naturally eliminate shoe odors

How to Eliminate Shoe Odor

Let’s face it.  Shoe odors are highly unpleasant, and they can be a real problem.

Shoes, of course, don’t inherently have odors on their own, but it seems like every time you find a perfect, favorite pair, they eventually get a permanent and foul odor.  

Wiki tells us that foot odor is created when the foot sweats, creating an environment conducive to bacteria growth.  The bacteria that is transferred to the shoe is what actually causes the shoe odor (gross, right?), and for some reason, this bacteria doesn’t seem to die on its own. 

So, if you find yourself (or your favorite pair of shoes) with an odor problem, here are some home remedies you can try, to eliminate the shoe odor.

Baking Soda

An inexpensive and simple solution on how to eliminate shoe odor is to use baking soda.  Simply sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes and allow to sit overnight.  Turn shoes over and empty out the baking soda in the morning. 

Baking soda helps absorb odors (which is why it is often used in fridges and freezers), without masking the scent with additional fragrances. 

(Be careful using this on suede or leather shoes, as a buildup of baking soda may cause these types of materials to become more brittle)

Activated Charcoal 

Take a small cloth (one you’re not particularly attached to, as it will get dirty), and add in a few tablespoons of activated charcoal.  Bring all of the corners together, and secure with a rubber band or tie, to create a sachet. Place sachet inside shoe, and leave over night.  

Activated Charcoal, like baking soda, can help absorb unwanted odors naturally.  

A little word of caution: activated charcoal is very black, and very messy.  If you’re using this method in an expensive pair of shoes, I would double up the cloth and test out the durability of the material, before inserting the charcoal. 

Put your shoes in the freezer

Say what now? 

Yeah, I’m saying it.  Put your shoes in the freezer to combat bad smells.  Grab a plastic bag or sack, and place shoes inside the plastic bag, and nest them inside the freezer.  Leave them overnight, and then remove them.  (I recommend waiting a few minutes to put them on, because they will be cold!)

Hypothetically, the freezer will kill odor-causing bacteria, and leave your shoes odor-free.  

Wash the Shoes

Sorry to be Captain Obvious here, but if it is practical to wash your shoes, and you can follow manufacturer’s instructions to wash them, this is a sure bet.  It will kill the bacteria living inside, and leave your shoes so fresh and so clean. 

Kitty Litter

If you happen to have a cat, you may have kitty litter on hand.  And it makes sense that if kitty litter can mask the smell of… well, you know… it may also help eliminate smells from shoes.  

Simply fill an unwanted sock (perhaps one that lost its sole mate… hahaha) with kitty litter, and nest inside shoe over night.  Remove, and repeat as necessary. 

Citrus Rinds

This may be more beneficial in masking versus eliminating shoe odors, but it is worth a shot.  Grab a few orange (or lemon) peels, cut them into manageable sizes, and place a few inside each shoe.  Allow to sit overnight, and discard. 

Do you have any methods on how to eliminate shoe odors?  Please share what has worked for you in the comments! 



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