The shoes that you wear are your protection from the outside world. The shoes are also a major factor in how people perceive you, especially if they’re new shoes! Do you have shoes that smell? It can be hard to remove the smell from shoes and sometimes we just need a quick fix.
To remove a smell from shoes instantly, spray the soles with an alcohol-based spray. These sprays do the best job at eliminating the odor from shoes once and for all. There are other homemade remedies to try, however, they are not as successful at removing odors in the long term.
That’s why it is important to make sure that your shoes don’t smell. It doesn’t matter where or when you bought them – all shoes start to smell eventually due to sweat and bacteria buildup. This blog post will teach you how to remove shoe odor using one simple household item!
Why Do Shoes Get Smelly and How to Fix It?
You might be surprised to learn that shoes aren’t responsible for creating bad smells – it’s the sweat from our feet that causes them! Body odor is caused by bacteria that thrive in warm dark spaces with little airflow such as shoes.
This means if we want to eliminate smelly shoes then we need to attack this problem at its root cause, which is excessive moisture beneath the soles of our feet.
Unpleasant Foot Odors from Shoes
The problem is that feet contain many sweat glands which release perspiration during hot days. There are times when they produce more sweat than usual, such as wearing new shoes or going on a hike/run outdoors where it’s hotter. This results in unpleasant foot odors coming from within our shoes.
That is why we are going to share with you some simple ways to remove the smell from shoes (instantly). The following is a list of some quick fixes you can use to treat your smelly shoes:
- Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes and let sit for 12-24 hours. Vacuum out the baking soda and wear your shoes as normal.
- Stuff socks or paper towels inside your shoes overnight, this will absorb any moisture leftover from sweaty feet.
- Mix vinegar, water, and dishwashing liquid into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture into shoes until full/saturate shoes fully with a solution. Allow shoes to sit overnight so they can dry out completely before wearing again.
- Keep shoes outside instead of inside (recommended for non-leather shoes). This will allow them to stay aired out at all times which is perfect if you are trying to get rid of foot odors caused by excessive sweating due to heat outdoors.
While these quick fixes help to eliminate odors in the short term, it can be a lot of work to complete these activities weekly or even daily.
Using an Instant Shoe Smell Remover
The fastest way to get rid of unwanted shoe odors is to use an instant shoe smell remover. But there are also homemade remedies and simple recipes or techniques you can use to remove the smell from your shoes.
The Best Way to Remove Odor from Shoes
The best way to remove odor from shoes instantly is to use ethanol or another alcohol-based odor remover. We love this method because alcohol will kill the bacteria present in your shoes that are causing the odor problem.
The following are different kinds of alcohol-based products you can use to remove the odors from your shoes:
- Hand sanitizer
- Rubbing alcohol
- Vodka (in a spray bottle)
While other methods are effective, the treated shoes do not stay odorless forever. And the other remedies we mention will not be as strong as using alcohol to kill the odor-causing bacteria.
It is also important that we mention this method works for any type of shoes, even leather shoes. If they are made of all-natural materials (leather, fabric), then alcohol deodorizers can help remove odors caused by perspiration or bacteria build-up in shoes.
The alcohol kills the bacteria and lasts a long time in terms of odor elimination. In our experiments, we have found this method works and keeps the odor away for over one month. You will not see that effect with some of these other remedies, but that just means you will be cleaning your shoes more often.
Odorless Shoes Again in No Time with Washing
Another method you can use for getting rid of the smell in your smelly shoes is to wash them. This can either be done by hand or in the washing machine.
To wash your shoes to remove the odors, you can follow these steps:
- Use a regular detergent and add about 20 to 30 drops of your preferred essential oil to the load for your shoes.
- Place your shoes in the washing machine (on gentle cycle) along with other clothes so they get clean.
- Alternatively, you can wash your shoes with dishwashing liquid, and scrub them by hand in the sink.
- Air dry your shoes or dry in a dryer for maximum shoe deodorization.
It is best to not wash leather shoes, and stick to just your gym shoes for the wash cycle. Fabric shoes will do great in the washing machine, or soak in the sink. But you should never submerge leather shoes in water. This will not only damage the leather but also deteriorate the overall construction of the shoe.
Get Rid of Stinky Shoes Once and For All Using Baking Soda
Another great and easy option for removing odor from your shoes is to use baking soda. Baking soda is great at absorbing foul odors and it does the job for shoes too.
The following is a list of steps to use baking soda in your shoes to remove odors:
- Grab some baking soda and sprinkle it over the insoles of your shoes.
- Place the shoes outside, if possible, to allow them to be surrounded by fresh air.
- Leave your shoes to sit overnight or for at least 12 hours so that the baking soda can absorb all of those bad odors from them.
After you have allowed enough time for your shoes to soak up the baking soda the odor or smell should have dissipated.
If you go to put on your shoes and there is leftover baking soda, you can do any of the following:
- Dump the excess into the trash
- Vacuum out the shoes
- Wear them as normal, the extra baking soda will continue to absorb odors
Now baking soda may be a bit messy for you, so there are a few other options you can give a try before committing to this one.
Try a Ready-to-Use Product
There are many products on the market, depending upon your shoes you could use any of the following products to remove the unwanted odor from your shoes:
- Chemical shoe deodorizers – These products, like Febreeze sprays, work well for removing odors and have a pleasant scent!
- Dryer sheets – Another quick fix includes adding dryer sheets to your shoes after each wear. This is supposed to sap the smell right from your soles.
- Teabags – You can also try placing tea bags in your shoes after each wear. Leave the tea bags in your shoes until you are ready to wear them again.
- Baby powder – Baby powder is a great option for you to apply to your feet, socks, and shoes throughout the day. Start your day with baby powder and add more as needed to absorb moisture and reduce odor.
- Essential oils – Another great choice is essential oils. You can sprinkle essential oils inside your shoes along the sole to reduce odors.
However, if you do not want to use a chemical or product on the market you can also try a homemade remedy. There are quite a few different home remedies for shoe deodorizing. And you will have no trouble picking the best one.
Try a Homemade Shoe Deodorizer
There are several ways to make a homemade shoe deodorizer, and many of them work great to mask the smell coming from your stinky shoes. Some people do not like to keep baking soda on hand, so finding another homemade alternative to shoe deodorizing is important!
The following is another type of homemade shoe deodorizer that does not use baking soda:
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
- Spray the insoles each day after wearing your shoes.
- Let dry overnight or longer depending on how much of the mixture you applied
- If you need to dry your shoes faster, set up a hairdryer to dry the insoles after spraying them down.
Vinegar, like baking soda, is a natural deodorizer and works well in most fabric shoes.
Got Extra Soap to Reduce Shoe Odor?
One way to reduce the odor in your shoes is to use a bar of soap. Soap can absorb odor and also kills bacteria that cause shoes to smell.
Some people find it helpful to keep a bar of soap in their shoes for extra deodorization when they are not wearing them or have to put them in storage for long periods.
This method works great with all the different types of shoes including the following:
- Dress shoes
- Leather shoes
- Fabric shoes
Also, do not be concerned about the soap dissolving since your insoles are probably damp from you wearing them all day, the bar of soap acts as an absorber. It will absorb both smells or odors and moisture.
Try Activated Charcoal to Eliminate Odors
Activated charcoal is another shoe odor eliminator to try out. This method is especially good for shoes that are still wet after getting rained on or coming back from the beach or lake.
Activated charcoal is usually sold in tablet form and can be found at any health store where vitamins are sold, but if you cannot find it locally your other option would be to order them online.
Place several tablets inside each shoe before putting them out to dry or away for storage.
The activated charcoal will absorb all odors and help to absorb some moisture, too. So, once your shoes are dry just remove the tablets and put your shoes back on!
Freeze-Out the Bacteria
One final way to get the odor out of your shoes is to freeze them. This process requires a little bit of time and patience, but the shoes will be completely odor-free once they are thawed out again.
First place your shoes in a plastic freezer bag, then seal the bag and place it in the freezer.
Freeze your shoes overnight, or longer. This will help to kill any bacteria that is present in the shoes.
Harness the Power of the Sun to Deodorize
Your shoes get smelly because the moisture from sweating allows for a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. One great way to stop the growth of unwanted bacteria and fungi, which ultimately lead to unwanted smells, is to place your shoes in the sun.
The sun is a natural killer, with its powerful UV rays. To harness the sun, follow these steps:
- Remove the insoles from your shoes.
- Place shoes and insoles in a bright, sunny spot.
- Double-check the weather to make sure there will not be any rain.
- Let your shoes sit outside for the day and bring them in overnight.
You do not want to leave your shoes outside overnight, as the morning dew will create new moisture leading to new bacterial growth and more odors. This is a simple and cheap way to deodorize your shoes. And this method is great if you have shoes that can be damaged by some of the liquids or other products we mentioned.
- Hand Sanitizer (Any strong alcohol solution will work)
- Spray Bottle (optional)
- Pull the soles out of your shoes.
- Cover the surface of the soles and the inside of the shoes with hand sanitizer.
- Leave the soles and shoes for 1 hour to dry.
- Put the soles back in your shoes.
Any strong alcohol-based product will work i.e. vodka or alcohol-based deodorants.
Using a spray bottle is the fastest way to apply the hand sanitizer, but rubbing the solution on the shoes will also work.
In Summary: Deodorize Your Shoes with Alcohol
The best way by far is to eliminate the odors from smelly shoes using alcohol. It is a fast and easy solution that is guaranteed to last. The shoes will smell great, and you will not have to worry about them smelling up in the future.
Alcohol is not the only shoe deodorizing solution out there, but it is by far the most consistent in reducing odors over the long term.
If you’ve run out, you can buy hand sanitizer here (Amazon paid link).