How to Remove Smell from Shoes ( 9 Simple Steps )

Introduction -

Dealing with smelly shoes can be quite a nuisance, especially when the odor is persistent. It comes from sweat, bacteria, or just wearing too long shoes. That bad smell is something no one wants to deal with. Luckily, there are easy ways to remove shoe odor. They also keep your footwear fresh. In this article, we will explore various steps on how to remove smell from shoes so that a pleasant fragrance surrounds your feet.

Why Tackle Shoe Odors?

Knowing the root causes of shoe odors is the first step. It’s key to getting rid of them well. We will explore the reasons behind those bad smells. We will also stress the need to keep footwear odor-free.

Understanding the Causes of Shoe Odor

Shoe odor can stem from various factors, including sweat, bacteria, and fungi. When your feet sweat, moisture gets trapped in your shoes. This creates a great place for odor-causing bacteria to thrive. Additionally, wearing shoes with socks or using good-quality footwear can exacerbate the problem. Understanding the root causes of shoe odor is crucial for combating it.

The Role of Sweat in Shoe Odor

Sweat is the body’s natural mechanism for regulating temperature, but it can also lead to smelly shoes. Sweat accumulates in your footwear. It gives bacteria a place to breed. They break down sweat and make smelly odors.

Bacteria and Fungi: The Culprits Behind Smelly Shoes

Bacteria and fungi like warmth and moisture. These are the conditions inside your shoes after a long day of wear. These microorganisms feed on sweat and dead skin cells, releasing gases that result in unpleasant odors.

Poor Ventilation and Quality of Shoes

Inadequate ventilation and low-quality shoe materials can exacerbate odor issues. Shoes made from fake materials trap moisture inside. This promotes bacteria growth and causes lasting odors.

Materials Needed

To tackle shoe odor effectively, gather the following materials:

  • Baking soda

  • White vinegar

  • Essential oils (such as tea tree oil or lavender oil)

  • Fresh citrus peels (lemon, orange)

  • Newspaper

  • Freezer-safe plastic bags

  • Cotton balls or pads

These materials will help you how to remove smell from shoes.

How to Remove Smell from Shoes: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove Smell from Shoes

Step 1: Air Them Out

  • Please remove your shoes and allow them to air out as soon as you’re done wearing them.

  • Place them in a well-ventilated area to dry.

  • Avoid storing shoes in enclosed spaces when they are damp.

Step 2: Use Baking Soda

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside each shoe, enough to cover the insoles.

  • Leave the baking soda overnight to absorb odors.

  • Shake out the excess baking soda the next day.

Step 3: White Vinegar Solution

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

  • Lightly spritz the solution inside the shoes and allow them to air dry.

  • Vinegar helps kill odor-causing bacteria and neutralizes smells.

Step 4: Essential Oils

  • Apply a few drops of your preferred essential oil onto cotton balls or pads.

  • Place the cotton balls inside the shoes and leave them overnight.

  • Essential oils not only mask odors but also have antimicrobial properties.

Step 5: Citrus Peels

  • Insert fresh citrus peels (lemon, orange) into the shoes.

  • Citrus fruits have natural deodorizing properties and leave a fresh scent.

Step 6: Freeze Them

  • Place your shoes in freezer-safe plastic bags.

  • Seal the bags and put them in the freezer overnight.

  • Freezing kills bacteria and eliminates odors.

Step 7: Wash Insoles

  • If possible, remove the insoles from your shoes.

  • Wash them with mild soap and water, then allow them to air dry completely.

  • Clean insoles prevent the buildup of bacteria and odors.

Step 8: Dryer Sheets

  • Place a scented dryer sheet inside each shoe when storing them.

  • Dryer sheets absorb moisture and add a fresh scent.

Step 9: Rotate Shoes

  • Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes every day.

  • Rotate your footwear to allow each pair to air out between uses.

Preventing Future Odor Outbreaks

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. To keep shoe odor at bay, incorporate these preventative measures into your footwear routine.

Rotation Station

Rotate your shoes regularly to give each pair ample time to air out between wears. This prevents moisture buildup and reduces the likelihood of odor development.

Sock Strategy

Socks act as a barrier between your feet and your shoes. They absorb sweat and reduce the risk of odor. Opt for moisture-wicking socks made from breathable materials for maximum effectiveness.

Air Circulation Solutions

Invest in shoe inserts or odor-fighting insoles designed to promote air circulation and absorb moisture. These can help keep your shoes fresh and comfortable throughout the day.

Storage Smarts

When not in use, store your shoes in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Avoid sealing them in airtight containers, as this can trap moisture and contribute to odor buildup.


By following these steps, they will help you remove bad smells from your shoes. Then, you can enjoy fresh-smelling shoes again. Remember to maintain good foot hygiene, including wearing clean socks and allowing your shoes to air out after wearing them. With a little care and the right techniques, you can say goodbye to smelly shoes for good.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How often should I use these methods to prevent shoe odor?

  • It’s a good practice to incorporate these steps into your shoe care routine regularly, especially if you tend to have sweaty feet. Aim to do them once a week or as needed.

2. Can I use these methods on all types of shoes?

  • Yes, these odor-removal methods are safe for most types of shoes, including sneakers, boots, flats, and heels. However, exercise caution with delicate materials.

3. Will the vinegar smell linger in my shoes?

  • No, the vinegar smell dissipates as the shoes dry. If you’re concerned, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar solution for a pleasant scent.

4. How long should I leave citrus peels in my shoes?

  • It’s best to leave the citrus peels in your shoes overnight for the most effectiveness. Remove them in the morning before wearing the shoes.

5. Can I speed up the drying process after using these methods?

  • Yes, you can place your shoes in a sunny spot or use a fan to help them dry faster. Avoid using direct heat sources like hairdryers, as they can damage certain shoe materials.

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