How To Clean Smelly Shoes

Shoes typically smell odd due to the growth of bacteria that thrive inside the warm and moist environment. It can be embarrassing as well as annoying to have smelly shoes and feet. Here are detailed instructions for how to clean smelly shoes and fully eliminate the stinky problem.

Your entire body, including your feet, produces stinky odors on a regular basis due to sweat and excessive perspiration buildup. Moisture on your feet provides that habitat for odor-causing bacteria to thrive, and they will when given the opportunity. Learn the proper shoe cleaning methods to maintain your favorite footwear.

If you don't know how to clean shoe laces, follow these step by step guide to wash your white, colored, or leather laces. It's easy and fun ways to make some cleaning tips and hacks.

Smelly shoes become a matter of concern when unbearable odors buildup inside. Though various methods exist, people still do not know to properly clean smelly shoes.

So, in order to finally get rid of smelly shoes, you must know how to clean shoes the right way. Follow along with the steps in this tutorial to eliminate the bad odors in your shoes.

 

Deodorize Smelly Shoes In The Freezer

Smelly footwear is a common occurrence due to the odor-causing bacteria thriving in the moist environment inside of shoes. If you do not want to use chemical based deodorants or disinfectants, than maybe you have considered deodorizing smelly shoes in the freezer.

Is the freezer the right option for you to remove raunchy smells from your footwear? Let’s discuss how the freezer helps to get rid bad smells and the best way to freeze smelly shoes.

Does freezing kill odor-causing bacteria? It is assumed that freezing kills almost all odor-causing bacteria. However, there is no scientific proof in this regard. According to experts, freezing may kill some of the odor-causing bacteria from your smelly shoes, but not all.  

That is because the freezer in your home doesn’t get cold enough to exterminate all forms of life. The freezer will make the bacteria inactive and control the rate of growth. However, they will become active again after coming in contact with moisture from sweaty feet.

Does putting shoes in freezer kill smell? The freezer at home is not cold enough to fully kill all bacteria. Therefore, some bad odors are resolved, but not all are eliminated.

This fact is based purely on personal experience, not scientific expertise. Many people have put shoes in the freezer and made claims that the smells have disappeared.

If you are uncertain about the effectiveness of the freezer on your smelly shoes, then give it a try for yourself. Place your stinky shoes in the freezer to experience the truth of this method.

 

How To Freeze Smelly Shoes

Before attempting this process, make sure that your shoes are completely dry. If the shoes are wet, you risk the water expanding when freezing. As a result, this will most likely damage the fabric, materials, and construction of the shoe.

Instead of throwing dirty stinky shoes directly into the freezer with food, pack the footwear in a large Ziploc or plastic bag. Seal the bag and put it into the freezer. Leave the footwear in the freezer overnight to ensure a complete freeze.

It is assumed that the extremely low temperature of the freezer will kill almost all the odor-causing bacteria.

Pro tip: For the best results, place the shoes in direct sunlight in the morning. The sunlight contains UV rays that help to kill the unwanted bacteria.

How long do you leave your shoes in the freezer? The shoes should be left in the freezer at least overnight, and preferably for 24 to 48 hours, in order to get rid of the funky smells. Though it is not for certain that this method permanently removes bad odors from shoes, it can provide temporary relief from the problem.

In fact, bacteria that grow in the warm damp environment inside shoes cause bad odors to cultivate in shoes. But when you put shoes in the freezer, then a large portion of the bacteria will not survive the cold. As a result, they die off and reduce the degree of odor within the footwear.

However, if the odor persists then consider using another alternative like formulated odor removers, vinegar or baking soda to get permanent relief.

 

Deodorize Smelly Shoes With Vinegar

People use vinegar for a variety of uses in the household. From cooking to cleaning, vinegar has found its way into many daily chores. Today, we’re going to learn how to use vinegar to deodorize smelly shoes.

Vinegar is a plant-based product that disinfects about 90% of bacteria. This study on PedMed concluded that

natural products were less effective than commercial household disinfectants.

However, a vinegar bath is considered to be an effective method to minimize shoe odor. But, it may not be your best alternative.

How does vinegar get rid of smelly shoes? Vinegar contains acetic acid, which kills a majority of odor-causing bacteria. Therefore, it aids in eliminating bad smells emitted from shoes.

Vinegar cannot be used to fully disinfect shoes because it doesn’t completely kill all forms of bacteria. In order to increase the effectiveness of vinegar on smelly shoes, it is recommended to combine the treatment with baking soda. Still, many people use a mixture of vinegar and water for the purpose of diminishing the bad odor.

Can I spray vinegar in my shoes? In order to get rid of bad odors within smelly shoes, spraying vinegar is an effective method for the short term. Undiluted vinegar will eliminate a majority of bacteria on the surface level, however, it will not penetrate any deeper.  

After spraying vinegar, allow the shoes to air dry. The vinegar smell will dissipate once completely dried and leave behind a fresh aroma.

 

How To Clean Smelly Shoes With Vinegar

Vinegar needs time to be fully effective against bacteria. You will have to deep clean the shoes with soap and vinegar to completely remove the stench. Smelly shoes can be cleaned with vinegar as a proper application.

Some people spray a 50/50 mixture of water and white distilled vinegar into the lining and soles of shoes. However, baking soda must ultimately be used to make shoes odor-free with this method.

Washing shoes with vinegar

  1. Remove insoles and also clean shoelaces separately.
  2. Use a brush to remove any dried debris on the surface level of the shoes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 gallon of water.
  4. Moisten a brush or rag with the cleaning solution, and start scrubbing the shoe. Thoroughly detail all areas of the shoe from inside to outside.
  5. Rinse shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  6. Allow shoes to air dry, preferably in the sun, in order to allow UV rays to further irradiate odor-causing bacteria.

Helpful hint: The vinegar smell will be present in the cleaning solution, but will dissolve as the shoes dry. Consider applying baking soda to the inside of your shoes after they completely dry out.

 

Clean Smelly Shoes With Baking Soda

If your shoes are stinking, then its time to refresh them with another common household ingredient found in almost every kitchen. Learn how to use baking soda to clean smelly shoes and freshen up that bad odor.

From baking cookies to scrubbing the kitchen sink, sodium bicarbonate has a variety of uses in the home. However, now you are going to clean your smelly shoes with the natural product.

It’s important to recognize that baking soda is not a sanitizer or disinfectant. Nonetheless, this study does validate that baking soda displays antibacterial effectiveness and also the ability to fight germs.

The information provided in this write-up will help you understand how to clean smelly shoes with baking soda. Continue reading and follow the detailed instructions below.

Does baking soda remove odor from shoes? Baking soda otherwise referred to as sodium bicarbonate, is useful for removing odor from the inside of shoes. The high pH level helps to neutralize odor-causing bacteria and also to absorb bad smells.

Baking soda acts quickly, and when applied liberally it penetrates easily into all areas of the shoe. Shake the shoe around to spread the powder everywhere inside the toe box, heel, and insole.

How long does it take for baking soda to remove the odor? In general, baking soda takes 24 to 48 hours to remove odor from your shoes. The longer it remains inside the shoes, the more funky smells it will absorb.

Therefore, when using baking soda to deodorize your shoes you should have patience and give it time to work effectively. As a result, you will be left with clean shoes that are odor free.

How does baking soda remove odors? The baking soda will not only absorb the odor but also kills the odor-causing bacteria within the smelly shoes. Since bad odors tend to be acidic, then most odors have a low pH level. As a result, baking soda increases the pH level, which neutralizes the cause and resulting in the odor being deactivated.

 

Diy Shoe Deodorizer

Baking soda can be used in different ways to remove odors from your shoes. Make your own DIY shoe deodorizer to eliminate stenches from your foul smelling shoes by applying baking soda directly into the shoes or mixing with essential oils. Let us briefly discuss 3 methods for how to clean smelly shoes with baking soda.

How can I deodorize my shoes naturally? Applying baking soda inside of shoes is slightly messy, but produces the best results. The powder spread evenly throughout the shoe and makes contact with all areas. As a result, odor-causing bacteria is neutralized and smells are successfully eliminated.

  1. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into each shoe in order to fully cover the interior.
  2. Shake the shoes in different directions to evenly spread the baking soda around the entire insole.
  3. Leave the shoes alone overnight or preferably for 24 hours, especially if the shoes are just nasty.
  4. Remove the baking soda from the shoes by shaking over a trashcan or using a vacuum.
  5. Repeat the process as many times as necessary.

 

What essential oil is good for smelly shoes? Use essential oils like lavender, tea tree or peppermint to provide a refreshing and uplifting aroma to the inside of your smelly shoes. Select an oil fragrance that suits your preference, and then proceed with the following deodorizing method.

Tea tree oil has antibacterial odor reducing properties that are supported by double-blind case studies.

  1. Mix 10-20 drops of essential oil with 4 tablespoons of baking powder.
  2. Divide the mixture into each shoe, and spread it around the entire insole by tilting the shoe in various directions.
  3. Keep the mixture in the shoes overnight or preferably for 24 hours.
  4. Afterward, dump the powder into a trashcan and vacuum the inside of the shoes
  5. Repeat the process as necessary depending upon how stinky the shoe odor is.

Pro tip: You should not rub the baking soda inside the shoes because it will be hard to remove later on.

How do I make a DIY deodorizer for shoes? Use baking soda as a deodorizer for your smelly shoes by putting 4 tablespoons of baking soda each into two socks that are not in use. Tie the open ends of the socks with a string, and place them into the toe box inside each shoe. Leave the DIY shoe deodorizers in place for 24-48 hours in order to fully absorb the bad odors.

 

Best Shoe Odor Eliminator

Everyone faces a problem with footwear odor at one point or another. After wearing a pair of shoes for a long time, it’s not uncommon for unpleasant odors to develop.

Sweaty feet cause bacteria to buildup, which inevitably leads to bad smells. As a result, this mainly happens with sports shoes and daily footwear options. When you wear a pair of shoes for an entire day at the work, the moisture accumulates and produces bad odors. As a result, here are the best shoe odor eliminator devices to help kill the bacteria inside your shoes.

 

What is the best foot odor spray?

Foot odor sprays are an effective way to ward off bad smells within footwear. A spray is easy to apply and shows quick results.

Natural shoe deodorizer with lemongrass and tea tree oil: This Lumi outdoors natural shoe deodorizer spray is the best solution to combat foot odor and has user reviews raving about the product. It is filled with essential oils like lemongrass, tea tree oil, and mint.

Tea tree oil has been proven to be effective against antibacterial odor. Give the shoe deodorizer spray a try and experience the satisfaction of fresh smelling footwear.

 

What is the best product for foot odor?

Foot odor is a condition that arises from one main cause, sweaty feet. Heat and moisture buildup within shoes which allows odor-causing bacteria to thrive in the environment.

Bacteria are the primary cause of smelly shoe odor. When combined with shoes that are not breathable and made with plastic materials, we are asking for an issue to develop.

In order to prevent the accumulation of dampness, consider cedar wood insoles to absorb the moisture. Not only is cedar antifungal and odor repelling, but it also smells incredible. Simply stick them into your stinky footwear and allow it to naturally combat the problem for you.

 

Shoe deodorizer balls

Small sneaker balls are the perfect item to remove the bad smell from your shoes. The product is easy to carry around and insert as needed. They are very small in size, so you do not need a huge amount of space to store them.

Shoe deodorizer balls can even remove the smell from tight areas in the toe box. The fresh scent of this pair lasts as long as 2000 hours after activation, which is roughly 2 months.

 

Shoe deodorizer machine

There are also machines that aid in the process of removing bad smells from footwear. The StinkBOSS shoe deodorizer machine works great for people who have a problem with stinky shoes that never seem to be resolved.

The deodorizer machine uses an ozone sanitizer and dryer to kill the bacteria that cause odor. Simply place the stinky footwear inside the machine, and it will suck up all the bad odors. It’s as easy as that!

 

What’s the best shoe deodorizer?

There are many people that suffer from a bad foot odor problem. A shoe deodorizer will help eliminate the persistent funky smells from your pair of shoes.

Consider air purifying bags, foot spray and small sneaker balls for a quick fix solution. Breathable insoles, moisture wicking socks, and a shoe deodorizer machine will work as well. These products will absorb moisture inside the shoe that is created by the foot and eventually causes bad odors to amass.

There are many products from powders to sprays and deodorizers, but cleaning shoes regularly is the best way to minimize odors within your favorite footwear. It is recommended to hand wash shoes for the best results.

If you know how to clean shoes properly, this will help restrain the growth of bacteria and help keep odor under control. In addition, clean and bacteria free shoes will ensure better health for your feet.

How do you clean smelly shoes?

Share your tips on getting rid of the smell on shoe tricks with us!
XOXO

fashion wanderer

Save your favorite pair of converse shoes by learning how to clean smelly shoes today. Pin these cleaning tips and hacks to last long your personalized capsule wardrobe.

Soonjoo Uh

I graduated with a bachelors of fine arts degree in fashion design. I worked in the fashion industry as a lead designer for major brand name labels such as Stitch Fix, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Dillards. Now, I am the founder of the website Fashion Wanderer where I share current fashion trends, style tips and how to build a capsule wardrobe collection.

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