10 Quick Fixes For Smelly Shoes

Do people turn up their noses when you take off your shoes? These home remedies can help.

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How to deodorize shoes - baking soda
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How to deodorize shoes with baking soda

A smelly shoe or sneaker is no match for the power of baking soda. Liberally sprinkle soda in the offending loafer or lace-up and let it sit overnight. Dump out the powder in the morning. (Be careful when using baking soda with leather shoes, however; repeated applications can dry them out.) You can also make your own reusable “odour eaters” shoe deodorizer by filling the toes of old socks with two tablespoons baking soda and tying them up in a knot. Stuff the socks into each shoe at night before retiring. Remove the socks in the morning and breathe easier.

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How to deodorize shoes with fabric softener sheets
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Fabric softener sheets

Deodorizing sneakers calls for strong stuff. Tuck a new dryer fabric softener sheet into each sneaker and leave overnight to neutralize odours (just remember to pull them out before wearing the sneaks). It’s also a great idea to deodorize places where you store your shoes, such as your gym bag. Drop a dryer sheet into the bottom of a gym bag and leave it there until your nose lets you know it’s time to renew it.

Find out more home remedies for smelly feet.

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How to make shoes smell better - stinky shoes
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How to deodorize shoes using rubbing alcohol

A mixture of three parts rubbing alcohol, one part water is a highly effective disinfectant for both the interior and exterior of most shoes. Apply with a spray bottle to avoid oversaturation, as excess moisture may contribute to the problem.

Try these other clever uses for rubbing alcohol.

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How to stop shoes from smelling - salt shaker
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Sneakers and other canvas shoes can get pretty smelly, especially if you wear them without socks in the summertime. Knock down the odour and soak up the moisture by occasionally sprinkling a little salt in your canvas shoes as a DIY shoe deodorizer.

Discover 30 old-time home remedies that actually work.

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How to deodorize shoes - eucalyptus essential oil
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Essential oils

Sprinkle a few drops of essential oils into your shoe to give them a refreshing smell. Try using eucalyptus, clove, or tea tree oil. If you don’t want to put the oil directly on your shoe, drip it onto a piece of paper or a tissue and place that in your shoe overnight.

Find out more dollar store solutions for life’s little dilemmas.

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Tea bag with yellow label
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How to deodorize shoes with black teabags

Black tea contains tannins, which have antimicrobial properties that counter the bacteria that build up in your shoes and help to eliminate the smell. For maximum moisture (and stink) absorption, place an unused tea bag in each shoe for 24 hours.

Here are 20 clever hacks to get rid of household odours.

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How to stop shoes from smelling - baby powder
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Baby powder

Using baby powder is a precautionary step that you can take before putting your shoes on to keep them from smelling. If you find that you are prone to having smelly shoes, rub baby powder on your feet before slipping them on.

Discover more home remedies that are backed by science.

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Cat using a litter box
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Cat litter

This may seem a little bit strange, but cat litter contains a lot of deodorizers and absorbs liquids. Create a sachet out of an old sock, and fill it with cat litter, tying the open end of the sock in a knot. Whenever you remove your shoes, place the sachet inside and allow to dry overnight.

Psst—cat litter can also help eliminate foggy car windows!

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Opening freezer door
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Freeze them

If you’re finding that none of these other shoe deodorizer remedies are working, try freezing them overnight in a sealable plastic bag. The extreme cold may help kill the odour-causing bacteria.

Find out 14 cool uses for ice cubes all around the house.

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How to stop shoes from smelling - running shoes in washing machine laundry
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Machine wash

Check the care label on your sneakers—if you’re in luck, they’re machine-washable. After washing, the key is to get them thoroughly dry as quickly as possible. If the conventional dryer isn’t an option, you might consider alternatives like a hair-dryer to speed up the process.

Now that you know how to deodorize shoes, check out 13 cleaning hacks that take the hassle out of housekeeping.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest