Best Way To Stop Shoes Smelling

Best Way To Stop Shoes Smelling


Do you dread taking off your shoes because of the unpleasant odor that wafts up? Are you embarrassed by the smell of your shoes when others get a whiff? Whether it’s due to sweaty feet, bacteria, or other factors, smelly shoes can be a big problem. But fear not, there are effective ways to combat shoe odor and keep your footwear smelling fresh. In this article, we will explore the best methods to eliminate shoe odor and keep your shoes smelling clean and pleasant.

The Causes of Smelly Shoes

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s important to understand what causes shoes to smell in the first place. Here are some common reasons for shoe odor:

1. Sweat

Excessive sweat trapped inside your shoes creates the perfect breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. As the bacteria break down the sweat, they release unpleasant smells.

2. Bacteria and Fungi

The combination of moisture and warmth inside closed shoes promotes bacterial and fungal growth. These microorganisms thrive in these conditions and produce foul-smelling compounds.

3. Poor Ventilation

If your shoes don’t have adequate ventilation, the moisture from your feet gets trapped inside, leading to an unpleasant odor.

4. Lack of Socks

Going sockless in your shoes can increase the likelihood of smelly shoes. Socks help absorb sweat and reduce moisture buildup.

Effective Ways to Stop Shoes from Smelling

1. Wash and Dry Your Feet Regularly

One of the simplest ways to prevent shoe odor is to maintain good foot hygiene. Make it a habit to wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water every day. Dry them well, especially between the toes, before putting on your shoes.

2. Wear Clean Socks

Always wear clean and dry socks with your shoes. Choose socks made from breathable materials like cotton or bamboo, as they help absorb moisture from your feet.

3. Use Foot Powder

Applying foot powder to your feet before putting on your shoes can help absorb sweat and control odor. Look for powders that have antibacterial properties for added protection.

4. Rotate Your Shoes

Give your shoes a chance to air out and dry by rotating them. Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day as this allows moisture to accumulate and promotes bacterial growth.

5. Use Odor Absorbing Inserts

There are various types of odor-absorbing shoe inserts available in the market. These inserts usually contain activated charcoal, which helps absorb moisture and neutralize odors.

6. Washable Insoles

If your shoes have removable insoles, consider washing them regularly. Insoles can harbor bacteria and contribute to shoe odor. Look for insoles that are machine washable for easy maintenance.

7. Freeze Your Shoes

Believe it or not, freezing your shoes can help kill odor-causing bacteria. Place your shoes in a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold temperature kills the bacteria, reducing the smell.

8. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and can help eliminate shoe odor. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritz the inside of your shoes. Let them air dry. The vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries, taking the shoe odor with it.

9. Baking Soda

Baking soda has excellent odor-absorbing properties. Sprinkle some baking soda inside your shoes and leave it overnight. In the morning, shake out the baking soda, and the smell should be gone.

10. Tea Bags

Used tea bags can work wonders in eliminating shoe odor. Place a couple of used tea bags in each shoe overnight. Tea contains tannins that can help kill bacteria and deodorize the shoes.

11. Natural Essential Oils

Essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender oil have antimicrobial properties and can effectively combat odor-causing bacteria. Mix a few drops of your chosen oil with water and spray it inside your shoes.

12. Sunlight and Fresh Air

Expose your shoes to sunlight and fresh air whenever possible. UV rays from the sun help kill bacteria and fresh air aids in drying out any moisture trapped inside the shoes.

13. Shoe Deodorizers

There are numerous commercial shoe deodorizers available in the market. These products are specifically designed to combat shoe odor and leave your footwear smelling fresh. Look for options that suit your needs and preferences.

14. Clean Your Shoes Regularly

Regularly clean your shoes to prevent the buildup of dirt, sweat, and bacteria. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning each shoe type, whether it’s leather, canvas, or synthetic materials.

15. Replace Insoles and Shoes

If you’ve tried all the above methods and still can’t get rid of the smell, it may be time to replace the insoles or even the shoes themselves. Over time, bacteria and other particles can become embedded in the material, making it difficult to eliminate the odor completely.

Common FAQs about Smelly Shoes

1. Why do my shoes smell even though I wear socks?

Even if you wear socks, your feet can still sweat and produce moisture. If the shoes don’t have adequate ventilation, the moisture can get trapped, leading to shoe odor.

2. Can smelly shoes be a sign of a medical condition?

In some cases, excessively smelly shoes can be a symptom of a medical condition called bromodosis. If you’re concerned about the severity of the odor or if it persists despite your efforts to eliminate it, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

3. Can I use perfumes or sprays to mask the smell of my shoes?

While perfumes or sprays may temporarily mask the smell, they don’t address the underlying cause of the odor. It’s better to focus on eliminating the odor by following the methods mentioned earlier.

4. How often should I clean my shoes to prevent odor?

The frequency of shoe cleaning depends on various factors such as how often you wear the shoes, the activities you engage in while wearing them, and the level of odor. It’s a good practice to clean your shoes regularly to prevent odor buildup.

5. Are there any preventive measures to avoid smelly shoes?

Absolutely! Some preventive measures include wearing comfortable and breathable shoes, using moisture-wicking socks, and practicing good foot hygiene. These habits can help reduce the likelihood of smelly shoes.

6. Can I use baking soda on all types of shoes?

Baking soda is generally safe to use on most types of shoes, including leather, canvas, and synthetic materials. However, it’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the material.

7. Can I put my shoes in the washing machine to eliminate odor?

While it may be tempting to toss your shoes in the washing machine, it’s not recommended for most shoe types. Machine washing can damage the structure and materials of the shoes. Instead, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning each shoe type.

8. Should I avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row?

Yes, wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row can lead to moisture buildup and increased chances of shoe odor. It’s best to rotate your shoes and allow them to air out and dry between wears.

9. Are there any natural alternatives to commercial shoe deodorizers?

Absolutely! Natural alternatives include baking soda, vinegar, tea bags, and essential oils. These substances have deodorizing properties and can effectively combat shoe odor.

10. How long does it take to eliminate shoe odor using these methods?

The timeframe to eliminate shoe odor varies depending on the severity of the odor and the methods used. In some cases, the smell may diminish after a single use of a deodorizing method, while in others, it may take several attempts to completely eliminate the odor.


Dealing with smelly shoes is a common problem that many people face. Fortunately, there are numerous effective ways to combat shoe odor and keep your footwear smelling fresh. From practicing good foot hygiene to using natural substances like baking soda and vinegar, these methods can help eliminate shoe odor and restore freshness to your shoes. Remember, prevention is key, so adopt habits like wearing clean socks and rotating your shoes to minimize odor buildup. With these tips, you can say goodbye to smelly shoes and confidently put your best foot forward.

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