You know, I get it– the last thing you ever want to think about is your work shoes. Loafers are the things you slide on before work, forget about as you go about the day, and then completely forget about the moment you get home and slide ‘em off of your feet.
But day in and day out, those poor loafers start to pick up a little funk. I mean, certainly, out of all the more professional shoes, loafers tend to let your feet breathe a little bit, comparatively (anyone who wears heels knows precisely what I’m talking about), although they absolutely can still be a little bit snug.
That snugness is one of the major contributors to why your feet will be more likely to sweat it out while you wear loafers. I mean, granted the thick soles and sturdy shoe are somehow magical because (loafers in general) don’t tend to lead to blistered feet– but even so, deodorizing your loafers becomes a must after the usual wear and tear of going to work all of the time in them.
Not only the typical snugness of loafers, but the usual materials of loafers tend to lead to a little extra stink. Leather, or faux leather, can be notoriously difficult to clean, and so the foot funk is left to go completely unchecked.
But no more! There are literally so many ways that we could deodorize your loafers, and after this list, you totally won’t have to worry about your feet stinking up the office ever again!
Table of Contents
1. Lemon or Lime Peel
2. Soap for the Soles
4. Cedar Wood Chips
5. Charcoal Foot Soak
7. LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer
1. Lemon or Lime Peel Inside the Shoe
The first option we’ll be chatting about is the wonder of lemon and lime peels.
But before we go into the how of using those sour shavings to save your smelly shoes, we’ll be going into the why of the matter.
SO the reason why your lovely loafers smell like garbage? Bacteria. Little, bitty, tiny, no-good suckers hanging around in your shoes and around your feet. They absolutely love to chow down on your sweat and leftover dead skin cells.
Wait, wait a second here– are we saying that it’s not your feet or sweat that actually make the shoes stink? Yes, we are saying precisely that! It is in no way at all your feet’s or your sweat’s fault. Blame the bad-smelling bacteria!
And that leaves us to do all that we can in order to deter the bacteria from making our fabulous loafers smelling like microwaved garbage.
Enter our lovely lemons and limes. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume you’ve all, at some point in your lives, had the pleasure of experiencing the tangy, acidic tang of either fruit in some kind of dessert or beverage, and don't need to explain that it's freakin' sour. The almost sweet bite is renowned for lemon/limeade, for undeniably luscious desserts, particularly when lemons or limes are in season in the summertime.
Seriously, lemons and limes definitely show up and show off. Their sour bite, besides being simply delicious, will also spell doom for plenty of bacteria.
The acidic nature of lemon or lime peelings will be enough to prevent them from stinking up your loafers. So what you’re going to want to do is get a couple tablespoons, and just scatter them inside of your stinky shoes, and leave them in there overnight.
Just be careful not to leave them for like days or weeks, because even though their acidity can kick most bacteria butt, you still wouldn’t exactly want to leave the fruit peels out at room temperature forever because they’re… well duh, they’re raw food, so don’t be dumb, and replace the peelings as needed.
In no time at all your loafers will be deodorized and also smelling incredible.
2. Soap for your Shoe's Sole
Just like the lemon and lime peels, soap is going to do a whammy on the stinky bacteria lurking in your funky loafers.
I mean, we understand washing our hands, limbs, behind our ears– why not our poor and deserving shoes? Well, I suppose we wouldn’t be directly washing the shoes, given that they’re typically made out of leather or its synthetic equivalent– both of which wouldn’t survive a trip of any length in the washing machine. The mere idea of it is simply a no-go for your loafers, ok?
But that doesn’t mean we can’t use soap. Actually, it means that we absolutely should, because soap is bad for the bacteria and simply amazing for our poor, abused sinuses. Say no more to the funk, and grab a bar or two of soap! Well, preferably two, because both of your shoes deserve to smell fabulous.
Simply stuff a bar of fabulously-smelling soap into each of your loafers, and let it hang overnight. If you can, make sure to get the soap in there right after you get your feet out.
The other thing that’s key to mention here is consistency– whenever you’re not wearing the shoes, there should be bars of soap chilling in there, ok? The bacteria may work hard, but we’ve got to work harder, or else when we get to work we’ll be smelling like the bacteria’s hard-won funk.
It’s a hands-off approach to deodorizing your loafers, so what’s the harm? You lose out on a few bars of soap? Way better than losing out on your cute shoes that keep you looking spiffy and professional. Can’t look like a boss if you don’t smell like one, alright?
Another helpful little trick for quickly deodorizing shoes is simply absorbing up all of the moisture from your sweat before the smelly bacteria even has a chance to get its microbial little hands on it.
Enter newspaper! Newspaper, if you can believe it, is actually quite superior at absorbing liquid. It has this secret little component in the ink that most people don’t know about.
“Sizing” is something that acts as a sort of straw for any and all moisture before it can get to the actual ink printed on the paper.
Think of “sizing” as a glaze of sorts. For real, without it, any time there’s a heavy case of morning dew, or an early morning rainstorm, all of our newspapers would readily be ruined by the water smearing all of its ink.
“Sizing” doesn’t precisely make newspaper waterproof (even it isn’t that amazing), but certainly, it does its best. Without it at all, your morning newspaper would be as illegible as a kindergartener’s scribbles (we all had terrible griffonage, at least at some point or another– admit it).
Newspaper and its miracle “sizing” works wonders for deodorizing shoes because it easily and readily absorbs all of the moisture from the sweat that otherwise would have gone straight to the smelly bacteria (who in turn would have used the opportunity to become ever more stinky). We get to stop the bacteria in its tracks by keeping your shoes solidly dry, and as a result– pretty much free of any bad scents.
Simply crumple up some newspaper into tiny balls, and stuff them into your shoe. You can opt to leave it overnight, or preferably you could get the newspaper in there the moment you’re not using the shoes– remember that the longer the moisture just gets to hang out in there, the more opportunity the bacteria has to use the sweat to make your poor loafers rank.
4. Cedar Wood Chips
Another terrific option to take the moisture away from your shoes is to use basic wood chips. Well, not *basic* because cedar wood chips totally smell like heaven– although to be honest, any kind of wood chip could probably help you out with deodorizing your loafers.
I mean seriously, after this step, you’ll be able to smell like some woodland fairy or dryad that’s left the ancient forest for highrises and open workspaces with work deadlines, free kombucha, and really bad office coffee– but hey your shoes will smell great.
No more sweaty loafers as you use cedar wood chips to deodorize. Or, as we just barely mentioned, you could use any kind of wood chips (cedar is kind of iconic, though, so take that as you will).
The wooden fibers of the cedar wood chips themselves usually (back when they were part of the whole cedar trees themselves) kinda sort of act as mini drinking straws. Water comes into contact with those fibers and it’s like the water is a milkshake and the wood is a way too excited 5-year-old who’s going to chug the whole thing down without a second thought about any kind of impending sugar rush or diabetes (rip to all parents of small, hyper kids– your bravery is applauded and we salute ya’).
So get your cedar wood chips and place about a ¼ cup into each of your smelly shoes; measurement-wise, the primary goal here is just to cover the sole of the shoe like it’s the floor of some magical forest or something, m’kay? Just woodsy good smells from here on out.
Get the cedar wood chips in there right after you take your shoes off (we don’t want the bacteria to have any more access to the sweat than it needs to), leave it all overnight, and then just replace the wood chips every so often and you’re all good to go! Smelling fabulous, woodsy, and looking like a freakin’ boss in your cedar-scented loafers.
5. Charcoal Foot Soak
And it just gets better from there– seriously, we’ve got lots of opportunities to take out the bacteria before it can get to your shoes.
Charcoal– or I guess what you could just call burnt carbon– is also up to the job. If you’re not terribly familiar with it, just think about the last time you were at a barbecue– it’s whatever the grill master accidentally spilled into the open flames, and now it just gets to add an oaky-nuttiness to the fresh stuff getting grilled on top. Or the last time you got to roast s’mores– charcoal would be the marshmallow you (or someone else) accidentally set aflame. What can we say– sugar makes for an excellent torch.
Charcoal that we want to be using to clean up our shoes might be marketed as “activated charcoal,” and typically comes in easy-to-use tablets, with it (the charcoal) already in powder form.
Nowadays, most activated charcoal is from cooking coconut husks, bamboo, coal, peat, petroleum, etc. at like these super high temperatures in order to cause the original material to form these tiny microscopic pores (holes). This all happens because the OG material was exposed to oxygen as well, and as a result, the moisture (and stink!) gets absorbed into the pores.
It’s basically a hole-in-one! Charcoal is the lawn, and the stink is the golf ball.
So get one or two gallons of warmish water and then empty a few of the activated charcoal tablets into the water. Soak your feet in the mixture for about 20 minutes, and you’re golden! Well, probably a more inky soot color, but just make sure to rinse your feet off afterward.
Repeat throughout the week, because who doesn’t like a good foot soak? And also because your loafers will smell amazing when you use the charcoal foot soaks consistently.
Using cinnamon to help make your loafers not stink might not make any kind of sense, but trust me when I say that it most definitely can.
I get that you might think that cinnamon should only be used for cookies, Yankee candles, and Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. Don’t worry, I love those things too, but there’s certainly way more that cinnamon can do for us. Using cinnamon to help keep our shoes smelling fresh doesn’t mean we have to forget about those things.
Cinnamon can totally be used in a multitude of ways, which rocks for us and our shoes. Go out to the grocery store to get yourself some cinnamon; powdered or stick forms work pretty much the same, so don’t worry about picking one or the other. Cinnamon sticks do tend to be slightly pricier, but if that’s all they have at the store, or if it’s what you’ve already got in the pantry at home, cinnamon sticks will totally work just fine.
That’s another great thing about using cinnamon to deodorize your loafers– you probs already have a whole tin of the wonderfully scented stuff already at home from the last time you baked (*checks the calendar, and realizes that it’s been five thousand years).
Anyway, cinnamon in powdered or stick form just has to be poured/placed into your shoes, and then you let it all hang out. Overnight works great, but duh the longer the cinnamon gets to hang out in your shoes the better.
If you do end up going for the powdered cinnamon as opposed to the stick form, you can also opt to put the cinnamon in a sock and then put that sock in your shoes for easier cleanup. The porous material of the sock will allow the cinnamon to do its thing, clearing up the stank uninhibited, and you won’t have to worry about powdered cinnamon getting all over the insides of your nice work shoes.
7. LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer
Let’s say we want something simple, though. Like, I mean something maybe more mess-free? Cinnamon is great and all, but it could quite possibly just be a mess waiting to happen. Cedar wood chips? Don’t even get me started on the very real possibility of splinters (yikes).
So thank goodness and what holy gods of loafers there may be for LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer, which is one of the most simple (and effective!) options that we’ve got to deodorize any kind of shoe out there (no matter how smelly they are).
Totally not saying that you shouldn’t try out some or all of the previously mentioned options because they all work pretty well, but LUMI definitely has ‘em all beat by its mere simplicity and just for how fabulously it works.
Seriously, 800 people agree with me here on this one, after having given LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer a completely and utterly perfect five-star review on Amazon. 4.4 stars is its average, and there are plenty of people, like Angelica Barron here, who can’t get enough of how easily they used it to save their smelly shoes!
LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is an absolutely amazing natural option that literally has only the highest quality ingredients and also somehow manages to smell like a lavender tea tree dream. The product is made cruelty-free (so we can smell great and not feel supes guilty), is produced in America (woot woot), and also is a small, family-owned business (can I get an actual heck to the yeah?). Seriously, the company is great, the product is great, and you’re going to be smelling great. What’s not to love?
And it doesn’t just work on shoes! Spray this stuff in the smelly bathroom, over the smelly garbage can, heck, in the kitchen sink if it reeks. Seriously, all it takes is a few spritzes and you’re done!
With your shoes, you’ll want to spray a couple of times directly into the shoes and then you get to call it a day. I mean, who has time or sanity to worry about work shoes after the ol’ 8-5? LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer has got your back, ma’ smelly friend. Just spray and then feel free to smell freakin’ fabulous.
But let’s run through all of these one more time– or, I guess because it’s all about loafers, instead of walking, we'll be powerfully strutting in because now that they smell awesome, you can work those work shoes!
Let’s start it all off with lemon or lime peel. The acidity of these awesome fruits makes not just for an awesome beverage (lemonade fan forever right here), but also for kicking smelly bacteria butt! Spread lemon or lime peel evenly out over the soles of your loafers, and leave it all in there for as long as possible (make sure not to reuse the same peels again, because duh it’s basically raw food you just left out at room temperatures for several hours or more, so don’t be dumb).
Then you can also stick soap in the soles of your shoes and leave it to hang out and deodorize, once again, for as long as you’re not wearing them. I mean, I don’t think I really need to explain why soap does a good job of deodorizing and kicking bacteria butt– I’m going to trust ya’ on this one, alright?
Newspaper rolled up into balls and stuffed into your shoes will work to suck up all the moisture, and deprive the bacteria of its stink-making buffet.
Cedar wood chips do the same and leave behind a lovely woodsy scent. Same no more to sweaty stinky shoes, and hello to your new woodsman aesthetic.
A nice 20-minute charcoal foot soak will keep away the funk, and also I mean you’ll be getting a nice spa day, which after a long day of work certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
Cinnamon will also kick stank to the curb– just leave the lovely spice, stick form or powdered for a bit, and enjoy smelling like a pumpkin spice latte.
Or smell like a field of wildflowers with LUMI’S Lavender Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer– a few quick sprays and you’re done! Quickly deodorize your loafers, and call it a day!