How To Clean The Insoles Of Shoes?

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As you grow accustomed to your insoles from wearing them every day, the insoles will also accumulate dirt or stains from exposure to your perspiration. Some would even stink! There are shoe inserts that promote anti-microbial features and they’re not lying. However, they need appropriate care to retain their quality and keep them smelling fresh. But what if the thing you dreaded has happened already? No worries, because this is normal for a busybody like you and there are still solutions. Continue reading and find out how to clean the insoles of shoes.

We surely have a favorite pair of shoes that we almost like to wear daily, and you find it hard to part with. But then, if you notice that stench coming from your shoes, it will make you cringe. Sweaty feet produce odor-inducing bacteria that the insoles absorb or adsorb depending on the lightweight materials they made like fabric, leather, foam, and gel. This may not be a problem at first, but it would be over time. This kind of difficulty will need a thorough cleaning. Bear in mind that you don’t have to get rid of the shoes, just the bacteria.

How To Clean The Insoles Of Shoes

Steps On How To Clean The Insoles Of Shoes

First and foremost, you will have to remove the insoles from your shoes. Washing your insoles with only soap dissolved in water would only just remove the external odor. But what about the bacteria stuck on it inside? You will need to use hard chemicals that target the bacteria to remove the smell successfully completely.

There are currently several methods that will eliminate the stench. Use any of them as you see fit.

  • With the use of baking soda

Baking soda has been known actually to remove odors caused by bacteria and germs. Thankfully, this substance can be readily available in every home. Thus, expanding your chances of having cleaner insoles in a few hours.

From several other sources, the best way to use baking soda is to sprinkle a thin layer onto your dried insoles. After washing them first with a mixture of soap and water, the next step is to air dry. After drying, as aforementioned, put baking soda on your insoles and let them be from 8 to 12 hours.

In the morning, for instance, remove baking soda through the means of a vacuum or just shake them off before inserting the insoles back into your shoes.

  • With the use of vinegar

Vinegar is another inexpensive substance readily available in your pantry. It is, in fact, known for its anti-microbial properties. It may not be as strong as commercial cleaners, but it is still a good disinfectant.

The mechanism behind this is that the acid in the vinegar, or acetic acid, kills the bacteria by affecting their chemical properties. To use vinegar, prepare a hot bath of water. Next, pour a certain amount of vinegar. The ratio will be 1:2 and then soak the smelly insoles for at least three hours. Make sure they are submerged in the mixture.

  • With hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol

We already know how hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol clean our wounds. They remove odor-causing bacteria by neutralizing them.

To use, dampen insoles with any of these chemicals. Wait for them to air dry.

  • Steaming

Steam can kill 99.9% of bacteria, germs, or any offending microorganisms that have inhabited your insoles. Steam is a vapor form of water past its boiling point. Why steam is very beneficial is that it is a natural sanitizer and a natural deodorant without chemical odor.

If you want clean your insoles cheaply without money involved, we’d recommend steaming them. There are many options on how to produce steam. But the easier way would be with the help of a food steamer.

  • Use of dryer sheet

Dryer sheets can be helpful in removing odors because they absorb them. Simply cut dryer sheets fit your insoles and leave them overnight. These sheets are cooperative because they come in antimicrobial fragrances. This means that the scent from the sheets will eventually transfer into your insoles leaving them fresh.

However, the downside of using dryer sheets is that they are disposable. This may hurt your pocket if you stick to using these.

  • Use of shoe spray

There are certainly commercial cleaners available aside from the cheap alternatives found in homes. Shoe sprays can be bought in markets, and they tend to have antimicrobial agents that target odor-causing bacteria. The way to use this is to spray it onto your feet and your reeking shoes. They come in formulas that are quick-drying and non-staining.

2. Tips For Keeping Your Insoles Clean

After going through a lot of effort in cleaning insoles, the next important step is to keep them remaining that way.

Our best advice to be given to you is to wear cotton socks when wearing your shoes. Cotton socks absorb the moisture of your feet and keep them from getting sweaty. Another would be to alternate the shoes you wear every day. It’s a good way of preventing smelling shoes. And then last would be: if you’re not going to use your shoes, remove the insoles and let them dry in the presence of air.


This concludes our article on how to clean the insoles of shoes. Through the mentioned methods, you will surely be content to walk or run freely without worrying about stinking shoes when you get home!

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.

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