How to Clean Smelly Shoes: Remove Stinky Odor from Your Sneaker
Last Updated: October 03, 2023 | Author: James Leigh
WORKING TIME: 20 - 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 24 - 48 hrs (including drying time)
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
ESTIMATED COST: $5 - $10
Tired of that unbearable stink coming from your favorite pair of sneakers? You're not alone. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to remove odor from shoes effectively, using both home remedies and other proven methods. Read on to find out how to give your shoes a new lease on life.
- Understand the root cause of the odor.
- Utilize home remedies like baking soda and white vinegar.
- Essential oils can add a pleasant scent.
- Washing machines should be a last resort.
- Always let your shoes dry completely to prevent bacteria growth.
Comparison Table: Different Methods to Clean Smelly Shoes
|Method||Effectiveness||Time Required||Materials Needed||Pros||Cons|
|Baking Soda||High||Overnight||Baking soda, plastic bag||Eliminates odor, easy to find||May need to repeat for stubborn stench|
|White Vinegar||High||2-4 hours||White vinegar, spray bottle||Kills bacteria, removes smell from shoes||Strong initial smell, needs airing out|
|Essential Oils||Moderate||2-4 hours||Essential oils, cotton ball||Adds pleasant scent, kills some bacteria||May not eliminate all odors|
|Washing Machine||High||Wash cycle + drying time||Detergent, washing machine||Thoroughly cleans shoes, removes insole stench||May damage certain shoes, check care instructions|
|Rubbing Alcohol||Moderate||1-2 hours||Rubbing alcohol, cloth||Quick bacteria killer, deodorizes shoes||Can dry out materials like leather|
|Dryer Sheets||Low||12-24 hours||Dryer sheets||Adds a fresh scent, easy||Scent may not last, doesn't eliminate odor|
|Freezer Method||Moderate||Overnight||Plastic bag, freezer||Kills some bacteria, easy||Must thaw shoes, may still smell|
|Kitty Litter||Low||12-24 hours||Kitty litter, plastic bag||Absorbs moisture, some odor||Messy, not for severe odors|
- Baking Soda: Great for running shoes and everyday sneakers. Sprinkle inside and leave overnight in a plastic bag.
- White Vinegar: Effective but make sure to air out the shoes thoroughly to remove the vinegar smell.
- Essential Oils: Best for shoes that need a scent boost. Not as effective for severe smelly sneakers.
- Washing Machine: Make sure to remove the laces and insoles before the wash cycle. Let them completely dry in a well-ventilated area.
- Rubbing Alcohol: Quick fix but not a long-term solution. Wipe away excess with a cloth.
- Dryer Sheets: Place a sheet inside each shoe and leave overnight. Best for shoes that aren't severely stinky.
- Freezer Method: Put your shoes in a plastic bag and freeze them overnight to kill some bacteria.
- Kitty Litter: Fill shoes with kitty litter and leave overnight. Effective for absorbing moisture but not strong odors.
Understanding the Root Cause of Shoe Odor
The first step in tackling smelly shoes is understanding the root of the problem. Shoes become a breeding ground for bacteria when they get wet, either from sweat or external conditions. These bacteria thrive in the dark, damp environment inside your shoes, leading to that funky smell.
Baking Soda: The Odor Neutralizer
Baking soda is a household staple that can neutralize odors effectively. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside the shoes and let them sit overnight. The baking soda will absorb excess moisture and kill odor-causing bacteria. In the morning, remove the excess baking soda, and you'll find your shoes smelling much fresher.
How to Use Baking Soda
- Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes.
- Let them sit overnight.
- Remove excess baking soda in the morning.
White Vinegar: The Bacteria Killer
White vinegar is another potent home remedy for smelly shoes. Add a few drops of white vinegar to a spray bottle filled with water. Douse the shoes with this solution and let them air dry. The vinegar will kill the bacteria and remove tough odors.
Vinegar Spray Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- Spray bottle
Essential Oils: Keep Your Shoes Smelling Great
Essential oils not only kill bacteria but also leave your shoes smelling great. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a cotton ball and place it in your shoe. Leave the shoes in a well-ventilated area to air dry.
Washing Machine: The Last Resort
If your shoes are still smelly after trying these methods, it may be time to toss them in the washing machine. Make sure to read the care instructions on your sneakers before doing so. Use a mild detergent and set the machine on a gentle cycle. Once done, let them dry completely in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I use bleach to clean smelly shoes?
No, bleach is a harsh chemical that can damage the material of the shoe.
2. How often should I clean my shoes?
It depends on how frequently you wear them. Shoes that are worn often should be cleaned at least once a week to prevent smelly shoe odors.
3. Can I put my shoes in the dryer?
It's not recommended as the heat can warp the shape and material of the shoes.
4. What can I do for quick odor removal?
Sprinkle some baking soda and let them sit for at least 12 hours.
5. Is it okay to use rubbing alcohol?
Yes, rubbing alcohol can kill bacteria but make sure to let the shoes dry thoroughly afterward.