Our Top 6 Tips to Get Bad Odor Out of Shoes

Our Top 6 Tips to Get Bad Odor Out of Shoes

Oct 26 , 2021


Tags - How to get rid of smelly shoes

Shoes can quickly become a happy breeding ground for some seriously stinky bacteria leaving some foul odors.

If you’re battling with smelly shoes, don’t be embarrassed - it’s very common.

Did you know, there are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet, so it’s inevitable they get sweaty once in a while, especially in the summer.

However, once your shoes begin to smell, it can become so overbearing that you just want to throw them away as soon as possible.

But before you go and start spending money on a new pair of shoes, try these 6 cheap and easy tips to get rid of bad odor at home.

1. Practice Good Foot Hygiene 

Prevention is the first measure you should take.

And stinky shoes start with stinky feet.

So it doesn’t matter if you know how to get rid of odor, if you allow the root problem to keep happening, eventually all your shoes will smell.

Therefore you want to make sure you are following the best foot hygiene practices to keep bacteria at bay.

This means, always washing your feet thoroughly every day, and use a solid scrub to fight foul odors; this includes in between your toes too. By exfoliating, you can eliminate any crevasses where bacteria like to hide.

Then, you want to ensure they are completely dry before you wear socks and put your shoes on.

Sounds obvious, but washing your feet properly can help to eliminate foot smell and therefore stinky shoes that follow.

2. Wash Your Shoes & Insoles

Not all shoes are machine washable.

But generally, fabric and canvas shoes (like tennis shoes), or rubber and plastic shoes (like flip flops) will be fine. 

However, if you’re not too sure, check the care label before you toss them in as you wouldn’t want to ruin them even more!

If you can’t put them in the wash, take out the insoles and wash them in the machine while you wash the shoes by hand separately.

Please note, you do not want to use extremely hot water as they can cause damage to any adhesives, as well as cause the shoes to shrink.

Instead, use lukewarm water and once you’re happy with how well they’ve been cleaned, allow them to air dry naturally.

3. Air Them Out

Have you ever been on a long road trip and rolled down the window for some fresh air?

Well, your shoes should be given the same courtesy too.

As such, give your shoes some air by placing them by an open window and give them a chance to dry out.

Doing this will do wonders for the horrible smells they carry, plus UV rays from the sun will also help to kill the bacteria.

Moreover, if you wear the same pair of shoes for multiple days in a row, and for hours at a time, they never have the chance to completely air out.

Now you’ve probably seen you should rotate your shoes to increase its lifespan, but the same can be said to eliminate smells as well.

Think about it, if you keep adding moisture upon moisture, bacteria will keep building up and the smell will get worse.

So, give your shoes time to breathe a little and give them a rest for a day or two in between wears.

4. Use Baking Soda

If you can get hold of some coffee filters, baking soda and a rubber band, you can make the ultimate shoe odor eliminator right at home.

All you need to do, is put a few tablespoons of baking soda into the filter, twist until closed and tie it off with a rubber band.

If desired, you could also add a few drops of essential oils to mask the smell if it’s particularly bad.

Then, all you need to do is place one sachet into each shoe overnight which will absorb the moisture and deodorise the shoes.

In addition, baking soda can work as a homemade shoe powder too. All you need to do is add a few drops of essential oils to the powder and mix well, then pour an even layer inside the shoe and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, get rid of the baking soda (use a hoover if you need to) and this will essentially work the same way in getting rid of any bad smells.

5. Homemade Spray

Whilst there are dozens of shoe sprays you can buy, the homemade version isa lot cheaper and way more natural.

And this is especially useful for shoes made from leather or suede that cannot be simply chucked into the washing machine.

To make this, you’ll need:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil

Mix all of this together, transfer into a small spray bottle and you’re good to go!

Then, simply spray this solution inside your shoes when you notice they’re a little on the stinky side and watch the magic work.

Plus, this can act as a preventive measure and stop shoes from smelling in the first place, if you use it after each wear.

6. Freeze Your Shoes

Yes, you read that correctly. Freeze your shoes!

Your freezer is not just for your ice cream and chicken breasts, it also serves well for smelly shoes.

So you may be wondering - well that’s just unhygienic and not sanitary at all. Especially if your shoes have seen the locker room floors, the office, public restrooms and so much more.

Therefore, you will need to stick them in a plastic bag first and then freeze them overnight.

Sounds bizarre, but bacteria breeds in warm, moist places. And so the shock of cold air will kill the bacteria and prevent the odor from getting worse.

Bonus tip: this is also a great way to cool off during a hot summer’s day when your feet are all sweaty. Once your shoes have defrosted, your feet and nose (and everyone else’s) will thank you.

The Takeaway

If you’ve tried these above tricks and your shoes are still smelly, it may be time to accept that there’s nothing getting rid of that stench and it’s time to get a new pair.

Unfortunately, some shoes end up beyond recovery; they’ve been infested with bacteria that has completely taken over both the inner and outer linings and into the deepest pores of the soles.

In this case, the bacteria will be living happily and thriving, making it near enough impossible to drive out!

So, do yourself a favour: toss them out and buy a shiny new pair!

Want to know more? Get in touch today.

In the meantime, take a look at our full range of comfortable shoes here.

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