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Taking off your shoes when visiting friends or family members at their homes is respectful, and in many places, it is tradition to do so. Unfortunately, taking off shoes might be a problem for many people who have stinky feet.

People who have stinky feet may avoid visiting places where they might have to take off their shoes. However, there is good news thanks to a recent scientific breakthrough involving nanoparticle technology. Scientists have been researching the antibacterial properties of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NP). The research showed that the nanoparticles could be coated on socks to prevent foot odor, otherwise known as bromodosis caused by a bacteria called pitted keratolysis.

The Royal Thai Airforce was the first to make socks coated with zinc oxide nanoparticles, and they were tested by researchers from Thailand’s Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University. The tests confirmed that ZnO-NPs has antibacterial properties that could benefit many people. The research also aimed to make sure that the nanoparticles were not harmful to human skin so that ZnO-NP-coated pieces of clothing would be safe to wear.

The findings revealed that ZnO-NP is harmless on the skin. Its ability to keep bacteria at bay makes it ideal, especially for socks and other clothing items susceptible to odors. The nanoparticles can also be applied to shirts, underwear, trousers, and others. About 148 cadets from Thailand’s Naval Rating School participated in the project. Military personnel usually complain about smelly feet due to bacterial infections. A solution such as Zinc oxide particle coating provides a good remedy for preventing foot odor.

Findings from Thai military use

Research reveals that soldiers who wore ZnO-NP-coated socks experienced drastically reduced foot odor compared to their counterparts that wore regular socks. Dr. Punyawee Ongsri, the lead researcher in the study on zinc oxide-coated socks, stated that the study was conducted to evaluate ZnO-NP’s antibacterial properties and its potential uses.

Dr. Ongsri also noted that the study findings prove that zinc oxide particles can achieve the desired anti-odor benefits. The researchers plan to extend the research to involve more textile industry players to combat odor-causing bacteria. The textiles could be used to make a variety of other apparel items.