How to Remove Smell from Shoes or Boots Instantly: 11 Unexpectedly Easy Ways

Posted In : Boots Care
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It’s no secret that people love to smell nice, but sometimes life gets in the way of smelling great. When it comes to your shoes, they can hold onto strong odors for a lot longer than other types of clothing. If you’re looking for an easy way to remove shoe odor without breaking the bank or doing too much work, look no further than these six quick and easy ways!

If you’re like me, you’ve tried every possible way to get the smell out of your shoes. You’ve lined them with baking soda and newspaper for weeks on end, sprayed them with Febreeze until they were dry-cleaned by a professional, and even left them in the freezer overnight. And yet here we are: Your stinky shoes have made it back into your closet once again! 

Your only hope is to find how to remove smell from shoes instantly and do some quick fixes that will help eliminate this unpleasant foot odor. Let us read further on 11 surprisingly easy ways to remove them away.

How to Remove Smell from Shoes or Boots


Why do your boots smell or stink

Before going into deep, let us know why really our boots or shoes stench:

  • The main reason is – bacteria. The bacteria are basically everywhere in our surroundings including our bodies, clothes, shoes, etc. They feed themselves by consuming dead skin cells etc. if you un-knowingly do not take proper care of your shoe hygiene then you might just be inviting a bacterial growth at faster rates than usual, thus making your shoes bacterial breeding ground and hence ultimately making them smell.
  • The second reason is sweat and dirt accumulation. Sweat and dirt mixture stick to the inside surface of your shoes creating a moist environment due to humidity on which bacteria thrive. This causes bad odor so you need to clean them every after some time.  
  • The third reason is – fungus. Fungus is a plant that grows in dark and damp places, if any fungus happens to grow inside your shoe then you definitely have a problem with bad odor.  
  • The fourth reason is the leather or other materials used for making shoes. If your shoe material was not made from breathable material then it will probably make sweaty feet and that sweat will stay on your shoes until you clean them, both in winter and summertime.

11 Homemade Easy Ways to Get Rid of Odor in Shoes and Boots

Now we know what are the four main reasons why our boots stink. So now we know why they stink but knowing is only half the struggle, lets move on to actually applying those solutions on those smelly shoes of yours!

Method 1 : Use White Bread to Remove Smell from Shoes

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with white bread

Everyone knows that white bread is great for absorbing moisture, but if you’re looking to get rid of odor in your favorite shoes, it’s also your ticket to the sweet smell of success! 

This simple approach requires very few ingredients to work well. All you need are two things: Some light-colored, unscented white bread and a new, lint-free makeup brush. Yes, that’s it! Here are the simple steps.

  • Step 1 : Place enough pieces of bread to keep your shoes covered, but not so many that you don’t have room to move around in them.
  • Step 2 : Leave your shoes with the bread for about half an hour. You can wear them during this time but don’t worry if they get a little dirty or wet because there’s no different ways that will hurt the process!
  • Step 3 : When you return to your shoes, brush off any of the bread that is still intact. Don’t worry if some of it has been completely broken apart and absorbed by your shoe. That’s exactly what we’re going for here!
  • Step 4 : Repeat steps 1-3 until you no longer notice a bad rancid smell coming from your shoes. If you have a particularly strong odor in there, you may need to do this a few times before the smell, e.g. bad kitty litter smell, is completely gone.

Method 2 : Use Baking Soda and Essential Oils

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with white baking soda and essential oil

For those of us who live busy lifestyles but still want to avoid using harsh chemicals or materials that could cause damage to our beloved shoes, there is a safe, natural method that will allow you to eliminate odor without harming anything or spending any money. All you need are some baking soda and your favorite essential oils! 

This easy fix is perfect for those who are sensitive to certain chemicals, but still want the same fresh-smelling results. If you’re ready to get rid of your stinky shoes without causing damage or spending any money, here are the steps to follow.

  • Step 1 : Simply put a thin layer of baking soda in each shoe and leave them overnight. There’s no need to cover them with plastic or anything else; the soda will work its magic without any help!
  • Step 2 : Next, take some of your favorite essential oils and place a few drops on a small cloth. Rub this over the areas where you have already rubbed the baking soda, so that they also absorb these clean scents. You can do this as many times as necessary to ensure your shoes have a lovely fragrance!

Method 3 : Use Rubbing Alcohol and Essential Oils

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with rubbing alcohol and essential oil

If you aren’t satisfied with the remedies using baking soda alone, try this combination instead. It’s a little riskier than using just plain baking soda, but it also provides a stronger solution for getting rid of shoe odor fast! 

The ingredients that you’ll need are rubbing alcohol, water, glycerin and your favorite essential oil. Here’s how to put them all together to get rid of odor in shoes!

  • Step 1 : Mix one part rubbing alcohol with two parts water in a spray bottle. Feel free to add a little glycerin if you’d like. This will help to thicken the solution and it won’t ruin the smell of your shoes!
  • Step 2 : Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to provide an extra boost that will leave your shoes smelling lovely. You can use more or less depending on how strong you want the smell to be.
  • Step 3 : Next, spray your shoe evenly with the alcohol and water mixture and leave it like that all night long. By morning, they should be smelling wonderful! If not, simply repeat steps two and three until they do.

Method 4 : Use a Toothbrush and Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with baking soda and toothbrush

Using a toothbrush to scrub out tough stains or salts from your shoes is a great way to ensure that they look as good as new. But did you know that old toothbrushes can also be used for removing odors? It’s true! All you need is some baking soda and an old, dry toothbrush that’s been sitting around for a while. Here’s how to use your old brush and baking soda to get rid of stinky shoe odor fast!

  • Step 1 : Ensure that there is a decent amount covering both sides of the bristles, as well as the top and bottom of the brush. Do this in a well-ventilated area, since you will be working with chemicals.
  • Step 2 : Use this to scrub all areas of your shoes that are affected by odor. The coffee or tea stains should come out easily, but you may need to work a bit harder for other types of stains. Be sure not to use this brush on anything but your shoes, as the chemicals could damage them! Then rinse them well.
  • Step 3 : Once you are satisfied with how much baking soda has been used, simply allow your shoes to air-dry in a well-ventilated area. Once they are dry, you can wear them again! 

Method 5 : Use White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with baking soda and white vinegar

White vinegar is a common household product that has numerous purposes from cleaning to cooking. It’s also very useful for getting rid of shoe odor quickly and safely!

In order to use white vinegar to remove shoe odor, you will need to mix it with baking soda and water. Once the mixture is ready, all you’ll have to do is spray it on your shoes and leave them overnight! Here’s how:

  • Step 1 : You can use more or less depending on how stinky your shoes are and how intense you want the smell to be.
  • Step 2 : Add a tablespoon or two of baking soda and then top off your spray bottle with water. Shake it up well before each use to ensure the ingredients mix together evenly.
  • Step 3 : Once you are done making the mixture, it’s time to use it! To do this, simply spray your shoes down completely. This includes any dry areas that could potentially hold odors, such as the tongue of your shoe or lining.
  • Step 4 : Finally, all you have to do is allow your shoes to sit overnight with the vinegar mixture. You can then come back to brush off any excess baking soda that may be left over. Wipe it away gently with a wet cloth or paper towel until you feel satisfied with how clean they are!

Method 6 : Use Ammonia and Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Ammonia and vinegar/baking soda

Ammonia is another powerful ingredient for eliminating unpleasant smells. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use ammonia instead!

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray ammonia onto shoes.
  • Step 5 : Then allow them to air dry overnight.
  • Step 6 : repeat until they are odor-free.

Method 7 : Use Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) and Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Hydrogen Peroxide and vinegar/baking soda

Hydrogen peroxide is another natural cleanser that can be used as an alternative to vinegar or baking soda. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use HP instead!

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply the paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray HP onto shoes and allow them to air dry.
  • Step 5: Follow the same procedure as outlined above for vinegar or ammonia, but use HP instead.
  • Step 6: Then allow them to air-dry overnight. Repeat until they are odor-free!

Method 8 : Use Powdered Detergent and Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Detergent and vinegar/baking soda

Like baking soda, powdered laundry detergent is a great deodorizing agent. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use powdered laundry detergent instead!

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply the paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray laundry detergent onto shoes and allow them to air dry.
  • Step 5: Follow the same procedure as outlined above for vinegar or ammonia, but use powdered laundry detergent instead.
  • Step 6: Then allow them to air-dry overnight. Repeat until they are odor-free!

Method 9 : Try Coffee Grounds with Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Coffee Grounds and vinegar/baking soda

Coffee grounds are a great deodorizing agent, and a fantastic source of caffeine! All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use coffee grounds instead! Also use coffee filter before taking coffee grounds.

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply the paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray coffee grounds onto shoes and allow them to air dry.
  • Step 5: Follow the same procedure as outlined above for vinegar or ammonia, but use coffee grounds instead.
  • Step 6: Then allow them to air-dry overnight. Repeat until they are odor-free!

Method 10 : Try Dryer Sheets and Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Drier Sheets and vinegar/baking soda

Dryer sheets may not be the most natural cleaning agent, but they do a great job of getting rid of odors and absorbing excess moisture, so there’s no reason to avoid using them as an odor-fighting method if you have them lying around. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use a dryer sheet instead!

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply the paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray a dryer sheet onto shoes and allow them to air dry.
  • Step 5: Follow the same procedure as outlined above for vinegar or ammonia, but use a dryer sheet instead.
  • Step 6: Then allow them to air dry overnight. Repeat until they are odor-free!

Method 11 : Use Mouthwash and Vinegar/Baking Soda

Get rid of shoe odor instantly with Mouthwash and vinegar/baking soda

Mouthwash has antimicrobial properties, so it can be used to kill germs/odor-causing bacteria. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined above (for mixing vinegar/baking soda), but use mouthwash instead!

  • Step 1: Mix baking soda with water until you have a thick paste.
  • Step 2: Apply the paste to shoes and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Step 3: Brush off any excess powder in the morning.
  • Step 4: Spray mouthwash onto shoes and allow them to air dry.
  • Step 5: Follow the same procedure as outlined above for vinegar or ammonia, but use mouthwash instead.
  • Step 6: Then allow them to air-dry overnight. Repeat until they are odor-free!

Some Vinegar Alternatives

Vinegar Alternatives

A lot of people, including me, don’t like the tough smell of vinegar. here are some alternatives if you are interested:

Try Bleach Instead of Vinegar

If you have a particularly tough smell, like ammonia, bleach is another great deodorizing agent that can help remove odors (just be sure to follow the steps above for vinegar). All you need to do is:

  • Mix 1/4 cup bleach with 3 gallons of warm water in a bucket.
  • Then soak the shoes in the solution overnight.
  • Allow them to sit for at least 8 hours or overnight if possible before allowing them to dry.

Try Lemon Juice Instead of Vinegar (for Light Odor Removal)

Sometimes heavy-duty treatment with vinegar may not seem feasible, which is why I like to use lighter citrus solutions to deodorize shoes occasionally. All you need to do is:

  • Soak the shoes in a bucket filled with 3 gallons of warm water and juice from half a lemon (use two if they’re especially stinky).
  • Allow them to sit for at least 8 hours or overnight if possible before allowing them to dry.
  • Be sure not to mix ammonia with anything containing bleach, because it creates toxic fumes!

10 Interesting and Unconventional Tips to Fight Against Smelly Shoes at Home

  1. Soak Shoes in Baking Soda Water for 1 Hour Each Week.
  2. If soaking your shoes isn’t much help, you may need to invest in some odor-neutralizing powder.
  3. Try Odor-Neutralizing Socks/Hosiery made with special materials that help to absorb sweat and bacteria, which is what makes them a great tool for fighting odors.
  4. Use Odor-Neutralizing Insoles that are designed to fight odors, which is why they make a great investment if you want your shoes to be extra fresh.
  5. Use Aluminum Foil as Shoe Deodorizers which work passively to reduce odors. To use them, just place a sheet inside each shoe and leave it for five minutes before removing and allowing them to air out. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Try Activated Charcoal which is another great odor-absorbing tool that can be used to keep shoes smelling fresh. It comes in a variety of different forms, but the most common one is as a powder, which you can sprinkle them from sachet into shoes to help absorb odors overnight.
  7. If there’s a specific smell that you want to mask, try lighting a candle with a similar scent or burning some incense! The addition of the new smell will help to mask the unwanted one.
  8. If you tend to use your laptop/computer for long periods of time (or if it’s in the same room as your shoes), try using a USB deodorize! All you have to do is plug it into your computer or laptop and allow it to sit for about 1 hour before removing. Repeat as necessary.
  9. If all else fails, you can try freezing your shoes to prevent bacteria from growing! Just make sure they’re completely dry before storing them in a freezer bag overnight!
  10. Shoe deodorizers aren’t just used to reduce unpleasant odors, they’re also great for covering up the smell of dirty shoes! Check out our list of the best shoe deodorizers here!

Frequently Asked Question

How to get rid of shoe odor with teabags?

you will need 2 tea bags per shoe. Place the tea bags inside of your shoes, this is best done at night so they can sit overnight. The next day, take them out and let them dry completely before wearing them again. Replace with new teabags when necessary.
Tea contains tannic acid which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This is effective for killing foot odor along with making your shoes smell good!

How do you get the smell out of shoes without washing them?

To get rid of the odor, first put some baking soda in a small plastic bag and place them inside your shoes. Let it sit overnight and the next day shake the excess powder out of your shoes and wipe away any remaining powder with a cloth or paper towel.
The baking soda will absorb moisture and neutralize the odor-causing bacteria.
You can also use dryer sheets to deodorize your shoes and prevent the build up of odor-causing bacteria. Just stick them inside each shoe before you put them away and leave them overnight, then shake out the excess powder the next day.

How do I clean my smelly running shoes?

Degrease the shoes Place the shoes in a plastic bag and tie them tightly with a knot. Mix one teaspoon of dish soap, 1/2 cup of baking soda and one gallon of hot water. Pour this mixture into the plastic bag and shake it for two minutes to completely cover your shoes. Drain the liquid from the bag and let your shoes dry completely before wearing them again.

How to remove shoe odor from a car?

Remove the seats from your car and vacuum underneath them. This will help get rid of any dirt, grime or excessive sweat that may be causing the smell. Never clean leather seats with a water-based cleanser because it can damage the finish. You need a solvent-based cleaner that can remove the sweat without leaving behind a residue. If you don’t have the solvent, rubbing alcohol will do the trick.
Remove your car’s floor mats if they are removable and vacuum them thoroughly before putting back in place. Then take some baking soda out of its container and sprinkle it right on top of each mat. Close your car’s doors and let the baking soda sit overnight. The next day, open up your car’s doors and let some fresh air in. Vacuum away any excess baking soda before driving off.

How do you get rid of the smell in suede shoes?

To restore your shoes, shine them with a shoe polish. This will help mask any odor and make your shoes appear cleaner on the outside. You can also try using some cedar shavings or baking soda to absorb any bad smells. First place the cedar shavings in a plastic bag and add your shoes. Tie the plastic bag securely and let it sit overnight. The next day, shake out any excess cedar shavings and leave your shoes outside to air dry completely before wearing them again.
Baking soda absorbs moisture and neutralizes odor-causing bacteria when sprinkled directly on smelly shoes. To use this method, simply sprinkle some baking soda on your shoes and leave them overnight. Shake off the excess powder before wearing your shoes again.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the odor, brush suede shoes with a suede brush to restore their original sheen.


Once you find your way to remove odor from boots, try this useful video to know how to deodorize shoes properly:

Courtesy : Gentleman’s Gazette


Final Words

So what are the effective methods or solutions to stinky shoes and boots?

It’s simple, just follow these few steps outlined above. It is time to get your feet back on the ground with these simple tricks for getting rid of odors in boots and shoes.

With a little time and effort, your smelly footwear will be free of odor in no time at all!

Make sure you are prepared next time in winter by following our tips!


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