How to Get Rid of It

Home Remedies and Tips to Solve Common Problems

How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor

old smelly shoesYou know you’ve got a problem when your friends start coming up with wildly creative reasons to not be around you when you take your shoes off. Things might seem amusing at first, but the fun element will immediately vanish when the smell steadily reaches a high point.

Yes, your feet do sweat and yes, it’s natural for shoes to stink beyond a point – but what are you going to do about it? You can try and pretend not to notice, even when people around you are making their grimaces more obvious, or you can opt for some of these methods that can help you combat smelly shoes.

Before you get to work, you need to understand that shoes get their distinct stink because of the bacteria (brevibacteria) that breed within them. Brevibacteria consume dead skin and they produce methanethiol from amino acid methionine. Methanethiol has an unpleasant and cheesy odor, and this is what makes your feet smell (learn more about how to get rid of smelly feet). So basically, all you need to do is eliminate these microorganisms, and this will solve your problem.

Bacteria thrive in spaces that are moist, dark and warm, and thanks to the sweat glands that are present in your feet; the insides of your shoes serve as an ideal place for their growth.

The Baking Soda Method

Every evening, roll up your sleeves and coat your shoes with baking soda on the insides. Once you do this, seal them up in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. Bacteria can’t withstand the cold, and any existing odor will be removed fully by the baking soda.

Don’t wear the shoes soon as you take them out of the freezer. Keep them out in the open for a while before you slip them on again. This will bring down their moisture content, and reduce the chances of brevibacteria breeding in your shoes again.

The Rubbing Alcohol Method

You can opt for this method if you don’t have the time (or room) to freeze your shoes overnight. Apply a coat of rubbing alcohol along the insides of your shoes and place them in ventilated space for a while. Rubbing alcohol removes the bacteria quickly, as it evaporates fast. If you think your shoes are quite moist after this method, apply some baking soda on their insides, as this will soak up the remaining moisture.

Preventing Shoe Odor

There are a couple of preventive measures that you can opt for, to make things easier. Keep your feet clean, and dry them properly once you wash them. Moisture tends to accumulate in the region between your toes, so ensure that you use a good towel regularly. Antiperspirants can also help in this regard, and talcum powder can be used to soak up the moisture from your shoes.

Never wear wet shoes, and leave them out to dry for a long time before you use them again. Stuffing newspapers inside your shoes is a good idea that can help drain off the excess moisture. In case your shoes are wet, think twice before tossing them into the dryer because this may ruin them. Your shoes need to be cleaned regularly, so make this a part of your daily or weekly routine.


  1. Thank you so much for the article! I am for sure going to try this out on my shoes.

  2. Thanks for the article. But why don’t you mention the cedar method? Wearing Cedarsoles is probably the best way to get rid of foot and shoe odor. It’s because of the special cedar wood attributes.

  3. The baking soda method is definitely effective in getting rid of odors. This method is cheap yet very effective.

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