How To Get Rid Of The Odor In Shoes

All of us have faced the issue of smelly shoes in the summers. This experience is highly unpleasant. The reason being it is most common during summers is due to the presence of sweat.

If you’re looking for a solution to get rid of odor in your shoes, we’re here to help you out!

In this article, a list of steps that can be employed to get rid of the odor in shoes has been provided. Keep reading to learn more and free yourself from this reeking experience!

Reasons behind Smelly Shoes

There are a number of reasons as to why your shoes could smell. Some of these have been listed below:

  1. Lack of Exposure to Air

Many times, shoes are made of thick materials. These thick materials may include suede or even leather. Such shoes have very little room for ventilation. As a result of this, your feet tend to sweat and it gets accumulated.

This creates a bad odor that could be highly noticeable. In such cases, buying light-weight cotton shoes is recommended in the summer season.

  1. Dirty Feet

Having unclean or dirty feet can invite bacteria and fungus to your shoes. This can lead to your shoes being stinky all day long. To avoid this, it’s necessary to scrub or clean your feet properly with soap and water regularly.

Dirty Feet cause Odor in Shoes

This will keep your shoes clean and odor-free.

  1. Overusing of the Same Shoes

Overusing the same shoes is another reason why your footwear may be reeking. When you wear the same pair of shoes every day, the sweat is likely to accumulate. This will make your feet and your shoes extremely smelly.

Thus, you should try to switch your footwear every 3-4 days to avoid such situations.

  1. Improper Way of Cleaning Your Footwear

Your shoes are supposed to be cleaned at regular intervals with soap and water. However, this isn’t enough. If you clean your shoes but don’t dry them up properly, your shoes are most likely going to reek.

Drying your shoes up entirely is a crucial step in keeping your shoes odorless.

  1. Socks: Same or Wet

Do you wear the same socks every day? If yes, it’s now time to change that! Wearing the same socks every day is likely to invite bacteria and a stench to your shoes and feet. Additionally, if you wear wet socks, microbes are likely to grow and attack your feet and socks.

The presence of a high amount of microbes will create an intolerable smell.

It is important to change your socks every day. Preferably, you must wear entirely dry socks.

4 basic Steps to Keep Your Shoe Odor-free

There are various steps that you can adopt to keep your shoe odor-free. These steps have been grouped under the following broad categories.


Preventing your shoes from stinking is the very first step in the process. This can be done by being hygienic and careful with its usage. Keeping your feet and shoes clean, wearing clean socks, using the right insoles, etc., all fall in this category.


This step will be relevant if you weren’t very successful at the first step and your shoes got infected anyway. A number of sprays or powders are available in the markets or at pharmacies for this purpose. These can be sprayed upon or into your shoes for proper disinfection.


This step also involves the use of certain fragrant powders or sprays. Under this section, the use of specific insoles can also be recommended that come with fragrances and prevent the accumulation of moisture or sweat.

Time to Throw Your Shoes Away

If nothing seems to work out, it’s time for you to toss your shoes in the bin. Bidding adieu to your extra-worn shoes may not be easy but necessary. 

This should be done when your shoes are beyond any repair and have been infested by a huge amount of bacteria or microbes. This may never allow the stench to go away and keep you in this bad-smelling stage forever!

How to Get Rid Of The Odor In Shoes

Washing and Cleaning Your Shoes Properly

As mentioned earlier, it’s very important for you to wash your shoes regularly. This is to be done in warm water with proper soaps or detergents. Once you’re done washing your shoes, you must place your shoes outdoors till they dry up entirely.

You can also use a dust scraper to remove any dirt that may be present on the outsoles or insoles of your shoe.

These measures are likely to keep your shoes clean and fragrant.

Use of Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective mechanism that can be used to keep your shoes fresh and free of odor. If your shoes have been reeking, grab some baking soda from your kitchen, and sprinkle it on the inside of your shoe.

Let the baking soda sit in your shoes for a few hours. However, be sure to get rid of it before you wear your shoes again in the future. If this doesn’t help immediately, try sprinkling the baking soda 2-3 more times.

Drying Your Shoes in the Sun

The best way to dry your shoes after a wash is by placing them out in the Sun. This is likely to remove all the moisture present in your footwear.

Once your shoes are entirely dry, you’ll notice that the odor has completely disappeared. You can then wear them confidently without having to worry about any stench.

This will also keep your shoes away from bacteria and fungus.

Using Tea Bags

Using Tea Bags is an effective method of getting rid of shoe odor. These constitute certain compounds. These are known to kill any microbes or bacteria that create a smell in your footwear.

Teabags can be boiled and placed in footwear to remove the stench. Used tea bags can also be utilized in this case. These should be kept in the footwear for about one night. In the morning, you can remove the tea bags and keep your footwear outside till they dry.

Baby Powder

Have you ever come across a baby powder bottle lying around in your house? Well, it’s now time for you to utilize it! Baby powder can be sprinkled in your shoes.

The powder works as a deodorizer. It is more than likely to remove the smell effectively.

Don’t Throw Away the Orange Peels

If you eat oranges, we advise you not to throw the peels away! You can place the orange peels in your shoes for a night. These peels will help you get rid of the smell right away! You can then throw away the peels in the morning.

Use Orange Peels to Get Rid Odor in Shoes

If this trick doesn’t work at once, you can repeat it twice or thrice for improved results.

Using Essential Oils

When it comes to adding elements to your shoes to remove any kind of odor, we have several options for you to refer to! Another one of these long lists of options is the essential oil. Essential oils come in various forms.

Some of the famously known oils that can be added to your shoes are tea tree, eucalyptus, and cloves. You can add these oils to your shoes for one night. In the morning, the smell is most likely to go away.

If in case it doesn’t, try repeating the process!

Use of Alcoholic Liquids

Alcohol kills any microbes that may be present in your footwear. This erases the smell completely and will solve your problem effectively. The use of alcohol is, however, not recommended for shoes made of high-quality material such as leather.

Thus, the next time you notice an odor coming from your shoes, take a cotton swab, dip it in alcohol, and place it inside your shoe. You can even try rubbing the ball on your shoe’s surface for results.

Once this is done, place the shoes outside to be dried. Remember, alcohol is highly inflammable. Hence, don’t keep your shoes anywhere close to the fire.

Adding Cat Litter to Your Shoes

This may seem shocking to you! However, adding Cat litter to your shoes is another way of getting rid of the odor. This can be done for a night. You can then expect good results by the morning.

Kitty litter absorbs the sweat and thus the odor. This is how it manages to remove the stench.

Keeping Your Feet Clean

As mentioned earlier, dirty or unclean feet invite microbes to your shoes in the form of dirt. These bacteria or microbes are most likely to grow under those conditions.

This leads to the generation of a weird smell that is highly unpleasant. To avoid this, you must keep your feet clean by washing them with soap and warm water after you return home from a long day outdoors.

Soaking Your Shoe Insoles in Vinegar and Water

Vinegar is known to soak up any sort of odor present in your shoes. If you have been experiencing an issue with smelly shoes, soaking your shoe insoles in vinegar for about a day is the right solution for you!

However, once your shoes dry up and the odor goes away, a slight vinegar smell is likely to remain. If you wouldn’t like that, try opting for other options instead.

Using Antifungal Sprays

Antifungal sprays are readily available in the market. These can be sprayed onto your shoes whenever you experience odor issues with your footwear. It may not work immediately, but frequent use can help your case.

While the use of these sprays is mostly linked to people having an athlete’s foot, odor problems can occur even with those who don’t.

Using Medicated Insoles

With medicated insoles, the problem of sweating and experiencing weird-smelling shoes is highly unlikely. These insoles are comfortable, known to absorb sweat, and have a fragrance. These can be found easily at shoe stores or pharmacies.

Using the Newspaper to Absorb Moisture

Newspaper rolls can be made and placed inside shoes to absorb moisture or sweat. You should preferably do this at night before you have to wear the shoes.

If the newspaper isn’t available, tissues or normal paper rolls can also be used. These can be taken out the next morning with improved results.

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are easily available in the market. These can be rolled up and placed in one’s footwear for a day or two.

These sheets absorb one’s sweat or moisture present in the shoes after a long day in the outdoors.

Affects of Smelly Shoes on Your Social Presence

Affects of Smelly Shoes on Your Social Presence

If your shoes are reeking, it is likely to have certain effects on your social presence too. This can occur in the following ways:

  1. Lack of confidence around people
  2. Not being able to pay attention due to the stench
  3. Being frowned upon by others
  4. Setting the wrong impression before others

Summing Up

Stinky shoes are highly noticeable by almost everyone. They’re likely to affect your status in society and bring down your confidence too! Such issues shouldn’t be left untreated.

There are a number of ways that can be employed to resolve the issue of smelly shoes. Some of these strategies have been mentioned above. These range from rubbing alcohol on the outsoles of your shoe to placing dryer sheets, orange peels, tea bags, and even baking soda on the inside.

Most of these remedies are very easy to implement and provide quick and efficient results. However, if their results do not show immediately, it may take another few more days.

We advise you to remain patient and wait for improved results. In the worst-case scenarios, you’ll have to discard them off.