Summer's soaring temperatures make you sweat more everywhere, including your feet. But this extra perspiration may be turning your feet into a stink bomb.
The bacteria that live on your skin and in your shoes eats your sweat, producing an acid byproduct that reeks, according to a Japanese study. It's a natural process, but luckily you can reduce the bacteria by creating a drier habitat for your feet, said Rondrick Williamson, DPM, a podiatrist in Atlanta, Georgia. Keep reading for 6 easy things you can do at home to eliminate bacteria so you can walk odor-free.
FOR YOUR FEET
Soak in saltwater
Salt pulls moisture out of your skin, reducing the amount of bacteria that can survive there, said Al D'Angelantonio, III, DPM, podiatrist and assistant professor of surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In a tub or large bowl of warm water, dissolve 1/2 to 1 c kosher salt. Soak your feet for 20 minutes. Do this every day for two weeks. (Use these tactics to rid yourself of plantar warts--once and for all.)
Add some vinegar
If you want to create an inhospitable environment for bacteria, bathe your tootsies in vinegar. It has a drying effect so the bacteria starve, Williamson said. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a tub or large bowl. Soak your feet for 30 minutes once a day for a week.
Invite your feet to tea
The acid in the tea closes your pores, reducing the amount you'll sweat, Williamson said. It also acts as a natural antibiotic, killing the bacteria on your feet. Add two black tea bags to 1 pint of water and boil for 15 minutes. Add 2 quarts of cool water, and then pour the solution into a tub or large bowl. Soak your feet for 30 minutes. Do this once a day for a week.
FOR YOUR SHOES
Pick the right socks
Materials like nylon can trap moisture around your feet. Cotton, however, lets your feet breathe, explains Williamson. And if you tend to sweat more than the average guy, bring an extra pair of socks with you and change halfway through the day, he said. (Prevention is the best way to save your soles. Stay away from these six damage-inducing, foot-health traps.)
Spray your kicks
Do your favorite pair of shoes stink to high heaven? Don't chuck them just yet. Lysol Disinfectant Spray is the best way to salvage old shoes because it contains ethanol and other sanitizing ingredients that kill the bacteria, D'Angelantonio said. First, spray the entire inside of your shoe with the sanitizing cleaning product. Then, spray clean socks with Lysol, place them inside your shoes, and leave them over night. The socks will allow for even more Lysol to soak into your shoes.
Use a powder
There's no need to buy fancy deodorizing powders or spray. Just sprinkle corn starch into yours to absorb the moisture, D'Angelantonio said. You don't have to wait for it to work either. Throw on your shoes and go--sans stink. (Your feet are magnets for fungal infections. Here are four weird causes of athlete’s foot, and your best defenses against them.)