How To Use Foot Powder? Quick Guide And Handy Tips

Foot powder delivers a simple solution to control excessive moisture and soothe irritated skin. Also, it helps with foot odor since it absorbs the odors rather than just masking them. If your feet are rough or cracked, smell bad or if you are in pain, put on a little foot powder and practice good hygiene so that they stay healthy. There are many different types of foot powder available, so let’s find what kind is best for you?

how to use foot powder

Is Foot Powder Good For Your Feet?

It is one of many things you can do to keep your feet healthy. Remember to also keep them clean, dry and moisturized. Toenails must also be clipped straight across. Foot powder is good if your feet sweat easily. Its job is to absorb wetness and make sure that the feet stay comfortably dry and refreshed.

What Is Foot Powder Made Of?

Different brands will have their own formula, of course. Tinactin has Tolnaftate as the active ingredient. Gold Bond uses Menthol. Odor Eaters has a powder version of their product that lists good old-fashioned corn starch as the first ingredient as does Dr. Scholl’s.

Most powders have talcum powder as a base, the same stuff used on babies. Organic powder is made with herbs, essential oils, and tapioca flour. Many commercial foot powders contain zinc oxide which is an anti-bacterial that brings soothing pain relief.

How Does Foot Powder Work?

The two main jobs of foot powder are to absorb moisture and to control odor. Some types are medicated to relieve itching or soothe irritated skin. Menthol can make your feet feel cool and reduce itching. Tolnaftate kills fungus. Eucalyptus, tea tree and other oils may act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

How Long Does Foot Powder Take To Work?

Many people find relief almost instantly. Most powders are safe enough for daily use as a preventive measure. However, if it is being used to treat a specific ailment and symptoms are not gone in a week medical intervention is recommended.

How To Best Apply Foot Powder?

You should take your time with this and make sure it all gets between your toes. Before you put on the powder, you need to make sure your feet are clean first. Wash them with antibacterial soap and dry them with a clean cloth. After a gentle massage, sprinkle on the powder and get between the toes. Wear moisture-wicking socks and change them every day.

Does Foot Powder Help Sweaty Feet?

That’s rather the main idea, yes. This is especially true if you use powders with fungicidal elements. Of course, you should clean your feet every day as well.

How To Use Foot Powder In Shoes?

A little sprinkle of a medicated foot powder in the shoes before and after you put them on can help the shoes stay dry and reduce the risk of any fungal growth. Store said shoes in a cool, dry place.

Is Foot Powder Toxic?

That depends on what’s in it and if you are oversensitive to anything. Read the label! If you are allergic to corn, maybe you shouldn’t use powder with cornstarch. If you inhale it or get it into an open wound that could trigger a reaction. If you have an allergy to latex, you may react badly to tapioca as cassava compounds are very similar to those found in rubber. Use caution if you are allergic to nuts, gluten, coconuts or shea butter.

There are also concerns about talc being contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen. If the mesothelioma lawsuit ads frequently shown on TV are anything to go by, the companies that make products with talc are going to be more meticulous in the future. Talc by itself is safe for topical use but should not be swallowed, inhaled or injected. A bad reaction to foot powder is very rare, but if you feel irritation or severe dryness discontinue use.

Types Of Foot Powder

There are different types of foot powder that have their own ingredients. Every individual brand will have their own personal formula, but this is generally what is in the different types:

  • Organic foot powder: This is foot powder made without any artificial elements. Even the plants used to make it are treated with natural fertilizers and pesticides. It’s great for people with allergies or just wants to be more environmentally friendly. Look for the green USDA stamp!
  • Charcoal foot powder: As the name suggests, this includes activated charcoal as one of the ingredients for the purpose of absorbing odors. It is usually cut with talc or baking soda and may include an essential oil such as tea tree oil.
  • Drying foot powder: This type of powder is issued in recruit rations to prevent trench foot. It includes talc and boric acid as the main ingredients to keep feet dry. Use this type of powder on your feet after bathing, swimming or getting very sweaty. It can also be used to dry out the inside of your shoes.
  • Antifungal foot powder: This is the kind of foot powder you would use if you are fighting a fungal infection of some sort. The active ingredient in these powders is usually Miconazole Nitrate, a potent fungicide. Tinactin prefers to use Tolnaftate, a synthetic fungicide.

Can You Use Baking Soda As Foot Powder?

Chemically speaking, baking soda is a base. It neutralizes the acids made by sweat. Plus, it kills fungus and bacteria. Many shoe and foot deodorizers use baking soda to absorb odors. It is often used in conjunction with cornstarch so that it can absorb moisture as well as odor.

Can Cornstarch Be Used As Foot Powder?

This is an active ingredient in many foot powders because it absorbs moisture so well. If you have a corn allergy, it is recommended that you use arrowroot powder instead. By itself, it does not kill fungus and may promote yeast growth if not kept in check. You make your own foot powder by mixing together cornstarch and baking soda. You can also add essential oil such as tree tea oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil.

Homemade Foot Powder Recipes

All you need for your mise en place is a glass jar, measuring spoons and dropper for the essential oils. (Most of them come with one.)

  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (arrowroot powder can be substituted.)
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Just put all the ingredients in a glass jar, put on the lid and shake well. Rub it into your feet before bed and sprinkle a bit in your shoes to fight disagreeable odors.

Best Foot Powder Brands

Gold Bond remains one of the more respected brands. Personally, I find the smell of the medicated stuff to be as bad as smelly feet, but if it works it works. “Tough actin'” Tinactin is popular with those prone to athlete’s foot.

Odor Eaters branched out into powders since some people are allergic to the latex in their flagship product. Dr. Scholl’s has their own prescription. Kiwi has been known to make shoes look good, now they have something to make them smell good.

What Can I Use Instead Of Foot Powder?

Baking soda, cornstarch, arrowroot, and tapioca have been discussed. If you want something with a bit more texture, oat flour is recommended. And of course, you should wear fresh, clean socks every day.

Foot Powder Vs. Spray

Both items do a good job of eliminating the bacteria and fungus that cause bad odors. Some people prefer a spray because it’s less messy. Some people might prefer the way powder can absorb moisture. Foot spray, like any aerosol product, must not be used around open flame. Deodorizer balls are also a great option for making your shoes smell better. However, they obviously can’t be used on the feet themselves.

What Is A Foot Spray?

A foot spray is like foot powder only in a liquid form and in an aerosol can. It may contain glycerin or Cetearyl alcohol. Both are non-toxic but some people don’t like the smell.

How To Use Foot Spray?

Generally, the advice is to apply it to the top and bottom of the foot after a shower and allow thirty seconds for it to dry before putting on socks and shoes.

How Do You Make Your Own Foot Spray?

Your mise en place will include a 2.7-ounce spray bottle, a funnel, a 1/8 cup measure and dropper for the essential oils. (Most of them come with one.)

  • 1/8 cup witch hazel
  • 1/8 cup distilled water
  • 1 drop of thyme essential oil
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops of tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil
  • 6 drops of peppermint essential oil

Pour all of these ingredients into a 2.7-ounce spray bottle, put on the spray top and shake well to get them mixed. You will need to shake well before each use. Lightly spray the interior of your shoes, particularly the toe box as this is a bit of a germ magnet.

Allow the shoes to dry before wearing them. If the smell is really terrible, spray the shoes well and then place them in a sealed bag or container overnight. You can also use it on sports equipment that smells a bit ripe.

Best Foot Spray Brands

Elite Sportz is a brand that lives up to its name. It fights odor-causing bacteria without harsh chemicals. It’s a little pricey but it does the job. For quality at a reasonable price, you might want to try Lotrimin. Miconazole nitrate, an antifungal, is the active ingredient. Lumi-Outdoors, Doctorcare-Plus, and Way of Will are all honorable mentions.


The main advantages powder has over sprays is it’s drier, can absorb moisture and can be used around an open flame. You know how people just love to fire up the old Bunsen burner after washing their feet. Still, the spray is less likely to make a mess. Both can be made with non-irritating ingredients. In any case, they kill the bacteria and fungi that cause bad odors.


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