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Why Do My Feet Smell Like Popcorn?

There is nothing I look forward to more than relaxing and taking my shoes off at the end of the day. Granted, I’m a writer so I sit down a lot. However, I did just get the bulk of my home remodeling done in the past three weeks, and it was a lot of hard work.

My feet were crammed in socks and then shoes, so it was nice to take them off at the end of the day. Unfortunately, sometimes you take your shoes off and you’re greeted with a weird odor, like the smell of popcorn on your feet. This is caused by bacteria that are growing on your feet. 

What Causes Popcorn Odor On Feet?

This smell is caused by the bacteria on the feet. You see, we all have bacteria on our feet. However, when our feet are hot and sweaty, like when they have been in shoes and socks all day, it creates the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. They start to reproduce like crazy. 

Bacteria eat the dead skin on the bottom of our feet. Then, they produce waste, just like we do after we eat something. That waste is what smells like popcorn or stale butter. The more bacteria you are dealing with, the stronger the smell will be. 

How To Eliminate Popcorn Odor On Feet

Even though this is a common problem, you still don’t want to deal with it. It can be embarrassing if you go to other people’s houses. You can also wind up with a bit too many bacteria on the bottom of your feet.

Use these tips to eliminate the smell of stale butter on your feet. You’ll want to address the problem with your feet, socks, and shoes. 

Dealing With Popcorn Feet

The bacteria have found a home on your feet, so it makes sense to address the problem on your feet. While you’ll need to combat the odor with your socks and shoes as well, this is one of the most important. These tips can help you get rid of embarrassing foot odor as well. 

Wash Your Feet

Wash your feet thoroughly to eliminate the odor instantly. This does not always take care of the underlying issue of bacteria, but it can give you short-term relief from the smell.

If you plan on going somewhere where you’ll need to take your shoes off, wash your feet before leaving the house, and put on open-toed shoes that give your feet room to breathe. 

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean a quick dip in the shower. You need to make sure that you really scrub your feet while you’re in the shower to eliminate the odor and help kill excessive bacteria. 

Go Swimming

When a bath won’t help the problem, consider a dip in the pool a few times a week. The chlorine in your pool will help kill the bacteria. Don’t forget to address the problem with your socks and shoes too!’

Consider A Vinegar Soak

White vinegar helps both eliminate odor and bacteria. Vinegar is known for helping eliminate odor. This includes everything from urine stains when someone has an accident to foot odor.

Its natural antibacterial properties will help slowly kill the bacteria that are causing the odor. This is a great recipe for a vinegar foot soak. 

Dry Your Feet Thoroughly

Bacteria thrive in moist environments. You want to create an environment that is not ideal for them. Part of that is also making sure that you dry your feet well. Take the time to individually dry in between all of your toes. 

Eliminate Popcorn Odor With These Sock Tips

Your socks could be contributing to an odor that is already there. They could also make the situation much worse. Even worse, bacteria can multiply on your socks and then move to your foot. 

Always Wear Clean Socks

The smell comes from the colonization of bacteria. Although the bacteria are living on the bottom of your foot, they can also be found in your socks and shoes.

Then, they go from your socks back onto your foot. Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry all of your socks. If you change your socks for any reason, it’s important to wear a clean pair. 

Wear Socks That Let Your Feet Breathe

When your feet are sweaty, bacteria thrive. Because of that, it’s important to make sure that your feet can breathe. Breathable fabrics like wool and cotton are a great choice for socks to help cut back on both sweat and odor.

You also don’t want to wear thicker socks than you need to. This can overheat your feet, which will make them sweat more. 

Don’t Wear Socks Around The House

For a long time, I hated being barefoot. I always wore socks around the house. When you have foot odor, this is not a good idea. Your feet need to breathe. Instead, walk around the house barefoot. 

What To Do With Your Shoes If You Have Popcorn Feet

Your feet and socks are a big deal to get rid of foot odor, but you don’t want to forget about your shoes. There are quite a few steps you can take to eliminate the odor in your shoes. 

Air Out Your Shoes

Sometimes, even after the bacteria are gone the odor remains. If your shoes still smell, it will make both your socks and your feet smell as well. Air out your shoes to help eliminate some of that lingering odor. 

Consider Antibacterial Spray

If the odor is bad enough that airing out your shoes simply isn’t going to work, consider picking up some spray for your shoes to kill the odor. You simply pull up the tongue of your shoes, spray the insides, and you’re good to go. 

Do Not Wear Shoes Without Socks

The darkness of the inside of your shoe combined with the dampness due to your foot sweating is the perfect environment for bacteria.

To eliminate the bacteria, and the future colonization of bacteria, you need to make sure that you don’t provide them with that environment. Wearing socks can help do just that. 

Make Sure That Your Shoes Fit Properly

When your shoes are too tight, your feet sweat more. This one tip isn’t going to eliminate foot odor, but it can help if you notice that your shoes are a bit too tight. 

Wash Your Shoes

Most shoes are washable. This is especially true when it comes to tennis shoes. Throwing them in the washer can help eliminate the odor inside of your shoe. It’s critical that you make sure that they are dry before you wear them again. 

How To Prevent Popcorn Feet

Once you’ve solved the issue, you want to make sure that it doesn’t come back again. Thankfully, following some of the same tips that helped you eliminate the odor can help prevent it as well.

Use as many of these tips as possible to prevent foot odor. After getting rid of popcorn feet you’ll still need to: 

  • Wear clean socks
  • Wash your shoes if need be
  • Dry your feet thoroughly
  • Let your feet breathe
  • Enjoy some time barefoot

Keeping the same routine that you used to get rid of popcorn feet in humans can help you prevent the problem from happening again. 

Avoid Exposure To New Bacteria 

Another important step in preventing that popcorn smell from coming back is by avoiding additional bacteria when you can.

Make sure to wear shower shoes when using public showers, such as at the gym or the beach. Don’t share shoes and socks. Properly disinfect shoes before wearing them if you bought them used. 

Don’t Share Towels With Other People

It can be easier to grab a towel and use it but don’t. If someone else has bacteria on their feet, and you use their towel, you can easily transfer that bacteria onto your foot.

Instead, make sure that you bring your own towel to the beach, shower, and everywhere else. 

Purchase Shoes That Let Your Feet Breathe

Open-toed shoes like sandals are the best for letting your feet breathe. However, sandals aren’t always practical. When shopping for sneakers, make sure that you pick a pair designed to let your feet breathe.

Avoid plastic shoes. Crocs are a great option because they have holes in them that allow for proper airflow. 

In Conclusion

That popcorn smell that is weirdly pleasant is caused by bacteria. To get rid of popcorn feet, you have to eliminate as much of the bacteria as possible. You’ll also need to take steps to make sure that you remove the odor from your shoes and socks. Then, take steps to prevent the problem from re-occurring.