How To Clean Smelly Shoes?

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Having odor masked in your shoes is not a very good experience. It is a common problem that sometimes we lack the idea of how to clean it properly. Also, applying variety of things might just ruin the vibrant color of your shoes or even burn it.

The easiest step and the most common idea you can think of to get rid of the odor is

1.) To wash it with water and soap

Water is the most famous cleaning agent, so as the soap. It rejects the bad odor upon application and cleans it at the same time. It is advisable to let the shoe dry in a natural way or with the help of the sun. Thus, remember too much heat from the sun will lessen the color.

If you are washing using washing machine make sure to put in in the laundry bag to avoid further damages. If you have no laundry bag around the house it is fine to use pillowcase as a sub. Make sure to read the instructions in the washing machine before putting the shoes in the machine, because some machine do not support the washing of shoes inside it.

2.) Put new insoles

Sometimes the insole creates the odor reacting from the sweat produced by the foot. The excrete sweat received by the insole becomes the odor that is sometimes not removable. If the odor seems too hopeless even after washing it. Changing the insoles often will solve the problem.

It is also advisable to use cedar wooden insoles which you can find the mall, wooden insoles do not absorb the sweat. The cedar is known to have this fresh and light smell, which helps to prevent the odor. It is anti-fungal and it is refreshing.

3.) Spraying perfumes

If you are in a hurry and you do not have the time clean your shoes pronto. Perfumes is the right method for you. Perfumes are pleasant in the nose. Perfumes are very effective with masking the odor. The effect is instant and you can spam the usage of it.

Though some perfumes might not work properly make sure you use strong perfumes, soft scented perfumes will just blend with the smell and will make it more undesirable to wear. Stronger scent will save your day.

Keep it in mind that perfumes do not eradicate the smell but simply masking it. do not expect the smell to be fully erase.

4.) Use the steam in your washing machine

Like boiling of water to kill the believed fungus or bacteria in the water. Shoes can apply this method too. The steam feature in your dryer might do its magic. Steaming it will help you clean and eradicate the fungus that’s causing the bacteria. Also, be cautious in steaming for if your shoes is a bit sensitive make sure to watch it and prevent it from over steaming.

5.) Spray some air freshener while drying it up

If you have a working hair dryer in your drawer putting some fabric sprayed with air fresher will paste a magnificent scent in your shoe.

First method is to spray an air freshener of your choice in a fabric or a piece of cloth, then put it in the head of the dryer where the air comes out. The scent it produce will paste into the surface of the shoe while drying it up giving it a fresh and natural smell.

6.) Rub it with alcohol

They are non-washable shoes and it is mind-blowing to think of a way to clean it without ruining it. Simply rubbing it with alcohol will do the job. Soak a cotton wool in an alcohol and clean it softly. Keep in mind that some colors in your shoes might be too sensitive for an alcohol. Test it first before trying.

7.) Stuffing newspapers

Newspapers are often thrown after reading, use it for better purposes. Start stuffing your shoes with newspaper or a scented tissue of your choice. The newspaper will soak the lingering odor or sweat in your shoes.

Make sure to stuff it well and not leave any spaces. Tissues might work but not for those soft tissues make sure to pick tissues that have endurance and long lasting. Also, spraying it with scented liquids while stuffing will make it more effective. Remember this method does not work instantly, patience is a virtue and it needs time to soak it all up.

8.) Sprinkle it with baking soda

It is uncommon and might be a hassle but this method works overnight. Do you think baking soda is only for cakes? It can help you clean your smelly shoes just by putting baking soda in it. Let it sit and let it sleep.

By morning you will notice the smelly shoes are no more. Make sure you clean it properly by morning leaving no powders behind. Some people do not want to use this method for it is an irritation to clean the left behind powders around your shoe.

9.) Vinegar on the go

Vinegar – the most popular solution in all sorts of problems. Like what I said, insoles are the cause of the odor (mostly), if you do not want to change your insole and bother buying every time it smells, why not clean the insole itself? This method is for those budget packers that do not want to spend money in a not so wise way.

The method is easy as one two three, you put the insole in the vinegar and let it soak. Make sure to put something heavy in it for it to drown properly leaving no parts behind.

The newspaper step I mentioned will help you, by stuffing the shoe with newspaper wil help it keep in shape while the insole are gone.

After you soak it well make sure to wash it with water and soap. You do not want having those stinky vinegar smell all around your soles right?

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.