Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
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
Crumbled newspaper works great too because of the carbon in the news print :-) Thanks for this extra tip :-)
Spraying with white vinegar also works.
I wipe out the insides of shoes with rubbing alcohol.
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
I keep giving feedback about the chemicals in dryer sheets, which can be very dangerous. I suggest that you at least do not put your bare feet into any footwear that has had dryer sheets stored in them - always wear socks. If your feet sweat, you shouldn't use dryer sheets at all, as your feet will absorb these chemicals. Please read my TF post from last November in response to folks who were sending suggestions for using dryer sheets on their pets. (Link below) It's no joke - these chemicals are dangerous.
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
So many steps? I only need two things to get rid of foot smell:
1. I wash my feet daily - do it thoroughly (drying primarily).
2. I wear cedarsoles inside all of my shoes. Cedarsoles are chemical-free insoles made from natural cedarwood. The cedarwood has antibacterial features and eliminate any bad bacteria on my feet skin. So the smell has no more basis.
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
Use regular kosher salt or any salt. Just sprinkle in shoes after heavy use, then wear with socks or without. It will kill the odor. Repeat if necessary. If all else fails you need to just toss the shoe.
Pour some cat litter, scented or unscented, into a pair of heavy socks or sock slippers and close it with a rubber band. Drop the litter filled socks into the pair of shoes or sneakers. Litter was created to reduce and remove some heavy duty odors, so it's perfect for this!
My daughter also had a new pair of shoes that were a little tight fitting, so we just stuffed the litter filled socks tightly into those shoes (I did spritz the inside of the shoe first, ever so slightly) and it did loosen them up to fit her better too! Just in time for school.
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.
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!
If you ever have a pair of shoes that don't smell very good then I have an easy solution for you! Just take some tea bags and place them in your shoes while not in use, in a day or two your shoes won't have any bad smell!
Dryer sheets are a great way to deodorize stinky shoes. Here is this tip in action.
To freshen up smelly training shoes/sneakers, put a sheet of fabric softener in them overnight.
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!
I used my dryer sheets in my shoes and my kids' shoes. This removed the odor from the shoes. You can also put a dryer sheet in your stored shoes to absorbed odors. This simple tip works well.
Put your smelly sneakers in the washing machine with a half a cup of vinegar and some laundry detergent. Fill the washer with water and allow sneakers to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes wash as usual. The sneakers will come out odor free and smelling as good as new.
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.
To keep shoes smelling fresh(er), fill the foot portion of an old pair of nylons with baking soda and stuff into the shoes when not being worn. Makes a big difference! By Leann D
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.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
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
I don't have smell troubles, but I put in Bounce Dryer Sheets every night into my shoes to keep them fresh. Works for me.
Try wadding up newspaper and slipping it in his shoes over night or even for a weekend. It should get rid of the smell
Baking Soda! It neutralizes odors like nothing, just sprinkle it in the shoes at night and tap it so it disperses around and then in the morning just shake the remnants in the trash.
I went to a watering hole and was wearing my water shoes. I then packed them in a plastic pack and promptly forgot about them. I opened the bag 2 days later and they smell horrible. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the smell? I'm willing to try anything to make them smell normal again!
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.
You should have taken them back and maybe you still can if they have not been worn much. They were probably made in China and it is probably the glue they used. Don't buy shoes made in China. You don't know what they are made of.
I would go to a farm supply or hardware store to buy a product designed to eliminate urine smell. Then I would apply the product, and allow the shoes to dry outside in the sun, while I treated the inside of the house.
The smell is not due to the shoes being made in China, it's from teenage boy (can happen with girls, too) sweaty feet. Trust me, I have 17 year old twin boys. Their shoes smell like cat urine as well. Bleh! I don't notice the smell until they get wet...usually.
I'm going to try the baking soda method I've heard about and maybe the freezing method as well. Regardless, I'll let you know if I find anything that works. Good luck!
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
You could try putting diluted disinfectant in them, washing again, by hand and spinning them in the washing machine. Then soaking the insides in a strong solution of water and bicarbonate of soda. Bi carbonate of soda is supposed to eliminate odour. Good luck!
You may want to put some charcoal inside some socks and put them in and leave them for a few days. Other people swear by stuffing them with news paper. I would try the paper first as it's pretty much free.
How do I remove odors from sneakers?
By Nativeluv from Sacramento, CA
I have to wear athletic shoes for work, and I wash mine at least once a month in the washer, then set out to dry outside with the laces out, and tongues pulled back, which helps greatly.
Otherwise, you could try filling the insides with baking soda and leaving at least overnite, or trying an unused fabric softener sheet tucked down into the toe area.
Hope you find something that works for you!
I wouldn't have believed you could wash leather sneakers in the washing machine, but you can. I first tried it with a pair that I would have thrown out could I not clean them. I took the insoles out to wash separately. Dry everything in the sun and they're almost brand new. Use a higher end laundry soap for this dirty job and that will also help with deodorizing.
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.
I purchased some sandals from JCPenney a few months ago. The brand is Yuu and it says they are made from "man made materials". After wearing them quite a bit they have become smelly and there is a dark imprint of my feet on them. How do I get rid of both the smell and the footprints?
How do I remove foot odor from shoes?
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
Try vinegar and water.
I washed my sneakers in the washing machine. Now they have a petroleum-like odor. I have tried baking soda, bleach, vinegar, dryer sheets, and repeated washings. Any other ideas? The shoes were relatively new and this was the first time to be washed. Thanks for any help.
Try sunlight. Put them in direct sunlight on deck or porch in a plastic bag so they don't get dirty. Also try hanging them on clothesline if you have one.
How do you get a dead mouse smell out of leather sneakers?
By Barbara from San Antonio, TX
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?
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.
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!
I've had the same problem with every pair of 991s and 992s that I've bought. They get old, they get wet, then they smell like urine. Despite what some of the older replies say, it's a problem with the shoes made by New Balance. It is NOT mold/mildew or such. It's a "chemical" in the deteriorating heel material that is smelling. Don't waste your time trying to clean them. Fortunately it is usually handled by NB as: "Bring 'em back and we'll replace 'em." And extra fortunate for me: I buy them at Nordstrom = easy return.
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
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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.
What can be done to stop terrible odor in sneakers?
By Elain from Wilmington, DE
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)
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)
Sprinkle baking soda in them and leave over night. Works like a charm. (05/31/2010)
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)
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 T&T Grandma
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)