The smell of stinky shoes can be overwhelming and make you want to throw them away. There are a number of good ways to remove and prevent the odors. This is a guide about removing odors from stinky shoes.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
Sure, there are many things you can do to try and remedy the long-time battle of the "stinky shoe". You can mix various concoctions, sprinkle dust, make magic potions or whatever, but why not invest that valuable time somewhere else? Want to get rid of the stink? Stuff the shoes with newspaper. That's right. Newspaper. Shoes should be "stink-free" come morning!
Source: I'm the grandmother of the boy with the world's stinkiest shoes!
By FranFran from Zebulon, Georgia
If you have someone who has sweaty feet all the time, here is a solution to get rid of the smell in their shoes. Throw shoes in the washer. Once dry, double bag them and put in the freezer overnight. This will kill the bacteria that causes the odour. Once thawed and dry, spray with vinegar, rubbing alcohol or Pinesol. Cover entire inside of shoe. Once dry, dust with powder. Works well.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
To get the smell out of shoes, I put a mixture of baking soda, baking powder, and cornstarch in a pair of cotton socks and stick in the shoes overnight. It works like a charm.
By Sherry from Onset, MA
Make shoe inserts from old socks. Stuff each sock with fiberfill or cotton from old pillow or stuffed toys, add a small amount of baking soda to help absorb odors, and machine stitch or hand stitch the opening closed. Loop an old string or shoelace and hand stitch it to the straight end of the sock and use it to pull the inserts out of the shoes when you're ready to wear them. Hang them to dry between uses.
By Monica from Cortez, CO
To freshen boots, bowling shoes, ski boots, etc., place a dryer sheet in each one when not in use.
To freshen boots, bowling shoes, ski boots, etc., place a dryer sheet in each one when not in use.
By duckie-do from Cortez, CO
Put a drop of peppermint or cinnamon oil on some used dryer sheets and tuck them into athletic shoes or work boots. Great for teenage boys!
Source: From my Grandson's stinky feet!
To get the stink out of your tennis shoes use tea tree oil. Put the shoes in the washing machine. Set the water level to low. Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil. Let agitate for a minute and then let them soak for 15 minutes. Then add a little laundry detergent and and turn the machine back on and let the washing cycle finish. Your shoes will come out odor free!
To get rid of smelly feet and stinky shoes you can use insoles made from cedar material. For example special Cedarsoles made from antifungal and fresh smelling cedar wood. It tackles the cause of the problem, foot bacteria!
By Casey from Chicago, IL
Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!
Here are questions related to Remedies for Stinky Shoes.
What can you put in shoes to make them smell less? My grandson stays in his tennis shoes. I would like something that he could slip into his shoes at night, that would help get rid of the odor. Thanks.
By Cookie 17 from Roanoke, VA
By Mary 01/19/2013
A Dr Oz guest says to put them in the freezer.
How do I remove foot odor from shoes?
I have done this in the past with a pair of sneakers that had even odor eaters running for the hills. Generously sprinkle baking soda all inside of the shoes, then place both shoes in plastic bag. You can put additional baking soda around the inside of the bag. More the merrier. Tie and secure opening. Allow the shoes to be inside the enclosed bag for several days. If they still have a low level of nose holding odor, replace the old baking soda with fresh... and repeat. Works wonderful!
I have some Dexter boat shoes. I have worn them a lot! They smell very bad. I tried putting deodorant on them, spoting with perfume, and also foot powder, and they still smell! Please help :) I can't stand it. I love these shoes!
I went to Arkansas and I got my Jordan's all wet. I threw them in the washer, but it seems that the odor of the inside is just worse now. It's part of the shoe, if that makes any sense. If anyone has a way to get rid of the odor please help me.
By Raul from Bartlett, TX
By Lizzyanny 09/25/2013
Get some Borateem and wash with that. It gets rid of nearly any odor.
I have a pair of Keen watershoes that I wore kayaking. They were soaked and I left them in a hot car and now they smell like cat pee! I have left them out in the sun for 2 days, washed them with baking soda/water and put dryer sheets in them. I love these shoes, but I can't stand the smell! I would appreciate any help. Thanks!
By Linda H
By Carol D. 08/16/2013
Try vinegar and water.
I bought my son a pair of leather Jordon's at the Finish Line 2 months ago. They smell like cat urine and we have no cats! I have washed them, let them dry, and stuffed them with newspaper. I also bought a new shoe deodorizer and the shoes still smell like cat urine, to the point the shoes make my house smell like cat urine. What do you suggest for me to resolve this problem? Thank you.
By Rhonda M.
My son's Under Armor football cleats, Nike and Adidas basketball shoes smell like cat pee. From what I understand, it's not the inside of the shoe, or sweaty feet. It's the outside, the material and glue. My son has casual basketball and running shoes that he wears and they don't smell at all. I keep wondering if it's not the synthetic stuff they use to make the shoes lighter. It seems to be the ones that have the netting material. Real leather doesn't smell like that, but it's heavier and not used in performance athletic shoes. I just make sure that they aren't left in a bag. When they dry out, the smell fades. They need to fix it...it's gross.
How do I remove odors from sneakers?
By Nativeluv from Sacramento, CA
By Tonya 09/19/2011
I've heard that you can stuff them with newpaper and set outside over night and that helps. It's not a permanent fix though you may have to do it once a week or so.
How do you get a dead mouse smell out of leather sneakers?
By Barbara from San Antonio, TX
By Lindaspy 01/31/2011
Baking Soda. Just pour a little of it in the shoe and let it sit.
Today I stepped in something really smelly. I can't quite figure out what it was or what the smell is, but I don't really want to know. I have washed them with the garden hose and then threw them in the washer, but I just can't get rid of the smell. It isn't as strong, but is still there. Does anybody have any ideas?
By Diane 12/11/2010
So your shoes are able to go into the washer okay? Then try adding some vinegar (like 1/4 cup) in with the wash cycle--vinegar removes odors and also acts as a disinfectant. The vinegar "smell" will dissipate when dried. (Vinegar is used to rid washing machines of lingering odors, too). After that, you could put them into a plastic bag big enough to tie closed, but add some baking soda to absorb the odors and lay the shoes on their sides carefully, leave sealed overnight.
Does anyone know if it safe and effective to use the disposable silica gel bags (found in new shoes) to absorb sweat and odour in running shoes in between uses?
By JOFA508 from Toronto
Silica gel is perfectly safe just keep it in the little baggies. As per poison control it is practically non toxic. The warning on the baggies state "do not eat" reason they put that on there because it is not food and people have mistaken them for sugar or salt. They do very well to adsorb moisture.
I can not get the odor out of my son's New Balance suede tennis shoes. The bottom of the inside of the shoes have a flannel feeling fabric. I have:
1. Sprayed with Kiwi Fresh Force shoe freshener
2. Washed with baking soda, vinegar, detergent, spray and wash, etc.
3. Left outside for days to air out. Even the animals don't want to run off with them....lol
None of his other shoes smell like this. He marched in these at band camp and I suppose he sweat excessively in them. The just have a really rank odor that resembles the odor that happened one time when the towel underneath the dog's water bowl didn't get replaced when I was flat on my back from an injury. The guys let it go and it got full of mold or mildew underneath. Ew...gross. Anyway, the towel washed fine. But I sure can't get these shoes to stop stinking. They sure are clean though!
By steven 111/26/2011
Read my profile.
Feedback about this article is posted here. Want to contribute? Click above to post feedback.
Special inserts made from original cedar wood are the only thing I can really recommend. They have a very long-lasting menthol-like (moreover antifungal) effect... the fresh aroma lasts for about three months.
By wendy wallace09/23/2010
For future reference to PREVENT your next pair of new unstinky shoes from becoming stinky, you need to eradicate the odor causing bacteria that are part of the normal flora growing on your feet. This process will also eliminate foot odor. Start by spraying or rubbing regular ole' rubbing alcohol onto your feet twice a day for a week or two, then once a day for a week or two, then a couple days a week. By then, you should only need to apply alcohol a few times per month. Adjust according to your stinkiness. I promise this works.
By JohnC 04/07/2010
The most elegant way to remove odor from badly smelling shoes is to use a UV shoe sanitizer. UV light is proven to kill microorganims. No bacteria = no odor. UV shoe trees or shoe sanitizers are sold online. They are not cheap. I got mine at the local DPM office to help with chronic shoe odor caused by sweat.
I agree with NotWrong - Freezing will kill the bacteria & the smell. I just let mine come back to room temperature indoors & they're good to go!
By Mary Koehler 03/16/2010
Try spraying them with Fresh-Wave. go into Google, read about Fresh-Wave, and find out where you can buy it in your area. There are several forms. Spray, crystals, and liquid for washing clothes, Maybe you can use a punch, and make a couple small holes in shoes near instep for ventilation.
By Meemaw 03/15/2010
Put each shoe into a plastic grocery bag and place into the freezer overnight. Then place the outside in the sunshine or in a place to complete dry before you wear them. This works for any kind of shoe this kills the bacteria.
If possible, remove the innersole and wash it by hand, air dry and spray with Lysol (or generic equivalent). If it's not removable, spray the inside of the shoe liberally with the Lysol spray and let it dry overnight. This may need to be repeated a few times.
By Cyinda 03/14/2010
The odor is caused by bacteria that has soaked down in to your shoes & will never come out (unless you could wash & bleach the shoes, then maybe you could remove the odor)...
You could try spraying rubbing alcohol directly inside of your shoes until they are fully saturated then let them dry. The alcohol should saturate the leather & may kill the germs.This may work. Buy the stronger proof of rubbing alcohol. It cost twice as much, but will work better & also evaporate quicker. When the shoes are half-way dry, put recycled plastic bags on you feet then put the damp shoes on to stretch them to your foot size again so the leather won't shrink from being wet.
A second idea, if the Alcohol doesn't work, you can at least try leaving your shoes out in the hot mid-day sunshine because the sun's UV rays kill bacteria & viruses.
---> But there is a much better solution to future foot & shoe odor:
My ex-husband had the worst, stinky feet in the world when I married him. His shoes were so bad that I can't even describe it! ...We tried buying the fancy odor-reducing socks & nothing worked. Until I found the secret. And that is, that dye in socks makes your feet sweat & smell more. So only buy white socks! Then each time you wash your socks bleach them. The bleach kills the bacteria that causes the odor. When I started bleaching my husbands socks every single time they were washed (& he also bought brand NEW shoes) he never had a foot odor or shoe odor problem again! The only bad thing is, your socks will wear out in half the time because of the bleach... But having no foot odor will be totally worth it!
* Also, I've read to never use corn starch in you shoes because the corn starch is a food product & can cause bacteria & fungus to form (baby powder without cornstarch is okay).
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
Is there any way to remove odor from shoes. The shoes are still like new but they smell terrible from sweating feet, etc.
How do I get rid of shoe odor? The commercialized sprays aren't cutting it at all. We're talking room-clearing nuclear clouds emanating from around my ankles every time I take a step. it's humiliating.
C A M from Roy, UT
I just took two things that kill bacteria (heat and chlorine) and applied them. I would imagine that zapping the shoes in a microwave for 30 seconds would have the same effect, but haven't tried that yet. (07/15/2008)
To get moisture or stink out of shoes, fill two old socks with baking soda and knot at the ends. Shove deep into the shoes and let them sit overnight. The shoes should be dry or very close to dry and any odor should be gone.
By Beth B. from Lee, FL
To get the odor out of stinky shoes and sneakers, wad up newspaper and stick in the shoes. Leave several hours or overnight. Odor gone and it is a green idea.
By Dwedenoja from New Creek, WV