Why do feet smell? How do chemists help to provide a solution to the problem? Why do modern washing practices make the smells worse than they used to be? What have bacteria got to do with it? In this activity you will find out how chemists are helping to solve an unpleasant problem and investigate for yourself how preventing smells is linked to acids, bases and neutralization, bonding, reversible reactions and nanotechnology.
For decades, there was one thing that was unavoidable in any kind of hard work or athletic activity; eventually your feet and shoes were going to smell bad as a result of your exertions. There didn’t seem to be any way to prevent this and people thought they would simply have to live with it.
Today however, there are many ways to fight this. Powders and extra insoles can be inserted into shoes to help deal with odor, but there are odorless socks that can do the exact same job, such as DTMX silver socks. But how do they do this? To understand that, you have to understand how foot odor occurs in the first place.
Your clothes are next to your skin. Your skin produces oils and sweat, which end up on your clothes. On its own this mixture does not smell bad (in fact, scientists think that sweat contains chemicals called pheromones which help to attract members of the opposite sex). The smell arises when bacteria are present. Bacteria live on both your skin and your clothes and they thrive in these environments.
Feet sweat all the time. This is because feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body, and because of this, even when you’re not working out, they are constantly secreting minute amounts of sweat onto your skin. This is why even just wearing the same pair of shoes for walking on a regular basis can eventually result in both smelly feet and shoes. If the shoes don’t get time to dry out, the sweat builds up within the shoe itself, and this is merely reinforced every time you put those shoes on and keep walking. Of course, if you run or compete in sports then the sweating increases, and this effect intensifies. This can be made even worse should a fungus infect the foot.
All DTMX socks incorporate silver into its material mixture. Silver is known to neutralize bacteria that it makes contact with, so it is an effective anti-stink material. The bacteria that accumulates from sweat on your feet are taken care of with the DTMX odorless socks. Silver is infused into the areas that tend to sweat the most to prevent the odor associated with socks.