Smelly Shoes: Ten Ways to Deodorize Your Shoes

Smelly Shoes: Ten Ways to Deodorize Your Shoes

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Olyvia Smith

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Do you know our feet have more than 250,000 sweat glands? They are prone to sweat and perspiration more than any other part of the body.

And it's common knowledge: sweat leads to foul odor and smelly feet. Many people face this issue, which causes a lot of embarrassment and awkwardness.

You may not feel confident enough to interact with people. But don’t worry, we have some tricks to tackle bad odor in shoes.

Let’s first discuss the reasons behind smelly shoes.


Why Do Shoes smell?

After an intense workout, running errands all day or stepping in a puddle in heavy rain, your feet sweat, and the shoes get wet. Most people dry themselves out but forget that all the wetness and moisture is most likely to trap in those shoes.

A bacterium called Bromodosis thrives in such damp conditions, breaks the sweat down, and creates a foul smell. There are several reasons for perspiration:

  • Humid conditions
  • Genetic/ hereditary
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Worn out footwear

Ten Ways to Deodorize Your Shoes

If you have smelly shoes and want to get rid of them, here is a list of ten ways to deodorize your shoes.

1- Baking Soda

Sprinkling baking soda is a common hack to deal with unpleasant and foul odors. All you need to do is spread a generous amount of baking soda inside your shoe.

 baking soda

Let it sit there for a whole night or six to eight hours to absorb all the smell. After that, thoroughly shake your sneakers or lace-ups to remove the baking soda.

You may put some sweet-smelling plants like jasmine or lavender in the shoes for the same subtle scent.

Here are the two important points to consider:

  • Baking soda doesn't kill any bacteria and is only useful for odor-control. Use rubbing alcohol to kill the germs.
  • Take extra care with leather or suede shoes, as any built-up residue causes the sneaker to become extremely dry and brittle.

To make the process hassle-free, you can fill up a sock or some soft nylon pouch with two to three spoonful baking soda, knot it tightly, and leave in the shoe overnight.

2- Rubbing Alcohol

As mentioned above, rubbing alcohol is another very effective way to deodorize your shoes. You can soak in a cotton pad or a scrap of cloth with rubbing alcohol and thoroughly wipe the insides.

It not only reduces the unpleasant smell like a natural shoe deodorizer but also disinfects the shoe.

However, after you are done wiping, either place it directly under the sun or ensure proper airflow, so it dries completely.

3- Fabric Softener Sheet

Tucking fabric softener sheets in each pair will also help fight the bad odor. Leave it overnight to absorb all the foul odor and neutralize the smell. Take it out the next morning, and you are good to go.

You can also put these sheets in your gym bag or a shoe closet. Line them at the bottom of the gym bag or the cupboard, so it sucks up all the smell.

Leave the sheets there until you notice a visible decrease in their performance. Replace with new and neutralize any bad odor.

4- Essential Oils

Do you know some essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties? You can use tea tree oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, or eucalyptus to freshen up and deodorize your shoes.

 Essential Oils

Moreover, these oils may prevent various allergic or toenail reactions. You can put a few drops in your shoe for a refreshing smell.

If you do not want to put oil drops directly in your shoe, we have another solution: drip it on tissue, cotton ball, or paper, and then put it inside your shoe. For best results, leave it overnight.

5- Cat Litter

Although it sounds weird, cat litter contains many deodorizers. Moreover, it absorbs moisture effectively. You can put a generous layer of cat litter in your shoe's bottom and let it sit overnight.

Thoroughly dust it off in the morning to remove the cat litter. You can use a damp cloth to wipe off any remaining residue.

6- Newspaper

A newspaper can be a problem-solver here. This hack is valid even if your shoes are wet from the rain. And the steps are pretty easy to follow as well.

All you have to do is crumble the paper and stuff in your shoes. You can add a few drops of vanilla extract, essential oils, or vinegar in the newspaper for good results.

7- Citrus Fruit Peel

The next time you eat an orange or squeeze the lemon in your drink, make sure not to throw away the peels. It sounds crazy, but you can use citrus fruit peels to deal with your stinking shoes.

 Citrus Peel

Leave them overnight in your shoes for an all-natural scent. However, this method is ideal for killing the foul odor only. It does not affect the bacteria. Besides, you can use rubbing alcohol or vinegar to disinfect your shoes.

8- Black Tea Bags

What if you don't have six to seven hours, and you need to deodorize your shoes for immediate use? Don’t worry, you can still do it.

Take a black tea bag and put it in the boiling water for two to three minutes. Take it out and let it cool down. Put this teabag in your shoe for an hour and a half to deodorize your shoes naturally.

Black tea contains tannins, which are highly effective against the thriving bacteria while neutralizing the foul smell.

You can clean up the excess liquid left with a tissue or clean cloth after removing the teabag.

9- Salt

Moisture builds up in the shoes during humid weather. When the whole body is sweating, feet perspire the most, and hence, end up smelling bad.

Sprinkle salt inside your shoes occasionally. It will soak up all the moisture and deodorize your shoes by absorbing the foul smell.

10- Machine Wash

If your shoes are washable, you can wash them in your washing machine for thorough cleaning. It would help you clean the inner and outer parts.

However, if you do not have a dryer shelf, we recommend you refrain from putting them in the dryer as it leads to machine damage.

Thoroughly dry your shoes after the wash by putting them under the sun or a place with sufficient air circulation.

Some Recommendations

Now that you know there are several ways to deodorize your shoes, let’s move on and take a look at some other important factors.

  1. First of all, always take great care of your feet hygiene. Make sure to clean and moisturize them daily, so they won't smell and get exposed to any bacterial infection.

  2. Secondly, invest in good quality breathable sneakers or lace-ups such as Loom shoes. You should wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. This way, there will be no room for bacteria to grow.


Foot Hygiene

It is crucial to follow a dedicated skincare routine. It involves cleansing, moisturizing, toning, and even scrubbing for healthy, fresh, and radiant skin. Well, your feet need some pampering as well.

Here are some steps to follow:

  • Take off your shoes immediately after returning from work, gym, or running track.
  • Thoroughly wash your feet with antibacterial soap. You may consult your podiatrist for recommendations.
  • After every wash, dry them properly using a clean towel, so there is no unwanted moisture.
  • Use anti-fungal or all-natural talcum powder as an additional precaution.
  • Invest in good moisture-wicking socks that may help in keeping your feet dry.

Invest in Good Quality, Breathable Shoes

Last but not least, invest in the right quality footwear. We know you cannot avoid working out, running, or even walking around in the summer. So, sweating is bound to happen, and there is nothing you can do about it.

However, you can control the perspiration by investing in top quality, breathable, and waterproof shoes such as Loom shoes.

Loom Shoes

These shoes are incredibly comfortable yet stylish. Their four-layered construction allows them to absorb all the water and sweat, making them the perfect anti odor shoes you can rely on.


Let's take a brief look at their structure.

The topmost layer is the waterproof layer. Next comes the 2nd layer, it's 3D mesh with Cosmo technology, the third one with 3D mesh soft layer. Between the waterproof and 3D mesh layers is a 4-way stretch merino wool.

These layers result in excellent breathability, comfort, and high performance. Breathability is crucial because you don't want to retain all the moisture from the sweat or rain.

Even with all these layers and benefits, these shoes are very lightweight, thus perfect for all seasons.

Wrap Up

We hope our list of ten ways to deodorize your smelly shoes help you in neutralizing the odor and make your traveling experience refreshing.

We would also recommend you to invest in two things.

Firstly, your time in maintaining your foot hygiene, and secondly, your money in good quality, breathable shoes such as Loom shoes. Now, your feet can remain fresh, odor-free, sweat-free, and healthy.

Olyvia Smith


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