Try these tricks to make stinky shoes smell fresh again


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Can we talk about smelly shoes? You know who you are: active people, people with sweaty feet and unfortunate souls who get caught in downpour after downpour and are forced to wade through ankle-deep water in brand-new shoes they were trying so hard to take care of.

It’s pretty embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant, when the stench gets so bad that people can smell you coming from a block away.

But before you toss the shoes in the trash or take a blowtorch to them, check out some ways that you can try to de-stink them and keep them smelling fresh.

First things first: If your shoes are wet, let them dry. That means placing them in a sunny spot and letting them sit for at least 24 hours.

Check the insoles, too, because you may need to replace them.


Essential oils

Earthsavers, a Louisiana-based spa, recommends applying a few drops of geranium essential oil directly into the offending shoes. You can also dab a few drops of lemon oil into the shoes with a cotton ball. And those suffering from athlete's foot should get their hands on some tea tree oil.



Are you a tea drinker? Well, stick a couple of tea bags into your smelly shoes. In fact, stick them in all your shoes to keep them fresh, especially if you keep them in the closet with all your clean clothes. You don’t want icky funk sticking to your clean stuff — especially if you have to lug your laundry to a laundromat.


Baking soda

Reader’s Digest suggests baking soda. Sprinkle it into your smelly shoes and set them aside overnight. Dump the powder out the next morning. They also recommend dryer sheets. But you probably want to try to get rid of the offending smell first and use the dryer sheets to keep them fresh.



Kitty litter isn’t just for cats anymore. Fill a pair of knee-high hose with kitty litter and tie off the tops. Insert each litter-filled stocking into each stinky shoe and let ‘em sit for 24 hours. Hey, if it can neutralize cat poo, it can certainly neutralize your foot funk.



White vinegar works wonders, but if you don’t want to trade one smell for another, then mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and have at it. Spray away. Let them dry thoroughly before wearing them again.