How to Fix Stinky Shoes?

Did you know that the sweat glands on your feet are the most numerous? Yes, this is real, and this is why your shoes stink!

Shoes stink when bacteria break down sweat. However, the bacteria isn’t the one that stinks.

All of the sweat from your feet that unavoidably soaks in make your shoes stink. While it may be an irritation that solely affects you, it may also be a highly embarrassing situation. People can smell it even if they’re sitting next to you on the metro, and if you remove your shoes in front of them, the stench can knock them out!

A person wearing shoes and standing in the street

The amount of sweat you produce and the pungency of your body odor are both genetically determined and if you’re on the stinkier side of the spectrum. However, you’ll have to work harder to overcome it.

Instructions on how to do so can be found below. The article begins with a few steps for prevention.

After that, there are a few standard tips you can attempt before you’re obliged to burn your permanently stinky shoes.


1. Maintain a Foot Care

A woman's feet placed in a water tub covered and surrounded by rose petals

The first and one of the foremost significant steps for prevention is to have good skin care. Smelly shoes begin with smelly feet!

 Every day, wash your feet. Even if you don’t get a shower that day, wash them. Massage them with a pumice stone as well. The bottoms of your feet, particularly the heels, are epicenters of the type of calloused crevasses where bacteria like to lurk. After showering, apply antibacterial lotion on your feet as well.

In many cases, simply washing your feet every day can eliminate foot odor and the stinky shoes

2. Sweat-proof Socks

A pair of white and black socks

In conclusion, caring for your shoes is a common approach to keep them from stinking. You don’t have to settle for the drab cotton tees you can buy in bulk at Walmart. The socks you wear can make a tremendous impact, whether they’re a low-cut sports sock or a heavy-duty wool alternative. 

3. Maintain A Shoe Care

Show polish

The third and last of the steps for prevention is maintaining shoe care!

When you do wear your shoes, make sure to clean them properly in addition to rotating them. Take your shoes and then a quick wipe with an antibacterial wipe after a long day or use the homemade spray mentioned below!

Maintaining shoe care, in summary, is an excellent way to protect them from stinking.

Tips To Getting Rid of Stinky Shoes

Let’s look at some tips to get rid of the stink if it’s invaded your shoes now that you’ve learned a few things about prevention.

1. Use of a Washing Machine!

The use of a washing machine places it at the top of the list as the best and most preferable option. Fabric and canvas shoes get washed in a regular washing machine. Look at the tag or do a Google search for your specific brand/shoe. The purpose is to confirm as they are washable! 

A moderate cycle with chilly water is preferred. Moreover, stuff the stinky shoes with balled-up wads of newspaper (which you replenish as they become saturated) and leave them to dry in the sun, which also kills bacteria.

2. Use UV Rays

Sun setting and its reflection on the surface of the ocean

Yes, you read that correctly, the usage of UV rays!

UV rays from the sun naturally kill germs. It is why sunshine can purify water. Leather/suede shoes should not get left in direct, hot UV rays for long periods, but they can tolerate it for an afternoon. Unlace the shoelaces, lift the tongue as high as you can, and leave them alone. It won’t completely erase odors, but it will help reduce them, and it’s completely natural and free.

3. Use Baking Soda or Kitty Litter.

 There are a few items that you may already have in your home that will suffice. Baking soda is a tried-and-true method for absorbing and neutralizing odors. You can just put the powder into your shoe, but you’ll need to clean it out afterward. If you don’t, it’ll clump into gritty sludge the next time you sweat in them. A better alternative is to place some in a sock; the porousness of the sock allows the soda to continue work while causing far less mess. If you have any kitty litter on hand, it will accomplish the same thing. If you use these procedures on leather or suede, be careful not to overdo, since it will dry out the material.

4. A Homemade Spray

There are plenty of foot and shoe sprays on the market, just like powder, but our homemade version is far cheaper and more natural. It’s helpful for leather and suede shoes that might not get washed.

The recipe is simple.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 vinegar
  • Add drops of tea tree oil

Take a plastic spray bottle and mix all of these. Use the spray on your shoes, and the stinky shoe smell fades away.

5. Use Commercial Products

You will find many items in the market that claim to eliminate foot odor. Most of them are a little pricey, and they all contain the same moisture-absorbing and antibacterial chemicals. Moreover, essential oils and fragrances make them smell lovely. However, using the other ways outlined above will save you a lot of money and allow you to use fewer harsh chemicals.

6. Clean The Insoles

 Many insoles get washed in the washing machine. Visit the manufacturer’s website for further information. Others will require handwashing in a soapy bucket or a water solution. If you are unsure or cannot find the information, go with the second option. Washing them every 2-4 weeks, as mentioned above, can also be part of your continuing maintenance plan.

Bottom line

Owning stinky shoes is quite embarrassing. One can prevent it by following foot and shoe care. However, sometimes it’s too late, and your shoes may be full of foul odors. The article discusses steps for prevention and tips to get rid of stinky shoes in detail.

We recommend checking out the guide to keep your feet moisturized!