Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kadence. Kadence Wonders, “Why do feet stink?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kadence!
You're a busy kid. You get up in the morning. You go to school. You play hard at recess. After school, you have practice. When you finally get home and are ready to relax, there's nothing that feels quite as good as pulling off those tennis shoes or soccer cleats.
Unfortunately, when you do, your joy in relaxing is cut short by the overwhelming stench of…YOUR FEET! Whew! Open a window! That kind of smell must be hazardous to your health, right?
So what's the deal with your feet? You take showers or baths and put on deodorant to keep your body clean and smelling nice. No matter what you do, though, your feet insist upon stinking it up. Why is that?
The culprit is bacteria. These tiny organisms just love your feet. In fact, they look at your feet the way you might look at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
That's right! Bacteria feed on your feet. They eat dead skin cells and the oils secreted through your skin. As they eat, they grow and multiply. As they do so, they get rid of their waste in the form of organic acids that happen to smell really bad.
Why are your feet so popular with bacteria? Bacteria love dark, damp, warm places. The insides of your shoes — especially when your feet are in them — are the perfect home for bacteria.
And the more active you are, the more you will sweat. Bacteria love sweat, because the moisture helps them multiply even faster. That's why they love your feet.
Each of your feet has over 250,000 sweat glands that produce more sweat than other parts of your body. Each foot can make more than a pint of sweat in a single day!
As if that's not bad enough, your socks and shoes make things worse. When your feet sweat, your socks and shoes soak up that moisture and hold it in. This creates the perfect spot for bacteria to feed and produce their stinky waste.
If your feet tend to be supremely sweaty, they may attract bacteria called Micrococcus sedentarius. In addition to organic acids, these bacteria also produce sulfur compounds that make feet SUPER stinky! How stinky? Have you ever smelled a rotten egg? If you have, that smell was caused by sulfur compounds.
Standards: NGSS.LS4.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1