Article Thumbnail

What’s in Odor-Eaters Foot Powder, and How Does It Work?

All six ingredients in this toe-swamp reducer, explained (yep, even benzethonium chloride)

We’re often told that you should never eat anything (or put anything on your body) if you don’t recognize everything on the ingredients list. But since most of us have no idea what xanthan gum or potassium benzoate are — or more importantly, what they’re doing to our bodies — we’re decoding the ingredients in the many things Americans put in (and on, or near) themselves.

This edition: Odor-Eaters Foot Powder, which is made from six separate ingredients that we’ve broken down in the exact order they appear on their website.

The Ingredients

1) Zea Mays (Corn) Starch: Zea mays is more commonly known as maize, and in this particular product, it works primarily as an absorbent starch, soaking up sweat to keep your toes dry. This prevents moisture-hungry bacteria from spreading, which in turn stops your feet from smelling like, well, feet.

2) Sodium Bicarbonate: Also known as baking soda, sodium bicarbonate is a natural antacid. That means it neutralizes the acids in sweat, limiting the spread of odor-producing bacteria that enjoy those acids. As an added bonus, it also absorbs moisture.

3) Sodium Polyacrylate: Sodium polyacrylate, also known as waterlock, is a super-absorbent polymer, and it can absorb up to 800 times its mass in water. This, of course, makes it especially good at soaking up excess moisture lingering in your shoes.

4) Fragrances: Like many companies, Odor-Eaters refuses to release the individual ingredients that make up their fragrances. (Because fragrance recipes are considered to be proprietary information, the FDA doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients that make up a fragrance.)

5) Tricalcium Phosphate: Tricalcium phosphate, a concentrated form of calcium, works as an anti-caking ingredient. In other words, it prevents this powder from clumping up in the container. 

6) Benzethonium Chloride: Benzethonium chloride is a topical compound frequently used to treat minor cuts and cracked skin. When it dries, it forms a waterproof seal over the skin, which helps to prevent moisture-induced infections.

The Takeaway

Overall, Odor-Eaters Foot Powder is a harmless, but effective combination of absorbent powders. It should help to keep your feet dry, fresh and healthy. So, if you deal with squishy shoes on the reg, Odor-Eaters is a good bet.