The Best Pickleball Shoe Deodorizing Hacks

The Best Pickleball Shoe Deodorizing Hacks

Perhaps you’ve heard of the new sport that seemingly everybody is playing these days, or perhaps you’ve been living under a very well-insulated rock– sans wifi, text messaging, even local carrier pigeons, etc– in which case, I must at the very least applaud your thoroughness.

If you haven’t even heard of pickleball by now, then you’re certainly in for a treat, because it’s truly a rather rad sport for all ages and for folks of all varying abilities. Pickleball is actually rather similar to tennis– a sport that you may or may not already at the very least be somewhat familiar with. There’s a paddle, a net, etc, however, the pickleball court is shorter and slimmer than its tennis counterpart and the pickleball paddle is also just a wee bit more light. Pickleball uses low-bouncing balls as well, so it requires less strength overall to hit over the net.

Basically, pickleball is tennis’s cooler cousin that always seems to know what fashions are in and how to speak like a truly trendy person. Pickleball is like the one friend in the group who is somehow both super savvy but also relatable to all of us average Joes out there. It’s… idk, it’s just more chill, and lots of people love the sport because of it.

But just like tennis, there are a whole ton of things one has to keep in mind before playing. I mean, just like any sport, of course, there’s figuring out where you and your friends can play, the equipment, and then taking care of that equipment. I mean, sweaty pickleball shoes ain’t no joke!

Like, how do you clean pickleball shoes? It’s not like you can go on and just chuck ‘em on into the washing machine with the rest of your sporty gear. 

Here are five easy tips that can help. Without a doubt, you’ll be able to make stinky pickleball shoes smell better in no time flat with any of these quick and utterly fabulous tips!

Table of Contents

    1. Rock the Rotation

    2. Never Smell Again with Newspaper

    3. Soap Saves the Day

    4. Essential Oils Save the Day (and our sense of smell)

    5. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer

    1. Rotation

    More fabulous shoes, less stank


    The first item up on our list of easy pickleball shoe deodorization hacks is just about one of the most simple and easy tricks out there– rotation, ma’ dear, yet perhaps a bit dank-smelling readers. 

    Rotating between sets of individual sets of shoes works to prevent stank for a solidly good reason, too– trust me on this one, alright?

    It actually all comes down to just a wee bit of science. You see, it’s actually totally not your feet that are the direct cause of the stink emanating up from your smelly shoes. It’s this stinky bacteria that sadly happens to live on your feet and also in your shoes and socks. Said smelly bacteria absolutely loves to chow down on the moisture from any leftover sweat hanging out in your shoes and also on any dead skin cells that just sort of naturally slough off– all of this, actually, is totes natural, and absolutely nothing that you should be ashamed of. Literally every single human being ever could get stinky feet for the exact same reason, got it?

    But we’d still like to try and make those stinky pickleball shoes smell a bit better; we’ve got to try and save ‘em from olfactory oblivion if we can, of course. Rotation works really well here because by giving time between wears for our shoes to dry out, we’re essentially going to be depriving that smelly bacteria of one of its primary sources of food– the moisture from any leftover sweat, that is. Less sweat will mean less happy bacteria that will go on to stink up your poor pungent peds.

    Try to make sure that you use at least two different pairs of pickleball shoes, and just alternate between wears so as to really give each set of shoes a chance to properly dry out, and then that’s it! You should be all good to go and play a good (hopefully stink-free) game on the court.

    2.  Newspaper

    This just in, fresh off the press: Stinky shoes ain't it!


    Newspaper is the second of our extra fabulous shoe deodorization hacks, and yes it sounds crazy, but also yes, it works and works well.

    It’s also really rather easy to get rid of bad smells with newspaper because of a little thing known as “sizing.” This “sizing” is essentially a glaze, you see, that many printers use for newspapers in order to prevent any kind of water damage. 

    Without this glaze, your morning newspaper might totally be unreadable thanks to whatever rain or snow happened overnight. Seriously, said newspaper would look like someone had just gone wild with the tie-dye, and then how the freakin’ heck would we read our weekly comics!?

    The “sizing” glaze also really works well for fixing funky footwear (and for good!) because it’s able to absorb basically any and all sorts of moisture (including any leftover sweat just hanging out inside of your smelly shoes). This means that the stank-producing bacteria won’t be able to have its favorite lil’ snack and thus won’t be as capable of stinking up those pickleball shoes of yours. 

    All you need to make stinky shoes smell better after working out is a couple of balls of newspaper rolled up and then stuffed straight on into the shoes you’re hoping to deodorize. Make sure that you leave the rolled-up newspaper in there for at least overnight, although going for any longer could certainly help to really absorb any excess moisture that the stinky bacteria in your shoes would have otherwise eaten and made into not-so-fabulous footwear funk.

    3. Soap in the Sole

    Soap sticks it to the stank


    Soap? Now, I know what you’re thinking– how basic are we going to get?! Very, very basic, my pungent pickleball-playing fiends, because placing soap in the soles of stinky shoes is actually a terrific and super easy trick to make bad smells stay away permanently.

    You see, when you wash your hands with some plain ol’ soap and water, the water on its own acts as a meager mechanical force– a sort of “shove” for dirt and grime that might be on your skin, if you will. Soap, on the other hand (well, one would hope that soap is on both of your hands, as opposed to just the “other hand” if you’re washing them) helps to burst apart bacteria’s wee outer protective layer. Plenty of bacteria, it would seem, have a sort of fatty membrane that normally help to protect said bacteria from outside effects. 

    Now, it’s not as if we’re trying to get rid of a certain type of stinky bacteria, am I right? Oh wait, yes we are, and all of this is perhaps why ya’ ought to be considering soap as a swell alternative to fighting your smelly shoes’ stank.

    One can easily fix funky footwear for good with just a dry bar of soap, if you can believe it. All you need to do in order to make smelly shoes smell better after pickleball is to just stick one, dry bar of soap (there’s no need for suds) inside of each shoe, and then you’ll leave that soap in there for at least overnight. Longer won’t hurt the shoes (I can pinkie-promise you), and those few extra hours can really help to ensure that the pungent punch of those smelly shoes of yours won’t be making a comeback– on the pickleball court or in your shoe closet.

    4. Essential Oils

    It's fancy pickle juice


    Ah, essential oils– the much-loved trend that rocked the world before the word “pickleball” was perhaps even a thing. Essential oils are *essentially* (if you’ll pardon the pun) just minuscule bits of plants that have been suspended in a carrier oil. Think about essential oils as you would pickle juice– essential oils might smell a wee bit better than the tangy vinegar, of course, but the idea is almost the same.

    The big difference between plain ‘ol plebeian pickle juice and essential oils (beyond one being an extra amazing snack and the other being slightly less delicious) is that essential oils smell extra fabulous– this smell, you see, is just like the bits of the kind of plant that’s been suspended in the carrier oil. Do you want your shoes to smell like peppermint? Go on and get yourself some peppermint essential oil. How about lavender? Or vanilla? For real, trust me when I say that there’s a variety of essential oil for literally all of your fave scents.

    And essential oils absolutely rock for getting rid of even worse odors. I mean, what would you rather have: stinky pickleball shoes or the scent of the essential oil of your choice? That’s a one-answer kind of question, I believe. As for me, myself, and I, I’ll for sure be going with the essential oils, because pickleball is great and all, but the sweaty shoe stank just isn’t the best, am I right?

    All you need in order to use essential oils to fix smelly pickleball shoes are a couple of cotton pads or rounds and also your favorite essential oil of choice (vanilla, citrus, lavender, etc. all tend to be rather popular if you need suggestions on where to start). Simply put a few drops of your selected essential oil on the cotton pads, and then stuff it all into your funky footwear. Leave everything to hang out in there overnight, or go for a bit longer if time isn’t a huge constraint for you. The longer the essential oils are in your pickleball shoes, the less stinky they’ll be!

    5. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is our fifth fabulous stinky shoe hack for all y’all out there, and let me be the first to tell ya’ that it truly could not be any more simple. LUMI is a high-quality and all-natural shoe deodorizing spray that’ll take your stinky pickleball shoes and make them smell practically better than new.

    And if you don’t want to take just my word for it, go on and feel free to listen to any and all of the over 1000 reviewers over on Amazon who gave LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer an utterly perfect 5-star rating, averaging out to a solid 4.4 stars overall. This here Amazon reviewer says that LUMI has been a total game-changer for their whole family and their athletic gear:


    All the snaps for this reviewer's words

    LUMI also just so happens to be a rather fabulous company themselves. As aforementioned, their products are all-natural and they source the highest quality of ingredients to make ‘em. LUMI is a small, family-owned business that never ever (ever, ever, and also ever) tests on animals, and they also just so happen to make all of their products in the US. Yes, go on and feel free to cue all of the glitter cannons and confetti, you have my express permission and behest to do so– you know what, while you’re at it, go on and get a choir too, because truly, they are in fact that rad.

    Then ANOTHER think that’s pretty rad about LUMI– it can deodorize other things too! Got a stinky kitchen sink? LUMI. An old garbage bin that’s way too funky for you? It is, once again, a solid opportunity to bust out LUMI. How about an old gym bag that you keep stuffing old workout gear (like your stinky pickleball shoes) into? Yeah, LUMI can totes be the stinky salvation for literally all of those! You’re welcome, ma’ dear (if a bit dank-smelling) readers!

    All you need in order to fix smelly pickleball shoes for good is a quick spray or two of LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer directly into each shoe and that’s all! You’re totally set to go and conquer the pickleball court without having to worry one bit about that oh-so terrible shoe stank!

    But how about a quick little summary of all that we’ve been going on about? I don't know about all y’all, but yours truly could do with a summary of just about everything– for real, I’d forget my own birthday if Facebook didn’t have the helpful lil’ reminder for it. SO let’s run through everything we need to know in order to fix stinky pickleball shoes, shall we?

    Rotation is an easy-peasy shoe deodorization hack that only involves having at least two sets of shoes and a lil’ bit of determination to finally see (or perhaps smell) your pickleball shoes at their best selves. See, rotation is a really swell way to fix that funky footwear of yours ASAP and with literally almost no effort at all on your part. When you give one set of shoes a chance to breathe between your pickleball wins you’ll basically be giving said shoes a solid chance to dry out. I mean, being so fabulous on the court is totally going to work up a pretty good sweat (way to go!), so we want to make sure that we have a chance to get rid of any excess moisture before the moisture-loving stinky bacteria can! In essence, less moisture in your shoes is going to mean less stinky shoes. Just make sure to go on and rotate between at least two different sets of shoes when you play pickleball, or even a couple of more if you feel like showing off your varied sense of fashion alongside your fantastic pickleball skills.

    Newspaper takes on the terrible stank wafting up from your fave set of pickleball shoes– I mean, rotation is great and all, but having multiple sets of the same sort of shoe can be a bit rough on the wallet and also just the closet space, of course. For sure, knowing how to use newspaper to deodorize smelly shoes can save you both money and sanity, since you might already have some old newspaper hanging around (or you can simply borrow some from an old-school neighbor who hasn’t switched to reading their news online just quite yet and still has a paper newspaper subscription). It all works because newspaper, wildly enough, is coated with this pretty rad glaze known plainly as “glazing,” which can absorb water directly out of sweaty shoes, and can as a result deprive the sweat-loving bacteria (which are the prime instigators of funky footwear) of one of their fave sources of food (that’s the foot sweat, as a quick reminder). Just roll up the newspaper into balls and then stuff everything into the stinky set of pickleball shoes. You’re going to want to leave the newspaper in there overnight, at the very least. You can absolutely go for longer, though– that is, if you think you can take the time off the pickleball court to do so.

    Sticking soap in the sole of your stinky shoes is another way to go when it comes to easy shoe deodorizing hacks for those pickleball shoes of yours. Yes, yes, we all know soap and water are rather fabulous for keeping your hands and the rest of your lovely self clean, but it also turns out that just a plain ol’ dry bar of soap is all you need to stick it to the shoe stank– no matter how solidly stuck it may seem. While water is a swell mechanical force (AKA a basic shove for the dirt and grime off of one’s skin), soap on the other hand is specifically able to burst apart the protective, fatty membrane surrounding the stank-producing bacteria– so basically, soap is a stench savior for anybody out there with any kind of functioning sense of smell, if that makes sense. Use soap to deodorize stinky shoes easily by sticking one bar of dry soap right on into those smelly pickleball shoes of yours, and make sure to leave the soap in there for at least overnight, or longer, because the more time the soap has to work its shoe stank-busting magic the better it’ll be for our poor, suffering nose hairs (those that remain, that is, after having smelly shoes for this long).

    Essential oils are a rather fabulous (and also super easy) shoe deodorizing hack, and we (and our poor sense of smell) couldn’t be more glad. So these essential oils are basically just bits of plant matter someone had the genius idea to suspend in a sort of carrier oil, which makes the amazing smell of the aforementioned plant matter stretch that much further. All it really takes to deodorize those smelly pickleball shoes of yours is a couple of drops of your favorite scent of essential oil (you can go on and try out lavender, citrus, vanilla, and the like if you’re not precisely positive as to where to start) on some cotton pads or rounds. Make sure to leave the essential oil-soaked cotton inside of your funky footwear for at least one night, although going for any longer certainly won’t hurt anything. It’s natural and it’s fabulous. Ya’ just got to love how your shoes can smell like literally anything other than the grimy old sweat from your last sesh on the pickleball court. One little bottle of essential oil will also last ya’ a pretty long time, as all you need is a couple of drops every so often. Feel free to rotate between scents as well if you can’t seem to settle on one scent in particular.

    LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is the last stinky shoe trick that can and totally will take your funky footwear from smelling like some way too old (and suspectedly radioactive) cheese to smelling utterly fabulous. All you need is a spritz or two of LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer directly into those stinky pickleball shoes of yours, and you’ll be all set to go! That’s literally it! And one bottle of LUMI will last you for a good while, if you’re worried about that. It’s one of the best ways to completely get rid of smelly shoes– with LUMI, there aren’t any if’s, and’s, or maybe’s when it comes to finally fixing your funky footwear for good!

    And there you have it, ma’ dear pickleball powerhouse! Pickleball might be a fairly new sport, but that stinky shoe smell sure isn’t; I’m sure we’ve all had to suffer through what we thought was the final dank doom of our poor pungent peds, but playing your new fave sport shouldn’t have to come at the expense of your sense of smell or dignity. Just trust me and make sure to go on and try at least one of these stinky shoe deodorization hacks, or if you’d like, perhaps try out two or three of them in a combination for an easy way to make your shoes smell better super quickly and also totally effectively.

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