5 Cheap Ways to Fix Smelly Leather Sandals Fast

5 Cheap Ways to Fix Smelly Leather Sandals Fast

When I was a young kid I had this set of leather sandals that I ABSOLUTELY adored. They had denim pads for the feet and the leather strap for the toes had this way cute butterfly on it– the detailed whorls and antenna made me feel like literally the most fashionable youngster to have graced the planet. For real, believe me when I tell all y’all that I wore those shoes until they were utter tatters!  

Truly, I had duct-taped the straps back where they were supposed to go (carefully– they were still gorgeous shoes! At least, they were in my lil’ self’s own opinion). The leather was peeling from every rounded edge and corner, then the denim in the center pad of the foot was really rather worn.

I felt so grown-up in those leather sandals– they weren’t glittery or a bright, florid color as most of my previous footwear had been– these leather butterfly sandals were like the shoes my older sisters and mom wore, and I certainly couldn’t have felt any prouder.  

We all have those shoes that are just kind of our faves, and those leather sandals were totally mine when I was a little kid. Even those classically fabulous leather sandals, however, faced a dank-smelling dilemma just like basically every kind of footwear out there– that’s right ma’ dear readers, shoe stink.

Now, I know what you’re thinking– how the heck can open-aired shoes like sandals even get smelly? Trust me when I say that they definitely can. Like, they really, really can, and it totally sucks for anyone nearby with a working sense of smell.

But there’s no reason to worry– not when up next we have 5 easy tricks to deodorize stinky leather sandals! Any of these hacks can get rid of your shoes’ funk easy-peasy and successfully!


Table of Contents

    1. Freeze the Funk!

    2. Scrub your Feet Extra Well

    3. Charcoal Foot Soak for the Win!

    4. Charcoal Foot Soak Solves the Shoe Stank

    5. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer

    1. Freezer

    Freeze the footwear funk


    Yes, yes, the first easy stinky shoe hack is a freezer, and that’s totally rather strange, and nope I’m not sorry! Take a deep breath (so sorry if that deep breath includes a huge whiff of shoe stank) and let me walk you through why using a freezer to fix your funky footwear is actually a really, really good idea.

    SO, ma’ dear yet stinky reader, it turns out that it’s not actually your feet that are stinking up said funky footwear– it’s really some stinky bacteria that just so happens to live on your feet, in your socks, and on your shoes. Said smelly bacteria eat up the leftover sweat from your feet (mainly just the moisture) and also the dead skin cells that regularly (and naturally) slough off of your feet. Yum, am I right? Literally a 5-star meal, without any kind of doubt.

    Basically, when we want to get rid of the bad smells wafting up from our lovely (albeit a bit stinky) leather sandals then we can totally go after the bad-smelling bacteria in order to do so. 

    Freezers are actually AMAZING at that, as the cool temps inside don’t really agree with the rank bacteria, meaning that once frozen they won’t be able to stink up your (hopefully soon-to-not-be) pungent peds like they used to!

    All you have to do in order to use your freezer to deodorize stinky shoes is stuff said shoes straight on into a pillowcase or even just a large ziplock bag– we don’t want the poor ice cream and frozen dino chicken nuggets to start smelling like a funky footlocker, now do we?-- and then just make sure to leave the stinky shoes inside of the freezer for at least overnight, although going for longer will really help to slow down the stinky bacteria’s stank production, which will be fabulous (and no longer funky, hopefully!) for us and our fave set of leather sandals.

    2.  Wash Your Feet EXTRA Thoroughly (and I mean it!)

    Like actually!


    See, I’m sure you read the title of this next stinky shoe deodorizing option and thought to yourself “What the actual freakin’ heck does the writer of this article think I do?!” Well, while I’m sure you have a very solid foot-scrubbing routine incorporated into your daily life, this is just a really good reminder! 

    All of that positively dreadful bacteria? The ones that make your poor peds so pungent? First things first– water and also anything you’re scrubbing with (like a sudsy rag or luffa) can mechanically scrubbing are great at literally pushing things off of your skin (like dirt, paint, you know, basic stuff like that). Think of water as a sort of “shove” for the smelly bacteria.

    Scrubbing really thoroughly is solid as well! Now, I don’t just mean a quick pass over the foot– nope, we’re talking between the toes, around the toes, over the arches, etc, etc. All of it! Like, actually! And do it twice, just to be on safe side, when it comes to taking care of the stank!

    And trust me, ma’ dear yet dank-smelling reader, with just a wee bit of soap you and your stinky shoes will be even better off! Soap has a sort of superpower where it can burst apart the fatty membrane surrounding one of the tiny lil’ bacterium and BOOM! You see, if there’s no fatty membrane surrounding and protecting said smelly bacteria, then the bad-smelling bacteria can’t exactly go around stinking up your absolutely fabulous set of (soon-to-not-be) funky footwear.

    Do all of this consistently too, alright? A wee bit of prevention is totes worth a whole lot of your time (and sanity) later on. Every day, ya’ got it? You’ve got to wash your feet extra thoroughly with soap and water, between the cracks and all over both of your feet. 

    Deodorize those smelly sandals of yours super quickly by taking REALLY extra good care in scrubbing your feet extra well with all of that sudsy water, and you and your fave set of shoes ought to be golden!

    3. Coffee Foot Soak

    A coffee foot soak-- time for a spa day!!


    But maybe you want to try something a bit different than just the regular ol’ method of thoroughly washing your feet to fix your stinky shoes. Something new (we’ll just ignore the freezer shoe deodorizing hack for a moment. That was *totally* a regular stinky shoe deodorizing hack, alright?).

    Why don’t you go on and try an easy coffee foot soak? Now, I know you might just think that such a suggestion means that the foot funk has gone straight to my head and fried everything up in there like a crispy sunny-side-up egg, but believe me when I say that you can absolutely use coffee to help make your old stinky leather sandals smell like new again.

    Coffee for sure isn’t just a toasty beverage to kickstart the morning and it isn’t just a fancy, sugary beverage– yeah, sorry not sorry Starbs. Coffee and all of that stank-producing bacteria really just AREN’T two pungent peas that like to chill in the same ol’ pod ya’ know? They’re each other’s worst wafty nightmare, meaning that with just a little bit of coffee we can have ourselves a solid DIY and smell-free spa day to get rid of the dreaded stank.

    All it takes to use coffee to get rid of bad smells like those hanging about your much-loved (yet) stinky leather sandals is about two cups of coffee and then one gallon of water (warm or cold for both liquids ought to work just fine, so there’s no need to worry yourself about that). Stir the two together in a small tub that’s at least big enough to hold the liquid and your feet, then submerge your feet for at least 10-15 minutes. Afterward, you can rinse and moisturize your stink-free feet (treat yo’self, alright?), and the next time you put on your leather sandals you won’t be adding to the shoes’ stank!

    4. Charcoal Foot Soak

    Charcoal for those shoes full of stank


    But perhaps you’re just not that much of a coffee drinker (which is totally and most absolutely ok) and you don’t happen to have much of the buzzy beverage in the kitchen. All totally good, because there are for sure other options that we can use to deodorize stinky leather sandals like a charm.

    And this next option just so happens to be another foot soak! Really, it’s time for a DIY spa day, don’t you think? I mean, especially if it helps to get rid of that lingering stank in your shoes. Long-lasting shoe odor really just sucks, but don’t you worry ma’ dear (yet dank-smelling reader), a solid charcoal foot soak has got you covered.

    Charcoal– oh yeah, it’s just so those toasty burnt, crispy edges from when you barbecue food, right? Summer dinners out in the backyard smell like this stuff because there was always someone’s hamburger that got overcooked, right? It’s called caramelization, not “dad forgot that the grill still had food in it and now one of us will be eating a hotdog instead”-- of course. 

    Charcoal, as it so turns out, is actually pretty rad for taking on the rank stank wafting up from your smelly leather sandals. Basically, charcoal is just superheated carbon; think like bamboo, coconut husks, etc, etc– or even your family’s last BBQ or s’mores night, although you can also get charcoal from all of that as well (especially if it’s your lil’ siblings roasting the marshmallows (which apparently make for excellent torches, or so they claim).

    After being superheated, charcoal forms these wee lil’ pores which can help to absorb odor (woot woot!). Now, you won’t be using those burnt-up marshmallow leftovers as the charcoal for your foot soak (just a solid piece of advice), BUT you can get the charcoal in these supes convenient tablets at your local grocery store these days.

    Just take a couple of those charcoal tablets, and spill them into about a gallon of water (warm or cold ought to work just fine), using a tub that you can fully submerge your feet in. Let everything sit for about 15-30 minutes and then just rinse everything off! Ta-dah! You’re all good to go!

    5. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    The fifth of our fabulous tricks to get rid of stinky shoes is LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer. It’s a super swell shoe spray that’s all-natural and literally works ASAP to get you back to wearing your much-loved leather sandals before you’re forced to go out and find some other summer-worthy shoe (*gasps* not the crocs!). Don’t worry, you and your rather fashionable (and certainly no longer funky) footwear will be back in action sooner rather than later with this literally fantastic shoe spray.

    Now you don’t just take my word for it! You can totally take the word of the over 1000 peeps over on Amazon who have given LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer an actually perfect 5 out of 5 stars as their rating, averaging out to a solid 4.4-star rating overall. Listen to Amazon reviewer Kathy Wilson here, who says that after her brand new leather sandals got just a bit funky that she thought that she’d have to throw ‘em away, but thanks to LUMI now there’s no smell at all!


    Heck to the freakin' yeah!!


    LUMI also just so happens to be a kind of fabulous sort of company. LUMI is a small, family-owned business that sources only the highest quality ingredients that ALSO are all-natural, never ever (and tens kinds of evers) test their products on animals, AND they just so happen to make literally all of their products in the United States. That’s right, cue ALL of the applause, glitter cannons, and confetti because this company really is that rad.

    And thank goodness, because goodness knows that there’s enough funk that could use a solid solution like LUMI. Oh, did I not mention? Yeah, LUMI is good for more funk than just that which lives on your footwear. Got a stinky kitchen sink? Spray LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer right on it! Does the bathroom smell bad? It’s time for a lil’ spritz of LUMI, ma’ dear reader. Garbage cans of any kind? We can fix their stank with LUMI! Especially in the summer, we all know that bad smells are just literally everywhere– LUMI has got your back.

    And totally your feet, as well. Well, your stinky leather sandals, at the very least. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer just needs to be spritzed once or twice for your shoes to be smelling literally better than ever. That’s it! You’ve done it, ma’ dear reader, who’s totally going to be smelling their best with LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer!

    I don’t know about all y’all but I usually need some kind of summary to round things off– it comes with the territory when you’ve got the memory of half of a guinea pig (that’s me– I’m totes guilty of that). So yay for summaries, and here’s one for you and our five super easy stinky shoe deodorizing hacks you can use to fix your fave set of leather sandals.

    It’s super easy for you to use the freezer to deodorize stinky leather sandals. Freezers can totes take on all of the smelly bacteria we’ve been busting in our previous shoe stank-busting hacks, and thank goodness! I mean, our poor singed nose hairs can use all of the help that they can get, after experiencing those whiffy leather sandals, am I right? The low temps of the freezer don’t do the bad-smelling bacteria any favors, so the sooner we can get our smelly leather sandals in there the better, for sure! All you’ve got to do is stuff said stinky shoes into a pillowcase or some sort of sealable bag (keep the food and the funky, not-so-fresh footwear of yours separate, alright?), and then leave the smelly leather sandals inside of the freezer, besties with the Ben and Jerry’s, at least overnight but longer if you happen to have the time for it.

    Making sure that wash your feet EXTRA thoroughly is the second option on our list of super quick and easy stinky shoe deodorization hacks, and ok I know that you probs already are well aware of how important it is, but think of this as just the universe’s way of high-fiving you for remembering so well (and if you sometimes forget, that’s totes ok as well, you can just think of this as a solid reminder then). Water and scrubbing are excellent mechanical forces for shoving stuff off of your skin (think grime, visible grease, and the like), and then if we add in a little soap the stinky bacteria totally won’t stand a chance at making your utterly amazing leather sandals so stinky! Ya’ see, that soap is actually what’s really going to end up packing a super pungent punch to the bad-smelling bacteria, as soap helps to pop the fatty membrane which normally guards and protects said stinky bacteria. If we just pop that fatty membrane, then the rank bacteria can’t go about stinking up your shoes, now can it? Consistency is totes also really key, as a little bit of sudsy water and scrubbing every day incorporated into your daily shower routine can definitely help to make your smelly shoes smell like new ASAP. So wash your feet extra well with plenty of soap and water, get between the toes and all around the heel– everywhere! Don’t show that dang smelly bacteria a single (totally sudsy) drop of mercy!

    An easy coffee foot soak is up next on our roster of super easy and effective things you can do to fix your stinky shoes super quickly. Coffee and the bacteria that stink up your fave set of (sadly funky) footwear just don’t mix, which is utterly swell for all of us who want to get our shoes back to smelling good enough that we can wear said rank shoes out in public again without having to worry about stinking up whatever space we walk into. All you need is two cups of coffee (and perhaps a third to drink) and one gallon of water (cold or warm works fine, just make sure that you don’t singe yourself with any supes steamy cups of coffee– no burns please and thank you! Mix those two liquids up, and then let your feet soak in there for just about 10-15 minutes. Go on ahead and rinse your feet off, then you can just go on ahead and moisturize after it’s all said and done. You’re all good to go!

    The next one of our fast ways to get rid of smelly leather sandals is also a foot soak! A good charcoal foot soak is totally the next thing you’re going to be wanting to add to your regular self-care routine because trust me when I tell you that this stinky shoe deodorization hack is totally worth the effort. Charcoal, which is essentially just superheated carbon, has these tiny lil’ pores on its surface that can help to absorb all kinds of odors (even the ones that totally smell like you’ve gone and left a hunk of old blue cheese just to hang out in your shoes– and thank goodness too!). You can easily find tablets of charcoal at your local grocery store or even just order them online if you should choose to do so. Regardless, just take some of those charcoal-filled tablets, and spill them into about a gallon or so of either cold or warm water (the temperature won’t make too much of a difference) filling a small tub that you can fully submerge your soon-to-be stank-free feet in. Soak your feet for about 15-30 minutes, and you and your lovely set of leather sandals ought to be smelling utterly fabulous soon! The pores from the charcoal will help to absorb the stank, and you’ll have had a solid and hopefully happy lil’ DIY spa day for your lovely self!

    LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is an absolutely amazing shoe spray that’s exactly what we need to take on the terrible stank wafting up from your stinky leather sandals. This is a shoe spray that’s all-natural, cruelty-free, high-quality, and honestly it’s also probs made from the tears of the gods and blessings from a couple of unicorns (it’s not, but it really is pretty awesome). Aside from all of that, LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer can be used to help deodorize loads of things, from garbage disposals, to bathrooms, kitchen sinks, etc. etc. Fixing your stinky sandals for good literally only takes a spritz or two of LUMI, and then you should be all set to skedaddle, stank-free, smelling like citrus, tea tree, and totally not blessings from unicorns (because why would you need those when you literally have LUMI?).

    From shoe sprays to charcoal foot soaks, there is totally a HUGE variety of ways that you can use to take on the terrible stank from your stinky shoes. Learning how to fix smelly leather sandals fast totes couldn’t be any easier! Deodorize those smelly shoes of yours with ten kinds of ease, and do it all successfully!

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