February 24, 2024
Smelly shoes? No problem! Check out this amazing guide on cleaning and deodorizing your shoes. From 7 remedies to DIY solutions, this guide will help you conquer the worst shoe odors with ease. Discover the best methods for cleaning and deodorizing various types of shoes and avoid common mistakes associated with them. Say goodbye to smelly shoes and hello to nice smelling ones with these simple steps!


There’s nothing worse than smelly shoes. Not only is it unpleasant to smell, but it can also be unhygienic and embarrassing. However, this is a common problem that many people face, especially those who are active or wear closed shoes frequently. Fortunately, there are numerous effective ways to clean and deodorize your shoes at home, using various DIY remedies and cleaning techniques. In this article, we will guide you through 7 home remedies, the science behind vinegar and baking soda, the ultimate guide to cleaning and deodorizing your shoes, DIY shoe fresheners, and the most common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your shoes.

7 Effective Home Remedies to Get Rid of Stinky Shoes

Before you turn to artificial chemicals, consider using home remedies to clean and deodorize your shoes. Home remedies are effective, eco-friendly, and use natural ingredients that are easily available in your homes. The following are 7 effective remedies that you can try:

  1. Lemon + Water Solution: Mixing lemon juice and water can help disinfect your shoes and removes any odor. Mix a ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice in 1 cup of water and use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the inside of your shoes. Leave them to air dry outside in the sun. The sunlight will also help kill any remaining bacteria that cause the smells.
  2. Charcoal Inserts: Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and is an effective natural deodorizer. You can create your own charcoal inserts by placing activated charcoal pellets in a small pouch made of porous fabric, such as cheesecloth. Place the pouches into your shoes and leave them overnight to absorb odors.
  3. Tea Tree Oil Spray: Tea tree oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help kill bacteria and fungi that cause bad odors. Mix 10-12 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and spray the inside of your shoes. Leave them to air dry, preferably in the sun.
  4. Essential Oil Sachets: You can also use essential oils to create a deodorizing sachet for your shoes. Mix a few drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil in a small pouch made of cheesecloth or porous fabric. Place the pouch inside your shoes overnight to remove any odor.
  5. Dryer Sheets: Dryer sheets are great for removing odors from shoes; they leave a pleasant scent behind too. Insert a dryer sheet into each shoe and leave them inside overnight. In the morning, remove the dryer sheets from your shoes.
  6. Cornstarch-Based Powders: Cornstarch is known for its moisture-absorbing properties and is commonly used in deodorizing smelly shoes. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with three tablespoons of cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture into the inside of your shoes and leave for a few hours, then remove the powder.
  7. Freezing: You can also freeze your shoes to remove any lingering odor. Put your shoes in a sealed plastic bag and place them in the freezer overnight. Freezing kills off the bacteria and reduces any dampness that may have caused the odor.

From Vinegar to Baking Soda: How to Eliminate Odors From Your Shoes

The reason why shoes smell is mainly due to bacteria growth. Vinegar and baking soda are effective home remedies to eliminate the foul smell from your shoes.

Vinegar: White vinegar is a natural deodorizer that also kills odor-causing bacteria. Mix 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts warm water. Dip a cloth or a small towel into the solution and wring it out, then wipe the inside of your shoes. Use a clean towel to absorb any excess moisture and allow them to dry completely before wearing them again.

Baking Soda: Baking soda neutralizes odors; it is excellent for getting rid of bad smells from shoes. Sprinkle baking soda into the inside of your shoes, let them sit overnight. In the morning, tap your shoes to remove any leftover powder and put them on.

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Deodorizing Your Shoes

To keep your shoes clean and odor-free, it is crucial to know the correct method of washing them. Here is a step-by-step guide to clean your shoes:

  1. Remove Excess Dirt: Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any excess dirt or mud from your shoes.
  2. Prepare Your Cleaning Solution: Mix a small amount of laundry detergent with warm water, and stir until it’s bubbly.
  3. Clean Your Shoes: Dip a soft brush or cloth into the cleaning solution and start scrubbing your shoes gently. Scrub any stained area with gentle circular motions, and focus on the dirtiest and the most affected areas of your shoes.
  4. Rinse Your Shoes: After washing, rinse your shoes with cold water and pat them dry with a clean towel.
  5. Air Dry: Let your shoes air dry out of direct sunlight or heat source.
  6. Store Your Shoes: After they are completely dry, store your shoes in a dry and cool place.

Each type of shoe requires specific cleaning treatment; here are a few types of shoes and how to clean them:

  • Leather Shoes: Use a soft bristle brush or a cloth dipped in a clear, mild detergent mixed with warm water for cleaning leather shoes. Apply a leather conditioner after cleaning them.
  • Suede Shoes: Use a soft brush to remove dirt spots from suede shoes and a specific suede cleaner to clean those spots.
  • Canvas Shoes: A gentle rubbing of a cloth soaked in laundry detergent mixed with warm water will do the job for keeping canvas shoes clean.
  • Mesh Shoes: Use a soft brush to scrub mesh shoes and dip them in water to wash them.

There are specific tools and products available in the market to help cleaning your shoes, such as a soft-bristled brush, a melamine foam sponge, an eraser, a suede cleaner, a leather conditioner, and a mesh bag to wash your shoes in the washing machine.

DIY Shoe Fresheners: Simple and Natural Solutions for Smelly Shoes

Instead of buying shoe fresheners from the store, you can make your own shoe fresheners at home. Here are three simple DIY Shoe Fresheners that work wonders:

  1. Baking Soda and Essential Oil Mixture: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a small bowl. Mix well and sprinkle a small amount of the mixture in your shoes and leave them overnight.
  2. Lavender Sachet: Fill a small pouch with dried lavender flowers. Place the sachet inside your shoes, and leave them overnight to refresh your shoes.
  3. Orange Peel Sachets: After enjoying a juicy orange, let the skin dry and then put them in a cloth pouch. Place the sachet inside your shoes for a few hours to remove the bad smell.

The Most Common Mistakes When Cleaning Your Shoes and How to Avoid Them

Common mistakes people make when cleaning their shoes are:

  • Using Bleach: Bleach can discolor and damage the material of your shoes, avoid using bleach, especially on colored shoes.
  • Using A Hard Bristle Brush: Using a hard-bristled brush can cause scratches on the surface of your shoes and cause discoloration.
  • Not cleaning the insole: Neglecting the insole of your shoes can worsen the smell of your shoes as it harbors bacteria and sweat.
  • Not Allowing The Shoes To Dry Completely: Putting damp shoes away can create bacteria and cause your shoes to smell bad.


Smelly shoes can be a nightmare, but there’s no need to suffer in silence. There are numerous home remedies, DIY solutions, and straightforward cleaning tips to help you get rid of terrible odors from your favorite shoes. The key is to pick the method that works best for you and your shoes. With the tips and methods discussed in this article, you should have no problem making your shoes smell fresh again. So, try these methods and enjoy having clean, fresh-smelling shoes that you can wear with pride and confidence.

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