Why do my feet smell like vinegar?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Why do my feet smell like vinegar?” We will also discuss the different causes of vinegar like smell from feet and how we can remove the foot odor.

Why do my feet smell like vinegar?

Your feet smell like vinegar due to propionic acid in your sweat. Propionic acid is produced as a result of the breaking down of amino acids by propionibacteria. Propionic acid is related to acetic acid (vinegar) in the acid family. The term bromodosis is used to describe having smelly feet. 

This vinegar-like foot odor is frequently created by bacteria on your feet, shoes, and socks combined with your sweat which has propionic acid. This can result in a smelly acid residue. Sweating is strongly associated with smelly feet, thus the more you sweat, the more likely your feet will smell like vinegar.

The main cause of your smelly feet is sweat. Hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating, which also includes foot sweat. Sometimes, medical conditions like diabetes, a thyroid condition, nervous system disorders, infections, low blood sugar, or menopause hot flashes may also cause excessive sweating resulting in your feet smelling like vinegar.

There are additional factors that may cause your feet to smell like vinegar. They are:

  • Changes in your diet. Particularly red meat and dairy products like milk and cheese can cause a bad odor.
  • Change in your natural hormone cycles due to puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can also change the odor of your sweat.
  • Change in your general lifestyle including your food, exercise, or fitness routine.
  • Change in the bacteria on the feet also causes the odor of your feet to change resulting in a vinegar-like smell.
  • The way your body dissolves different spices like onions, garlic, curry, cumin, as well as other flavors can leave molecules in your sweat that give it a particular odor.
  • During your stress hours, your apocrine glands are active, and vinegar-scented stress sweating is common.
  • Your sweat can smell like vinegar if you have a bacterial skin infection caused by corynebacteria.

How can we remove foot odor?

Soak your feet

Soaking your feet in Epsom salt water or vinegar water works great for the foot odor. In a tub or large basin of warm water, mix a tablespoon of Epsom salt and soak for 10 to 20 minutes. Epsom salt draws moisture from your skin, making it a less hospitable environment for bacteria to thrive.

In a tub or large bowl of warm water, blend two parts of water and one part of vinegar. Soak your feet in this mixture for 15-20 minutes once every week. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Bacteria cannot survive on vinegar-treated skin. However, do not use this soak if you have open sores, scratches, or scrapes on your foot, or if it irritates your skin.

Keep your feet dry 

Making sure to thoroughly dry your feet after bathing, soaking, or swimming is the key to odorless feet. Moisture causes an unpleasant odor, so try to keep your feet, shoes, and socks as dry as possible. Also, wearing cotton socks and natural-fiber shoes that allow moisture to evaporate is a good idea to reduce sweat.

Disinfecting your shoes

If there’s a bad smell coming from the feet, chances are it’s coming from your shoes. Dirty shoes not only spread the foul odor to your current surrounding but also to your feet. 

Consider using a disinfectant containing a sanitizing agent, such as ethanol, to spray the inside of your shoes. If your shoes have removable insoles, remove them, lightly rinse them, and let them dry outside for 24 hours. This can help to control or eliminate the foul odor coming from your shoes. For more options please click the link here.

Use powder 

The idea of powdering your feet or shoes is to remove the moisture and keep your feet dry. If you’re someone who is constantly sweating on the feet, try using a foot antiperspirant. You can also sprinkle a little corn starch into your shoe as a home remedy to keep your feet dry. An underarm antiperspirant also does an average job to help reduce the moisture.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Why do my feet smell like vinegar?” We have also discussed the different causes of vinegar like smell from feet and how we can remove the foot odor.