15 Home Remedies for Smelly Shoes

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The moist environment of your footwear can develop unpleasant odors that make it embarrassing to take off your shoes in public. The combination of sweat and heat creates the perfect space for odor-causing bacteria to breed. To combat offending scents, you may want to consider getting familiar with home remedies for smelly shoes.

Home Remedies for Smelly Shoes

Smelly Shoe Home Remedies

From the things you eat to overuse, there are a variety of factors that play a role in the development of odor in your shoes. One of the first things you may want to do is use a substance that absorbs excess moisture and wetness. Other home remedies for smelly shoes include:

a) Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Cornstarch:

Add equal amounts of baking soda, baking powder and cornstarch to a pair of cotton socks. Stick the socks in smelly shoes overnight and in the morning, your footwear will smell fresher.

b) Newspaper:

Some people have removed unpleasant odors from sneakers by stuffing newspaper inside and setting outdoors overnight. Although not a permanent fix, the results are enhanced when done once a week

c) Baking Soda:

You can make your own reusable odor-eating remedy by filling the toes of a pair of old socks with two tablespoons of baking soda. Tie the sock into a knot and stuff inside each shoe at night before going to bed. In the morning, remove the socks to reveal fresher-smelling footwear. If you don’t feel like using the sock method, you can always sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda inside of your smelly footwear, leave in overnight, and then dump out in the morning.

d) Cat Litter [1]:

Deodorize your basketball sneakers by filling a couple of old socks with scented cat litter. Tie up the socks, and then place them in the shoes overnight. The cat litter helps absorb offensive smells. You may have to repeat the process for really bad cases.

e) Scented Dryer Sheet:

Remove smells from your sneakers by placing a fresh dryer sheet into each sneaker to neutralize the bad odors. Leave in the fabric softener sheets overnight.

f) Salt:

To eliminate bad smells from canvas sneakers and tennis shoes, use salt to absorb the moisture by occasionally sprinkling a bit of salt in the shoes. Shake outside when you are ready to wear.

g) Deodorant or Antiperspirant:

The underarms are not the only place that deodorant can come in handy. To combat the odor of smelly shoes when you don’t have time for another remedy, roll your favorite scented product on the bottoms of your feet before slipping into your shoes.

h) Toss in the Washer:

Some footwear (like canvas shoes and sneakers) can be tossed into the washing machine. Allow them to air dry instead of putting in the dryer.

i) Cornstarch:

Sprinkle a bit of cornstarch in your shoes to help absorb moisture and keep your feet drier.

j) Your Diet:

Some of the foods that you eat can cause strong odors to pass through your bloodstream and seep out into your sweat. When your feet sweat, the odor can affect the insides of your shoes. Try to refrain from overdoing garlic, onions, scallions, and peppers if you constantly find yourself stinking up your footwear.

k) Scented Baking Soda:

To increase the strength of a baking soda shoe treatment, add three tablespoons of ground, dried sage leaves to three tablespoons of baking soda. Upon removing your shoes for the day, sprinkle one tablespoon of the remedy into each shoe. Shake around and leave in overnight. Leave the mix in throughout the day. Remove the excess mix in the evening, and replace with a fresh batch on a nightly basis.

l) Sunshine:

Before deodorizing a pair of smelly shoes, they need to be completely dry first. Putting the shoes in the sunlight is considered one of the best methods. After drying in the sun, you can more effectively use a home remedy to treat the smell.

m) Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol is an inexpensive way to treat smelly shoes. Put some of this quick-drying remedy into a spray bottle and mist the insides of your shoes before and after wearing. The rubbing alcohol is believed to remove unpleasant odors and when used on a regular basis – can prevent shoes from smelling bad in the first place.

n) Cloves:

Put a piece of plastic wrap on the inside of your shoe – covering the entire inside bottom. Place a few drops of clove oil on a couple of cotton balls and put inside the shoe. Leave the cotton balls in for a couple of hours or overnight to help remove odor from your footwear.

o) Lysol:

Lysol is disinfectant spray that when put inside your smelly shoes can kill the bacteria that are responsible for causing unpleasant odors.


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 118.