14 Easy Hacks to Help You Get Rid of Shoe Odor

Shoe odor is a spoiler capable of ruining a good pair of shoes. Even worse, it could ruin a good day. But, how do you get rid of shoe odor for good? First, I want you to understand why you have shoe odor before you pick a suitable solution.

You have 250,000 sweat glands in your feet. When those glands are trapped in shoes, your feet become sweaty and warm. Consequently, your shoes become a good environment for bacteria to breed.

If you are a shoe or boots lover, I bet you’ve had your fair share of smelly shoes. Well, “you don’t have to be in those shoes forever” and neither do you have to throw away your smelly shoes.

In this post, I will share a few hacks that will help you get rid of shoe odor. Most materials required cost less than $2 plus a trip to the nearest Dollar Tree store.

Let’s get started.

Home Remedies for Shoe Odor

home remedy for shoe odor

To get dirty clean, you need to wash. But, not all shoes do well with washing in water. Wearing socks that can absorb sweat is valid but what about the no socks season?

Here are some quick home remedies that make use of readily available materials to get rid of shoe odor.

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda can do a lot of things, one of which is fighting bad odor. A mix of baking soda, baking powder, and cornstarch makes a very good natural deodorizer. Put a little of this mix in a pair of cotton socks and leave them in your shoes overnight. 

This powder absorbs the bad smells and leaves your shoes with a fresh smell.

In addition, another way to use baking soda is to make a simple shoe powder. Add a few drops of essential oils to a proportional quantity of baking soda and mix well. Pour the mix into the shoes and leave them to sit overnight. By morning, your shoes will be smelling wonderful.

However, you must not forget to throw away the baking powder mix.

2. Newspapers

Rather than always throwing away those newspapers, they can now come in handy.

Take some newspapers, crumple them into a ball, and stuff them into your shoes. The crumpled papers absorb extra moisture and eliminate bacteria. You can run to those shoes by morning; no stench, no stink.

3. Vinegar and Water Solution

White vinegar is an expensive deodorizer. The sharp smell can send the pungent shoe odor away.

First, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. After that, spray the solution in the shoes and afterward, leave them to dry. The sharp vinegar smell will override the shoe odor and leave your shoes smelling fresh for hours.

4. Freeze the Stench

Bacteria that breed in your moist, warm shoes are the reason for the smell, so, you can switch things by changing their environment.

Seal your shoes in a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer overnight. Bacteria do not thrive in cold temperatures. So, before morning, you can be sure that they have vanished.

5. Fresh Citrus Peels

The essential oils present in citrus peels give them a strong smell. Place a few fresh citrus peels in your shoes overnight and wake up to new air. Moreover, you can use the peels of any type of citrus.

6. Wash the Insoles

For your non-washable shoes, you can remove the insoles and wash them. Insoles can be regularly washed with soap and water. You can also wash them with diluted vinegar. But remember, they must be properly dried in the sun to get rid of the odor.

7. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains compounds that fight odor-causing bacteria. These components make it a good deodorant.

Mix tea tree oil with vodka in a spray bottle and spray it into your shoes when you are not wearing them. This mix has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it suitable for getting rid of bacteria that cause the odor.

Another way to use tea tree oil is to mix it with baking soda and cornstarch. The tea tree oil has antiseptic properties. Both powders are great moisture and odor absorbers. This combo will displace the dreadful stench overnight.

8. Tea Bags

Tea bags are very absorbent and come in a variety of scents. They also contain compounds called tannins. Tannins make them good antibacterial agents that fight off the odor-causing bacteria.

All you need to do is take a few bags and pop them in each shoe. Leave them to sit and absorb moisture and bad odor overnight or when you are not wearing them. The fact that they are available in a variety of flavors is sufficient to say that your shoes will come out smelling fresh and nice.

If you’re opting for black tea bags, first, you need to put them in boiling water for a few minutes. Afterward, place the warm bags in the shoes. This releases the bacteria-fighting tannins into your shoes.

You should leave the warm bags to sit in the shoes for a while, then, dry the shoes.

Read Also: Stay in Trend With These 10 Square Toe Shoes for Women

9. Cedarwood

Cedarwood contains thujaplicin, the compound that gives cedar wood its pleasant smell. The antioxidant and antibiotic properties of cedarwood make it a good defense against bacteria. It also absorbs moisture from your shoes, keeping them cool and fresh.

Put some cedar chips in two bags and place one bag in each shoe. You’ll find your shoes comfier when next you wear them after using cedarwood to eliminate the odor.

how to get rid of shoe odor

10. Cloves

These aromatic spices have strong absorbent properties. Tie some cloves in a thin cloth and insert them in each shoe. Leave them for a few hours, or overnight if necessary.

11. Rice

As surprising as it may sound, rice has great moisture absorption capacity. Fill two cotton socks with dry rice and tie their ends. Place one sock in each sock and leave to sit while the rice absorbs moisture and makes the shoes inhabitable for the bacteria. 

For scent preferences, you can pour some essential oils on the rise before putting them in the shoes.

12. Soap Bar

Fragrant deodorant soaps are the best options for this. Just place a bar of soap in each shoe and watch the smell switch. The soap rids your shoes of the pungent smell and fills them with its fragrance.

13. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is your regular charcoal infused with more oxygen. Consequently, it becomes highly porous with a larger surface area for absorbing odors. 

Tie up activated charcoal granules in small bags and place them in your shoes. The charcoal sucks up the bacteria, the moisture, and of course the bad odor.

Allow them to effectively absorb the odor for some hours or overnight.

14.  Shoe Odor Eliminator

Certain products have been formulated as either sprays or pods to suck up moisture, kill germs and get rid of bacteria from shoes. These deodorizers are laced with different scents to leave your shoes smelling nice and clean.

The Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Foot Odor Eliminator with Extra Strength Eucalyptus Lemongrass is a shoe odor eliminator spray that cleans up nice.

I also recommend Elite Sportz Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray. This shoe deodorizer is a very popular peppermint foot spray and shoe freshener suitable for any footwear.

tea bags for shoe odor


Why do I have shoe odor?

Shoes can have pungent smells because unlike the face, hands, and some parts of the body, they are always covered. Your feet have 250,000 seat glands.

So, if you sweat a lot and your feet do not get adequate ventilation, your shoes become breeding sites for the odor-causing bacteria.

How do I prevent shoe odor? 

To prevent your shoes from smelling, you have to stop what causes shoe odor. The following can help you escape shoe odor,

  • Have a good foot routine
  • Always and promptly treat foot sores
  • Try not to stick to one shoe.
  • Always clean your shoes
  • Wear absorbent socks
  • Choose your shoes carefully; pick shoes that allow your feet to get ventilation

What is the best remedy for shoe odor?

There are so many effective home remedies for shoe odor. The intensity of the shoe odor determines how effectively any remedy works for you. Ultimately, every remedy works to remove the moisture that encourages bacteria breeding.


Shoe odor can be more embarrassing than falling off a chair in public.

To effectively get rid of shoe odor, the root cause needs to be fixed. The odor-causing bacteria that are responsible for the pungent smells should be your first target.

Everyone experiences shoe odor at a point in their lifetime. However, proper shoe and feet care can stop its reoccurrence.

I hope these hacks on how to get rid of shoe odor is helpful.

Check Africana Fashion for more articles on beauty and wellness. Thanks for reading.