How to Clean Smelly Shoes and Get Rid of Stinky Feet

How to Clean Smelly Shoes and Get Rid of Stinky Feet

I have two teenagers–when you add sports into the mix, it basically is a recipe for locker room potpourri.  Yuck.  For awhile, I thought maybe the solution would be to move out, get my own place–desperate times call for desperate measures, don’t judge.  But, I think I finally have it under control.  If you need nasal relief from stinky feet, here’s a couple of tips to get you started:

First, wash shoes regularly.  Some shoes can be thrown into the washing machine, and particularly this time of year, left out in the heat of the day to dry.  If the whole shoe isn’t washable, try pulling out the insert and giving it a good, long soak in vinegar and hot water.  Either way, once the shoe has dried, sprinkle baking soda in the shoe to absorb any future moisture.  If you can talk the kids into remembering this step, put the baking soda in the shoes every time you take them off.

15 Cool Uses for Baking Soda

15 Cool Uses for Baking Soda

For a fancier solution, grab an old sock {if you are like me, you have at least 10 in your laundry room with no match right now} and clip some lavender from your garden {or use essential oil drops, if you don’t grow lavender} to stick in the sock.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda to the sock and tie off the top.  Now stick the sock inside the offensive shoe and let it get to work deodorizing that bad boy.

To nip the whole stinky shoe thing at the source, give feet a warm water and vinegar bath a couple of times a week.  Before dressing each day, sprinkle a little foot powder on your tootsies to absorb moisture and manage bacteria on the skin {the culprit of stinky feet}.  If you don’t want to use or buy foot powder, you could go for baby powder or baking soda.

I’m sure this goes without saying, but teenagers sometimes need a reminder:  make sure to put on clean socks each time you put shoes on, if foot odor is a problem.  This will help reduce moisture.  Apparently, some people are more prone to foot odor simply because their feet sweat more than others.  With socks and shoes covering your feet, there is no place for sweat to escape, creating, well, stink.  So, trying to go shoe-less as much as possible can also help air out your foot’s grievances.

That’s pretty much how we attack the problem.  How about you, any tips you’ve learned to manage smelly shoes?



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  1. Molly says

    We have major stinky foot problems around here and in addition to the vinegar foot bath, our doctor recommended using deodorant on stinky feet. My husband goes through a stick a week, but it’s worth it!! His tip is to put the deodorant on the inside of the sock (where the bottom of your foot will touch), instead of on your feet. For some reason, the sock rubs the deodorant off if you put it on your feet, but rubs it onto your feet if you put it on the sock!

  2. Shannon says

    Tea bags work sooooo well!! I have a 13 year old soccer player that plays year round and those shoes get BAAAAD! :) We use any spicy tea bags. Mint, orange spice, gingerbread. They work great!! Just put them in any time the shoes are off their feet. :)

  3. DJ says

    For shoes that can’t be washed…We zip the shoes into air tight plastic baggies…in the freezer overnight and set out to warm up again and NO ODOR…was told the freezing temps kill the bacteria…I just know the shoes are fresh once again!

  4. Jules says

    Thank you thank you thank you! I have needed these tips for awhile now. Our teen boy plays football, basketball, track – so that means year round stinky feet. Maybe now I can go in his room without fainting from the odor.

  5. JS says

    We found on the internet (but I cannot locate the link) that coffee grounds, unused, in a sock placed in shoes removes oder. It works really well.

  6. Susan says

    My suggestion – go for an all-natural foot deodorant. There are a few good ones out there, but the best in my opinion is Lavilin –

    My husband, my daughter, my son, and I all use Lavilin. We are all active – my husband, daughter, and son are runners, and I do a lot of kick boxing. We each rub some Lavilin on our feet once a week and that is sufficient to keep the stink away! Highly recommended!

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