You can do this against smelly shoes - (2023)

What to do about smelly shoes? Check out our 15 handy tips

Everyone has to deal with it from time to time and it is extremely annoying: smelly shoes. For some this is after a long walk or intensive exercise and for others it is already after a passive day at work. Anyway, there are plenty of ways to combat smelly shoes and so there is no valid reason to walk around with smelly shoes for a long time. Below we have listed no fewer than 15 tips to remedy smelly shoes. After reading this article you will never suffer from smelly shoes again.

Prevent sweaty feet

You may be familiar with the saying, good preparation is half the battle. If you suffer from sweaty feet, it is advisable to remedy this first before you want to remove the unpleasant odor from your shoes. However, these two things go hand in hand so the best thing to do is to fix them both. We wrote an article withthe best aids against sweaty feet. These tools are freely available at the drugstore.

Causes of smelly shoes

It is useful to find out why you suffer from smelly shoes. For example, if you often take long walks or you simply do not have good enough ventilating shoes, then the problem is easy to identify. Socks can also be the culprits. Nylon socks, for example, absorb less moisture than wool or cotton socks. Another cause is that you produce excessive sweat, which leads to wet or damp feet. Fortunately, you can read several useful tips on our website on how to get rid of sweaty feet.

15 tips to fix smelly shoes

Sweaty feet are therefore often the cause of smelly feet and preventing this is not always enough. When you wear shoes for a longer period of time, they automatically start to smell less pleasant. That is why we have listed 15 smelly shoes tips below. If useful tips are missing, please let us know via a comment at the bottom of the page.

Tip 1: Let your shoes air out

The first tip against smelly shoes that we want to give you is to air your shoes. This is probably a no-brainer, but it is a method that is not done by everyone. Placing your shoes in the sunlight kills the bacteria that cause sweaty feet and unpleasant odors. Make sure that you remove the insoles before you put the shoes outside in the sun.

Tip 2: Wash smelly shoes in the washing machine

Unfortunately, this tip is not possible with all shoes. Shoes made of the materials leather, suede or nubuck look very nice, but it is better not to put them in the washing machine. For these shoes it is better to try one of the other tips.

Are your shoes made of other materials? Then they can often be washed, but you have to do a few things before you start washing. For example, we recommend that you first clean your shoes yourself. Remove sand, mud and other dirt with a brush. Then you put your shoes in a laundry bag or pillowcase and secure it with a safety pin or elastic. Then place the bag in the washing machine and let a few towels rotate at 30 degrees to protect the washing machine. Are you done with the laundry? Finally, put your shoes somewhere to dry, preferably out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can affect the color.

Tip 3: Stinky shoes in the freezer

You could already read in tip 2 that not all shoes can be washed in the washing machine. A good way to fix smelly shoes is to put them in the freezer. The bacteria are killed at extremely hot and cold temperatures. By putting your smelly shoes in a plastic bag in a freezer for at least 24 hours, you will be rid of the unpleasant odor in no time.

If you have not achieved the desired result? Then you can of course also combine this tip with one of the other tips against smelly shoes.

Tip 4: Baking soda with smelly shoes

Baking soda is a panacea. In addition to preventing or remedying sweaty feet, it also ensures that your shoes smell nice again. It absorbs bad odors. That's why we recommend applying a small amount of baking soda to the inside of your shoes and letting your shoes rest overnight. Suck the baking soda out again when you put the shoes back on the next day.

Tip 5: Remove bad smells with coffee pods

It may sound a bit strange, but coffee pods can remove the bad smell from your shoes. Before you go to bed, put unused (obviously) coffee pods in your shoes. The coffee pads will then absorb the moisture and odors. Tea bags also have a positive effect, but you can read more about this in tip 10.

Tip 6: Fix smelly shoes with vinegar

It's strange that a product that doesn't smell nice itself can take the smelly smell off your shoes. Of course, you shouldn't pour vinegar into your shoes either. Mix a few tablespoons of vinegar and some dish soap in a cup of water. The dish soap will prevent you from smelling the vinegar smell. Then pour the mixture of water, vinegar and dish soap into your shoes and let it soak overnight.

Tip 7: Using cat litter

You read that right. Cat litter can remove unpleasant odors from your shoes. Before you start sprinkling a shovel of cat litter in your shoe, that's not how it works. Use pantyhose or a sock and fill it with cat litter. Then put it in your shoe overnight. You will notice that the next morning the smell has become a lot less and by doing this several nights in a row, the unpleasant smell disappears completely.

Tip 8: Replace your insoles

Another tip against smelly shoes is to replace your insoles. Prefer leather soles. These are the most resistant to sweat and also have a pain-reducing and comfort-enhancing effect.

Tip 9: Let your shoes smell nice with shoe deodorant

Of course you can also choose to use shoe deodorant to get rid of your smelly shoes. With this you are guaranteed that it will make your shoes smell nice again. With the deodorizing spray, also known as shoe spray, you remove bad odors and kill fungi and bacteria. We think this is one of the better options, especially for the long term. Many of the other tips against smelly shoes from the list take some time, and doing this for months is not ideal either. Spraying your shoes daily after you have taken them off is a small effort.

Tip 10: Remove bad odors with tea bags

The above indicated that placing coffee pods in your shoes at night is a good way to get rid of smelly shoes. In addition to coffee pods, tea bags have the same effect. The annoying odors and moisture are absorbed. As a result, you will no longer be bothered by smelly shoes the next morning.

Tip 11: Use rice to make your shoes smell nice

Another solution for smelly shoes is to use rice. When you drop your mobile in the water, you may have read to put it in a bowl of rice. Rice absorbs moisture and bacteria like damp or wet places. By placing a handful of uncooked rice in your shoes and leaving it overnight, you will notice that the dampness and smelly smell are gone the next morning. Finally, you must of course remove the rice grains the next day.

Tip 12: Sprinkle talcum powder in your shoes at night

Just like rice and several other substances, talcum powder also has an absorbent effect. So you can also choose to sprinkle a little talcum powder in your smelly shoes before going to sleep. The next morning you get dry and odorless shoes in return. Talcum powder is also suitable for preventing smelly shoes. It ensures that you sweat less. That is why we can also recommend talcum powder if you no longer suffer from bad smelling shoes.

Tip 13: Wear the right socks

Socks can also cause people to sweat more or less. Certain socks absorb moisture better than other socks. For example, we recommend wearing socks made of cotton or wool.

Tip 14: Check your feet for calluses

When you have read this article completely, you know that bacteria are attracted to moisture and you should therefore avoid this as much as possible. So make sure your feet and shoes are dry. Calluses are known for absorbing a lot of moisture. That is why it is important to check your feet for this and possibly remove the calluses or have them removed.

Tip 15: Buy new shoes

Have you tried all the above tips against sweaty feet and can't get rid of your smelly shoes? Then you can also decide to buy new shoes. For example, have you had the same sports or walking shoes for a long time? Once they run out and then unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it.


As you have read above, there are many ways to prevent smelly shoes. There are plenty of home, garden and kitchen solutions and you can also decide to look for your solution at the drugstore. In any case, we wish you good luck and hope that your smelly shoes will soon be a thing of the past.


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