Removing Odor from Shoes

What can be done to stop terrible odor in sneakers?

By Elain from Wilmington, DE


Removing Odor from Shoes

Wear only white socks and bleach them.

Wear only white socks (dye makes your feet sweat more) that are at least 80% cotton and bleach your socks each and every time your wash them! Your socks won't last as quite as long, but bleaching will take care of the problem! My ex-husband had the stinkiest feet and shoes in the world! They were so bad you could actually smell them from across the room.


We tried everything from the expensive odor-eater socks, to fancy sprays, and charcoal insoles, but once I bought him new shoes and I started bleaching his white socks and he quit wearing colored socks, his feet and shoes never had an odor problem again.

The bleach kills the germs that cause the odor. You may have to buy brand new shoes, but if they are white sneakers, they can be washed in the machine, but washing will not kill the germs, you'll have to mix 1/4 cup of bleach with 1/2 a gallon of water and sit your shoes in the bottom of your washer then pour this bleach-mixture into the shoes and let them sit for 10 minutes or so, then wash them as usual, adding more bleach to the load with your detergent. Don't dry in the sneakers in the dryer, just let them air dry. But if I were you, I'd buy new shoes to wear with my bleached socks because your old shoes are full of bacteria and that's what's causing the odor.


If your feet have a fungus or bacteria problem, try soaking them daily for 20 minutes in a plastic dishpan (from the dollar store) in warm water and a little bleach. The bleach will kill any fungus or bacteria. Also when you bathe or shower, wash your feet with dandruff shampoo instead of soap. Dandruff shampoos kill fungus, because it's a fungus that causes dandruff.

If you need to wear dark colored socks for work, buy thin cotton white "footies" (short little ankle socks) and wear these under your dark colored socks (and bleach them). You'll need to buy a larger shoe, but it will be worth it! In the past, my ex-husband always got athletes foot and other problems, but once he switched to white socks that were bleached, he never had problems like those again! Another tip: Around the house wear only flip-flops so your feet get lots of fresh-air and wear sandals whenever you can. (05/31/2010)


By Cyinda

Removing Odor from Shoes

They sell a product in the drug stores called Odor Eaters. I think they are by Dr. Scholl's. Maybe they will help. (05/31/2010)

By Amy3e

Removing Odor from Shoes

Sprinkle baking soda in them and leave over night. Works like a charm. (05/31/2010)

By Bren

Removing Odor from Shoes

Bacteria causes the odor. You can put the shoes in a plastic bag (preferably one of those larger Ziploc bags, the ones used for clothes, etc.) and stick them in the freezer overnight. The cold kills the bacteria, which is supposed to make your shoes smell better. (06/01/2010)

By Melanie Jackson

Removing Odor from Shoes

Well, I throw my son's and husband's leather tennis shoes in to the washer with bleach in them. I have used the furniture smelling sprays in them as well. Febreze I think it is. Be careful of wearing clean socks, change them out a couple times a day if you are a sweater. If you use them for exercise, don't use them for normal wear. Some people just 'contaminate by smell' things more than others. (06/02/2010)


By Grandma J

Removing Odor from Shoes

Use a shoe tree that emits strong UV light to kill the bacteria in your shoes. It is dead simple to use and works very well. Not exactly cheap though, but by far the most convenient solution I have tried. Amazon has it when you look for UV Shoe Tree or something like that. (06/17/2010)

By JohnC

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