12 Home Remedies to Deal with Stinky Shoes

November 26, 2020 4 min read

home remedies for stinky shoes

If you often wear closed-toe shoes, you may notice a pungent smell emitting from them after some time. This is because your feet sweat and the moisture is absorbed by the material of your shoes. When the moisture builds up, it enables bacteria growth. Bacteria acts on your sweat and causes your shoes to stink. It doesn’t matter how much fragrance you spray in them or how many times you put them under the sun, the stink may be too strong to go away easily. Luckily there are effective home remedies for stinky shoes that will make your shoes feel - and smell - as good as new. Keep reading for our 12 tips to refresh your favorite footwear.

1. Baby Powder

Perhaps the easiest smelly shoe remedy is baby powder. Apply baby powder to the insole of your shoes and let sit preferably overnight to get the best result. Baby powder removes foul smell by absorbing the moisture in your shoes. It also leaves a pleasant after-scent. You can apply as much baby powder as you feel is required and to any type of shoe. Feel free to apply baby powder to your feet to reduce sweat.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile household product used to refresh and clean. So it should come as no surprise that it is also one of the most effective home remedies for stinky shoes. So if you are worried about how to get rid of smelly shoes, sprinkle a reasonable amount of baking soda into your shoes. This helps to neutralize the odor. A word of caution, don’t sprinkle too much in your leather shoes as it may cause them to crack.

3. Cedar Chips

If you want to know how to get rid of stinky shoes with an unconventional yet long-lasting method, try using cedar chips. Place cedar chips in two bags and put them inside your shoes. The cedar chips will absorb moisture and odor. For the best results, leave overnight. This ensures the majority of moisture is absorbed, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and ready for use.

4. Clean or Wash Your Shoes (If You Can)

While you can’t wash your leather shoes, your athletic shoes may require a traditional scrub with soap and water to keep them clean. Washing your shoes is one of the most common (and easy) home remedies for stinky shoes. Simply throw them into the washing machine, set on warm, and add vinegar when rinsing to remove odor and air dry. For leather and suede shoes, you can clean them with alcohol to remove germs.

5. Deodorizing Spray

The best deodorizing spray has the right amount of anti-microbial content to protect both your feet and your shoes. Deodorizing sprays work on all shoe types. It is quick, easy to use, and another effective remedy for stinky shoes. You can even carry the spray bottle with you to refresh your athletic shoes after a good workout at the gym.

6. Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are also useful in deodorizing shoes. To use this easy smelly shoe remedy, tear a single dryer sheet in half. Place one half in each of your shoes… and wait. Typically it only takes about 24 hours to refresh odorous shoes. However, sometimes it takes longer depending on how bad your shoes were to start.

You can remove the stink from the shoes, but it won’t last long if your feet are the problem.

7. Essential Oils

Essential oils have become miracle workers in recent times. The use of essential oils as a remedy for stinky shoes is not far-fetched, and is, in fact, encouraged. To use, get a spray bottle, pour in unscented witch hazel until it’s filled halfway, add some distilled water until it’s almost full, then add a few drops of peppermint oil, melaleuca oil, eucalyptus oil, and thyme oil. Tightly screw the spray top, shake and then spray the inside of your shoes.

8. Foot Hygiene

All of your research on how to get rid of stinky shoes may be moot if the problem is poor foot hygiene. Sure, you can remove the stink from the shoes, but it won’t last long if your feet are the problem. The best way to amp up your foot hygiene is to use antimicrobial soap to clean your feet and exfoliate the dry and dead skin. Change your socks regularly, and use a foot powder to prevent excessive sweat and irritation before exercising. You can also try one of these 9 treatments for sweaty feet.

9. Freeze Your Shoes

As weird as this may sound, freezing your shoes is actually a good remedy for stinky shoes. Place shoes into a Ziploc bag and set it inside your freezer for 24 hours. Freezing kills certain bacteria and helps to eliminate odor from your shoes. Be sure to thaw out your shoes before wearing them. 

10. Newspaper

After you're done reading your daily newspaper, wad up a few pages and stuff it into your sweaty shoes. The newspaper absorbs moisture and helps to eliminate the stench. To maintain freshness of your regularly worn shoes, repeat after each use. 

how to make shoes not smell

11. Sweat Proof Socks

One of the most effective home remedies for smelly shoes is sweat proof socks. They work by keeping sweat on your feet from reaching your shoes. This means that odor-causing bacteria won’t even have the chance to come in contact with sweat. You may also consider socks with anti-odor properties, like Ejis dress socks (available in our shop or on Amazon). They are infused with silver to stop the activity of odor-causing bacteria. 

12. Tea Bags

There is no doubt that the smell of tea facilitates healing. Who knew tea bags also have restorative properties with shoes? To refresh your shoes with this smelly shoe remedy, place a few unused tea bags into your shoes. Let the tea bags sit for a day, and then test them for freshness. (If your nose thinks they need more time, then leave the tea bags in place for a while longer.) This process will ultimately leave your shoes odor-free and fresh-smelling.

Taking care of your shoes with one of these home remedies will give you back the confidence to take off your shoes at any time, knowing your shoes are fresh and odor-free. You can also stop foot odor altogether with Ejis dress socks. They are designed to keep your feet dry, cool and odor-free.

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