Cheap and Effective Hacks to Deodorize Volleyball Shoes

Cheap and Effective Hacks to Deodorize Volleyball Shoes

I remember my first volleyball game like it was yesterday– it was during my elementary PE class, and my poor gym teacher had already thoroughly despaired of my ever getting truly involved in whatever games she’d set forth. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t care– certainly, I wanted to try my absolute very best, but it turned out that I really wasn’t very good at any of the games, and so I just kind of relegated myself to the background, all so as to let the more athletic kids a chance to shine– thoughtful of me, wasn’t that?

The problem with volleyball is that, eventually, everybody has a part to play– it’s very much a team effort, and that was to my detriment, as the wall-hugger of my PE class. 


In my very first game, I tried my absolute darndest to watch the ball, taking extra care to follow it with my eyes– until the moment I didn’t, and my face was provided a rather upfront and speedy introduction to the ball. SMACK!

But even plebeian, obtusely less-than-average athletes such as myself know that volleyball is a fun sport. It’s a good way to keep in shape, and a great way to build relationships with your team.


On the other hand, the sport certainly comes with its own trials and travails. Take those stinky volleyball shoes, for example! Thick, rubber-soled boots that can readily grip the gym floor and allow one to pivot and cut with ease can readily become the stinkiest thing in your shoe closet!


Yeah, they can’t exactly be tossed into the washing machine, but here are some easy and quick ways to fix smelly volleyball shoes successfully and without having to break the bank.


Table of Contents

    1. Airing Out Clears the Air and Your Shoes

    2. Washing the Soles Saves Our Sense of Smell

    3. Corn Starch Sucks for Bad Smells

    4. Essential Oils or Footwear Funk– Your Choice!

    5. Rubbing Alcohol Rips through Rank Smells

    6. Soap Serves it To the Stank

    7. LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer

    1. Airing Out

    Take a deep breath of fresh air-- isn't it nice that it doesn't smell like smelly shoes anymore?


    I know that you probably read the title of this subsection, and thought that it was kind of wishy-washy. Like, just letting your shoes breathe a little? That’s it!? 

    Trust me when I say that, yes, airing your shoes out is totally one of the easiest and most effective ways to deodorize smelly volleyball shoes for good, and that’s even backed up by a wee bit of science.

    So, it’s not your shoes or even your feet that are producing that dreaded footwear funk. It’s actually tiny little bacteria that like to hang out on your feet because they eat the dead skin cells there and also the moisture from your sweat– we’re basically an all-you-can-eat buffet for ‘em, sadly enough. 

    Said bacteria, after eating all of those aforementioned goodies then crank out the gag-worthy stank that we’re all unfortunately well familiar with.

    When we’re looking to deodorize any kind of smelly shoes, a supes easy way to do that is to go after what makes those smelly bacteria happy, because sad bacteria aren’t going to be stinking up our poor peds (woot woot!).


    This smelly bacteria really dos tend to rather enjoy dank, damp places, such as one’s shoes after a volleyball game or practice, and so storing your shoes somewhere they can properly air out is going to A) Dry up the moisture from your leftover sweat that the stinky bacteria would otherwise give its left foot (do bacteria even have feet?) to chow down on, and then B) Leave the smelly bacteria in a now-inhospitable environment where they can’t go about making your shoes the smelliest things this side of the volleyball court.


    2.  Wash the Soles

    Sudsy sudsy-- but only for the soles!!


    Now, the whole set of tractioned rubber shoes really ought not be cleaned in any kind of washing machine, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t take at least a part of the stinky volleyball shoe and give it the proper wash it totally deserves.

    We’re talking about the soles here– a thin bit of fabric and (perhaps) foam that just regularly rests directly beneath your feet– that squishy foot-holder that we don’t normally think about, ya’ know? 

    Really, without the soles of our shoes (stinky or not), walking, running, playing volleyball– basically any kind of athletic, moving activity– would take a real toll on our poor pungent peds.

    What kind of sucks about soles though is how truly stinky they can get. All of the smelly bacteria that we chit-chatted about from earlier? Yeah, it basically can camp and hide out in the soles, which sucks for all of us possessing any kind of functioning nose hairs within a sniffing radius.

    If you think simply airing out the whole shoe can help the stinky bacteria to hide out from sunlight and fresh moving wind currents, then just try to imagine what the insides of the soles of your shoes can do for stinky bacteria that’s looking to hide out! 

    There in the soles, it’s musty and dark, and you’re also kind of constantly feeding it more sweat and dead cells (a killer combo once we toss the stank-producing bacteria in the mix for anybody with a functioning nose, sadly enough).

    So toss the soles of your stinky volleyball shoes right on into the washing machine, wash them on a delicate cycle, and then make sure that YOU LET THE SHOE SOLES DRY! 

    That’s very important, you see, because if you let the soles stay moist and stick ‘em right on into your footwear, you’re basically going to just be helping out any bacteria stragglers hang on until you stuff the soles back on into your (now hopefully much fresher) volleyball shoes.

    3. Corn Starch

    Starch is kind of a super-hero, m'kay?


    But some soles don’t detach, and as we’ve already established, plenty of volleyball shoes (rank or otherwise) aren’t able to get cleaned via a washing machine any other kind of way– I mean, unless you’re looking to give your poor pungent peds one last, final hurrah. I mean if they’ve got to go, they might as well go clean? 

    Seriously, don’t do that though. There are plenty of other ways to deodorize volleyball shoes completely, I pinkie-promise you.

    Like corn starch, for instance! It’s that absolutely fabulous sauce thickener that we all know and love; the little extra something plenty of our beloved baked goods need to really thicken up properly, besides also making fried chicken extra crunchy (if you didn’t already know that neat little trick, just egg, bread, and batter your chicken wings like you regularly would but make sure that you add just a touch of corn starch into the dry ingredients. You’re totally welcome!).

    And beyond all of those wonderful things, corn starch just has to go and be able to effectively deodorize stinky shoes, too (it’s just not fair that some pantry staples get all of the useful tricks and hacks, you know?).

    Corn starch, you see, can absorb liquid literally like no tomorrow– well, actually kind of like a sponge, I suppose (in all truth, I actually have no positive idea as to tomorrow’s capabilities regarding water absorption, if you must know).

    Easily deodorize stinky volleyball shoes with just get a couple of tablespoons of corn starch– dash ‘em straight on into the shoes and shake everything around to get the insides all evenly coated, then leave everything in overnight or longer if you’d like the corn starch to really pack a pungent punch, and in the morning clap the corn starch right on out of your shoes! 

    If you’d like to opt-in for an easier clean-up (it would be pretty rad to avoid dusty white footprints everywhere, I totally get it) then simply put the same amount of corn starch into a sock, tie it off with a rubber band or something like that, and then leave the corn starch-stuffed sock inside of your funky footwear overnight or longer, just the same as before with the other option.

    4. Essential Oils 

    Oil' (*I'll) see ya' later, stank!


    Now, everybody has heard of corn starch (well, at least many of us who tend to enjoy hanging out in the kitchen, which isn’t for everybody, and I totally and most definitely can understand that), but essential oils tend to be in the range of things that some completely love and recommend to all of their friends and acquaintance (even the ones that they just wrote H.A.G.S. in their yearbook, and hardly find themselves capable of recalling the name of said acquaintance), OR you’re that person who’s been living beneath a rock for the past couple of years.

    Seriously though, how in the world did you manage to escape the craze which was essential oil? That particular trend was more crazy-popular than chocolate cookies have been for the past centuryish, and more so than even your favorite TLC tv series (any Say Yes to the Dress fans out there?).

    Essential oils are basically (or, dare I say it, essentially ;) ) pickle juice. Yep, and I’m actually not kidding, here. 

    Essential oils have got oil (duh) and then suspended in it are wee tiny bits of plant matter. Lots of people go for things like peppermint, citrus, vanilla, etc. etc. Usually not pickles (those are saved for vinegar, of course), although if you find a pickle-scented essential oil, please do send it my way, as I would certainly be mightily intrigued.

    But until then, pick out any other kind of scent for your essential oil (there are an absolute ton of options to pick from, so go wild), and then simply put a few drops straight on into your stinky volleyball shoes to help take care of the footwear funk for good.

    5.  Rubbing Alcohol

    Footwear funk never stood a chance!


    Different strokes for different folks, though, am I right? Essential oils may not be your vibe, and that’s totally and most absolutely alright– or you might just not want to cash out the dough on buying something new, which I can also definitely understand.

    So this next one hopefully won’t break the bank because it’s something you likely already have on hand (ready to help out your feet)! 

    That’s right, ma’ dear yet funky friend, it’s time to chit-chat about rubbing alcohol. It’s a bit strongly scented, I know, I know, BUT if it’s a little whiffy to us just think about what it might be able to do to the stinky bacteria still lurking on your tragically terrible-smelling set of stinky volleyball shoes!

    Simply get yourself a small bottle of rubbing alcohol (or find one in the back of the medicine cabinet), soak some cotton pads or rounds in the stuff real quick, and then stuff said stuff right on into your smelly shoes. 

    Keep the rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton in there overnight, but totally feel free to go longer if you’d really like to show that footwear funk what for!

    Rubbing alcohol is totally a strongish scent, though, I get that. After you take the rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton out, you may or may not also want to let your pungent peds air out somewhere there’s a good air current (perhaps outside? Or even just by an open window or vent) if you’d like to get everything smelling more neutral again– hey, at least it won’t smell like radioactive cheese (read: your sweat) anymore! That’s for sure a win right there!

    6. Soap in the Sole

    Soap is SO the answer to stinky shoes!!


    An even more simple option for deodorizing stinky shoes quickly (it just keeps on getting better and better) is soap! Now, I’m totally not going to be twisting your arm into scrubbing out your funky footwear (we don’t have the time nor sanity for that kind of a smelly slog, am I right?). For real, don’t you worry yourself over having to suds up any stinky sneakers.


    For this option, we’ll actually be using a dry bar of soap. Let me just explain, alright? So when you wash your hands, the water acts as a sort of like mechanical push to get debris off (like stinky bacteria), BUT soap is an extra special kind of amazing because it has the most amazing ability to burst the fatty membrane surrounding bacteria like its own personal armor.


    Not having a protective fatty membrane is one heck of a whammy for the stinky bacteria which so love to stink up your poor shoes, so the more soap the better! Even simple dry soap is better than none at all, and thank goodness too because it’s not a whole lot of effort on our parts to use it thusly.


    Deodorize stinky volleyball shoes with a dry bar of soap just by sticking it right on into your funky footwear and leaving it overnight. Go for longer if you can (the soap isn’t going to hurt anything, just in case you may have been wondering), and then that’s it! Easy-peasy and you probs already have a few spare bars of soap already on hand, ready to save you and your stinky shoes from olfactory oblivion. 


    7. LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    The seventh and final option on our list of deodorizing hacks is LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer: an utterly fabulous shoe spray that can take care of stinky shoes before they can really become any sort of pungent problem for you and the other volleyball athletes in your life.

    And it’s not just me who thinks that LUMI is a really extra special sort of fabulous. Over 800 people on Amazon have given an absolutely perfect 5-star rating, leveling out to a solid 4.4-star average for reviews. Buyer “Akdnavin” here calls it the best for athletic feet, and way better than insoles or powder that one might normally put in their shoes, and that also unfortunately make playing sports uncomfortable:


    Ditto, ma' dude!

    Besides being super effective, LUMI as a company is a small, family-owned business that never tests on animals, makes all of its wonderful products in the United States, and also only sources the highest quality of all-natural ingredients. Badda-bing-badda-boom!

    And LUMI works on more than just shoes, too. Got a stinky kitchen sink? Maybe a bathroom that’s a bit funky? Or perhaps a gym bag that could likely count as radioactive with its overpowering level of stank. Just spray LUMI onto any of it! 

    For how to deodorize smelly volleyball shoes, simply spray LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer directly into each of the shoes and voila! You’re all set to go! Ready to pivot and dive and like an absolute pro on the court without having to worry for a single moment about what your feet might be smelling like.

    But let’s round it all up, shall we? One little summary for all of our little strategies for shoe deodorizing. 

    Airing out stinky volleyball shoes is the first strategy up on our list of quick tricks and hacks to deodorize your funky footwear. The smelly bacteria that we’ve been going on about don’t take too kindly to fresh air and sunshine, which is precisely why we’re going to be storing our (soon-to-not-be) smelly shoes where there’s a good air current and perhaps just a touch of natural light (read: NOT your musty gym bag!).

    Washing the soles of those stinky volleyball shoes is also going to be a big help, with just a little bit of assistance from the washing machine. The soles of any kind of shoe are an excellent place for the stinky bacteria to hide out in, as they retain plenty of moisture from our sweat and also the dead skin cells that naturally slough off of our feet. Send the soles through the washing machine and make sure to leave them to DRY OUT after you’re all done (wet soles= stinky soles for later, capeesh?).

    Corn starch is what we’ll be summing up next, as we take a look at how easily it can absorb moisture from our sweat and therefore fix footwear funk for good! Just dash in a few tablespoons of the absorbent stuff right on into your shoes or into a sock that you can tie off, and then leave the corn starch inside of your rank shoes at least overnight, or possibly longer if you’ve got the time for it.

    Essential oils have bits of lovely-smelling plant matter suspended in them, able to impart said lovely scent right into our smelly sneakers. Pick out a favorite scent (peppermint, citrus, etc. are all quite popular, of course) and then simply place a couple of drops directly into the stinky volleyball shoes in need of stench salvation.

    Rubbing alcohol might not smell as great as essential oils do, but it certainly can take care of that (quite possibly radioactive) old cheese smell currently wafting up from your poor stinky shoes. Sop a couple of cotton pads or rounds in some rubbing alcohol, and then stuff  them into your stinky volleyball shoes, leaving overnight or longer if you’d like to really put a dent in the stank.

    Putting a dry bar of soap into each of your funky footwear can also help to take care of the musty mayhem of said smelly shoes, as the soap can help to break apart the fatty protective membrane protecting individual stinky bacterium. Leave the dry soap bars in overnight but definitely longer should you have the time to spare for your pungent peds.

    LUMI’s Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is our final option for this here summary on how to quickly and successfully fix your stinky volleyball shoes. It’s a simple shoe spray that can kick stank’s butt with one or two sprays directly into the soles of your shoes, and that’s it! You’re totally ready to go for victory on the volleyball court sans footwear funk and with a delightful waft of lavender and tea tree following you afterward.

    And that’s that! All 7 of our options and strategies for you to quickly and easily deodorize stinky volleyball shoes successfully. Any of these strategies or hacks ought to work fine to really make your shoes smell like new again (or better, even), although if you find that the stank is still wafting its way up to your nose again, you can always try any of these efforts to combat smelly shoes in combination. Try two of them at once to see if that works for you, but totally feel free to let yourself go ham. 

    Go all in with three if you’d like! Combining any of these stank-defying strategies and hacks to deodorize smelly volleyball shoes is simple, quick, and trust me, there’s going to be no better feeling than stepping back out onto the court with your confidence in hand, and your feet free of stink.

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