It’s a classic scenario – you’ve just hopped into bed, pulled the covers up over your lap, grabbed the remote, and queued up your favorite comfort movie. As the opening credits roll, you nestle down into your pile of pillows, relishing the coziness of watching a film from the snuggly warmth of your blankets. However, within minutes, you get a whiff of something foul. You lift the edge of the comforter only to get slapped in the face with a noxious odor. What’s that stench? Oh no, it’s your feet!
We’ve all been there. Movie night in bed can be an immersive and enjoyable experience, but can take a turn for the worse once our hot, stinky feet being simmering under the covers. Unfortunately, the structure of a traditional bed combined with the insulating properties of blankets creates an environment primed for intensifying foot smell in all its nose-assaulting glory.
Research shows that the average person’s feet sweat around half a pint each day. This moisture mixes with the over 700,000 eccrine sweat glands on our soles and in between our toes, providing ideal conditions for bacteria growth. Body heat from being bundled up exacerbates this effect, prompting more sweating and subsequent attacks of putrid foot stank once the stench has time to develop under blankets.
Making matters worse is that tight, enclosed spaces trap odors more efficiently than open air environments. Witness the phenomenon of old gym shoes that could peel paint after being worn for months. The interior of a shoe amplifies smell in much that same way that being barricaded under a comforter does. The cozy conditions we crave for movie night also happen to be terrible for keeping foot odor at bay.
However, there are preventative measures one can take for watching films under cover without gas attacking innocent bystanders (especially significant others that have to suffer through the smell). Letting feet breathe before blanket cocooning is key. Going barefoot for a while reduces moisture, bringing down bacteria count. A preemptive washing clears microbes further, minimizing the raw material out of which noxious foot perfumes are manufactured.
Applying foot powder or spray adds another layer of defense, absorbing dampness while including anti-fungal properties. Breathable cotton socks can also help mitigate moist environments where smelly microorganisms thrive. Be sure to toss said socks in the laundry after a film if outright stink-bombs went off under the covers. Consider also sprinkling baking soda (a natural deodorizer and moisture absorber) directly into shoes and socks.
If reeking plates of nasty cheese still manifest while watching your movie, promptly excuse yourself for a sudsy foot bath to reset the odor equilibrium. Above all else, warn others in proximity that your feet could disrupt the entertainment shortly after hunkering down underneath blankets. Communication allows offended parties to enact defensive measures, such as sealing off the covers with clips, pretreating bedding with lemon juice or vinegar, or donning protective respiratory devices like clothespins or surgical masks.
Truly immersive film viewing from the comfort of bed requires accounting for the reality of smelly feet, an almost inevitable byproduct of burying oneself under blankets for hours on end. But with vigilance, adaption, and care for others, movie night foot odor can be mitigated, allowing for cozy enjoyment without olfactory offense or distraction. With some foresight, even the smelliest of feet can snuggle up for cinematic escapism without ruining the experience or assailing innocent nasal passages in the vicinity.