How To Get Smell Out Of Shoes and Stay Confident?

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Last Updated on August 16, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

To eliminate shoe odor and boost confidence:

  • Sprinkle baking soda or use cedar shoe inserts to absorb odors.
  • Ensure shoes are dry and well-ventilated.
  • Use odor-fighting sprays or essential oils.
  • Rotate shoes and wear moisture-wicking socks.

These steps help maintain fresh-smelling shoes and enhance self-assurance.

Why Your Shoes Smell So Bad

Wearing shoes prevent your feet from breathing since they seal in moisture, and this provides a suitable breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria may spread to the socks and produce toxins with a lousy smell absorbed by the footwear. These odors are so strong that they reek even after you air out the shoes, especially those who sweat a lot.

If your shoes are not breathable or you wear socks that do not have the sweat-wicking ability, it may also lead to a foul smell. When you run, you will most likely sweat a lot, which will eventually lead to smelly shoes if you do not practice a proper foot care routine.

How To Prevent Your Shoes From Smelling

How To Prevent Your Shoes From Smelling

Prevention is always better than cure, and the following tips are helpful;

1. Proper Footcare Practice

Stinking feet are the primary cause of smelly shoes. Washing your feet and drying them well every day ensures that there are no bacteria responsible for the bad smells. You can also use a pumice stone to exfoliate the heels and remove any cracks that are the right hiding places for bacteria.

 Applying some antibacterial lotion after showering also helps to prevent foot odors that lead to smelly shoes.

2. Treating Fungus and Athlete’s Foot

An athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that can cause your feet and shoes to smell. Ensure that you get proper treatment for the conditions to prevent your foot and shoes from producing odors.

3. Proper Shoe Care Routine

Wearing the same shoes every day does not give them enough time to dry off sweat and get air. It is essential to give your boots adequate time to eliminate sweat and hence smells.

Besides rotating your shoes, ensure that you clean them regularly as this will prevent bacteria from grime and dirt, which can stick if they break down.

4. Wear sweat-wicking socks

Sweat-wicking socks can keep moisture from your feet and also prevent bacteria from building up. You can also spray them with antibacterial soap then wipe them using a damp paper towel to remove the stench.  Wearing shoes that do not require socks such as boat shoes and footwear with enough aeration will help keep your feet dry.

How To Deodorize Your Shoes Using Household Ingredients

How To Deodorize Your Shoes Using Household Ingredients

Smelly shoes can cause you great embarrassment, and you need to get rid of the odor before it starts. Various home remedies are available and easy to follow to eliminate the problem;

1. Sprinkling Baking Soda

Baking soda absorbs odor and draws out moisture that enhances the thriving of bacteria. Sprinkle a tablespoon of this substance inside the shoes at night and shake it out before putting them on in the morning.

Avoid using baking powder on leather shoes since they can dry them.

2. Using Coffee Grounds

The leftover coffee grounds that you get after using this beverage can be used to eliminate bad smells from your shoes. Sprinkle some dry grounds inside each shoe and let them sit for an hour before putting them on. Avoid wet coffee grounds since they can dampen and produce more smell and stain the fabric of a lighter-colored sneaker.

3. Stuffing Them With Old Newspaper

Packing your smelly footwear with bunched-up newspapers and leaving them to sit in a dry spot for several days is an excellent remedy for removing the smell. The paper absorbs moisture and odor from the inside and leaves them smelling fresh and new.  

Sprinkling the newspaper with your favorite perfume or aromatic and a few drops of vanilla extract helps a great deal in removing the foul smell. 

4. Using White Vinegar

Dampen a piece of cloth or paper towel with white vinegar and swab the inside of each shoe to remove the smell. Ensure that the sneakers are dry before you wear them again to remove the scent of vinegar.

In case you use a lot of vinegar, you can stuff them with crumpled-up newspaper to remove excess moisture. You can also use vinegar alongside baking soda to fill the shoes with a fizzing foam that helps lift the odors.

Avoid using balsamic, or apple cider vinegar as an alternative to white vinegar as this can stain your footwear. 

5. Freezing Your Shoes

Bacteria do not thrive in cold temperatures, and freezing your shoes will kill the microorganisms responsible for bad odors. You can leave the shoes in a freezer overnight for a fresh smell. For better results, you can combine this technique with one of the above methods.

6. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is a powerful disinfectant that kills various types of bacteria and other microorganisms. It is ideal for removing bacteria that produce a smell in your shoes.  

You should scrub inside the shoes with a Q-tip or cotton swab soaked in this liquid and reach every corner of the sneakers. You can repeat this procedure if need be until you are satisfied that you rubbed every part.

7. Using Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are disposable accessories for laundry that are cheap and convenient in fighting foot odor. You need to stuff each shoe with one leaf and leave them overnight to remove the smell.

To get fresh-smelling shoes, use scented sheets instead of unscented ones. 


Smelly shoes are embarrassing, and they can lower your confidence, especially when you notice that people are avoiding your company. You can clean the sneakers by tossing them inside a washing machine or scrubbing them with soap and water using your hands. Allow them to dry entirely and tuck some dryer sheets or sprinkle baking soda inside to eliminate the odors. Ensure that you practice a proper foot hygiene routine to keep away smell-causing bacteria.

Applying any of the above methods gives you an excellent outcome that gives you the confidence you need.