Effective Tips to Deodorize and Freshen Up Smelly Shoes

Effective Tips to Deodorize and Freshen Up Smelly Shoes

Shoes are an integral part of our daily lives, taking us to work, the gym, and everywhere in between. However, frequent use can lead to unpleasant odors. If you’re struggling with smelly shoes, don’t worry! We’ve compiled effective tips to help you deodorize and freshen up those shoes.

Why Do Shoes Smell?

Understanding the cause of smelly shoes can help you prevent it from recurring. The primary reasons are:

  • Sweat: Feet contain numerous sweat glands. When sweat soaks the lining of shoes, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Improper Ventilation: Insufficient airflow can cause moisture accumulation inside shoes, leading to bacterial growth.
  • Poor Shoe Maintenance: Failing to clean shoes regularly allows dirt and bacteria to accumulate.

Top Methods to Deodorize Smelly Shoes

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile household staple with excellent deodorizing properties.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda generously inside each shoe.
  2. Let it sit overnight to absorb odors.
  3. Shake out the excess baking soda the next morning.

2. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils not only mask bad odors but also have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can eliminate the root cause of the smell.

  1. Place a few drops of essential oil (e.g., tea tree oil, lavender oil) on a cotton ball.
  2. Insert the cotton balls into the shoes.
  3. Leave them overnight.

3. Tea Bags

Tea bags are another effective and simple solution to eliminate shoe odors.

  1. Place dry tea bags inside each shoe, focusing on areas where the smell is strongest.
  2. Leave the tea bags for 24 hours to absorb moisture and odors.

4. Freeze Your Shoes

Freezing shoes can kill bacteria responsible for odors. This method works well for athletic shoes.

  1. Place the smelly shoes in a plastic bag to protect from moisture.
  2. Put the bag in the freezer and leave it overnight.
  3. Remove the shoes the next morning and let them thaw naturally.

5. Use Charcoal Bags

Charcoal is a natural and powerful odor absorber.

  1. Buy activated charcoal bags from a store or make your own using activated charcoal and fabric.
  2. Place a charcoal bag in each shoe.
  3. Leave them in the shoes when not in use to maintain freshness.

Preventive Measures to Keep Shoes Fresh

The key to maintaining fresh-smelling shoes is regular maintenance and prevention.

1. Alternate Shoes

Wearing the same pair of shoes every day traps moisture and bacteria.

  • Rotate between two or more pairs.
  • Allow shoes to air out completely between uses.

2. Ensure Proper Hygiene

Good foot hygiene prevents the bacteria that cause odors.

  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly before wearing shoes.
  • Use antifungal powders or sprays.

3. Use Shoe Inserts

Antibacterial shoe inserts can help absorb sweat and keep shoes fresher longer.

  • Choose inserts made from activated charcoal or deodorizing materials.
  • Replace inserts regularly.

4. Allow Shoes to Breathe

Proper storage is crucial.

  • Store shoes in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid keeping shoes in plastic bags or sealed containers where moisture can accumulate.

5. Clean Shoes Regularly

Regular cleaning prevents odor buildup.

  • Wash the insides of shoes with a damp cloth and mild detergent.
  • Rinse and let them dry completely before wearing.

DIY Deodorizing Powders and Sprays

Creating your own deodorizing mixtures can be an economical and effective fix for shoe smells.

DIY Deodorizing Powder

This homemade powder can be used just like commercial products. It combines baking soda and essential oils.

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Sprinkle the mixture inside the shoes and leave overnight.
  3. Shake out the excess powder before wearing.

DIY Deodorizing Spray

This spray uses simple ingredients but packs a strong punch against odors.

  1. Combine equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance (optional).
  3. Spray the interior of the shoes lightly and allow to dry completely.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes home remedies and DIY solutions aren’t enough. If the odor persists despite your best efforts, consider consulting a professional cleaner.

  • Professional shoe cleaning services have access to specialized equipment and chemicals to thoroughly clean and deodorize shoes.
  • Regular use of these services can extend the life of your shoes and maintain their appearance and smell.


Smelly shoes can be a nuisance, but with these effective tips, you can easily deodorize and freshen them up. Understanding the causes, employing preventive measures, and using simple home remedies can keep your shoes and feet happy. So try these methods today and step out with confidence!

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Tina Servis CEO