How to Remove Odor From Shoes

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Dear Home-Ec 101,
How do you get the foot-stink out of shoes? Specifically, leather shoes, since those make your feet sweat like a fat guy chasing after an ice cream truck in August?

remove shoe odor

girl.jpgIvy says:

Stinky shoes are no laughing matter, and neither are fat guys and ice cream trucks. We on the internets like to call that “serious bidness”.
There are 2 ways to control shoe odor: make the feet less stinky and make the shoes less stinky. Before you put your shoes on in the morning, make sure your feet are washed and dried. You can actually apply an antiperspirant to your feet and that may help. Soaking your feet in tea, odd as it may sound, can help, as tea has tannin in it, which is a drying agent.

Guide to Household Odors
Click the picture for lots more tips!

Now, to make the shoe itself smell better, I have always taken old pairs of tights or pantyhose (the thinner pairs tend to leak a bit, so thicker like tights is usually better) and filled them with baking soda and left them in the shoes overnight. It also helps to wear shoes on alternating days to give them time to thoroughly dry out. You can also put dryer sheets in the shoes, but I find the baking soda works the best.

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12 thoughts on “How to Remove Odor From Shoes”

  1. I found using cedar shoe trees eliminate odor and leave the shoes feeling fresh. they are supposed to made the shoes last longer.

  2. Another great method is to crumple up old newspaper and put them inside. This not only helps keep odors at bay, it also helps shoes retain their shape. I throw in a dryer sheet for a great scent, along with the crumpled newspaper, just for the heck of it.

    • I know this post is really old, but hey; I am reading it today! LOL!

      Just FYI ~ You can buy rolls of newsprint paper without any print on them! It is so nice for packing breakables as well as cleaning, especially windows and mirrors. Just go to your local newspaper office and ask. They sell the “end rolls” which may be tiny to them but are huge to me! I usually can get a good sized roll for $5 or less!

      My kids and students love it, too! Its fun to trace your body, make a mural, feet-paint…you name it…they will come up with something to do with great big sheets of blank paper! 🙂

  3. a product called Sportzyme by a company called Norwex works pretty amazingly. I’ve used it on sneakers and leather work shoes. My buddy uses it on his softball shoes and equipment bag. The only drawback to this product might be how it’s sold. It’s a home-based business where people try to set up parties, and convince you to become a “representative” etc… I hate that kind of crap. Maybe you can just buy it online? I don’t really like their other products too much, even though my wife keeps trying it. But that Sportzyme is pretty cool.

  4. It is also a good idea to wash your shoes a couple times each year. Plain clean water inside and out will let the salts that your feet have been sweating into the shoes all that time be gently re-dissolved and flushed form the fabric and leather.

    If concerned about spotting, then use distilled water. submerge int he water and let sit a moment or two, then pour out and let dry in a cool airy place. (I usually walk around in ine till dry as they then form fit to my feet- and make them very comfortable.
    Use a light conditioner for leather to keep them supple and protect the surface.

    Some shoes are built with glue and that can offgas causing odors and foot pain or irritation. Not always a lot you can do for those.

  5. Putting baking soda was the simplest solution but the effective I’ve tried and test it and it really works.

  6. I would like to mention that our feet are supposed to sweat to assist our bodies in excreting toxins. (I know that ISN’T purdy!) Using antiperspirant on the bottoms of your feet would not allow them to sweat properly. This could be very bad and in extreme cases could cause disturbing illnesses. Deodorant, on the other hand, does not plug up your pores and allows sweating.

    On another sweat-note shoes that are not leather do not allow the sweat to evaporate. There are many cloth shoes that also allow evaporation. However, genuine imitation leathers don’t breathe and will cause terrible stinky-feet-syndrome! It does help to wear leather or cloth-wicking shoes.

    Baking soda is AWESOME! We use it on our stinky carpet when its overly stinky! [We are totally saving for a much better replacement!] Definitely will use the tip about the stocking (or lost-mate-socks?) to leave baking soda in strategic spots! Love it!

  7. My favorite product to date is Room Shocker. This stuff really works on everything such as: carpet, furniture, and clothing. It is so interesting because it works like a fumigation bomb, but for bad odors. This stuff kills the odor right at the source and the smell never comes back. You have to get Room Shocker to help you out with your odor problem. Check it out at

  8. The absolute best way to deal with smelly shoes is to make them chill out. Shoe odor is a bacteria , and its almost impossible to kill it all with cleaners or smell cover ups. Take your shoes , put them in a bag and stick them in the freezer for a couple of days. This will kill all the bacteria and have your shoes smelling good again , until the next time you sweat in them and deposit more bacteria.


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