We may still be in the last gasps of summer, but fall is fast encroaching. I can’t be the only one who sees all of the early Halloween decorations popping up at the local grocers, nor the only one who has already made plans to get those pumpkin-spiced delicacies. Like, I’m thinking about those cinnamon-spiked Krispy Kreme donuts, the delicate aroma of something overpriced from Starbucks, or a really overpriced candle from Yankee.
Fall is in the air, ma’ friend, and it smells like pumpkin spice.
I know, I know, it’s not everybody’s cup of chai-spiced tea (I had to) but this time of year can be great! All of that Halloween stuff. Like those great Disney Channel original movies that had no right to be amazing and yet they genuinely are (shout out to the rest of the kids who loved Twitches or the much-vaunted Halloweentown franchise). Or maybe the candy that sends millions of kids (and adults) into sugar-induced comas on a regular, annual basis.
Let’s be honest with ourselves– we’re actually thankful for it. I mean, if we didn’t have this whole autumn and Halloween thing, all of capitalism would be shoving Christmas stuff onto the shelves before you could say “Ho, ho, ho HOLD UP!”
Halloween is mucho importante– as one might say, the goth kids hold the line– for the sake of sanity and our poor wallets.
Plus, I feel like autumn definitely has a fashion-sense that really speaks for itself. I’m thinking about the wrap-around scarves, the knit hats, and THE BOOTS! Oh my goodness the knee-highs, the platform wedges, the useless zippers! I want them all!
I mean, I totally don’t need them all, but that’s beside the point– fashion and trends change each year, and one has to stay on top of them.
But ok, can we be real? Those autumn boots– especially the knee-high ones– are an absolute (ready to hibernate) BEAR to clean!
Like, how am I supposed to deodorize my boots that are at least a foot tall!?
Don’t you worry your pumpkin-spice-filled mind, there are loads of easy and effective ways to make sure that your feet will be looking and smelling fabulous in time for fall.
1. Antiperspirants and Deodorant
We already know that antiperspirants and deodorant work wonders for other sweaty and stinky areas, so why not our feet?
Ok also, did you know that there’s a major difference between antiperspirants and deodorants? I didn’t, but I suppose my head is also rather preoccupied with all things pumpkin, autumn, and apples, and cinnamon, and AH Halloween, and… um yes, I digress.
If you’re like me, and haven’t the foggiest (best fall weather, no debate) idea on what the difference is, then that’s totally alright.
The difference is kind of in the names– deodorant deodorizes, or covers up the bad smells with better smells. Antiperspirant on the other hand is the opposite (“anti-”) of sweating (“-perspiring”). Antiperspirants essentially work by blocking the sweat pores on your skin, usually with aluminum.
Hold the pumpkin spice latte– why would we want to do that?
Well you see, my dear, yet smelly reader, the foot funk doesn’t actually come from your foot! Or your sweat!
It actually originates from bacteria that like to eat the sweat and dead skin cells that live on your feet. They’re the ones that smell.
Seriously, it’s like the bacteria treat your feet like a souped-up Airbnb, and then just never check out. BUT we can serve ‘em an eviction notice by doing everything possible to make them fall ;)
The antiperspirant genuinely works especially well here because it basically prevents moisture in the form of sweat from accumulating on your feet. Read: No sweat, no bacteria, no funk.
So roll your deodorant or antiperspirant right onto your foot. For best results, make sure to do so right out of the shower (even if you shower at night, because the bacteria doesn’t exactly sleep, and we don’t want to wake up with our feet primed and ready to smell).
2. Baby Powder
Baby powder works to do the exact same thing that antiperspirants do, meaning that it’s going to make sure that there isn’t any moisture for the stinky bacteria to chow down on.
Generally, baby powder is used to prevent chafing, which occurs when sweaty skin brushes up against fabric or other sweaty skin, which causes friction, and can result in uncomfy rashes (hence why some people use it for babies and their cherubic rolls of fat). Baby powder helps to cut down the moisture on skin, leaving it safe from friction and safe from discomfort.
Baby powder is made up of something called talcum powder (if you want to get all sciency), which basically is great at absorbing moisture. Like a sponge, baby powder takes care of your sweat before it can become fodder for the bacteria to chow down on. For real, without something like baby powder, for bacteria it’s like it’s Thanksgiving and your sweat is the cranberry sauce, stuffing, buttered biscuits, and wonky turducken all rolled into one. Totally not the goal.
When it comes to actually using the baby powder as a powerful shoe deodorizing agent, we actually have two ways that we can go about doing it.
First off, we can straight up just apply the baby powder to the feet. Dust it on right out of the shower (after you’ve patted the water dry, of course) and also throughout the day if you feel like your feet are getting a little sweaty– I mean, even with the cooler weather, our feet still sweat. Especially with those cute knee-high socks that go perfectly with the knee-high boots.
Speaking of socks, the second way to use baby powder to deodorize shoes involves taking baby powder, stuffing it into a sock, and then stuffing that sock into your shoes. Leave overnight so that the baby powder can absorb the moisture, and when you wake up the bacteria won’t have any tasty sweat to munch on, and you’ll have clean-smelling shoes!
3. Clean Socks
Let's stay on this idea of socks! Clean socks are kind of super important when it comes to winning against the bacteria lurking in your uber cute booties.
I know that it totally seems way obvious, but I want ya’ to hear me out, alright?
Just like our shoes and feet, socks can be an absolute harbor for smelly bacteria to hang out in. The woven fibers are truly fabulous for shielding the bacteria, and allowing them to live to stink up another day.
So, clean socks for the win, ya' hear? I don’t mean the socks that have lived on the floor of your bedroom for several weeks, and *look decent* (but smell slightly like armpit). Oh no– I mean ones that were washed, put away in a drawer or something, and have been safely folded away from the floor, under the bed, in the far depths of the closet, or wherever you’ve managed to scrounge up the *gently used* set of socks you’ve been insisting on using when you’re in a rush– don’t say you haven't done that, because we’ve all totally been there, dude! Don’t try and deny it!
Indeed, dirty socks can hold onto the bacteria long after you take your feet out. They just need the leftover moisture (your sweat) and not generally freezing temperatures (I’m going to go out on a limb here, and assume your room and/or closet aren’t below freezing on any kind of consistent basis).
So wear fresh socks. Even if that means switching out for new socks sometime during the middle of the day. The moment you feel like it’s overly sweaty in your shoes, take out the old socks and find yourself a fresh set, because the stank ain’t gonna abate if you keep feeding it.
But there’s also a more autemnesque way of solving this problem. We could easily deodorize your shoes and smell like a Starbucks in the middle of October (or at the beginning of September, haha).
That’s right– cinnamon is going to fix your stinky shoes. For real– wouldn’t it be better that those cute shoes you were hoping to wear for the fall smelled like a cup of pumpkin spice goodness rather than foot funk?
Now, I know what you might be thinking– we’re going to be wasting perfectly good cinnamon on our shoes? I mean, according to those ever-changing fashion trends we’re supposed to be training an eagle’s eye on at all times, we ought to be getting new boots for fall literally every year, so what even is the point?!
Yes, we could totally say forget this, chuck the cinnamon into the newly scented Yankee candle or the (kind of) overpriced pumpkin spice latte, BUT cinnamon can actually be effective when it comes to deodorizing your shoes.
Don’t worry, there’s plenty of cinnamon to go around. We can easily deodorize your shoes and have some of that delectable spice leftover for any number of baked goods or beverages that your bitty little heart desires.
So go out to the grocery store or scout out what you already have in the pantry, and procure yourself some of the most lovely-smelling cinnamon in the land (or whatever is on a discount sale, because keeping up with trendy boot fashions is akin to cutting a literal hole in ya’ girl’s wallet, if you know what I mean).
Powdered or stick cinnamon works just fine. Either variety will get the job done, but just a fair warning, cinnamon sticks do tend to be on the pricier side.
Place cinnamon in your shoes and let it all sit overnight. The longer the better here, alright? Extra credit– if you can, make sure to get the cinnamon in there the moment you take your shoes off after the day, because the sooner the cinnamon can start deodorizing your shoes, the less pungent your shoes will be in the long run.
Alternatively, especially if you went for the powdered kind of cinnamon, you have the option of putting the cinnamon in a sock, and then sticking that sock into your shoe. It’s much easier to remove, and you’ll totally get the same deodorizing effects.
Bet that you didn’t think I’d be able to come at ya’ with even more pumpkin spice madness, but here we are! I pinkie-promise, even triple-dog sweat, cross-my-heart, with no fingers crossed to jinx it, that I won’t continue with this tangent– no nutmeg, or ginger, or anything. But for now, listen up to what I’ve got to say about cloves. Or… read about it, I suppose, as the case may be.
You might not recognize this one particular spice, but if you’ve ever encountered anything vaguely tasting or smelling like fall, chances are you’ve experienced it. Clove is a traditional baking spice, well-loved for its sharp, pungent bite, and is often mixed into goods like gingerbread cookies or apple pie.
Cloves don’t exactly look as cutsie as cinnamon sticks– rather, they look like sharply pointed little pods-- but ground up, they mix easily into all manner of batter or cookie dough. Trust me, a dash of cloves can take any recipe from a five to a ten, no questions asked.
Say all you want about how you’ve literally never heard of cloves before, but chances are that there’s some already lurking in the farthest, darkest, and dustiest nethers of your spice cabinet.
I mean, that is, unless you don’t exactly keep track and stock up on those slightly lesser known spices that literally make everything smell or taste amazing.
But like I said, chances are that at one point in your life, a recipe called for like ¼ teaspoon of this stuff, then you shoved it in the back with the anise and tarragon and forgot about it the next second, leaving future you a nearly full container to use to deodorize your cute tall boots!
So get your whole or powdered cloves, and then same like you did with the cinnamon– either dust it all in (a good tablespoon per shoe ought to coat the inside) or use a sock. Or any kind of porous material, to be frank– like cheesecloth would work really well to hold either clove’s powdered or whole form.
Leave overnight or for as long as possible, and now you smell like a pumpkin patch from fairyland! Krispy Kreme in October on steroids! The drive-thru window at Starbucks! Take your pick babe, because either way, you and your shoes smell positively fabulous now.
6. Dry Coffee Grounds
Ah, now you knew that we wouldn’t be able to make it through a list of easy ways to deodorize your fall shoes without mentioning coffee.
I mean, whatever your brew, autumn and coffee are the ultimate pair. The quintessential sprinkle to the cupcake. The sugary, sticky sweet maraschino cherry to the banana split Sunday. Etc. Etc.
Believe it or not, your early morning (or late night– no judgment here, in the slightest) cup of joe can totally help to deodorize your shoes.
Well, to be more specific, coffee grounds can totally help to deodorize your shoes.
Ok, so dry coffee grounds are a natural deodorizer due to their caffeine. Caffeine, while super helpful for all-nighters or ungodly wakeup times, contains nitrogen.
Nitrogen, you see, possesses this fun little ability called “adsorption.” Nah, I didn’t say “absorption” (that’s a totally different thing).
“Adsorption” is where a gas or liquid (like the fumes of your sweat or the literal sweat itself) adheres (read: sticks like crazy) to something solid– which, in this case, will be the dry coffee grounds themselves.
The funk and the sweat form a little film on the dry coffee grounds, and then you just throw the coffee grounds (and the stank!) away.
Get yourself some dry coffee grounds to start, and then you’ll want to put them into a sock.
A quick little trick for success if you kind of don’t want to be cleaning caffeinated grounds out of your shoes later (it’s always the smallest pebbles that hurt your feet the most, am I right?)-- grab a rubber band, and just tie off the sock’s opening.
Alternatively, any kind of porous material will work just fine for this. As we chatted about earlier, cheesecloth will work fabulously for this.
Drop the coffee-filled sock into your boot, and let it hang out overnight! Same drill as before though– if you can get the sock in there earlier, like right after you take your feet out of the shoes, all the better.
A quick note– you’ll want to make sure to replace the grounds after a while, all just because the stank and sweat are technically still there– they’re just chilling on the dry coffee grounds now, as opposed to the material of your shoes.
Although perhaps maybe all of that pumpkin spice is getting to you. There’s totally a reason that the signature scent is a seasonal affair. Granted, the “season” of pumpkin spice is basically September the April, but details, details.
Maybe what you need is something fresh– something lemony, something smelling like eucalyptus.
I’ve gotchu’ with LUMI’S Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer. LUMI is an easy-to-use, high-quality shoe spray that has over 10,000 five stay ratings on Amazon, and a total average of 4.4 stars! It’s the company’s actual best-selling product, and it’s really easy to see why.
Just take this review from “Danger 031”
There are over 700+ sprays in this one wee bottle, and thank goodness, because it can easily be used for more than your gorgeous shoes. Your dirty clothes hamper getting to you? Just spray it! Smelly bathroom or kitchen? Spray and it’ll smell like lemony eucalyptus goodness in no time flat!
Seriously, if you’re fed up with breathing in the fumes (oh yes, I said fumes) of not just your funk, but that of the all-encompassing odor that is pumpkin spice, then this stuff will be right up your ally
Besides not smelling like a bakery on overdrive, LUMI’S Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer is all natural, made free from any sort of animal cruelty, AND it’s a small family-owned business made in the US.
Just a couple of sprays, usually one or two in each shoe, and you’re done! You and your shoes smell fabulous, and you can go about enjoying autumn to the fullest, looking fabulous in your tall boots, and smelling freakin’ phenomenal.
Alright, let’s just run through all of this from the very top, because I’ve got a memory that would put a dodo to shame. Seriously, waiting in line at Starbucks for my pumpkin spice goodies, I’m sure to forget what I ordered by the time I get to the window.
First up we’ve got antiperspirant and deodorant. Deodorant will specifically mask the odor, which works just fine. Antiperspirant, comparatively, will block the sweat from engaging with the bacteria, effectively cutting them off from a primary food source, meaning that you’ll stink less. Just roll on either or after you shower, and call it a day!
Baby powder, like antiperspirant, will work to keep the moisture from your feet and from the bacteria. Dust it on your feet or straight into your shoes to benefit.
Clean socks are also a supes easy way to deodorize your fall shoes. Keep it clean-smelling with clean socks– couldn’t be more simple.
Cinnamon and cloves, separately (or if you want to get fancy, I suppose you could use both), in socks or right in the shoe, powdered or whole form.
Dry coffee grounds take care of the funk asap, with socks to save the day. Thanks adsorption!
LUMI’S Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer works to keep your shoes smelling fabulous as an effortless shoe spray. Spritz and enjoy your autumn!