vinegar’s natural odor eliminating properties. Others recommend a vodka wash, which has essentially the same effect but may be more caustic. Rubbing alcohol, and even mouthwash, can both be used in the same way. Cincinnati foot care specialists even recommend a foot bath in warm tea. Simply brew a few teabags and let them steep in a large basin. Soaking your feet in tea exposes them to tannic acid, which can help to reduce sweating.

Fungus can often be a major problem for those trying to fight foot odor, so start using a good anti-fungal treatment in tandem with these recommended remedies if your feet are prone to infections. If all of these treatments fail, you are likely dealing with some underlying condition. It may be a medical problem, or could be related to diet and nutrition. Talk to your doctor to be sure.