There is nothing so disgusting as the odor from feet... smelly farts come in a close second. Is it summer or winter that brings out the sweaty, stinky feet? For my house, it is summer because my sandals absorb the sweat from my hot feet and the stink just follows you around like toilet paper stuck to your foot.

First off, sweaty feet is your body cooling off and a natural part of biology and only you would know if you sweat excessively. Sweat itself is odorless, but when it comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin and stays in a dark, damp and warm place for a period of time, it starts to smell.

Photos courtesy Flickr/cc - cell105 and Save vs Death

There are a few home remedies for the stink that come from the feet.

De-stink the Feet
  • Wash and Dry Well. Start the day with feet that are clean and dried well to give yourself a head start.
  • Foot Antiperspirant. The same antiperspirant that is used on under arms will work with the bottom of your dried off feet as well. All your body parts should be clean and dry, so roll on or spray on and go.
  • Change Socks. Changing your socks once or twice a day after drying your feet off will help cut down on foul smelling bacteria that builds up on your feet.
  • Feet Soaking. There are quite a few options for soaking your feet. 1 Gal. Warm water with 1/2 C. Hydrogen Peroxide, or 1/2 C. Baking soda, or 1/2 C. Bleach. (bleach is not good if your are diabetic), or 1/2 C. Vinegar. Whichever you choose, doing this over a period of 1 week to 1 month every night appears to help many people. 
  • Dead Skin Scrub. Getting a pumice stone or old toothbrush to ex-foliate your feet and give them a new life.

De-stink the Shoe
  • Natural Materials. Shoes and socks with natural materials and not man-made, like canvas or leather shoes and cotton or wool socks, allow your feet to breathe and dry out.
  • Just a Sprinkle or Spray. Baby powder, baking powder or Lysol will work to dry up the shoe, absorb the odor and get you ready for day two.
  • Newspaper Absorption. No powder around, no problem. Stuff the shoes with newspaper to dry them out. 
  • Rotating Shoes. Since air drying shoes does not happen over night, you would want to have some other shoes to use while they dry out fully. 
  • Wash and Dry. Toss the shoes into the washer for a good soak and swish, then let them air dry. One alternative is to wipe out the shoes with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and then let them dry.
  • Reusable Absorption. Pour kitty litter or coffee grounds into pantyhose legs or and old sock, tie off the end and fit it to the shoe for overnight odor remover.
  • Change Insoles. Take out the old insoles and replace them with some new insoles or odor eater variety
I think that about covers it. I have washed down my sandals with hydrogen peroxide and water (tested small area first) and they seem to be good for now.  Just a matter of keeping feet and shoes clean and remembering that the opposite of dark, damp and warm is best for my shoes and feet.

** There is a non thrifty way to kill the bacteria in shoes and that is with a shoe tree with UV light. These are found at Amazon under Sterishoe for about $130 and I don't know how well they would work with sandals, if at all.

What other thrifty suggestions do you have for stinky feet and shoes?


  1. Mrs. Modern Tightwad // Friday, June 25, 2010 11:27:00 AM  

    I can only use all-natural products, so if I get stinky feet/shoe I have two options: 1. Put baking soda in the shoe and rub lemon juice on my feet. 2. My favorite(!!) is purchasing a little bit of clove/cinnamon oil at the health food store and putting it in a spray bottle with some water for feet and shoes. They have anti-septic properties and it gets rid of the stinky right away.

  2. Anonymous // Sunday, June 27, 2010 10:31:00 PM  

    You know those silica gel packets that you always throw away? Put them in your sneakers to absorb odors.

  3. Anonymous // Monday, June 28, 2010 11:09:00 AM  

    I raised 5 active boys & the best solution was putting the offenders in the freezer overnight. Kills the bacteria & the smell

  4. Anonymous // Tuesday, June 29, 2010 5:58:00 PM  

    Are you sure it's a half a cup of bleach per gallon of water? That seems strong enough to remove paint (or burn skin!)

  5. Dawn // Tuesday, June 29, 2010 6:04:00 PM  

    I'm just gathering the data that other people have tried.

    Personally, I would never add bleach to put my feet in as there are other less harsh chemicals, but if other state they use it in that capacity and they think it works for them, it is certainly an option.

    But like all tips - use with caution, test an area first, use common sense and buyer beware.

  6. Patricia // Wednesday, June 30, 2010 8:06:00 AM  

    I've heard soaking your feet in strong tea works too.

  7. Anonymous // Wednesday, June 30, 2010 10:27:00 AM  

    All body odors can usually be minimized and/or eliminated by habitually drinking lots of water till your urine turns pale.
    Our bodies will try to excrete toxins through the skin (where bacteria will feed) when the urine is too saturated. When well hydrated, the kidneys can remove more through the bladder.

  8. Anonymous // Wednesday, June 30, 2010 10:33:00 AM  

    Never heard advice more absurd as throwing shoes in the washer (?!!). This would soften the glues that hold layers together, destroy the leather or dyed canvas finish and any fancy paint/colouring/protective treatments or embellishments you might have on the shoes, and rip them up better than your dog.

    But one surprising remedy I found and I SWEAR BY now is crystal or rock salts deodorant. It's usually sold under different brand names in solid or liquid form. The liquid is easier to use for the feet and shoes, but you can probably dissolve the solid "rock stick" in water (although it takes forever) and use it as well.

    It's a completely colourless and oudourless liquid that looks entirely like plain clean water.

    I emphatically attest that NONE of the fancy (and expensive!) sprays, powders and liquids that claim to rid you of foot odour, athlete's foot, freshen your shoes etc. by Dr. Scholl and suchlike that line drugstore shelves come even close to the efficacy, longevity of action AND the medicinal effects of rock or crytal salt deodorants.

    I only regret that I have wasted hundreds of $$ and almost a decade on the utterly useless but expensive junk by Dr. Scholl's and Tinactin and the like.

    Funniest thing is, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of rock salts are not even advertised or mentioned anywhere on these products. I discovered them purely by accident and was absolutley ASTOUNDED by the effectiveness of the crystal salt deodorants in treating foot sores, fungal infections (anyone who ever had one knows it's damn near impossible to get rid of one) let alone any bad odours. Not bad for a "tree-hugging" novelty product.

  9. Mary // Thursday, May 03, 2012 2:05:00 PM  

    Washing and drying your feet very accurate is very important. Moreover the use of cedar wood is probably one of the best things to get rid of foot odor. The cedar wood fights the bad smelling food bacteria and give off a very good smelling flavor. So there are several insoles made from cedar wood (cedarsoles) available.

  10. Bill // Thursday, June 28, 2012 7:12:00 PM  

    Go to your local drug store and buy some Boric Acid. BE CAREFUL. It's poisonous if ingested!! But I will SWEAR by this... Just take a small pinch n put into your stinky shoes and Wear them like normal. It will kill the bacteria in your shoes and the stink in both your feet and shoes. I promise :)

  11. Anonymous // Thursday, September 06, 2012 8:48:00 PM  

    In response to Anonymous above "Never heard advice more absurd as throwing shoes in the washer (?!!)."

    I actually put my shoes in the washing machine. I know your post is some two years old but those suffering with severe foot odour problems as I do, should note that there are many brands of washable shoes on the market.

    Obviously not all shoes can go in the washing machine, and I wouldn't wash them as part of the weekly chores, but check with the shoe manufacturer.

    I was a bit worried the first time I washed my Rockport shoes (all three pairs) but they came out just fine. Phew !!! So if they say the shoes are washable give it a go.

    I rotate my shoes and use foot powder in between washes but I'm going to try soaking my feet in tea as I've heard that works really well.