How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor

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Do you think twice before removing your shoes when you are surrounded by people? Do you feel embarrassed while removing your shoes because it smells so bad?

Shoe odor that emanates from the shoes is a common problem which everybody wants to get rid of.  It not just makes the person feel embarrassed but also fills the surrounding area with a foul smell.

Causes of Shoe Odor

At first, it is important to know the causes of the stinking shoes so that it will become easier for you to combat the issue effectively.

Growth of Bacteria: The shoe starts smelling foul when the excess perspiration from the feet gets absorbed by the socks and the lining of the shoes.  So this condition supports the bacteria to grow there. The bacteria feed on the dead skin cells of the feet, which in turn cause bad odor.

Improper Shoes and Socks: Using ill-fitted shoes with less ventilation often causes bad odor. Also, the use of synthetic boots and polyester or nylon socks cause shoe odor.

Other foot Related Problem: Sometimes the shoes smell foul because of the some diseases in the foot like nail fungus or some wounds in the foot.

Improper Hygiene: Not maintaining a proper hygiene routine for the feet also leads to the problem of shoe odor.

How to Keep Your Shoes Odor Free

The person who suffer from this embarrassing issue of shoe odor, desperately want some solutions for it as he/she faces this problem every day.

 Baking Soda

Other than making your baked items fluffier, baking soda can also be used for some other purposes. You will be surprised to know that this kitchen ingredient with its deodorizing properties can be used to remove the foul smell from your shoes.

Option 1:

  • Before wearing your stinking shoes again, place 2 sachets of baking soda inside the shoes so that the baking soda can absorb the bad odor.
  • Keep the sachets in the shoes until your shoes become odorless completely.
  • In place of sachets, you can also wrap some baking soda in a piece of cloth and tie the ends with a rubber band.
  • Now, keep it in the shoes to get rid of the shoe odor.

Option 2:

  • You can also use baking soda in some other way to remove the shoe odor. Dust some baking soda inside the shoes and leave for overnight.
  • Next day morning, before wearing the shoes, tap out the baking soda from the shoes.

Option 3:

  • You can use a coffee filter and baking soda to get rid of shoe odor.
  • Fill your coffee filter with some baking soda and toss the baking soda inside.
  • Now sprinkle the tossed baking soda inside the smelly shoes and leave it overnight.
  • Remove the baking soda from the shoes before wearing them.
  • You will find that the shoes do not smell foul anymore.

Note: Be cautious while using baking soda in leather shoes as it makes the leather shoes dry.


You read it earlier that the bacteria are the main cause of shoe odor and in this case alcohol comes to your rescue. Alcohol not only prevents the growth of bacteria by killing them but also removes the stinking smell from the shoes.

For the Shoes:

  • To disinfect the shoes, first dry the shoes.
  • Take some cleaning alcohol and soak your shoes in it for some time.
  • Take the shoes out of the alcohol and leave for some time to get dry properly.
  • It will make your shoes odor free as well as prevent it from stinking again.

For the Feet:

  • Clean your feet with water.
  • Dry them and apply some pure alcohol on the feet.
  • Let your feet dry properly, and then wear your shoes.

Vinegar and Water

Like alcohol, the use of vinegar also prevents the growth of bacteria in the sneakers that cause bad odor.

  • Take 2 cups of vinegar and add them to 3 gallons of water in a tub.
  • Mix the vinegar in the water properly and then soak your sneakers in it.
  • As soon as the shoes get soaked in the vinegar water completely, take them out and dry them immediately so that there will be no chance for the new bacteria to grow.

Essential Oils

We often think that essential oil can be used only for skin, hair and to cure certain health conditions. Apart from these, essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, clove oil or tea tree oil with their strong smell can be used to treat shoe odor.

  • Take any of the essential oils that are mentioned above.
  • Now apply the essential oil on the inside of the shoes with the help of a cotton ball.
  • Now place few pieces of paper inside the shoes so that the fragrance of the essential oil stays inside the shoes.
  • Leave the shoes for few hours or for overnight to get best results against shoe odor.

Baking Soda and Essential Oil

We now know the usage of both baking soda and the essential oil to get rid of shoe odor. So we can also combine both the ingredients to remove the shoe odor effectively.

  • Take some baking soda and add few drops of essential oil of your choice.
  • Stir the ingredients nicely.
  • Sprinkle the combination inside your shoes (do not rub the powder inside the shoes).
  • Leave the shoes like this for overnight so that the baking soda will absorb the odor and the essential oil will offer a nice smell to the shoes.
  • Next day morning tap the baking soda and essential oil mixture out of the shoes. Shake your shoes well to remove the powder from the shoes properly.

Black Tea Bags

The use of black tea bag can effectively make your shoes odor free as it contains tannins that kill the odor-causing bacteria in the shoes. And at the same time the smell of the tea leaves will absorb the bad odor of the shoes.

  • Take 4 used tea bags and dry them out.
  • Now put the dried tea bags inside the shoes.
  • Leave tea bags inside the shoes overnight to get best results.
  • This tea bag method works great for tennis shoes.
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Maria Miller

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