How to Get Smell Out of Shoes: Tips and Tricks

Are you tired of taking off your shoes and being hit with an unpleasant odor? Footwear that smells bad can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it’s a common problem for many people. The reason why shoes smell is due to the accumulation of sweat and bacteria, which thrive in warm, moist environments. Not only is it unpleasant to smell, but it can also cause foot infections and other health problems if left untreated. But don’t worry, there are ways to get rid of shoe odor and prevent it from coming back. In this article, we will explore some simple and effective tips to keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean.

Why Do Shoes Smell?

Shoes can be a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria due to the warm and moist environment inside them. Bacteria thrive on sweat and moisture, which is why shoes tend to develop an unpleasant smell over time. The sweat from your feet provides the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply quickly.

When you wear shoes for an extended period without giving them a chance to dry, the sweat and moisture build up inside them, creating an ideal environment for odor-causing bacteria to flourish. In addition to this, wearing the same pair of shoes every day also contributes to the development of bacteria, as they don’t get enough time to air out and dry completely.

The odor produced by shoes can also be exacerbated by certain materials used in their construction. Synthetic materials like polyester or nylon don’t allow proper ventilation, trapping moisture and sweat inside the shoe.

One way to prevent shoes from smelling is by choosing footwear that allows proper ventilation, such as those made of leather or canvas. These materials are breathable and help to keep your feet dry by allowing air to circulate freely.

In conclusion, shoes smell due to the growth of bacteria caused by sweat and moisture buildup inside them. Proper ventilation and taking preventive measures like wearing clean socks and rotating your shoes can help minimize odor.

Simple Ways to Get Rid of Shoe Odor

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most commonly used household items to get rid of shoe odor. It’s an effective and inexpensive solution that can be found in almost every kitchen pantry.

How Does Baking Soda Work?

Baking soda works by absorbing moisture and neutralizing odors. When sprinkled inside shoes, it acts as a natural deodorizer that helps eliminate unpleasant smells. The powder is highly absorbent and can soak up excess sweat and moisture from your shoes, which are often the main culprits of bad odor.

How to Use Baking Soda to Get Rid of Shoe Odor

To use baking soda to remove shoe odor, simply sprinkle a generous amount of the powder inside each shoe, making sure to cover all corners and crevices. Leave it in overnight or for at least 8-10 hours to allow it to work its magic. Then, remove the powder by shaking the shoes over a trash bin or by using a soft brush to sweep it out.

For best results, repeat this process regularly, especially if you use your shoes frequently or if they tend to get particularly sweaty and smelly.

Other Benefits of Baking Soda

Aside from its deodorizing properties, baking soda has several other benefits for shoe care. For example, it can help to:

  • Sanitize shoes: Baking soda can kill bacteria and fungi that thrive in moist environments, making it an excellent sanitizer for shoes.
  • Clean shoes: Baking soda can also act as a mild abrasive that helps clean dirt and grime from shoes without damaging them.
  • Reduce foot odor: By keeping shoes fresh and clean, baking soda can also help reduce foot odor caused by bacterial growth on the skin.

Final Thoughts

Baking soda is a simple yet effective solution to get rid of shoe odor. It’s easy to use, affordable, and has many other benefits for shoe care. By using baking soda regularly, you can keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean, and maintain good foot hygiene.



Vinegar is a versatile household item that can be used for cleaning, cooking, and even getting rid of shoe odor. It contains acetic acid, which helps to kill bacteria and neutralize unpleasant smells.

To use vinegar to get rid of shoe odor, start by diluting it with water. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl or container. Then, remove the insoles from your shoes and soak them in the vinegar solution for at least 30 minutes. For extra stubborn smells, you can leave them to soak overnight.

Next, soak a clean cloth or paper towel in the vinegar solution and wipe the inside of your shoes thoroughly. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies where bacteria and odor may be hiding. Once you have wiped down the inside of the shoes, let them air dry completely before wearing them again.

It is important to dilute vinegar before using it on shoes, as undiluted vinegar can damage certain materials such as leather or suede. Additionally, the smell of vinegar can be quite strong and overpowering, so be sure to let your shoes air out after cleaning to ensure that they do not retain any vinegar scent.

Using vinegar to get rid of shoe odor is an effective and affordable solution. By killing bacteria and neutralizing smells, vinegar can help keep your shoes fresh and clean.

Tea Bags

Tea Bags

Tea bags are not just for making a cup of tea. They can also be used to combat smelly shoes! Most types of tea contain tannins, which are known for their ability to absorb unpleasant odors. Here’s how you can use tea bags to get rid of shoe odor:

  1. First, make sure your shoes are dry. If they are wet or damp, the tea bags won’t work as well.

  2. Take a few used tea bags (you can also use fresh ones) and place them inside each shoe. Make sure they are pushed all the way to the toe area where most of the odor is coming from.

  3. Leave the tea bags in the shoes overnight, or for at least 8-12 hours. The longer you leave them in, the better they will work.

  4. In the morning, remove the tea bags from the shoes and discard them. Your shoes should now smell much fresher!

Tea bags are a great alternative to chemical deodorizers, as they are natural and non-toxic. Plus, they are readily available and affordable. You can also experiment with different types of tea to see which ones work best for you. Black tea, green tea, and peppermint tea are all good options.

In addition to using tea bags, it’s important to take preventive measures to keep your shoes smelling fresh. This includes drying them out after wearing them, rotating your shoes so they have time to air out, washing your socks regularly, and using foot powder. By combining these strategies, you can keep your shoes smelling clean and pleasant!

Cat Litter

Cat Litter

Cat litter is a surprisingly effective remedy for smelly shoes. While it may seem strange to put a pet product in your footwear, the absorbent properties of cat litter can help to remove excess moisture and odor from your shoes.

To use cat litter, simply place a handful of clean, unused litter into a clean sock or pantyhose and tie it off at the top. Then, insert the makeshift sachet into each shoe and leave it inside for a few hours or overnight. The cat litter will absorb any moisture and odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and clean.

One of the benefits of using cat litter is that it is easily accessible and affordable. You can purchase a bag of cat litter from your local pet store or supermarket for a reasonable price. Plus, since you only need a small amount for each application, a single bag can last for multiple uses.

Another advantage of using cat litter is that it is non-toxic and safe for most materials. This means that you can use it on a variety of shoes, including leather, canvas, and suede, without worrying about damage or discoloration.

Overall, using cat litter to deodorize your shoes is a simple and effective solution. By absorbing moisture and odor, cat litter can keep your footwear smelling fresh and clean, extending their lifespan and making them more pleasant to wear.

Preventive Measures to Keep Shoes Fresh

Dry Shoes

Dry Shoes

One of the most effective ways to get rid of shoe odor is to keep them dry. Moisture is one of the main causes of bacteria buildup, which leads to that unpleasant smell. Here are some simple tips to help you dry your shoes properly:

Air Dry

The easiest way to dry your shoes is to let them air dry. Remove the insoles and laces, then place the shoes in a well-ventilated area. You can put them outside in the sun or near a fan or open window. Avoid putting them in direct sunlight, as this can cause discoloration or deformation.

Stuff with Newspaper

If you need to dry your shoes faster, try stuffing them with crumpled newspaper. The paper will absorb the moisture from the inside of the shoes, leaving them dry and fresh-smelling. Replace the newspaper every few hours until the shoes are completely dry.

Blow Dryer

For a quick fix, you can also use a blow dryer to dry your shoes. Set it on low heat and hold it about six inches away from the shoes. Move the dryer around to evenly distribute the heat and prevent damage. Be careful not to overheat the shoes, as this can cause shrinkage or melting.

By keeping your shoes dry, you can prevent bacteria growth and stop shoe odor before it starts. Make sure to follow these tips for best results.

Rotate Your Shoes

Rotate Your Shoes

If you tend to wear the same pair of shoes every day, you’re not alone. However, wearing the same shoes day after day can contribute to unpleasant odors. That’s where shoe rotation comes in.

Rotating your shoes means alternating between different pairs on different days. By giving your shoes a break before wearing them again, you allow them to air out and reduce moisture buildup that can lead to odor-causing bacteria.

But how often should you rotate your shoes? It depends on how frequently you wear them. If you wear the same pair of shoes daily, it’s best to give them at least a day or two of rest in between wears. If you have several pairs of shoes, try rotating between them every few days.

In addition to reducing odors, shoe rotation can also help prolong the life of your footwear. Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can cause them to wear out faster, leading to the need for more frequent replacements. By rotating between different pairs, you give each pair a chance to rest and recover, which can help extend their lifespan.

So next time you’re tempted to slip on your favorite pair of shoes for the third day in a row, consider giving them a break and opting for an alternate pair instead. Your feet (and nose) will thank you!

Wash Your Socks

Wash Your Socks

Keeping your socks clean is one of the easiest ways to prevent shoe odor. When you wear shoes without socks, sweat and bacteria build up in your shoes, leading to an unpleasant smell. Washing your socks regularly can help reduce the amount of bacteria on your feet, ultimately preventing bad odor.

But what’s the best way to wash your socks? Here are some tips:

  • Use a mild detergent: Harsh detergents can damage the fibers in your socks, leading to holes and tears. Stick with a gentle detergent that won’t harm your socks.

  • Wash in cold water: Hot water can shrink your socks and damage their elasticity. Cold water is gentler on fabrics and helps preserve the shape of your socks.

  • Don’t use fabric softener: Fabric softeners can leave a residue on your socks, which can trap bacteria and odors. Skip the fabric softener and opt for vinegar or baking soda instead.

  • Air dry your socks: Tumble-drying your socks can cause them to shrink and lose their shape. Hang your socks to dry or lay them flat.

By washing your socks regularly and following these tips, you can keep your feet and shoes smelling fresh. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to shoe odor, and keeping your socks clean is an important part of that prevention.

Use Foot Powder

Use Foot Powder

Foot powder is one of the best solutions to keep your feet dry and odor-free. It works by absorbing sweat, reducing moisture, and providing a refreshing sensation that will make you feel comfortable all day long.

How Does Foot Powder Work?

Foot powder contains ingredients such as talcum or cornstarch that help to absorb moisture from your feet. When you apply foot powder to your feet, it creates a layer that absorbs sweat and prevents it from building up inside your shoes. This helps to reduce the bacterial growth that causes bad odors.

Besides, most foot powders contain essential oils that provide a pleasant scent and a refreshing feeling. They can also help to soothe your skin and prevent fungal infections.

Benefits of Using Foot Powder

  • Absorbs sweat: Foot powder helps to keep your feet dry and fresh by absorbing sweat. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth and bad odors.
  • Reduces moisture: Moisture is the main cause of foot problems such as blisters, athlete’s foot, and toenail fungus. Foot powder helps to reduce moisture and prevent these issues.
  • Provides freshness: Foot powder has a refreshing scent that makes your feet smell good and feel cool. It can also help to soothe your skin and relieve itching and discomfort.

How to Use Foot Powder

Using foot powder is easy and straightforward. Here are some tips to get the best results:

  1. Start with clean, dry feet: Before applying foot powder, make sure your feet are clean and dry. Wash them with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly with a towel.
  2. Apply foot powder: Sprinkle foot powder on your feet, focusing on the areas that tend to sweat more, such as the soles, toes, and heels.
  3. Rub it in: Use your hands to massage the foot powder into your skin. This will help it to absorb better and provide a more refreshing sensation.
  4. Wear breathable shoes: To maximize the benefits of foot powder, wear shoes that are made of breathable materials such as canvas or leather. This will allow air to circulate and prevent moisture buildup.


Foot powder is an effective solution to keep your feet dry, fresh, and odor-free. It absorbs sweat, reduces moisture, and provides a refreshing sensation that will make you feel comfortable all day long. By following the tips above, you can enjoy the benefits of foot powder and keep your feet healthy and happy.
Maintaining fresh and clean shoes is an essential aspect of overall hygiene. Foot odor can not only be unpleasant but also embarrassing, affecting your confidence and social interactions. However, there are several simple and effective ways to get rid of shoe odor, such as using baking soda, vinegar, tea bags, or cat litter. Additionally, preventive measures like drying shoes, rotating footwear, washing socks, and using foot powder can help keep your feet and shoes fresh. By implementing these tips and tricks, you can avoid the discomfort and embarrassment caused by smelly shoes. Remember that taking care of your shoes is not just about looks; it’s about maintaining proper hygiene and keeping your feet healthy. So, make sure to follow these tips and enjoy wearing fresh and clean shoes!

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