Tips&TricksBanishing foul shoe odors: Proven home remedies worth trying

Banishing foul shoe odors: Proven home remedies worth trying

Stinky shoes are a troublesome problem, especially in the summer.
Stinky shoes are a troublesome problem, especially in the summer.
Images source: © Canva | RossHelen

9:27 PM EST, December 18, 2023

Discover how you can effectively combat the issue of smelly shoes, using simple, widely accessible solutions. We invite you to read this article, which will not only clear any doubts you may have, but will also provide practical everyday tips.

Where does shoe odor come from?

Have you found yourself asking why, despite regular cleaning and preserving foot hygiene, your shoes smell? This troubling thought distresses numerous individuals, particularly as they get older, when comfort in wearing shoes becomes as equally important as their aesthetic appeal. The root causes of unpleasant shoe odor can vary, and comprehending them can significantly help in resolving this problem.

Firstly, bacteria are the prime offenders. Feet provide a perfect environment for bacteria: warm, damp, and often enclosed in shoes for extensive periods. These bacteria decompose sweat, a natural byproduct secreted by the feet, and produce unpleasant odors in the process.

Another contributor is the materials used in manufacturing the shoes. Certain materials, like synthetic ones, don't allow adequate ventilation, leading to accumulated moisture and subsequently, the growth of bacteria. Hence, you should be cognizant of the materials of your favorite shoes.

Furthermore, age and lifestyle are also factors. With age, the skin of the feet becomes thinner and more susceptible to cracking, which can lead to the onset of fungal infections, another cause of foul odors. Active lifestyles, frequent exercise, or prolonged walks on warm days can increase foot perspiration, consequently adding to the problem of smelly shoes.

There are really different methods for smelly shoes.
There are really different methods for smelly shoes.© Canva | AndreyPopov

Needless to say, maintaining proper foot hygiene and regularly replacing and cleaning shoe insoles is central to keeping footgear fresh.

Understanding these elements can empower you to tackle and prevent the issue of smelly shoes in a better way. In the subsequent section of the article, we present home remedies to manage shoe odor.

Home remedies for smelly shoes

Addressing the issue of smelly shoes is neither complex nor expensive. There are simple household practices that can aid you in eliminating the offensive smell, thereby restoring freshness to your shoes. Here are some effective tactics every household can employ.

You can use popular detergents.
You can use popular detergents.© Canva | Africa images
  1. Insole comfort and hygiene: Regular replacement of shoe insoles is essential. Consider investing in insoles made of antibacterial material or utilizing special shoe deodorants. If applicable, you can also wash the insoles.
  2. Natural deodorizers: Home remedies for shoe odor often incorporate all-natural ingredients. Applying baking soda to the inside of the shoes overnight can be beneficial. Baking soda neutralizes odors and absorbs moisture. In the morning, just brush off the excess.
  3. Freezing shoes: While it may appear strange, sealing your shoes in a bag and freezing them overnight can kill bacteria and eliminate foul odors. Be sure to dry the shoes thoroughly before freezing.
  4. Employing citrus: Citrus peels, like orange or lemon, can be helpful. Keeping them inside the shoes for a few hours can mitigate undesirable odors.
  5. Ventilation and drying: After each use, shoes should be appropriately dried and ventilated. Avoid drying shoes directly on a heater, as this may damage the material. Instead, leave them in a breezy, dry location.
  6. Vinegar and alcohol: Spraying the inside of shoes with a vinegar or alcohol solution can help eradicate bacteria. After the application, let the shoes dry in a well-ventilated area.


Remember, consistently incorporating these methods can significantly maintain shoe freshness and prevent the generation of foul smells. It's crucial to tailor the method to the shoe's type and material to avoid damaging it during cleaning.

Related content