Why Your Feet Smell Like Vinegar? How To Get Rid Of It?

Why Your Feet Smell Like Vinegar? How To Get Rid Of It?

When sweat and bacteria from your feet, shoes, and socks mix, foot odor is frequently the result. This may result in an acid byproduct with a bad smell.

Propionic acid, a byproduct of propionibacteria’s breakdown of amino acids, is present in the foot sweat of some individuals. Propionic acid is a member of the same acid family as vinegar’s acetic acid. The vinegar-like odor of your feet may be caused by this.

What Does It Mean When Feet Smell Like Vinegar?

Sweat is the source of foot odor. Your feet will odor more as you perspire. However, it’s not the sweat itself that smells; rather, it’s a byproduct of the bacteria eating your sweat. Bacteria can grow more readily when there is more sweat present.

The smell of your feet could also alter. This change is usually attributed to one or several of the following factors:

• Diet
• Natural hormone cycles
• General lifestyle

Depending on how much or how frequently they perspire, some people may have stronger foot odor than others. Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating in general (plantar hyperhidrosis refers to excessive foot sweat), is a medical condition. Sweat is considered “excessive” when the source is neither related to heat nor exercise.

Causes of Feet Smelling Like Vinegar

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

The cause of this type of hyperhidrosis is unknown. It is sometimes known as plantar hyperhidrosis when it primarily affects your feet.

Secondary Focal Hyperhidrosis

This type of hyperhidrosis is caused by a medical condition, such as:

• diabetes
• a thyroid condition
• nervous system disorders
• infections
• low blood sugar
• menopause hot flashes

Why Your Feet Smell Like Vinegar? How To Get Rid Of It?

How to Get Rid of a Vinegar Smell on Your Feet?

Wash Your Feet Daily

The first step is to daily wash your feet before putting on socks or shoes. “Make sure you dry them really well, especially in between your toes,” advises Dr. Rowland. “Your foot’s arch and toes frequently develop a sweat.”

Apply a Daily Dose of Medicated Foot Powder

Kick your foot hygiene up a notch with an over-the-counter medicated foot powder. Apply it to just-dried-off feet. “Foot powder helps absorb extra moisture on your skin before you put on your socks and shoes,” states Dr. Rowland. “It stops bacteria and excess moisture from interacting by absorbing your sweat.”

Up Your Sock Game

Socks that wick away moisture are sweat-repelling superheroes. That’s because they’re designed to pull moisture away from your feet and dry quickly. “Wool socks and other natural fibers can be useful as well. But be careful with cotton,” Dr. Rowland cautions. “Socks made of cotton should specifically state that they wick moisture because cotton can absorb moisture.”

She continues: “Synthetic material-based moisture-wicking socks are also excellent. However, stay away from nylon because it can trap sweat and result in stinky feet.”

Change Your Socks and Shoes Often

Don’t give up if, in spite of your best efforts, you still end up with wet socks (and feet). A little bit of planning, according to Dr. Rowland, might just be the answer to your stinky feet. “Make sure you have a spare pair of socks on you. When your first pair starts to get moist, change into the dry ones,” she recommends. “Also, if a particular pair of shoes makes your feet perspire more, either avoid wearing them or keep a different pair nearby for quick changes.”

To avoid sweaty feet, choose shoes made of natural fibers that breathe, such as leather, canvas, and suede.

“Avoid shoes that contain a lot of plastic or rubber,” Dr. Rowland adds. “They tend to cause foot moisture because they trap sweat inside the shoe.”

Try An Antiperspirant

Not only are antiperspirants used in the armpits. Apply them to your feet to keep them dry and smelling fresh. According to Dr. Rowland, this technique can be especially beneficial for people who wear compression or nylon stockings because they have a tendency to trap moisture.

Fight Vinegar With Vinegar

(Comically) White vinegar kills bacteria. In that case, Dr. Rowland advises soaking them for ten to twenty minutes in a solution of warm water and white vinegar. She recommends adding a gallon of warm water to one to two cups of white vinegar.

Disinfect Your Shoes

If you frequently wear a favorite pair of shoes, consider giving the interiors and insoles a quick spray with an over-the-counter disinfectant.

“Before wearing them, lightly spray them and allow them to sit for about 24 hours. That will help reduce the bacterial load inside the shoe,” Dr. Rowland notes. “As well as that, it can stop fungus infections. On everyone’s skin are bacteria and fungi. But it is our responsibility to control it so that it doesn’t expand too much.”

Is Smelly Feet a Sign of Diabetes?

Smelly feet are one (of many) signs of diabetes. But foot odour doesn’t just affect those with diabetes – anyone can have it. But you might want to take the situation more seriously if the odor continues even after you’ve tried the aforementioned precautions. We advise routine foot examinations for diabetic patients for this reason, and to book an appointment with a foot specialist right away if you notice anything unusual. If you have diabetes, common foot issues, like fungal infections, can also cause serious complications.

When to See a Doctor About Feet That Smell Like Vinegar

The right foot self-care techniques ought to work for the majority of people. But if you’re not satisfied with the outcomes, Dr. It might be time to see a podiatrist, according to Rowland. “In order to lessen sweat and bacteria, podiatrists can suggest prescription products. In order to address the vinegar foot odor effectively, they can also determine whether it is caused by something else.”


It’s common for feet to have an odor. However, it’s not your sweat that smells. It’s a byproduct of the bacteria on your feet consuming your sweat.

If your feet smell like vinegar, it’s most likely because propionibacteria broke down your sweat and produced propionic acid, which is similar to acetic acid (vinegar) as a result.

There are a variety of self-care strategies you can use, such as improving foot hygiene and taking extra care to keep your feet dry, to lessen or completely eliminate odorous feet.

Consult a doctor if you’re concerned that your foot odor may be a sign of a serious illness, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder.