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Smelly Shoes? How to Remove & Prevent Odor From Shoes

Smelly Shoes? How to Remove & Prevent Odor From Shoes

Between work, gym, parties and more, shoes get that lingering odor off and on, which is either quite mind-boggling or very embarrassing. The smell is delivered by microorganisms as well as parasites that fill in the shoes and append to the skin. A few microorganisms really consume the top layer of the skin and creating a foul smell. Thus, a quick freshening-up exercise, to remove odor from shoes, is as important as to keep your shoes away from the bad smell.

So how to remove odor from shoes? How to remove the smell from shoes instantly, if you are party ready? Or how to get rid of smelly shoes by using some prevention methods? We answer all these one by one.

Why Do Shoes Smell?

Why do Shoes Smell

Whether it is the leather shoes, wet shoe, boots, or for that matter any kind of shoes, microbes are the ones which are responsible for making shoes STINK! due to harboring moisture and thriving on the same. They fill in huge numbers on your feet, delivering natural acids — methanethiol, isovaleric acid and propanoic acid etc. and leave a lasting smell.

Also, our feet sweat more than other body parts, so while the sweat has no smell, the bacteria that thrive in this sweat, causing bad smell of the feet.

Required Time

  • 30 Minutes

Estimated Cost

  • $10

Supplies Requirement

  • Baking Soda
  • Soap
  • Essential Oils
  • Tea Bags
  • Salt
  • Home Made Spray
  • Deodorizing Sprays

Tools Required

  • Brush
  • Shoe Cleaner
  • Insoles (Optional)
  • Cotton Cloth

Top 10 Ways to Remove Odor from Shoes

We are sharing some home remedies and simple tips to remove odor from shoes.

1. Use Baking Soda

Since baking soda is a harmless cleanser and easily available at home, thus it perfectly answers the question of how to remove the smell from shoes instantly. All you need to do is take one part of baking soda, another part of baking powder and two parts of corn starch. Mix these in a cup, and put it either in socks to be kept inside the shoes or sprinkle this mixture inside your shoes. Leave this for 24 hours to get rid of smelly shoes. Save money on a freshener.

2. Use Soap

Use Soap as Shoe Freshener

Another easiest way to save money on a shoe freshener and answer how to get rid of smelly shoes, is the simple soap! Use a dry soap bar each, leave them inside the shoes, cover the shoes opening with socks and leave it overnight. The soap is porous so it will not only absorb the smell but also kill tiny bacteria that cause smelly leather shoes, boots or more. Avoid trying this in wet shoes.

3. Take Advantage of Sunshine

Indirect but hot enough Sunshine is the natural microbes killer. So it is the easiest and most cost effective way to get rid of the bad smell of shoes, especially wet shoes. Deeply wet canvas shoes can be put in direct sunlight for a few hours while the others must be put in indirect sunlight. Dry them in totality before next wear.

4. Check and Replace Insoles

At times insoles stink so much that they cannot be cleaned enough totally. Like styrofoam-based insoles face the issue of bad smell off and on. So in this case, how to remove odor from shoes? You simply keep a regular check, if the natural deodorisers like baking soda, soap, Sunshine etc. don't seem to work, simply discard the insoles and buy new ones.

5. Use Essential Oils

When you ask us how to get rid of smelly shoes, we consider natural methods at the top, to ensure you have a skin-friendly solution. And here tea tree oil, clove oil, and cedarwood essential oil work the best as natural deodorizers because these have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Use Essential Oils

Rather essential oils provide our feet a triple treat - they fight microbes, remove odor and leave a nice scent behind. All you need to do is put a few drops inside each shoe and leave for an hour. You can also mix them with baking soda and sprinkle inside to the farthest corner of the shoe, as a deeper remedy to remove the stink.

6. Wash the Shoes

Regular washing of shoes, except for the delicate or leather shoes is always recommended to nip the bad smell problem in the bud. You can wipe the leather shoes with a mix of vinegar and soap as a tested remedy to remove the stink.

7. Insert Tea Bags

As per the intensity of the bad smell, put a few tea bags each in your shoes overnight. If the odor is too much, then simply mix the tea with baking soda and make a good spread of this mixture inside each shoe; leave it for 24 hours.

These would not only kill the lighter microbes but also absorb the moisture to leave behind a light scent. Tea has essential oils, so it works the same way to remove odor from shoes the way tea-tree oil does.

8. Use Salt

To remove smell from shoes, take some common salt and make a thin or thicker layer (as per the intensity of the bad smell), into each shoe. Leave it there for about 24 hours. Clean your shoes with a tissue paper before wearing it again. This trick works the best to remove stink from canvas and mesh shoes, but not a great remedy for leather shoes or suede shoes and boots unless those are also suede or canvas.

9. Use Homemade Spray

A homemade spray can be easily made at home using equal quantities of water and white vinegar. Prepare a fresh quantity only as per the need and avoid storing the same longer than three days. You can soak your insoles in this mixture for 24 hours and rinse them with warm water before using these again.

Use Homemade Spray

If you don't use insoles, then simply spray this mixture in and on the shoes and leave for at least 12 to 24 hours. Vinegar is used to remove smell from shoes because it kills the microbes instantly. However, a slight acidic smell is left behind, and if you resist the same, then put the shoes in indirect Sunlight for a day to totally remove odor from shoes.

10. Use Deodorizing Sprays or Powder

This remedy is for those who are literally living a very busy life. There are a million deodorizing sprays or powders available in the market to remove smell from shoes instantly. These not only have antimicrobial properties but also are armed with nice fragrances. Always choose one that has essential oils, that is natural and safe for your feet. You can start with a small trial pack of freshener to remove stink, and then graduate to the bigger option of the one that suits your feet and nose (considering, some people are allergic to strong smells).

How to Prevent Bad Smell from Shoes 

As the saying goes, Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure, thus we are sharing some very important tips that can always keep you away from bad smell in shoes.

1. Foot Hygiene

Ask us how to get rid of smelly shoes permanently, and this point shall be our top solution for you. If you take care of your feet, there would be literally very less smell in your shoes. Foot hygiene means cleanliness in all ways, which in turn means lesser microbes in your shoes. So all you need to do is:

Foot Hygiene

  • Clean your shoes very carefully, especially the gap between toes, with soap and water before and after wearing shoes. Dry the feet and then only wear shoes.
  • Wear socks that are freshly washed always.
  • If you are gymming, change your socks before going to work, if there is no time-gap in between.
  • Go sockless and shoeless from time to time to let your feet breathe and your skin rejuvenate. This will help the air push out all sweat and evade the microbes.

2. Regularly Clean Shoes

Regularly clean your shoes with a suitable cleanser so as to avoid them from harboring any kind of bacteria. This is the best remedy to get rid of bad smell.

3. Rotate the Shoes

How to get rid of smelly shoes? Well, simply rotate the pairs and keep cleaning the ones that you are giving the rest period. This will keep the moisture and bad smell from piling up inside the shoes.

4. Wear Socks

Wear Socks

Wearing cotton socks absorbs the foot moisture instantly. Wash these after each wear to safely remove odor from shoes instantly.

5. Invest in Good Quality and Breathable Shoes

Breathable and good quality premium shoes especially leather ones and boots, always tend to absorb the least moisture, set it out in the air with every step and thus, gives you enough time to learn them on a weekly basis.

Also Read: Benefits of Invest in Good Quality Shoes

Though we have shared each step to remove odor from shoes in extensive details, yet we always assert that foot hygiene is the most important factor to not only remove the smell from shoes but also keep your feet healthy.

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