There’s nothing better than getting a new pair of shoes. That new shoe smell, crisp white color, and untouched comfy insoles can make you feel ready to tackle anything. But what happens after you wear your new favorite shoes for days or weeks on end, and they begin to smell? Have no fear, we’re here to tell you how to make shoes, well, not smell. You’ll never have to sacrifice good style for bad smells with these helpful tricks.

Why Do Shoes Become Smelly?

Many factors can lead to smelly shoes, but the most common is moisture build-up. Moisture causes increased bacteria hanging out on your feet, socks, and in your shoes. Oddly enough, our feet have a lot of sweat glands - approximately 250,000 sweat glands to be exact. This, combined with your feet being covered all day and trapping in the sweat, can create a breeding ground for very stinky bacteria. Other components that can increase bad smells in your shoes have to do with shoes getting wet or dirty, what kind of socks you wear, and how much ventilation your shoes give your feet.

The bright side? Getting rid of bad smells isn’t super difficult. We’ve laid out how to get rid of shoe odor in five different ways, how to keep them smelling fresh afterward, and how to prevent bad odors in the future.

Common Tips on How to Deodorize Shoes

Baking Soda

Baking soda is the ultimate deodorizer. All you have to do is generously sprinkle the baking soda inside the offending sneaker or shoe, and let sit overnight. Remove the baking soda the next morning by dumping it in the trash. However, we do caution against using baking soda with leather shoes like KOIO because baking soda can dry leather out. Check out our other tips for taking care of your KOIOs.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Fabric softener sheets can be a great alternative to baking soda if you’re dealing with leather shoes or want to avoid the messy cleanup. Insert the fabric softener sheet of choice into the soles of the shoes and leave overnight. When you go to put on your shoes the next morning, the bad odors will be neutralized.

 

Black Teabags

Black tea has a secret bacteria killer: tannins. Tannins work to get rid of built-up bacteria in your shoes and eliminate the resulting bad odors. Boil a black tea bag in water for around two or three minutes. Let the black tea bag cool before placing it in your shoe for approximately an hour. Then remove, wipe away any excess tea liquid, and enjoy your newly odor free shoes.

 

Cat Litter

For all the cat owners out there, another option for eliminating bad shoe odor is putting cat litter along the bottom of your shoes overnight. Just like the reasons litter works so well for your cats, its many deodorizers and liquid absorbers work to extract bad smells from your shoe. Remove the next morning and do a final clean with a damp cloth before wearing. 

 

Freezing Your Shoes

If you’re struggling with any of the above odor remedies, a great way to reset smells in your shoes is by freezing them. Put your shoes in a sealable plastic bag in your freezer overnight. It will kill all the stinky bacteria, leaving your shoes smelling brand new.

To keep your shoes smelling fresh and prevent bad odors in the future, consider rotating your daily shoes to avoid wearing the same pair many days in a row. This helps keep moisture and bacteria from building over time. You can also put baby powder on your feet as a preventative measure before slipping on your shoes to help decrease foot sweat and smell. For added nice scents to keep your shoes smelling fresh, put a few drops of your favorite essential oils (like tea tree, clove, or eucalyptus) directly in the shoes or on a piece of paper, or leave an orange or lemon peel in your shoes overnight.

Additionally, if your shoes get damp from sweat or the elements like rain or snow, make sure to leave them out to dry. Our KOIO shoe tree is a great option to help with this. The shoe tree wood is absorbent, so it will help dry out the lining of shoes and reduce odor while also maintaining the shape of your shoe. You’ll never have to leave your home worried about bad shoe smell.

Now that you know how to remove smells from your shoes, you can buy your next new pair of shoes with the confidence your smelly woes won’t follow you. Shop KOIO’s men and women’s leather shoes today.