• Place odor-neutralizing materials like coffee grounds, cat litter, newspaper, or baking powder in your shoes.
  • Get a cotton swab or q-tip. Then, use a disinfectant on your shoes, such as white vinegar or rubbing alcohol, and rub it in.
  • Treat your feet if they are the source of the lingering odor in most of your footwear. Use talcum powder on your feet and socks on a regular basis.
  1. 1

    Inside, sprinkle some baking soda. There's a good reason why this tried-and-true remedy has stood the test of time: If you sprinkle about a tablespoon of baking soda into a stinky pair of shoes, the odor will be absorbed and the moisture that encourages bacteria growth will be drawn out. Best results are achieved if baking soda is added after removing shoes at night and then shook out before wearing in the morning. [1]

    • If your shoes are leather, you might want to hold off on this because baking soda has the potential to dry out the material. [2]
  2. 2

    Put newspaper inside the shoes. To get rid of lingering odors, reuse yesterday's newspaper instead of throwing it away. Stuff stinky shoes with wads of newspaper and let them sit for a few days in a cool, dry place. Over time, the newspaper will remove all traces of odor and moisture from the shoes, restoring them to near-factory condition. [3]

    • You can also try sprinkling your favorite fragrant perfume or aromatics on the newspaper. Adding vanilla extract, even just a few drops, can make a big difference. [4]


  3. 3

    Experiment with cat litter. Kitty litter may not be the first thing that comes to mind for deodorizing shoes, but it serves this purpose very well. If you want to greatly reduce the smell of foot odor while you sleep, try spreading a tablespoon or two of (clean) kitty litter inside each shoe before turning in for the night. Morning routine: shake your shoes in the trash.

  4. 4

    Examine the coffee-seeds alternative If you are a coffee drinker, use the used grounds to deodorize your shoes. A great way to get rid of unpleasant odors is to sprinkle some dry grounds inside each shoe and let them sit for a few hours. Because wet grounds will leave your shoes soggy (which can make them smell worse until they dry) and because they can stain the fabric of lighter-colored shoes, dry grounds are essential here.

    • The used coffee grounds can also be used as an effective deodorizer. It's recommended that you refrigerate the dry grounds in an uncovered bowl. If baking soda is used instead, the outcomes should be comparable. [5]
  5. 5

    Scrub with vinegar A great way to eliminate foot odor is to use a rag or paper towel dampened with white vinegar to wipe the inside of each shoe. Don't wear them again until they've dried completely, or the vinegar will just add its own unpleasant scent to the shoes' original odor. If you've used too much vinegar, stuff it with crumpled newspaper to absorb the excess moisture.

    • To eliminate odors and fill the shoe with fizzing foam, you can also use vinegar in conjunction with the aforementioned baking soda method. [6]
    • White vinegar is your best bet. Shoes exposed to apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, for example, will turn brown.
  6. 6

    Apply rubbing alcohol and swab. Among the most effective disinfectants is alcohol, which can effectively eliminate a wide variety of bacteria and other microorganisms. [7] This makes it an excellent option for disinfecting shoes that have become contaminated with odorous bacteria. You can clean the inside of your shoes by soaking a cotton swab or Q-tip in rubbing alcohol (also known as isopropyl alcohol) and then scrubbing them. Make sure you get every crevice of the interior fabric, and re-wet your swab if it gets dry.

  7. 7

    Get some dryer sheets. Use these disposable laundry aids to combat foot odor for pennies. At the end of the day, slip one sheet into each pair of shoes to neutralize lingering odors. Use scented dryer sheets for the best results because unscented ones may help absorb some of the bad odor, but they won't leave your shoes smelling as fresh.

  8. 8

    Put on some cold shoes Some cleaning guides claim that once the shoes have cooled to room temperature, they will no longer have an unpleasant odor. According to urban legend, putting your stinky shoes in the freezer for a night will kill the bacteria responsible for the odor.

    • However, it should be noted that there are those who question this approach. If you absolutely must have fresh-smelling shoes, you may want to combine this method with one of the others above just to be safe.


  1. 1

    Get the shoes clean by throwing them in the washing machine. You (hopefully) wash your clothes when they start to smell, so why not your shoes? Best results can be achieved by taking off the shoes' soles and laces and placing them in a pillowcase or laundry bag. Clean in hot or warm water using your regular laundry detergent. Shoes that tend to smell particularly bad should be washed twice. [8]

    • Please dry the shoes in the sun if at all possible. This will allow them to get some much-needed "airing out" time in the open air, and the sun's disinfecting effects on odor-causing bacteria will be a welcome side effect. [9]
    • Shoes that are easily damaged by water (such as leather shoes) should not be worn in this.
  2. 2

    Put some disinfectant on it. Shoes that have been worn for a long time and subjected to foot sweat, moisture, and odor may harbor bacteria and fungi deep within the fabric. A powerful disinfecting soak may be required to kill these organisms. If you have a pair of dark shoes, you shouldn't use this method because it involves bleach. Materials that are sensitive to moisture, such as leather, should also be avoided. Here are the measures to take:

    • Rub some rubbing alcohol into the shoes. Five minutes should be enough time to completely soak the fabric on both sides.
    • Put the shoes out in the sun to dry. Dry on low heat with a dryer if the weather isn't cooperating.
    • Bleach and water should be combined in a 50:50 ratio. Spray the inside and outside of each shoe with this concoction. To ensure the spray reaches the entire shoe, remove the shoe's tongue, sole, and laces.
    • Instead of using bleach, you can use an anti-fungal spray. If not, give the shoes some more time to dry out.
  3. 3

    Replace your insoles If your shoes have an especially unpleasant odor, you may want to try replacing certain components to find and get rid of the cause. An effective purchase would be a new pair of insoles. Affordable insoles can be found as an add-on in most shoe stores. They may also feel great, as many are designed to give those who stand or walk for long periods of time more support and comfort.

  4. 4

    Take caution when using the microwave to ensure that any bacteria present are eliminated. Meat is typically cooked before consumption because heat is effective at killing bacteria. Microwaving your shoes can kill bacteria, but you should be careful if you decide to do this. A shoe or a microwave that has been heated for too long can both suffer damage. Similarly to the aforementioned techniques, this one is not recommended for shoes constructed from leather or other moisture-sensitive materials. Furthermore, shoes that contain metal components are not recommended for use. To accomplish what we've outlined below:

    • To do this, wet a rag in water. You should dampen the entire shoe, both inside and out, with rubbing, but you don't want to soak it.
    • Pop the footwear into the microwave. When using a microwave, take out the turntable.
    • For 30 seconds, place the shoes in a hot oven. Do a careful back-of-the-hand temperature check. Wait 30 seconds and check again.
    • To get the shoes nice and toasty, keep heating them in 30-second intervals. Take them out with a pair of tongs and hang them up to dry.
  5. 5

    Pamper your toes Shoes that smell bad can be remedied by addressing the root cause of the problem: your feet. If your feet are clean, dry, and odor-free, your shoes will be less likely to develop a foul odor.

    • Talcum powder can help keep your feet smelling nice. After you begin to perspire, sprinkling some on your feet and in your socks will help absorb the moisture and stop the growth of the bacteria that produce odors.
    • For more information, read our piece on foot odor.


Question New
  • Question

    How do I naturally eliminate foot odor from shoes?

    Marc Sigal
    Marc Sigal
    Professional Shoe Cleaner
    Marc Sigal established the Los Angeles, California-based dry cleaning and shoe care service ButlerBox. Pick up and drop off your belongings at any time, day or night, from anywhere with ButlerBox's wrinkle-resistant lockers. These lockers can be found in high-end apartment complexes, executive office towers, and retail centers. Marc attended UC Santa Barbara for his undergraduate degree and majored in international studies.
    Marc Sigal

    Your donation to wikiHow will unlock this expert reply.

    Put some baking soda in your shoes and let them air out overnight in a well-ventilated area. The following day, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda from the shoe interior. Most problems with unpleasant odors should now be resolved.

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Marc Sigal

Marc Sigal contributed to the writing of this piece. ButlerBox is a Los Angeles–based dry cleaning and shoe care service founded by Marc Sigal. Pick up and drop off your items at any of the convenient locations where ButlerBox has installed their custom-designed, wrinkle-resistant lockers, which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Originally from the UK, Marc attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a bachelor's degree in global and international studies. To date, there have been 271,581 views of this article.

Co-authors: 14

Updated: Dated: October 25th, 2022

Views:  271,581

Categories: Maintenance of Footwear

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    "It helped tremendously" The insoles of my shoes were worn out, so I got new ones. Then, in the nighttime hours between each, I dusted baking soda in. use What a great solution! Disappearing odors We appreciate everyone's thoughtful contributions. Keep the creative juices coming. " " more
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