Having odorous feet isn’t something you have to accept and put up with. If your feet are particularly smelly, you can bet there will be a cause – and as with any cause, a solution. Medically known as bromhidrosis, this problem can occur even if you are not currently sweating or exercising – and can affect kids, teenagers and adults alike.


Why do feet become smelly?

The problem develops when body sweat mixes with the bacteria and fungus on your skin, shoes and socks. The combination of the micro-organisms, their excreted waste products and sweat not only produces bad smells but can lead to athlete’s foot, onychomycosis (fungal toenails), itchy blisters and other fungal rashes.

Each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands producing up to 300-400 mL of sweat per day. This leads to a very warm, moist environment inside your shoes and a perfect place to harbour these bugs.



Many describe the smell of bromhidrosis as mouldy cheese. Depending on the infection, there may also be a sweet aspect to the aroma. When you have this problem, you may also notice:

  • Moist, wet feet
  • Rashes
  • An infection
  • Blistering or bubbling in the skin


Treating smelly feet

To treat the condition effectively, you need to understand the real cause of foot odour. As bacteria and fungi thrive in warm, dark, moist environments like sweaty shoes and socks, the pathogens themselves must be treated and destroyed. This is done using ultraviolet light, antifungal and antibacterial creams, depending on which pathogen is causing the smell.

To help demote your infection at home, try:

  • Foot creams, powders and anti-fungal sprays
  • Regular showers and frequent changing of footwear and socks
  • Wearing open-toed shoes in warmer weather
  • Discarding smelly shoes
  • Wearing different shoes every day
  • Cleaning shoes in the washing machine
  • Methylated spirits

Unfortunately, spraying deodorant on socks, shoes and feet is ineffective in treating the problem, it simply helps mask the smell.


You might need to deodorise and disinfect your shoes

Fungal toenails, medically known as onychomycosis, are a real problem for many Australians and are extremely difficult to treat using creams or over-the-counter products. In our experience, the best outcomes can be achieved using  Laser therapy, which has been extremely successful in eradicating fungal toenails for our patients. However, even though many patients have had the fungus eradicated forever, some relapse, most likely due to reinfection from their infected shoes. 

The same ultraviolet light technology used to fight these bugs in hospitals can now be applied directly to your shoes to kill the germs right where they live deep inside your footwear. We offer this at specific My FootDr clinics, working to deodorise and disinfect your shoes. This works directly on the pathogens, unlike chemical sprays and powders that do little more than masking the odour.