6 Ways to Deodorize your Shoes that your Mom Never Taught You

6 Ways to Deodorize your Shoes that your Mom Never Taught You

Funky footwear? Ah, well have you asked mom for help deodorizing your smelly shoes yet? 


Ok, we love our moms– I’m just going to put that out there because they actually are pretty amazing, not gonna lie. They pass on the BEST cookie recipes (oh, the unspeakable amount of oatmeal raisin this writer has consumed, dear reader…). They read and play with us, bandage the scrapes and bruises we got from some wild times with our siblings, and tell us to go to sleep before crazy-o-clock in the morning. All the good stuff. 


Moms help us to be our best selves, alongside our other parental figures (shoutout to the vodka aunts and also to the grandmothers who knitted all of those Xmas sweaters). Thanks to them, we know an actual butt-ton of information that helps us to live and function in this crazy wild world. 


Buuuuuut… now, this may come as a complete, and most *utter* shock to you all. I warn you, the following bit… Well, what you know of maternal habits may be forever transformed. This impending knowledge could quite possibly rock your entire world. Indeed, your present view of the universe shall be torn to shreds, boiled like late-night Kraft mac’ n’ cheese, and then obliterated. Prepare yourselves.


I mean like, mom's are people too, and honestly they all make plenty of their own mistakes, just like literally anyone.


I’m as flabbergasted as you all surely are, truly.


As wise and beyond cool as moms– parents in general, really– can be, it’s not up to them to be perfect. It’s not even up to them to fix all of our problems.


Even when those problems seem wildly impossible for any mere mortals (like our plebeian selves) to solve without some kind of outside assistance. 


Such problems as our smelly shoes. Literally– what gives? What would mom dooooooooooo!??!?!???


Hi, it’s Reality®™ here: Mom might not know how to fix your smelly shoes.


That’s alright– we’ve got her back. And yours too! And your shoes, but they’re not sentient, and also honestly lack backs (a problem for another day and another blog post).


Here are some pretty nifty tricks to deodorize your shoes that your mom never taught you. 


Table of Contents

    1. Freeze the Funk

    2. Black Tea Breaks Bacteria

    3. Dentures Make a Dent in the Scent

    4. Hooray for Vinegar and Water DIY Spray

    5. Newspapers make your Shoes Smell like New

    6. LUMI's Natural Shoe and Foot Powder for the Win

    1. Freezer

    You might want to put your smelly shoes into the freezer sometime when mom isn't looking-- just a little (potentially lifesaving) thought.


    I had to start with a wild one– I know, it sounds like an internet gimmick– but trust me on this, putting your shoes into the freezer to deodorize them is not a bad idea, and it’s backed up by a wee bit of science. 


    So your shoes stink. Why? Well, my darling yet dank-smelling reader, I have some swell news for you: it’s not your feet that smell.


    Your feet actually play host to a wide variety of bacteria that enjoy snacking on dead skin cells and sweat from your feet (a tasty combo, indubitably). Those bacteria (in processing your leftovers) produce the lovely garden-variety and gag-worthy foot smell we're all unfortunately familiar with.


    So… how do we stop bacteria from multiplying, chowing down, and generally just making our shoes smell like carbonated gym socks?


    Freeze the shoes. Put them– and the nasty little buggers– on ice. ASAP, go for it right now, you’ve got this, ma' dude.


    Stick your shoes into a ziplock bag to keep them separate from whatever else is in your freezer (because I’m assuming that you, too, have a lovely stock of Ben and Jerry’s already lined up, and stinky ice cream isn’t a vibe). Proceed to stick the ziplock bag in the freeze, and then go crash for the night, because the longer the bugs can be popsicles, the better of we'll be.


    If you can, repeat this multiple nights in a row (not wearing the shoes in the meantime, because we don’t want to expose the bacteria to the warmth and sweat it needs to thrive and jive). 


    After about a week or so, if your shoes still stink, I mean maybe those bacteria kind of deserve to live. They that have survived a week of wintery warfare side-by-side with our ice cream are of an unquestionably hardy specimen and likely could take anything we could throw at ‘em.


    2. Black Tea Bags

    Teatime for us, mom, and also for your shoes. It's going to be a party  

    But mom wouldn’t want us to give up. I mean, what was that whole thing where you failed to clean your room for the 600 billionth time, and she decided to keep encouraging you to give it your best effort and to go for it again.


    But for real, perhaps you should wait, take a break first– maybe brew a nice, pippin’ hot cup of black tea first.


    Then stick those tea bags straight on into your smelly shoes.


    Hey, mama also taught us to reduce, reuse, and recycle, right? 


    In order to achieve freshness and greatness, you’ll want to boil at least two black tea bags per smelly shoe (unless you’re Big Foot, in which case adjust as needed and get yourself to the Boston Harbor because you’ll be needing a wee bit more tea, friend).


    After all of the black tea bags have had a chance to cool off (DON’T PUT BOILING ITEMS INTO YOUR SHOES BECAUSE THE PLASTIC WILL MELT, YOU UTTER GOOSE)!! Put them into your shoes near-ish to where your toes and heel might go (those places kind of tend to be the smelliest bits of our feet). Pretty simple, thus far, I would dare say.


    You’re going to want to let the black tea bags hang out for at least an hour inside of your rank runners, and then after they’ve been removed you can wipe up the excess fluid and call the whole venture a decided victory.


    Once again, I’m sure the “how” of the matter is quite an obtuse one for anyone to grasp. See, black tea has these things called “tannins.” Tannin compounds are a thing that we've actually found in a whole lot of plants (for example, pomegranates). They naturally kick plant predators’ butts, and will also kick our feet’s bacteria to the curb ASAP. This happens because tannins are a little astringent, so they’re able to shrink or constrict body tissues (and that includes the bacteria!).


    3. Denture Sanitizer Tablets 

    Mother may know best, but g-ma knew it all first 

    This next one mom definitely doesn’t know– but grandma just might.


    Denture sanitizer tablets, my friend. Ask grandma nicely (because we’re always nice to grandmothers) for about a handful of them, and then proceed to completely deodorize your smelly shoes for good.


    Start this party out with a simple bucket of water. Be careful that it’ll be big enough to let you submerge your smelly shoes in without any issues. Also, fair warning, just make sure that all of the water and cleaning solution doesn’t just slosh out when you place the shoes in– really, I’m telling you now that you’re going to have to find yourself a solidly large bucket for the job.


    Chuck the handful of denture cleaning tablets in, and allow it all to sit for around ten minutes or so.


    Let the shoes air-dry (soggy shoes= stinky shoes. I mean come one, we’ve been over this– sweaty feet and the moist conditions inside even a freshly-cleaned set of shoes will make us stinky all over again, which would totally suck).


    Feel free to try again the next day, or the day after that, up until the shoes smell just like new (and also slightly like older folk’s fake teeth).


    Hey real fast, this is like actually a pretty important side-note, though– some denture tablets are better than others. There are a few out there that contain persulfate, which is toxic– even minimal contact can cause severe allergic reactions. Ya, and some of the more elderly among us use it to clean our teeth.


    Read the ingredients, and you’ll be fine. Persulfate is bad, sweaty shoes are bad, and also forgetting Mother’s Day is bad– that last one would be the most horrific, btw.


    4. Vinegar/Water DIY Spray

    Look how excited this woman is for you to have clean shoes.


    Ah, so you’re worried that mom might be worried about you using possibly dangerous chemicals (I mean, you know denture cleaning tablets). Maybe just ask grandma for hugs if this is the case.


    It’s all good though because we can totally deodorize your shoes for good with something much more simple– all you’ll be needing is vinegar, water, and a spray bottle.


    Mix up in a spray bottle half vinegar, half water, and BOOM you’ve got yourself a handy little DIY shoe cleaning hack.


    Spray the shoes until they’re pretty saturated (think: *lightly misted* rather than what you do when there’s a really large, scary, and oops-excuse-me-while-I-go-to-barf-because-it’s-also-hairy bug, and all that stands between you, it, and the end of the world as we know it is a can of bug spray). 


    Let your tangy shoes rest overnight, and see how they’re smelling in the morning.


    If your shoes now smell a bit too much like vinegar for your liking (which is totally valid), feel free to rinse your footwear off with some plain, old water after the fact.


    Dry your shoes out (if you haven’t already noticed, in general, this drying step is kind of all-important if we’re cleaning with any kind of liquids).


    That’s it. Pretty simple. I mean, what kind of person doesn’t have vinegar lying about? Ah… you. Me. Also, probably lots of other people who might face the same smelly foot problem that we’ve been discussing ways to combat.


    No vinegar? First thing is first– call mom and ask if she has some vinegar, because maybe (and just maybe) she can help you solve this pungent ped problem, after all.


    5. Newspapers 

    Read the newspaper, and then WREAK HAVOC upon smelly foot bacteria


    If your mom doesn’t have vinegar, that’s still alright, because maybe she can let you borrow some newspaper instead.


    If she still gets any newspapers, that is, which I get is assuming a lot in this day and age when we can simply let Siri or Alexa round up the top ten current noteworthy events while we go and bemoan our sad-smelling sneakers.


    Now, onto the important bit: newspapers. For this option, I want you to wad up the newspaper into balls, and then carefully stuff as many of those as possible into each of your stinky shoes.


    Let sit overnight. This is going to dry our footwear out faster than us running when mom texts and asks if we’ve remembered to take the chicken out to thaw (oops).


    Remember that dry shoes are great-smelling shoes. Dry shoes are the kind of shoes that will make your mama mighty proud. Make sure that they’re dry, please and thank you very much.


    Using newspapers to dry out shoes works because printers use something called “sizing,” which is literally just a glaze for the newspapers. It makes the paper kind of and almost water repellent– not completely– like, not even mostly. “Sizing” just helps newspapers from absorbing too much fluid. 


    The “sizing” does this by absorbing the liquid itself like it just doesn’t let it out.


    Like how mom won’t let go of all our terrible bath-time pictures from when we were tiny tots (seriously, mom– save my cute selfies, not those mortifying monstrosities). 


    Sizing prevents feathering on the paper, which helps us to be able to read the words printed on our newspapers rather than wondering who decided to experiment with tie-dyeing all over the headliners on our newspapers.


    So just so that we’re clear– wad the newspapers, and then let it sit overnight for best results.


    6. LUMI’S Natural Shoe and Foot Powder


    Wanna deodorize your shoes fast, though? No time for an overnight solution? I gotchu with this last one.


    Mom would have suggested this last one to you in the first place if she had known about it. Now you can let her know, and become her newest favorite (you’re very welcome, my fabulous, yet very funky friend).


    Put this stuff in your shoes before you go out to wear them (no need to overnight anything here), because we want to stop the egregiously stinky bacteria from forming in the first place.


    Natural and awesome ingredients like kaolin clay, zinc oxide, and bentonite clay do all of the work while we just go about our business like normal.


    LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder also works to deodorize other parts of the body, so if like your gloves, favorite hoodie, or what-have-you are also a little foul, feel free to spread the great-smelling love.


    Made in the USA, this family-owned business will help your own fam  to quickly deodorize your smelly shoes. Don’t make mom worry, and don’t get yourself in a tizzy either, because this stuff will actually stop shoes from smelling for good by preventing them from smelling in the first place.


    Remember what mom always said: an ounce of prevention totally is going to outweigh a pound of cure, any day.  


    With a 4.6 Star Rating on Amazon, over 600 people have given it a full-fledged 5/5 for helping to keep shoe smell away. As far as shoe odor removers go, LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder is pretty great.


    Not as great as mom’s cooking, but then again what is? I mean… except for that one time she made that one really terrible-tasting thing that nobody should ever have to suffer through again… um, I mean that one *amazing* and probably really healthy recipe that I would totally love to recreate with her at some point. Some point in the far future. In the really far future. 


    So that’s six super amazing tips for you to share with your mom. Quick little hacks for deodorizing your shoes that you can now pass on to your kids (mom is literally going to be so proud).


    First off, we’ll get to have some fun with the freezer, chucking our stinkin’ sneakers on in (with a ziplock bag, because we’re not heathens and also because mom would kill us otherwise). 


    Black tea bags follow up with a simple 1-hour soak because the tannins that are good enough to protect plants from natural predators also rock at keeping your feet clean and fresh.


    Not to be outdone, another very natural product– vinegar! And water, and also a phone call to your mom, because I’m pretty sure that somehow that’s going to help (it sure couldn’t hurt). Spray the suckers, and then catch her up on all of your latest adventures.


    Newspapers rolled up and into your shoes can also spare us all from the stink, and you can let it sit overnight (so that you can wake up fresh and early in the morning to make your mom some kind of fancy breakfast, am I right?).


    LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder rounds us off with a quick and easy step of action. Use it to prevent foot funk, and enjoy some time with your mom instead of worrying about your stinky shoes, because that’s no longer going to be a problem.




    Don’t tell mom– she’ll go on and on about how she has this one pie recipe that takes all day, and then she’s going to rope you into baking it with her and… oh well. Enjoy the time with mom, and enjoy your fresh-smelling shoes:)

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