How to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes Fast?

Are you tired of dealing with the unpleasant odor coming from your shoes? Worry no more! In this article, we will provide you with practical solutions to get rid of smelly shoes quickly. Whether it’s caused by sweat, bacteria, or other factors, these tips will help you eliminate the odor and keep your shoes fresh and odor-free. So, let’s dive in!


Smelly shoes can be embarrassing and bothersome, but the good news is that there are several effective ways to combat the odor. This article will guide you through getting rid of smelly shoes quickly and efficiently. By following these simple tips and techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy new and pleasant-smelling shoes again.

Understanding the Causes of Smelly Shoes

Before we delve into the solutions, we must understand what causes shoes to develop a foul odor. The primary culprits are sweat and bacteria. When your feet sweat, the moisture gets trapped in your shoes, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria thrive in dark and moist environments, leading to the production of unpleasant odors. Certain materials, such as synthetic fabrics, can also contribute to the problem by trapping odor-causing bacteria.

Causes of Smelly Shoes
Causes of Smelly Shoes

1. Prevention is Better Than Cure

Preventing shoe odor is much easier than trying to eliminate it later. Adopting simple habits and practices can keep your shoes fresh and odor-free.

Proper Shoe Hygiene

Maintaining proper shoe hygiene is crucial in preventing smelly shoes. Make sure to keep your shoes clean and dry at all times. Remove any dirt or debris from the soles and inner surfaces regularly.

Using Foot Powder

Foot powders are excellent for absorbing excess moisture and neutralizing odor. Sprinkle some foot powder or talcum powder inside your shoes before wearing them. This will help keep your feet dry and minimize the growth of bacteria.

Wearing Socks

Wearing socks is a barrier between your feet and the shoes, reducing sweat and odor buildup. Opt for moisture-wicking socks made of breathable materials like cotton or wool. These socks will help keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.

2. Home Remedies to Eliminate Odor

You don’t always need to rely on specialized products when faced with smelly shoes. Several household items can effectively neutralize the odor.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can absorb unpleasant smells. Sprinkle some baking soda inside your shoes and leave it overnight. Shake out the excess powder the next day, and you’ll notice a significant odor reduction.

Tea Bags

Used tea bags can work wonders in eliminating shoe odor. Place a few dry tea bags, such as black or green tea, inside your shoes, and leave them overnight. Tea contains tannins that help kill bacteria and absorb odors.


Vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties and can be used to combat shoe odor. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, then use a cloth or cotton ball to apply the mixture to the insides of your shoes. Let them air dry. The vinegar will kill bacteria, leaving your shoes smelling fresh.

Freezing Method

Freezing your shoes may sound unusual, but it’s an effective method for killing odor-causing bacteria. Place your shoes in a plastic bag and seal them tightly. Please keep them in the freezer overnight. The extremely cold temperature will kill the bacteria, eliminating the unpleasant odor.

Essential Oils

Essential oils not only have pleasant scents but also possess antibacterial properties. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as tea tree or lavender, to a cotton ball. Place the cotton ball inside your shoes and leave it overnight. Your shoes will have a pleasant aroma afterward.

3. Cleaning and Deodorizing Techniques

If the odor persists after trying the home remedies, it’s time to clean your shoes thoroughly. Here are some cleaning and deodorizing techniques you can use.

Machine Washing

Machine washing suits certain types of shoes, such as canvas sneakers. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to machine wash your shoes. Use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent. Remove the laces and insoles, if possible, before washing.

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Hand Washing

Hand washing is the way to go for delicate or non-machine washable shoes. Fill a basin with warm water and mild soap. Dip a cloth or sponge into the soapy water and gently scrub the exterior of your shoes. Rinse with clean water and let them air dry.

Using Odor Absorbers

Odor absorbers, such as activated charcoal or baking soda sachets, can be placed inside your shoes to absorb the unpleasant smell. Leave them inside overnight, and you’ll notice a significant improvement in odor.


Sun drying is an effective method for eliminating moisture and killing bacteria. Place your shoes in direct sunlight for a few hours. The heat and U.V. rays will help dry the shoes and eliminate the odor-causing bacteria.

Specialized Products for Shoe Odor

4. Specialized Products for Shoe Odor

If you prefer using specialized products, several options are available in the market that targets shoe odor explicitly.

Odor-Eliminating Sprays

Odor-eliminating sprays are designed to neutralize shoe odor instantly. Simply spray the product inside your shoes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. These sprays usually contain antibacterial agents that kill odor-causing bacteria.

Shoe Deodorizer Balls

Shoe deodorizer balls are small, scented balls that you can place inside your shoes to absorb moisture and eliminate odor. They are handy for athletic shoes or sneakers. Leave the balls inside your shoes when you’re not wearing them to keep them fresh.

Charcoal Bags

Charcoal bags are natural and environmentally friendly odor absorbers. They contain activated charcoal, which effectively absorbs moisture and neutralizes odors. Place the charcoal bags inside your shoes, and they will gradually remove the unpleasant smell.

U.V. Shoe Sanitizers

U.V. shoe sanitizers use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and fungi that cause shoe odor. Insert the device into your shoes, and the U.V. light will sanitize them, leaving them fresh and odor-free.

5. Storing and Maintenance Tips

Proper storage and maintenance of your shoes can go a long way in preventing odor from developing.

Proper Shoe Storage

Store your shoes in a cool and dry place with good air circulation. Avoid keeping them in airtight containers, which can trap moisture and promote bacterial growth.

Alternate Shoe Usage

Wearing the same pair of shoes daily can lead to excessive sweat and odor buildup. Rotate your shoes and give them time to air out between uses. This allows them to dry completely, reducing the chances of developing an unpleasant odor.

Regular Cleaning Routine

Incorporate regular cleaning into your shoe care routine. Wipe the insides with a cloth or use a shoe disinfectant spray to keep bacteria at bay. Cleaning the insoles and replacing them periodically can also help prevent odor.


1. How long does it take for the smell to go away?

The time it takes to eliminate shoe odor depends on the severity of the smell and the methods used. Following the recommended remedies and techniques consistently for a few days should significantly reduce or completely eliminate the odor.

2. Can I use perfume to mask the shoe odor?

Using perfume or other scented products may temporarily mask the shoe odor but won’t eliminate the underlying cause. It’s best to focus on removing the smell rather than covering it up.

3. Can I use bleach to clean smelly shoes?

Bleach is a harsh chemical that can damage the material of your shoes. It’s not recommended to use bleach for cleaning smelly shoes. Stick to gentle cleaning methods to avoid any potential damage.

4. Are there any natural alternatives to deodorizing sprays?

Yes, there are several natural alternatives to deodorizing sprays. Baking soda, tea bags, vinegar, and essential oils are effective natural remedies for eliminating shoe odor.

5. How often should I clean my shoes to prevent odor?

Regular cleaning is essential for preventing shoe odor. Aim to clean your shoes at least once every few weeks, depending on how frequently you wear them. Additionally, following proper shoe hygiene practices daily will help keep odor at bay.


Smelly shoes can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort. However, you can eliminate odor and enjoy fresh-smelling shoes with the right approach and preventive measures. Remember to practice proper shoe hygiene, try out home remedies, use specialized products if needed, and maintain regular cleaning routines. Following these tips, you’ll bid farewell to smelly shoes and welcome a pleasant and odor-free footwear experience.

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