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Cure for Teenage Sewer-Foot  RSS feed

 
Nancy Troutman
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Location: Swanton, MD
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I had a teenage guest this summer that had the dreaded Sewer-Foot.   People from miles around wondered whose septic was failing when he took off his shoes.  He had all sorts of chemical concoctions to cure this, but trust me, they were not working.   When his foot treatments were freshly applied, his feet smelled like strong medicine, after a few hours they were back to smelling like a sewer again.  Frankly, the bathroom stunk like his foot powder after he left it and it wasn't a pleasant smell.   I almost preferred sewer-foot.

I had so much success with baking soda under the arm, and with its anti-stink capabilities elsewhere, I begged him to at least try baking soda for a few days.   At the very worst, his feet would still stink.   He finally agreed.   After he bathed and while his feet was still wet, I had him generously gunk baking soda between his toes.   He applied it pretty thickly, I think so that I wouldn't try to tell him that he didn't use enough when it failed.   Then he put on socks and shoes.   That evening he took his shoes off expecting to be overwhelmed with the stench.   Nothing.   His feet did have some odor, but there was no need to open windows.  

It worked so well, that we celebrated by getting new shoes.   The old stinkers were dropped off at the dump on the way home.  

During the remaining 2 weeks that he stayed here his feet remained 100% stink free.   I think that he intends to continue using baking soda after he goes home as he left his foot chemicals behind.
 
Reginald Ret
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That is good news, I am glad for your guest.

I have had some success with sewer-foot friends by convincing them to stop wearing plastic/polyester socks and shoes.
Cotton socks + Goretex shoes are best.
Leather shoes are already a major improvement over plastic.

If that doesn't work I will recommend baking soda.
 
Sean Pratt
Lab Ant
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Location: Rensselaer New York
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after a long summer of wearing the same boots i had a bad case of sewer foot. it just wouldn't go away even when i bought new boots. i had used baking soda but it got to the point where the bacteria laughed at it.soap and water also did not work no matter how often. i eventually tried soaking my feet in vinegar. after about 20 minutes my issue was resolved! talk about an embarrassing issue.... im a dirty hippie but i dont enjoy smelling... no one does!
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Add "Darn Tough" socks to the equation and you'll be good to go.  They're amazing.
 
James Freyr
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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I have never heard of sewer foot before and had no idea it was a thing.
 
Libbie Hawker
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Location: Friday Harbor, WA
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The biggest issue with stinky feet (and most other stinky things) is the dampness. A warm, wet environment allows certain bacteria to grow out of control and out of balance--that's what causes the dreadful stench. When you're dealing with anything that smells atrocious, including human feet, you have to pay special attention to drying it out thoroughly. This means not only spending as much time as possible without shoes and socks on, so the feet can dry all the way, but wearing moisture-wicking socks that will keep sweat away from the skin, and shoes that are breathable.

A good friend of mine is a biologist...one of his final projects at university was a months-long study of the most effective ways to wash hands to reduce the spread of fecal coloform bacteria (from your poo!). He rigorously tested a variety of washing methods with his volunteers, including cold water, hot water, plain soap, antibacterial soap, no soap, alcohol, etc. He found that almost no hand-washing method made a noticeable difference in curbing bacterial growth and transmission to other surfaces. What made the most notable difference was THOROUGH drying of the hands! Very few bacteria (or viruses) can survive in bone-dry environments, so it makes sense. His recommendation at the end of the study was for people to concentrate on getting their hands as dry as they could--use paper towels if they're available, as they're most effective, but if they aren't, stay under that air dryer until your hands are *completely* dry. How about that? Who would have thought?

Anyway, the same principle can be applied to super-stinky feet. You can put whatever kinds of treatments you like on it. They will probably make minimal difference until you get into the habit of drying your feet off really, really well... and not letting them get too soggy in the first place.
 
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