Mostly during summer, it is all fun and games until someone removes their shoes and the whole house fills up with the foul smell. Smelly shoes aren’t just a social hurdle, but also a source of embarrassment, annoyance, and alienation.
The worst part is that you can always predict the cycle. Once the temperatures rise, sweat glands on the feet do their thing, leaving behind moisture in the shoes. Accumulation of the sweat causes an upsurge of bacteria, leading to the unpleasant odor.
The good thing is that once you learn how to get smell out of shoes, then you don’t have to think of throwing away your smelly shoes. I have rounded up a number of DIY techniques of ridding your shoes off foul odors.
How to Get Smell Out of Shoes
Before you start to tackle the unpleasant smell emanating out of your shoes, you have to first figure out why they are smelly in the first place. The horrible smell is caused by bacteria that thrive in the moist/sweaty environment in the shoes.
Over a quarter of a million sweat glands on the feet produce sweat when enclosed in poorly ventilated shoes. A resulting warm surrounding creates the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. Therefore, to get rid of the nasty smell, you have to destroy the causal bacteria. Here are tips on how to deodorize smelly shoes using a range of homemade solutions.
1. Air the Shoes Out to Dry
Intuitively, since the smell is caused by dampness, it is only natural that you air the shoes out to dry. Once they are dry, the smell should be all gone. Put the shoes out in a sunny spot, or close to a heater.
To further increase the aeration in the shoes as they dry, remove the laces and lift up the tongue. In this way, the drying process is hastened. Dry out the shoes every time you come from a sweaty exercise, so as to discourage the growth of bacteria, which creates the odor.
2. Freeze out the Stink
In order to get rid of the smell, you have to kill the causing bacteria. One of the ways of doing this is throwing the shoes into a freezer. The extreme low temperatures kill the bacteria, thus ridding them of the smell.
First put the shoes in a plastic bag and allow them stay in the freezer overnight. Naturally thaw them the next day, preferably in the sun for better results. There are some people who are skeptic about this solution as it is temporary. I still think it’s good as you work on a permanent solution.
3. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime peels to the rescue
One of the ways of eliminating any smell is to mask it with a more powerful smell. Essential oils are the perfect solution for this. But since you may not have access to the extracted form, why don’t you use what you have? The peels from these fruits contain the oils in them.
As a result, they smell great hence removing the bad smell in a way. Leave the fresh peels in the shoes overnight. By morning, you should find the shoes smelling a lot fresher. However, this only works if the shoes are not moist. Otherwise if they are dry, then this is a perfect solution.
4. Sprinkle Baking Soda into the Shoes
Baking soda is a pretty useful item in your kitchen. It’s no wonder smelly sneakers and shoes are no match for its power. Sprinkle a small quantity of baking soda into the offending pair of shoes and lace it up for the whole night.
In the morning, dump out the excess powder and you have an odor free foot wear. Leather shoes may require repeated application of the powder. Alternatively, create an odor remover by filling the toes of socks with the powder, then inserting them into the shoes every night.
5. Tuck Sheets of Dryer Fabric Softeners into the Shoes
If it is your sneakers that are producing the pungent smells, then you need a strong agent to remove the smell. That’s where dryer fabric softener sheets play an integral role. Every night before you retire to bed, remember to tuck a sheet into every shoe.
This deodorizing agent draws out the odors, leaving the shoes smelling great unlike before. Before you wear the shoes, remember to remove the sheets before putting on the shoes. For better effect, leave the sheets around the spots where you store the shoes and gym bag.
6. Steam the Bacteria
In case the routine cold/warm washing does not solve the smell issue, then you may try steaming the shoe. Steam kills the bacteria, thus eliminating foot stench. For those of you whose dryers have the steam feature, try out this method, provided the shoe is tolerant to the temperatures.
Another way is to use steaming appliances in the house. If possible point the steam nozzle into each shoe and let the device run for about half a minute. Completely dry the shoe afterwards before wearing. The odor ought to be gone by then.
7. Apply Rubbing Alcohol to the Shoe
Alcohol has a dehydrating property that destroys all the bacteria inhabiting your shoe. For that reason, applying either a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water or pure rubbing alcohol gets the job done.
After mixing the alcohol and water, use a spray bottle to wet the interior and exterior parts of the shoe. Let the shoes dry in a well ventilated spot immediately. Alternatively, soak cotton balls with the alcohol, then place the balls in the toe box of each shoe. Things should be better in the morning.
We hope you have now known some of the best tips on how to get smell out of shoes. There are tons of remedies for smelly shoes out there that I haven’t mentioned. Some of these are tea bags, spraying essential oils, denture tablets, cat litter, wood chippings, newer insoles, among a host of others.
Sometimes, these fail to work for everybody. If one method fails, try the next and so forth. But if everything else fails, then it could be time to change shoes. Hopefully, these tips will help you avert some embarrassment when your shoes inevitably come off in a public occasion.