Foot funk on furniture
September 18, 2017 1:33 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to remove a sour, smelly foot smell from a couch?

My beloved sits cross-legged in a certain spot on our couch quite regularly, and given that it's been a very hot summer and he is the kind of guy that has a degree of foot funk even right out of the shower, the spot has acquired a smelly foot smell. It's basically what socks would smell like if you worked in them all day and then left them at the bottom of the hamper for a couple more days--sour, sort of vinegary--pretty bad.

So far I've tried sprinkling a baking-soda based carpet deodorizer, leaving it for a few hours, and then vacuuming it up. That sort of helped...my next step was spraying it with a 1-part vinegar/3-parts water solution and wiping it with a clean towel...jury is still out on that since the area is now damp and smells even WORSE (especially because, again, the offending smell is similar to vinegar in the first place).

Any other ideas? (The upholstery is 100% polyester, FWIW). This couch is only a few months old and the funk is bad enough that I cannot lay with my head at that end. I'd like to have a go-to solution I can implement as needed (my last resort is putting a towel in that spot and washing as needed, but my husband is such a sweetheart and is the least critical person ever, so I really want to avoid saying "Your feet are killing me and I need to put something between them and the couch"). The second-to-last resort is taking the couch cushion off and washing it but I want to avoid that too because it's huge (it's the chaise part of an L-shaped couch) and will be a total nightmare to get back on. Thanks in advance.
posted by lovableiago to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
 
(my last resort is putting a towel in that spot and washing as needed, but my husband is such a sweetheart and is the least critical person ever, so I really want to avoid saying "Your feet are killing me and I need to put something between them and the couch").

Oh my gosh, tell him and do it! And then send him to a dermatologist because feet that stink right out of the shower aren't just something he needs to accept.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:38 PM on September 18, 2017 [22 favorites]


I would try something like that enzymatic cleaner for pet messes, probably? I think anything that can entirely banish the unholy stench of accidentally expressed anal glands wouldn't even break a sweat at foot stink. Nature's Miracle, I think it's called.

also i agree that he should definitely see a doctor about that because that's not a normal amount of foot stink and is likely due to something Not Right On His Feet. telling him this is not a criticism of himself personally, it's helping a loved one with a medical issue.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:46 PM on September 18, 2017 [11 favorites]


We have a carpet spot cleaner that would work on furniture.
posted by soelo at 1:47 PM on September 18, 2017


Test it somewhere first to make sure it doesn't change the couch's color, but try rubbing alcohol. It'll kill any funky vinegar bacteria. If that doesn't work, try hydrogen peroxide.
posted by gregr at 1:52 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yes, try pet stuff. And if that doesn't work, try a commercial-grade odor eliminator like Ozium. You can't spray directly on the couch but this is the kind of stuff professionals use to get years of smoke out of carpets, etc, so it can help release odors from fabrics and textiles.

And yes, doctor for your dude! He should at the very least rule out an easily treatable foot fungus. Clean feet that have been dried off immediately post-shower should not smell this badly.
posted by superfluousm at 2:02 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vodka. Vodka + Vinegar.

And a doctor for those feets!!!
posted by jbenben at 2:03 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


He can use deodorant on his feet. Are the cushion covers removable and can they be washed? That would be step 1. If not, rent a carpet cleaner. After a pass with the detergent, spritz on white vinegar and do another pass. Get a nice piece of fabric, or a large nice pillow from which you remove the pillow, and put the cover on the couch so he can sit there happily.
posted by theora55 at 2:19 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, get something to put in his shoes when he's not wearing them, to control odor. Cedar shavings, activated charcoal in a cloth bag, an H-bomb.
posted by theora55 at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Zinc oxide powder. On his feet. It's antibacterial, and will stop the stench. Don't breathe it, not great for lungs. I use it in my shoes, rubbed onto the insoles.

Nthing Nature's Miracle. Powerful stuff, it is!
posted by LaBellaStella at 2:38 PM on September 18, 2017


We use a product at work called x-tinguisher - I have some for home, and if it works on stinky teen shoes, it would probably work for you.
posted by peagood at 3:09 PM on September 18, 2017


Rubbing alcohol will kill a lot of those stinko germs and it evaporates really well. Will he wear socks? Otherwise, a cover is a great idea if you don't want to be cleaning weekly. He must know he has stink foot.
posted by quince at 3:47 PM on September 18, 2017


I would try something like that enzymatic cleaner for pet messes, probably? I think anything that can entirely banish the unholy stench of accidentally expressed anal glands wouldn't even break a sweat at foot stink. Nature's Miracle, I think it's called.
I came in to suggest Alden Odor Solutions' Enzyme MPC. It's a little less convenient to get hold of, but it truly works miracles on all kinds of biological funks. Better than Nature's Miracle ever did (even before Nature's Miracle got bought out and watered down by its current owners.)
my last resort is putting a towel in that spot and washing as needed, but my husband is such a sweetheart and is the least critical person ever, so I really want to avoid saying "Your feet are killing me and I need to put something between them and the couch"
Does he know he's prone to stink-foot? Have you ever actually said anything about it before? I hate to think he might be totally oblivious, because then you're on track for it to become a unhealthy secret long-term creeping resentment as you develop increasingly fraught sitcom-style coping mechanisms to avoid discussing it. It's maybe a little embarrassing/awkward, but I have always genuinely appreciated the few times when Mrs. Jawbone has gently asked if I could maybe go change my socks and/or wash my feet when we're sitting on the couch together at the end of a long, shod day. It's really no big deal.

Nth-ing that if his feet have a long-term low-grade funk even right out of the shower, a dermatologist would be a good idea.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 6:02 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Bokashi (yes, the compost accelerant) spray.

Also your husband is not washing his feet properly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:50 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


+1 for zinc oxide powder. My wife who has a very sensitive nose swears by it as having saved a few pairs of shoes for being discarded early.. Treat his feet (apparently just two nightly treatments should be good for several months), his shoes, and the couch.
posted by nobeagle at 6:44 AM on September 19, 2017


Your Sweet Beloved should be invited to take a sniff. And then the towel, a thick one!
(The alternative is too gruesome to imagine.)

Smelly feet just don't belong on couches un-guarded, no matter the reason behind the issue. Even sweet people MUST abide to that law.
posted by Namlit at 9:16 AM on September 19, 2017


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