Tip of the Day: Struggling with Shoe Odour?

Do you think twice before removing your shoes when you are surrounded by people? Do you feel embarrassed while removing your shoes because it smells so bad?

Shoe odour that emanates from the shoes is a common problem which everybody wants to get rid of.  It not just makes the person feel embarrassed but also fills the surrounding area with a foul smell.

Causes of Shoe Odour

At first, it is important to know the causes of the stinking shoes so that it will become easier for you to combat the issue effectively.

Growth of Bacteria: The shoe starts smelling foul when the excess perspiration from the feet gets absorbed by the socks and the lining of the shoes.  So this condition supports the bacteria to grow there. The bacteria feed on the dead skin cells of the feet, which in turn cause bad odour.

Improper Shoes and Socks: Using ill-fitted shoes with less ventilation often causes bad odour. Also, the use of synthetic boots and polyester or nylon socks cause shoe odour.

Other foot Related Problem: Sometimes the shoes smell foul because of the some diseases in the foot like nail fungus or some wounds in the foot.

Improper Hygiene: Not maintaining a proper hygiene routine for the feet also leads to the problem of shoe odour.

How to Keep Your Shoes Odour Free

The person who suffer from this embarrassing issue of shoe odour, desperately want some solutions for it as he/she faces this problem every day.

Baking Soda

Other than making your baked items fluffier, baking soda can also be used for some other purposes. You will be surprised to know that this kitchen ingredient with its deodorizing properties can be used to remove the foul smell from your shoes.

Option 1:

  • Before wearing your stinking shoes again, place 2 sachets of baking soda inside the shoes so that the baking soda can absorb the bad odour.
  • Keep the sachets in the shoes until your shoes become odourless completely.
  • In place of sachets, you can also wrap some baking soda in a piece of cloth and tie the ends with a rubber band.
  • Now, keep it in the shoes to get rid of the shoe odour.

Option 2:

  • You can also use baking soda in some other way to remove the shoe odour. Dust some baking soda inside the shoes and leave for overnight.
  • Next day morning, before wearing the shoes, tap out the baking soda from the shoes.

Option 3:

  • You can use a coffee filter and baking soda to get rid of shoe odour.
  • Fill your coffee filter with some baking soda and toss the baking soda inside.
  • Now sprinkle the tossed baking soda inside the smelly shoes and leave it overnight.
  • Remove the baking soda from the shoes before wearing them.
  • You will find that the shoes do not smell foul anymore.

Note: Be cautious while using baking soda in leather shoes as it makes the leather shoes dry.


You read it earlier that the bacteria are the main cause of shoe odour and in this case alcohol comes to your rescue. Alcohol not only prevents the growth of bacteria by killing them but also removes the stinking smell from the shoes.

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For the Shoes:

  • To disinfect the shoes, first dry the shoes.
  • Take some cleaning alcohol and soak your shoes in it for some time.
  • Take the shoes out of the alcohol and leave for some time to get dry properly.
  • It will make your shoes odour free as well as prevent it from stinking again.

For the Feet:

  • Clean your feet with water.
  • Dry them and apply some pure alcohol on the feet.
  • Let your feet dry properly, and then wear your shoes.

Vinegar and Water

Like alcohol, the use of vinegar also prevents the growth of bacteria in the sneakers that cause bad odour.

  • Take 2 cups of vinegar and add them to 3 gallons of water in a tub.
  • Mix the vinegar in the water properly and then soak your sneakers in it.
  • As soon as the shoes get soaked in the vinegar water completely, take them out and dry them immediately so that there will be no chance for the new bacteria to grow.

Essential Oils

We often think that essential oil can be used only for skin, hair and to cure certain health conditions. Apart from these, essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, clove oil or tea tree oil with their strong smell can be used to treat shoe odour.

  • Take any of the essential oils that are mentioned above.
  • Now apply the essential oil on the inside of the shoes with the help of a cotton ball.
  • Now place few pieces of paper inside the shoes so that the fragrance of the essential oil stays inside the shoes.
  • Leave the shoes for few hours or for overnight to get best results against shoe odour.

Baking Soda and Essential Oil

We now know the usage of both baking soda and the essential oil to get rid of shoe odour. So we can also combine both the ingredients to remove the shoe odour effectively.

  • Take some baking soda and add few drops of essential oil of your choice.
  • Stir the ingredients nicely.
  • Sprinkle the combination inside your shoes (do not rub the powder inside the shoes).
  • Leave the shoes like this for overnight so that the baking soda will absorb the odour and the essential oil will offer a nice smell to the shoes.
  • Next day morning tap the baking soda and essential oil mixture out of the shoes. Shake your shoes well to remove the powder from the shoes properly.

Black Tea Bags

The use of black tea bag can effectively make your shoes odour free as it contains tannins that kill the odour-causing bacteria in the shoes. And at the same time the smell of the tea leaves will absorb the bad odour of the shoes.

  • Take 4 used tea bags and dry them out.
  • Now put the dried tea bags inside the shoes.
  • Leave tea bags inside the shoes overnight to get best results.
  • This tea bag method works great for tennis shoes.


Onions work great to get rid of the shoe odour by absorbing the foul smell of the shoes.

  • Cut 2 to 3 onions and keep the cut onions inside the shoes.
  • Leave the onions in the shoes for few hours to remove the shoe odour.
  • Like black tea bags, onions also work well for tennis shoes.
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Orange Peels

Orange peel can come to your rescue if you often experience the embarrassing condition called shoe odour. Loaded with antibacterial properties, it will prevent the breeding of bacteria in the shoes and at the same time will kill the bacteria.

With its strong smell, it will absorb the foul smell of the shoes. It will also offer freshness to the shoes.

  • Take 2 oranges and peel the skin with the help of a peeler.
  • Now, place the peels inside the shoes and leave for overnight.
  • The orange peel will absorb the bad odour from the shoes and at the same time will offer a good smell to the shoes.
  • So next time do not throw the peels after eating the orange. Enjoy the orange as well as remove the shoe odour.

Wear Socks

Excess sweating from the feet is one of the main causes of shoe odour. So to prevent it wear a pair of clean socks that will absorb the sweats. Then there will be less breeding of bacteria in the shoes and fewer bacteria means there will be a drastic reduction in shoe odour.

  • Ensure to wear a pair of clean socks before wearing your shoes.
  • Clean your socks properly after every use.
  • Do not use the same socks twice.

Cat Litter

It sounds strange to use cat litter for shoe odour, but I must tell you that it is an effective way to remove the foul smell from the shoes.

  • Ensure to use fresh cat litter for this purpose.
  • Take a pair of old socks and pour the unused cat litter into it.
  • Now tie the ends of the socks.
  • Place the socks with cat litter inside the smelly shoes overnight.
  • To your surprise, the cat litter will absorb all the foul smell from the shoes and will make them odour free.

Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Cornstarch Mixture

Both baking soda and baking powder work as deodorizers. And cornstarch absorbs the sweat to prevent the growth of the bacteria.

  • Take equal quantity of baking soda, baking powder and cornstarch to make a mixture.
  • Now pour the mixture in a pair of cotton socks.
  • Tie the end of the socks and keep the socks inside the shoes overnight.
  • Next day morning you will be surprised to find that the stinking smell of your shoes has already gone.

Baby Powder

Apart from keeping your baby’s skin dry, baby powder can also keep your shoes odourless. It works by absorbing the sweat from the feet and keeping them dry.

  • Powder your feet well before wearing the shoes.
  • You can sprinkle some amount of powder in your socks too.
  • It will absorb the sweat and prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause shoe odour
  • Ensure to powder your feet from time to time to keep them dry and odourless.

Paper Towels

The use of paper towels is a simple yet an effective method, which will help to keep the shoe odour at the bay.

  • For this, you need a large paper towel.
  • Keep it on a flat surface and put some water and soap in it.
  • Crumble the paper towel with your hand and keep it inside the shoes.
  • Leave the crumbled paper towel in the shoes overnight.
  • It will surely remove the odour from the stinking shoes.
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Dryer Sheet

You can place a dryer sheet inside the shoes when you are not wearing the shoes. It will decrease as well as prevent the shoe odour.

  • Take a dryer sheet and cut it into two halves.
  • Place the sheets inside the shoes.
  • Leave the sheets inside the shoes until you wear them next time.

Shoe Spray

The use of the shoe spray which has vodka, distilled water and essential oils in it can effectively remove the shoe odour. The vodka in the spray will prevent the growth of the bacteria. The essential oil will kill the bacteria with its strong smell.

  • Take 1/8 c. vodka and 1/4 c. distilled water in a bowl.
  • Take 1 tbsp of essential oil of your choice (lavender, tea tree, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, or peppermint)
  • Stir the ingredients and then pour it into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture on your shoes before wearing them.
  • It will definitely prevent shoe odour from occurring again.

Keep Shoes in Freezer

This method works great to get rid of the stubborn shoe odour.

  • Place your shoes in sealable plastic bags.
  • Now put them inside the freezer and leave overnight.
  • Take them out of the freezer and thaw.
  • When the shoes are thawed properly, you can wear them.

Tips to Prevent Shoe Odour

You can follow the methods that are mentioned above to remove the shoe odour. But it is always better to prevent it at the first place. So go through the tips that are mentioned below to stay away from stinky shoes.

  • Maintain a good hygiene routine for your feet to keep them clean. Scrub your feet weekly once.
  • Wash your feet with warm water mixed with salt to keep them clean and bacteria-free.
  • Try to keep your feet dry and ventilated.
  • Always wear shoes with socks. Wear clean, cotton socks to absorb the sweat.
  • Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day. At least keep two pairs of shoes so that you can wear them alternatively.
  • Wash your shoes (if they are washable) in regular intervals to prevent shoe odour.
  • If your shoes are not washable, then clean those with a cotton cloth dipped in scented soap water. Then dry them in the sun.
  • Wear the right size of footwear.
  • Stuff your shoes with newspaper and leave it overnight. It will prevent shoe odour to a considerable degree.
  • Keep cedar wood pieces inside your shoes when you are not using them. It will help to prevent shoe odour.

This embarrassing shoe odour should not occur again to make you feel uncomfortable once again when you remove your shoes. Try these methods and get rid of the shoe odour.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor


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