Get Rid of Shoe Odor | DIY Guide to Remove Smell From Footwear

Do your favorite shoes start giving a bad odor after wearing them a few times? Or if you are looking for methods to reduce that funky smelly odor from your running shoes? If you are, you have come to the right place because, in this article, I will tell you about the most effective methods of getting rid of shoe odor so that you are able to wear them again comfortably.

As you know, it’s summertime, and in summer we like to play outdoor games and have fun. As for summers, it comes with sweat, and while wearing socks, those sweat droplets get entrapped into your sock and shoe, causing a bad smell which is entrapped inside the shoe and keeps them stinky even after removing them from your feet.

Another one of the major reasons that cause bad odor is bacteria and fungus, which is present inside shoes, and it starts thriving in its nearby environment when the moisture is entrapped inside the shoe. If the shoe is not cleaned properly and the moisture stuck inside isn’t removed, this fungus and bacteria will be responsible for causing foot infections.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor

How to Remove Odor From Leather Shoes?

Leather shoes are everyone’s favorite. Wearing them from time to time will cause a bad odor in them which is due to sweating, dirt, bacterial and fungal presence in the shoes. But there are some easy methods through which you can easily remove the smell from your favorite shoes.

One of the easiest ways of removing bad odor is disinfecting the shoes with a natural cleanser. You can make this cleaning solution by using vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. Follow it up by using baking soda. You can also use commercially made disinfectant spray for this purpose as well.

Following are the steps that you should follow while removing odors from your smelly shoes.

  • Take 1:1 vinegar and water; for a single pair of shoes, take half a cup of water and vinegar.
  • Mix it well after putting it into any spraying bottle and add drops of tea tree oil.
  • Make sure not to use apple cider vinegar instead of normal vinegar as it will cause discoloration of the shoe.
  • Take a plain cloth that isn’t dyed, or you can even use a paper towel, make a thin layer of solution on it by dampening it a bit. Don’t spray too much solution on it or soak it.
  • Wipe the interior of the shoes, including insoles, and all the way up to the place of the front toe. Remove the shoelaces if there are any and clean them as much as you can.
  • After wiping it with the damp cloth, now clean the shoe with a dry cloth. Ensure that your paper towel or the rag you are using is completely dry; otherwise, it will cause other bad smell production and damage to your precious shoe.
  • When you see that the shoe is completely dry, sprinkle 4.9ml of a teaspoon of baking soda into your leather shoe and make sure that it even reaches every side of the shoe as baking soda helps absorb the bad odor. If you see that you need to use more of it to cover the shoe’s surface completely, don’t hesitate and go for it.
  • Make sure that the powder penetrates well into the shoe.
  • Let the shoe sit overnight in the baking powder. As it is a natural way of removing bad odor by using the natural disinfectant spray, you can use it as many times as you want until you get completely rid of the funky odor present in the shoe.
  • At least leave the baking soda in it for 8 hours if you are not very patient and smell if the odor is coming or not in the morning.
  • Clean the shoe with the help of dry tissue paper or use a vacuum to get rid of baking soda present in the shoe.
  • If there isn’t any odor, then it’s perfect to go, but if there is some slight smell left, you can repeat the process as it won’t damage the shoe’s leather.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor With Tea Bags?

Odor is produced when your feet cannot breathe, and as some people produce more sweat than others, there is an increased chance of developing odor in those shoes. If you are an athlete or work out regularly, your shoes require regular maintenance. Teabags are also used to get rid of bad odor as they contain tannins which are very good in cleaning the shoes and killing the bacteria and fungal inhabitants inside.

Following are the steps are taken to remove odor while using tea bags from your favorite shoe.

  • Boil some water in a pot and once it starts boiling, remove the pot from the heat and add a teabag if you are doing one shoe.
  • Soak the teabag in the boiling water and keep it there for at least 5-6 minutes.
  • Tannins are activated when the tea is steeped, so allow it to activate properly.
  • When tannins are activated, they act as natural disinfectants.
  • Remove the teabag from the pot and let the tea cool down so that it prevents burning your own fingers.
  • You can use a pair of tongs or spoon to remove the teabag from the pot and place them on a plate.
  • When the teabag is cool enough to hold it with your bare hand, then plate the teabag one in each shoe.
  • If the smell is strong, you can use two tea bags for a single shoe as well.
  • While placing them in the shoe, make sure that they are present in the middle so that moisture can reach all the desired regions of the shoe.
  • Let the tea bags stay in the shoe for at least two hours, as activated tannins will help in disinfecting and killing the odor.
  • Do not move the shoe from one place to another when the process of disinfection is going on; otherwise, proper coverage of teabag disinfection wouldn’t be achieved.
  • Once the two-hour time has passed, take out the teabag and wipe the excessive moisture present in the shoe with the help of a dry paper towel or rag. Throw the tea bag away and repeat the process if the odor is not completely removed.
  • As this is also a natural odor removal process, it would not damage the shoe if repeated.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Odor With Baking Soda?

Baking soda is one of the best home remedies for removing bad odor from any shoes. For this, all you need is some baking soda, coffee filter paper, and essential oils of your choice, as they will have good after-effects and provide a nice smell to your shoes.

Following are the steps that are done for the removal of odor by using baking soda.

  • Add one to two tablespoons of baking soda to a coffee filter.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil. It can be lavender oil, cedar oil, or tea tree oil, as these oils help in dysfunction and give a pleasant smell later on.
  • Close the filter by twisting it and securing the coffee filter ends by using an elastic band.
  • Make one sachet of baking soda for each shoe and place it in them.
  • Leave the shoe undisturbed overnight.
  • Baking soda will absorb all the moisture in the shoe, while essential oil will help deodorize it.
  • Discard the patches in the morning from the shoe.
  • You can repeat this process multiple times until the desired effects are achieved. Your shoe will be moisture and odor-free, most probably within a night.

Other Effective Methods

There are certainly other methods that can be used to remove bad odor from the shoes. Some of these methods include spraying disinfectant into the shoes. These disinfectants are commercially prepared. Using cotton balls on which few drops of essential oils are placed, these are kept overnight. Hence they remove bad odor as well.

Placing the shoes in direct sunshine can also help in killing the bacteria and disinfecting shoes as well. Although placing shoes in the sunshine for too long will cause damage to the shoes. Lemon peels can also be used as a bad smell killer. These are also left overnight and give a fresh and pleasant smell to the shoes. Spraying rubbing alcohol in shoes can also cause moisture to evaporate with alcohol itself.


Smelly shoes are a problem for everyone, especially in the summer season when there is a lot of sweating. Changing socks continuously and keeping your shoes dry and moisture-free can help in reducing funky smells. I am glad that you came across this article and learned about a few best methods that remove the smell from the shoes very effectively and are very natural. They will help protect the shoes as well while giving you a comfortable and pleasant smell. Also, check out these best vegan shoes for men we have reviewed out for you, that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

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