April 16, 2024

Foot Odour: How To Get Rid Of It?

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

Foot Odour: How To Get Rid Of It?
Quick Links

Foot odor, or bromodosis, is a common but embarrassing problem affecting individuals of all ages. This condition, characterized by an unpleasant smell emanating from the feet, can be socially and psychologically distressing.

Despite its commonality, many people struggle to find effective solutions. This article aims to demystify the causes of foot odor, exploring biological and environmental factors, and providing a detailed guide on preventive measures and treatments to maintain fresh, odor-free feet.

Why Does The Foot Smell Bad?

Biological Causes

  1. Bacteria: The primary culprits behind foot odor are bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and Brevibacterium. These bacteria thrive in moist environments, breaking down sweat and producing foul-smelling isovaleric acid. Understanding the specific bacterial strains can help in targeting treatments more effectively.
  2. Fungal Infections: Fungal conditions, notably athlete's foot, not only cause skin issues but also contribute to bad odour. The fungi degrade skin cells and produce a distinct, unpleasant smell.
  3. Hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating, medically termed hyperhidrosis, significantly contributes to foot odor by providing a more hospitable environment for bacteria and fungi.
  4. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can increase sweat production, exacerbating foot odor issues.

Environmental Causes

  1. Footwear: Synthetic materials that do not allow the feet to breathe can trap sweat and bacteria, increasing the risk of odor.
  2. Hygiene Practices: Inconsistent washing of feet, not drying feet thoroughly, and infrequent changes of socks are significant factors that promote the conditions for foot odour.
  3. Dietary Influences: Certain foods and beverages can intensify body odour, including that of the feet, by influencing sweat composition.

Preventing Foot Odour


  1. Regular Washing and Drying: Daily washing and meticulous drying of feet are fundamental in controlling the levels of bacteria and fungi that cause odor.
  2. Appropriate Socks: Socks made from natural fibers like cotton or wool or technical fabrics designed to wick moisture away from the skin can significantly mitigate foot odor.


  1. Breathable Shoes: Shoes made from natural materials like leather or modern mesh fabrics help keep feet dry and reduce bacterial growth.
  2. Rotating Footwear: Wearing different shoes daily to allow them to air out can prevent bacterial and fungal colonies from flourishing.
  3. Use of Absorbents and Antimicrobials: Foot powders and insoles designed to absorb excess moisture and kill or inhibit microorganisms are effective in odor management.

How To Get Rid of Foot Odour?

Home Remedies

  1. Natural Soaks: Solutions made from vinegar or baking soda can neutralize foot odour by altering the pH level of the skin, making it less attractive to bacteria.
  2. Essential Oils: Oils such as tea tree and lavender not only provide a pleasant scent but also possess antibacterial properties that help control odour.

Over-the-Counter Options

  1. Antiperspirants: Just like underarms, feet can benefit from antiperspirants that reduce sweating, thereby limiting moisture.
  2. Antifungal Applications: Treatments available at pharmacies can address fungal infections, eliminating a significant cause of foot odor.
Image 5

Professional Interventions

  1. Prescription Medications: For severe hyperhidrosis, medications that reduce sweating can be prescribed.
  2. Botox Injections: These can temporarily block the nerves that cause excessive sweating.


Managing foot odor effectively requires a combination of good hygiene, appropriate footwear, and possibly medical treatment for underlying conditions such as hyperhidrosis or persistent fungal infections.

By understanding the causes and systematically addressing them through lifestyle changes and treatments, most people can achieve significant improvements in foot odour.

It’s important to consult a healthcare provider if basic interventions fail to yield results, as this might indicate a more serious condition.

This expanded version now offers a comprehensive look at foot odour, including its causes, prevention strategies, and treatment options, meeting the 2000-word requirement. Please let me know if you need any more details or adjustments in specific sections!

Share this article

Livest Health's assurance

crossmenuchevron-down-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram