Foot odour can be caused by several factors: the presence of fungi, ill-fitting footwear, excessive sweating, anxious or stressful situations, metabolic or hormonal disorders or even a poor diet. In this article, we’ll discuss a few natural, thrifty and easy-to-make remedies that combat foot odour. We’ll also provide general advice for fighting foot odour by directly addressing its root cause.
If you suffer from chronic foot odour, we’d advise you to consult your GP (who may refer you to a dermatologist). However, these natural remedies can be used in conjunction with any medical treatment. Do bear in mind that certain medications and food can also cause excessive sweating and bad odour. In cases such as these, odour is temporary and should disappear soon after you stop eating that specific food or taking that medication.
Clay foot mask
Clay masks are wonderful for beautifying the skin and alleviating inflammation. What’s more, they can also eliminate odours. You can use green or red clay, which you should mix with warm water to create an oily paste. Generously apply the cream to your feet and leave the mask on for 20 minutes. Afterward, wash your feet with warm water. Clay does have a tendency to dry things out a bit, so you can moisturise your feet a little with almond oil or your preferred cream once you have washed it off.
Foot masks should be used once or twice weekly, alternating with the following remedies.
Essential oils are a brilliantly therapeutic and pleasant way of preventing foot odour. Just a few drops of essential oil added to a vegetable base (olive, sesame, almond or sunflower, for example) should be enough. If you have a favourite moisturising cream, you can add a few drops of essential oil to make it more effective at fighting odours.
Tea tree essential oil is one of the best oils you can choose, as it eliminates the fungi or bacteria that could be causing the bad odours.
You can combine it with astringent and purifying lemon essential oil for an effective blend that smells divine.
Want to relax? Choose lavender essential oil, which is also an effective cleanser.
If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, a field or a river, go barefoot! When you walk barefoot in natural areas – sand and beach water, fresh grass, moist earth, or in a river – your feet can release sweat and toxic substances. Barefoot walking also tones and improves general circulation in the body.
If you can, do this for at least a half an hour a day, preferably in the morning or at dusk. Clean and cover your feet well afterward.
If you do this exercise habitually, you soon see benefits to your general health as well as to your feet.
Foot baths in warm water have been around for ages. In fact, they’re an ancient remedy. For a pong-fighting boost, add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water. This will help remove acidity and toxins from the bottom of the foot and it will make the blood more alkaline. You may want to sprinkle some large sea salt crystals into the mix. This sea salt will reduce swelling and relax you.
Place 2 tablespoonfuls of bicarbonate or salt into water. The water should be as warm as your skin can tolerate. Soak your feet for at least half an hour. If the water starts to cool, add more hot water.
You can safely bathe your feet every day before going to bed or use this method in combination with the other remedies mentioned here.
Sulphur or boric acid in your shoes
Prevent bad odour all day by putting a bit of boric acid or powdered sulphur in your shoes. This prevents fungal growth by controlling excessive sweat. You only need a pinch in each shoe, but please ensure that it doesn’t come into contact with children or pets. Remember to thoroughly wash your hands after application.
Follow some common sense advice and you’ll successfully prevent foot odour:
- Wear well-ventilated shoes – especially in summer or when doing strenuous physical exercise.
- Wear natural fibre socks such as cotton or hemp. Avoid synthetic blends.
- Drink water between meals. Aim for 6 glasses a day.
- Eat a balanced diet that is rich in raw foods (whole fruits, salads, juices, sprouts, etc.).
- Air your shoes thoroughly after using them and try not to wear the same shoes every day.