A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Foot Health: Here’s your complete beginner’s guide to eliminating smelly feet

By Dr. Amy Barko
Special to KyForward

When our feet sweat, bacteria and fungi will throw a party in your shoes.

It’s time to crash that party.

Bacteria and fungi look for a cozy, warm, moist and dark environment… aka, your shoes. The key for prevention is to keep your feet nice and dry.

Show your feet some lovin’ by following these easy tips:

Clean your feet

We often forget about cleaning our feet when we shower but that is a big no-no! It’s important to use an antibacterial soap to prevent bacteria growth and odor. Pay more attention to the pesky corners and spaces between your toes because that’s where moisture will accumulate.

Soak Your Feet

Give your feet a calming soak. Many of these soaks can be done right at home while watching your favorite TV show after a long day at work. Salt baths, tea soaks, and apple cider vinegar work well. These soaks will prevent bacteria and fungal growth while also combating odor.

Give your feet a break

Give your shoes time to dry out by wearing different shoes every other day. Your feet need a break and a change of environment too!


Sterishoe and ShoeZap are inexpensive and very effective. Both products use UV light to kill bacteria that cause foot odor and fungus. They fit inside all your shoes and can be used for the entire family! Foot powders will do the trick as well. All of these over-the-counter options can be found at your local podiatry office.

Use Moisture-Wicking Socks

Look for clues like moisture guard, moisture-wicking or dry fit when shopping for your next pair. Podiatrists recommend bamboo copper socks.

If problems remain, contact your local podiatrist to discuss further treatments that may require a prescription.

Dr. Amy Barko, CWSP, is an associate at Lexington Podiatry

For more Foot Health columns, click here.

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