You might not notice if your feet smell a little when you're in the comfort of your own home, but take your shoes off at someone else's after walking around all day and the stench will hit you - and everyone else - like a brick wall.
We've all been in the company of someone with 'cheesy' feet before. It's unpleasant, undesirable and plain old embarrassing. Whilst feet becoming a little stinky is, just like body odour, perfectly normal, excessive smells do suggest a lack of personal hygiene.
If you're struggling to keep your tootsies smelling fresh as a daisy, you've come to the right place. Today we're showing you how to get rid of smelly feet for good so you never have to worry about taking your shoes off again.
What makes our feet smell?
Just like the rest of our body, feet sweat, and when they do, they create an ideal environment for bacteria. In fact, bacteria thrive in the hot, damp darkness of your sweaty shoes and love to feast on your dead skin cells too.
Just like any living microorganism, bacteria excrete waste products - it's these organic acids which produce that stinky feet smell. The sweatier your feet become the more bacteria are able to thrive there, producing all sorts of smelly waste productions that can make your feet as pongy as blue cheese.
But what dictates how much our feet sweat?
How to prevent smelly feet
1. Wash regularly
Hopefully you're doing this often enough anyway but one of the easiest and important things to do when it comes to staying fresh is washing regularly.
Whether you prefer a bath, a shower or a hose down, make sure you're washing on, over and in between those tootsies regularly.
2. Avoid man-made fabrics
Some fabrics will make your feet feel like they're in a sauna! Plastic and other manmade materials will incubate your feet once they get hot as they have very little breathability.
3. Correct shoe size
Our bodies often sweat more in tighter clothing, so it will come as no surprise that feet do too. Avoid purchasing shoes that are too tight as they won't have any room to breathe and run a much higher risk of becoming stinky.
4. Wear the right socks
Once you've got the right shoe size, it's important to invest in the right socks. Certain fabrics are particularly good at allowing the feet to breathe, whilst others inhibit it.
Cotton, sweat-wicking sport's materials and fabrics that are woven with metal such as copper are the best for keeping feet fresh, no matter how much you're walking.
5. Alternate shoes
Got a favourite pair of shoes? Try not to give them special treatment! Not only will they wear out quicker if you wear them all the time, but they won't have time to air out, deodorise, or starve bacteria lurking inside.
6. Go barefoot
Whenever you can, give your feet a break. It's important to let them breathe as much as possible so they can freshen up and regulate their temperature. The cold air will also help to kill off all those stinky bacteria.
7. Don't share shoes/towels
Another big no-no when it comes to preventing feet from becoming smelly is being a little selfish when it comes to shoes and towels.
Your sister may very well love your glittery heels, but sharing them could lead to an exchange of stinky bacteria - yuck!
8. Antiperspirant for feet
Antiperspirant isn't just for our armpits! You can also pick up special foot deodorants that will keep sweats and smells from ruining your day.
9.Natural foot deodorant
Don't fancy shedding out the cash to keep your feet smelling fresh? You may be able to keep the stench at bay with natural kitchen ingredients. Both cornstarch and baking soda will work to absorb sweat, keeping the environment inside your shoes dry and bacteria at bay.
Sprinkle clean feet with either cornstarch or baking soda and leave for a minute or two before pulling on your socks and shoes.
10. Remove dead skin
It's important to remember that smells don't just come about. The cause of them, in the case of smelly feet, is the waste products excreted by bacteria. These bacteria survive by feeding on dead skin cells on your feet, so it makes sense to get rid of them as frequently as possible.
You can remove hard skin on your feet and get them super soft and bacteria-free using a pumice stone.
How to get rid of smelly feet
Banish smelly feet fast with these easy home remedies!
1. Apple cider vinegar soak
Apple cider vinegar has many beauty uses, and today we've got another one to share with you.
To freshen up stinky feet, mix a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part apple cider vinegar in a basin and dip your feet inside. Soak for 20 minutes to completely deodorise them.
2. Tea soak
Both apple cider vinegar and tea are astringents, meaning they help to close pores. The tannins in black tea also kill bacteria, preventing those feet from stinking out your shoes.
Add 2 black tea bags to a cup of boiling water, and leave to brew. Pour into a basin containing 2 pints of water, pop your feet inside and relax for 20 minutes to leave feet feeling - and smelling - fresh.
3. Use an alcohol wipe
Forget face wipes. When it comes to refreshing your feet, there's nothing better than alcohol wipes. A quick sweep over your stinky soles will remove odour and shrink pores to reduce sweating - easy!
4. Wash shoes/insoles
If no matter what you seem to do, your feet smell, try keeping on top of washing your shoes and insoles - it will really help you to keep the stench under control.
Washing the inside of your shoes regularly and also the insoles will kill lingering bacteria and reduce the odour.
5. Kill germs
Get rid of the bacteria, get rid of the stench. It's easy to kill germs inside your shoes, all you need is some disinfectant spray. Spritz lightly inside your shoes to banish germs and the smells they're causing.
6. Lemon juice
Similarly to alcohol wipes, applying pure lemon juice to cotton wool balls then applying to feet will oust bad smells and also close pores to prevent further sweating.
Now you'll never have to be embarrassed about your stinky feet again! How do you keep your shoes smelling fresh? Let us know in the comments below.