Why do my feet smell like vinegar: The stinky truth!

A stinky feet is a common problem that people experience, but smelling vinegar from your feet can be quite alarming. It may seem like a strange and unusual smell, but it is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. In this article, we will explore the stinky truth behind why your feet smell like vinegar, what causes it, and what you can do to prevent it.

What Causes Feet to Smell Like Vinegar?

The smell of vinegar from your feet could be due to a number of reasons including:

1. Bacteria

One of the most common causes of feet smelling like vinegar is the overgrowth of bacteria on your skin. The bacteria break down the sweat on your feet and produce isovaleric acid. This acid is the culprit behind the familiar sour smell of vinegar.

2. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot can also cause your feet to smell like vinegar. The fungal infection can lead to excessive sweating and the breakdown of sweat which creates an odor similar to vinegar.

3. Diabetes

If you have diabetes, your body may produce a fruity or vinegar-like odor on your breath and skin due to high levels of glucose in your body. This acetone-like smell may also affect your feet.

4. Poor Hygiene

If you do not clean your feet properly or frequently enough, your sweat glands can produce a strong vinegar-like smell. Sweat can get trapped in your socks and shoes, and the bacteria thrive in dark and damp environments.

Symptoms of Feet Smelling Like Vinegar

The most common symptom of feet smelling like vinegar is the odor. This odor may be subtle or strong, and it can vary depending on the cause. Other symptoms may include:

  • Itching or burning sensation on your feet
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Peeling or cracking skin on your feet

How to Get Rid of the Vinegar Smell in Feet

It may seem tricky, but there are several ways to get rid of the vinegar smell on your feet:

1. Good Hygiene

The best way to prevent the vinegar smell is by practicing good hygiene. Wash your feet daily with soap and water, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes. Drying your feet properly is also important, especially between your toes.

2. Wear Proper Shoes

Shoes that are too tight can cause your feet to sweat more, thereby increasing the chances of bacterial growth. Wear shoes that fit properly and allow for good air circulation. You should also change your socks frequently and ensure they are made of moisture-wicking material.

3. Use Foot Powders or Deodorants

If you have excessive sweating on your feet, using foot powders or deodorants that are specifically formulated for feet can help reduce the vinegar smell. These products are designed to absorb moisture and keep your feet dry, thereby reducing the growth of bacteria.

4. Medical Treatment

If the vinegar smell persists or if you have other symptoms such as itching or redness, you may need to see a doctor. They can advise on the best course of action which may include prescription medications or topical treatments.

Preventing Vinegar Feet

Preventing vinegar feet is easier than you might think. There are several things you can do to prevent the vinegar smell on your feet:

1. Proper Footwear

Wearing the right type of shoes is important. Choose shoes that are made of breathable materials, such as leather or canvas. Avoid wearing shoes made of synthetic materials that prevent air from circulating, causing your feet to sweat more.

2. Change Your Socks Daily

Changing your socks daily, especially after exercising or sweating, can help prevent the growth of bacteria in your shoes and socks.

3. Keep Your Feet Dry

Keeping your feet dry is critical in preventing the vinegar smell. Ensure you dry your feet completely after washing them and before putting on your shoes or socks. You can also use a hairdryer to dry your feet if you have time.

4. Practice Good Hygiene

This cannot be stressed enough. Regularly washing and drying your feet, using foot powders or deodorants, and keeping your toenails trimmed can go a long way in preventing vinegar feet.

Final Thoughts

Having vinegar feet can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it is a common problem that can be prevented with good hygiene, wearing proper shoes and socks, and maintaining dry feet. If the problem persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be best to seek help from a medical professional.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the vinegar smell from feet:

  • Q. Can vinegar help get rid of foot odor?
    A. Yes, vinegar can help neutralize the odor-causing bacteria on your feet. Soaking your feet in a mixture of water and vinegar can help reduce the smell.
  • Q. Why do my feet smell like cheese?
    A. Feet smelling like cheese can be due to the same reasons as vinegar feet. Bacteria on your feet can break down the sweat and produce a smell similar to cheese.
  • Q. Why do my feet smell like popcorn?
    A. Feet smelling like popcorn is a rare occurrence, but it can be due to trimethylaminuria or fish odor syndrome. This genetic condition is a buildup of trimethylamine in the body, which produces a popcorn-like smell from the feet, urine, and sweat.


  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/why-do-my-feet-smell-like-vinegar
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-my-feet-smell-like-vinegar#prevention-tips
  • https://www.podiatrytoday.com/the-truth-about-smelly-feet

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