How to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes – 7 Simple Steps

Introduction -

We’ve all experienced it – the unmistakable odor that emanates from our favorite pair of shoes. Whether it is from sweat or bacteria, or make sure to wear them without socks, smelly shoes can be a nuisance. There are simple steps on how to get rid of smelly shoes, you can take to banish that unpleasant smell for good purpose.

Material's Needed -

Before we dive into the steps, here are a few materials you’ll need:

  • Mild detergent or shoe cleaner
  • Soft brush
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Sunlight
This materials help you on how to get rid of smelly shoes

How to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes - Step by Step

Step 1: Removing Insoles and Laces

Removing insoles and laces is the first step in getting rid of smelly shoes. This process involves taking out the inner sole of the shoe and also removing the shoelaces. By doing this, you allow for better access to all the nooks and crannies of the shoe where odor-causing bacteria might be lurking. It’s like giving your shoes a clean slate to work with. Plus, removing the laces ensures that every part of the shoe gets cleaned from top to bottom. This step enhances cleaning efficiency by preventing any missed spots when removing odors.

Step 2: Hand Washing

Hand washing is a method of cleaning your shoes by using your hands, warm water, and a mild detergent or shoe cleaner. To hand wash your shoes, you’ll want to fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of detergent. Next, take out the shoe laces and insoles. Then, use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the inside and outside of the shoes with soapy water. Pay attention to any areas with visible dirt or odor, making sure to thoroughly clean them. After scrubbing, rinse the shoes with clean water to remove any soap residue. Finally, before putting the shoes back on, let them air dry. Hand washing is a gentle yet effective way to remove dirt and odor from your shoes, leaving them fresh and clean.

Step 3: Machine Washing

Machine washing, if possible, is a convenient way to clean shoes. Begin by removing the laces and insoles from your shoes. This step ensures separate and efficient cleaning of these parts. Next, place your shoes in a mesh laundry bag to protect them during the wash cycle. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine, then set it to a gentle cycle with cold water. To prevent harm to specific items, do not use hot water. Once the cycle is complete, remove the shoes from the laundry bag and let them air dry completely. Machine washing is best suited for shoes like sneakers or canvas shoes that can withstand this method. It provides deep cleaning, eliminates odors, and leaves shoes fresh.

Step 4: Using Baking Soda

Using baking soda is a simple and effective way to get rid of shoe odor. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a natural deodorizer that helps absorb moisture and neutralize odors. To use baking soda, start by removing the insoles from your shoes. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside each shoe, making sure to cover the entire footbed. You can also shake the shoes gently to distribute the baking soda. Leave the baking soda in the shoes overnight to allow it time to absorb the odors. In the morning, simply shake out the excess baking soda before wearing the shoes again. This method is safe for most shoe materials and works well for mild to moderate odors. Baking soda is an affordable and eco-friendly way to maintain fresh-smelling shoes.

Step 5: Freezing Method

Using the freezing method kills shoe odors by freezing the bacteria. To do this, seal your shoes in a plastic bag to contain odors. Then, place the bagged shoes in the freezer and leave them overnight. The cold temperature of the freezer will kill the bacteria that cause the unpleasant smell. In the morning, remove the shoes from the freezer and let them thaw to room temperature. Once they have thawed, remove them from the bag and shake out any remaining ice crystals. Leather or suede shoes benefit greatly from this method. It’s a simple yet effective way to refresh your shoes and get rid of unwanted odors.

Step 6: Essential Oils

Essential oils naturally freshen shoes, fighting odor-causing bacteria for a pleasant scent. Essential oils, with their antimicrobial properties, can drop odors at their source. To use essential oils, mix a few drops of your preferred oil with water in a small spray bottle. Common options are lavender, tea tree, and peppermint oils for their scents and antibacterial qualities. Shake the bottle well to ensure the oil is evenly mixed with the water. Then, spritz the inside of your shoes with the oil mixture, focusing on areas where odor tends to linger. Before putting the shoes on, let them air dry completely. Your shoes stay fresh with delightful-smelling essential oils, warding off bacteria.

Step 7: Sunlight and Fresh Air

Sunlight and fresh air are natural remedies for getting rid of shoe odors and keeping them fresh. Sunlight’s antibacterial properties kill odor-causing bacteria, while fresh air dries moisture. To use this method, place your shoes in a sunny spot outside, ideally in a location with good airflow. Leave them there for a few hours, allowing the sunlight and fresh air to work their magic. The sun’s UV rays kill bacteria and odors, while fresh air dries remaining moisture. Be sure to flip the shoes over halfway through so that both sides can be exposed to sunlight and air. Afterward, your shoes will not only smell fresher but also feel cleaner and more comfortable to wear.

Preventive Measures -

Rotate Your Shoes: Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day. Rotating pairs prevents odor by drying them fully between wears.

Wear Socks: Whenever possible, wear socks with your shoes. Socks absorb sweat and act as a barrier between your feet and the shoe material.

Use Shoe Sprays: There are many shoe deodorizing sprays available on the market. Spritzing your shoes after each wear can help keep them smelling fresh.

Proper Storage: When not in use, store your shoes in a well-ventilated area. Avoid keeping them in a dark, damp closet, as this can contribute to odor and mold growth.


Dealing with smelly shoes doesn’t have to be a hassle. By following these simple steps and preventive measures, you can keep your favorite footwear smelling fresh and clean. Remember, a little care goes a long way in extending the life of your shoes and maintaining their comfort.

5 FAQ's

1. How often should I clean my shoes?

  • It’s a good idea to clean your shoes regularly, especially if you wear them. Aim for at least once a month, or more often if they start to develop an odor.

2. Can I use vinegar to remove shoe odor?

  • Yes, vinegar can be an effective natural remedy for shoe odor. Mix equal parts water and vinegar, then use a cloth to wipe down the inside of your shoes.

3. Are there specific socks that prevent shoe odor?

  • Certain socks, made of bamboo or merino wool, prevent odor by wicking moisture. Look for socks with antimicrobial properties.

4. Can I use baby powder instead of baking soda?

  • Yes, baby powder can help absorb moisture and odors in shoes. Sprinkle it inside your shoes and let it sit overnight before shaking out the excess.

5. How long does it take for shoes to dry after washing?

  • The material and how thoroughly you washed it determine the drying time. As a general rule, you should let shoes air dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them again.

I hope this article will help you to know, how to get rid of smelly shoes step by step.

3 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes – 7 Simple Steps”

  1. Pingback: How to Get Blood Stains Out of Shoes - 7 Simple Steps -

  2. Pingback: How to Get Yellow Stains Out of White Shoes - 9 Easy Steps

  3. Pingback: How to Get Gum off Shoe - 5 Easy Steps

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top