Before we get into the topic of smelly shoes, let me tell you a quick little story about some of my favorite shoes growing up. I remember when I was young I had this really rad pair of crocs. They were bright pink– and I mean florid– as in, a weaker bean might have lost their PB&J sammie lunch just from being in their mere presence, kind of pink– seriously, they even had these cute little swirling designs adorning their sides. What more could a young girl want in footwear?
Ah, I’m so very glad you asked– you see, they were also FREAKIN’ LIGHT-UP CROCS!!!!!!
I was, as one might assume, rather smitten with this one glorious set of shoes. I quite literally wore them everywhere. School, the store– I even played and ran around the backyard in them (despite crocs not being Usain Bolt’s (or anyone's) running shoes of choice-- my pink light-up pair worked just fine for the games of imagination my siblings and I would play). Nothing but an act of divine intervention could have separated me from my beloved light-up crocs.
Nothing but a divine act of intervention, or just parents taking them out of circulation for a bit.
They were so well-loved that they had gotten a bit… funky. Have you noticed something similar with your kids’ favorite pairs of shoes?
All work and lots of play makes Jack and Jill's shoes… ahem, well… stink. Like, really bad.
Even the most amazing light-up pink crocs face the fate of the inevitable funk.
All is not as disastrous as it seems now, however. Believe it or not, there are ways to preserve and extend the life of your kid’s fave pair of shoes– although there is absolutely no heckin’ way they were as cool as the aforementioned crocs.
1. Give the stinky shoes a much-deserved break
I don’t care what you have to do. Distract with candy. Hire a clown. Buy a llama and have the coolest pet on the block. Maybe get them an even cooler pair of shoes for the interim!
But make sure your kid is looking the other way, and then pilfer the pungent perpetrators (A.K.A the well-loved, albeit stinky, shoes). Just kind of put them in time-out for a little while, ya’ know?
Give those stinky shoes a fair chance to air out. Moist shoes are smelly shoes, and duh they can’t ever properly dry out if they’re constantly being worn.
I’m not saying that you have to hide them forever– I don’t think even a llama could have distracted me from my beautiful crocs for long– but hopefully just long enough that the stinky shoes can get a breather. Afterward, maybe you’ll get to take one as well, and it won’t be a lungful of those putrid peds!
2. Baking soda overnight
Unfortunately though, sometimes just a simple airing won’t do. It’s okay, like it probs just means that there’s still a wee bit of moisture left in the shoes. Not a butt-ton, but just enough that it means your kid’s shoes are still radically rank.
Before you hold a blow-dryer to your kid’s favorite funky footwear (or just straight up burn the shoes), try some baking soda. I know, I know– baking soda belongs in sweets like cookies or cakes– why put it in freakin’ shoes!? Well, my dearest reader, baking soda is really awesome at one thing– absorbing moisture.
Just sprinkle some into the smell shoes, go to sleep, and wake up to sweat-free gloriousness. Seriously, this one is so simple, and best of all– your kid will never notice their favorite stinky shoes were gone in the first place.
3. Try tossing the smelly shoes washing machine, if you dare
**Not all shoes are meant for the washing machine**
I’m just gonna leave that there. For real, totally make sure to check any tags (that haven’t been devastated by intensive childhood adventures and are still at the very least somewhat legible), and then hope and pray that they give the go-ahead to chuck their stinky selves into the washer.
I know, I know-- I totally just sang the praises of drying out all of your stinky shoes, but maybe what your kid’s shoes need isn’t some gentle TLC. Maybe– and now I’m just throwing this out here– maybe, they need some extra determined and possibly sudsy TLC.
Scratch that– no perhaps, ifs, ands, or even buts– in order to save the shoes (and all of us bystanders) from the nasal assault wafting from your kid’s crocs you might just consider throwing the shoes into the washer.
Make sure they are the only things in the washer (we’re trying to kick the stink’s butt, not tear a hole in the rest of the innocent laundry).
Stick the shoes into something soft you don’t particularly care about– say, a pillowcase, some sheets, whatever you have on hand. You’re not necessarily likely to shred the outer container, but it always pays to be safe. TBH, it’s more so that you want to cushion the shoes against the machine itself when they go for a spin-cycle– also, just so it doesn’t sound like a herd of smelly children stampeding throughout your laundry room, because that would suck.
One more thing on this option– your dryer probs isn't your best friend, at least this time around.
See, there are a whole lot of meltable materials that make up your kid’s fave shoes, and the high heat from dryers simply isn’t the greatest for ‘em. After washing, just stick the (hopefully) now-clean shoes somewhere you can admire their fresh-smelling selves until they’re dry and ready to go.
4. Help your kid to clean their feet pretty consistently– with mouthwash
Nah, you totally read that one right. Mouthwash, my friend– mouthwash.
On top of regular old bath time, tell your kid to dip their devastatingly dank-smelling feet into a bowl of watered-down mouthwash. Really, like a capful would do it.
Just as mouthwash makes a dent in the foul funk from our mouths, so too can it aid in the fight against foot odor!
Besides that, really make sure to consistently incorporate scrubbing your kid’s feet into their bath time routine. I know it can sometimes get late, and simply getting your kids into the tub is a total victory in and of itself, but consistency is totally key here. Mouthwash can’t do all the dirty work for us!
A little bit every day when it comes to scrubbing stinky feet goes a long way. Then, just to help out, once a week you have the option of this here mouthwash trick.
5. Dry your child’s feet thoroughly after bath time
So, like we wanted to dry out the shoes on their own lonesome, but we also need to make sure that our kid’s feet have time to air out themselves.
After your kid splashes their way (and probs you) through bath time, make sure to take a towel and help dry off the odorous offenders. Your kid’s feet (especially between the toes!) are a natural haven for smell-causing bacteria, but once dried out they don’t stand a chance!
Make it a group effort! Teamwork absolutely makes the dream work here.
Involve your kid in helping to clean their smelly shoe act up! Practicing good pedal hygiene is a key part of growing up, and even though we’re obvs. still learning about how to defeat foot-funk ourselves, we can make sure to pass on all of the wisdom we’re learning so that once they get to be our age it’s a total no-brainer to have no smelly shoes.
Clean and dry feet mean clean and dry shoes! Clean the shoes in the washer, and help the kid to have squeaky-clean feet so that when it’s playtime again the shoes have a fresh-smelling place to start.
6. “Accidentally” lose the beloved boots
This is just like the first option, where you "borrowed" the stinky shoes for a bit, but just a bit more permanent. Phase the shoes out– from their well-loved, well-used, and woefully rank phase right on into the trash.
Admittedly, this is def. the most difficult option. You’re gonna have to pull out the big guns to distract your kid from the passing of their fave footwear.
I’m talking about ice cream. Water parks. TWO llamas. Maybe three, if we're feeling up to that kind of adventure.
Or perhaps a pony– whatever it takes to avoid your kid having a major meltdown over the matter of their crazy smelly kicks.
Be honest– getting thrown out is what’s going to happen to all of your kid’s wardrobe eventually. It’ll get donated, moved on, or whatever, and eventually, your kid won’t even remember their stinky shoes– soon, even for you, the stench of smelly shoes will (thankfully) be a long-forgotten memory.
Unless the stinky shoes facing eviction are pink light-up crocs. Sorry, mom and dad– those shoes were quite literally unforgettable.
7. Avoid rubber shoes
And then that there brings all of us to numero 7– avoid rubber shoes like the literal plague.
Sadly enough, it’s the rubber shoes that are stink’s favorite coconspirators. Plenty of rubber shoes are to blame– crocs, rain boots, all of those cute, probably squeaky shoes are seriously so much more prone than their non-rubber cousins to foot stink.
Um, yeah, so I’ll be right back, just after a good cry, and then I’ll try and find some shoes that can stand muster against those glorious pink crocs– it’ll be impossible, but a girl has to try!
Maybe a new set of crocs– yeah, I think that may be the only plan of action.
7 ½ Get your kids new crocs because the old ones are too smelly and because we’re not brave enough to go croc-less quite yet– or, well, I’m not, but maybe you and your kid are made of sterner stuff than I 😂
8. LUMI– shoe deodorizer-extraordinaire
Oooooorrr you could just give your kid’s stinky shoes the LUMI treatment. Parents love it. Smelly shoes fear it. Seriously though, it’s just a simple shoe deodorizer that you spritz onto the stinky shoes and BAM!
We don’t have to worry about losing the crocs. Or distracting the kids with llamas. Total win all around, I think.
I personally like this one– the Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer– it smells great and has over 10,000 5-star ratings on Amazon who say the same if you don’t trust me lol.
Never you mind the hard steps– just skip right on ahead to this easy-peasy one, and you and your kid can enjoy fabulous footwear for literal ages without having to worry about parting ways with their favorites! Really, no more smelly shoes! Just a lemon-fresh eucalyptus scent from your new shoe deodorizer.
Literally, this is the smelly shoe hack that will fix all of your kid's shoes' funk for good, and they'll never have to give up their rad crocs (or whatever substitute they've got-- granted, I find it difficult to believe that anything could even come close to the fabulousness of light-up pink crocs. Many have tried, and every single one of them was a fool for trying)!
Years of play ahead for your kid's cool shoes!
At least, that is, until the batteries give up the ghost on their light-up pairs, although, I think maybe that’s a topic for another article;)