How to Fix Stinky Clogs FOR GOOD!

How to Fix Stinky Clogs FOR GOOD!

Picture this: it’s 2020, and most of your roommates have moved out to go back home with their families due to quarantine. Most of the apartment building has emptied out as well, which actually isn’t too terribly bad, given that your unit is on the ground level. Everything is simply so much more quiet, and for once you think that maybe you’ll get some peace and quiet.

WRONG! There’s this tapping. Nah… it’s more like stamping. What the heck are they even doing up there? It sounds like someone has released a platoon of monkeys and given them free rein over their living room!

So my one remaining roommate and I troop upstairs, and tentatively knock on their front door and take a few cautious steps back. Who knew what shenaniganry awaited us? Anyways, it turns out that our upstairs neighbor had decided, amidst the pandemic and online schooling, to take up clogging as a hobby.

Not only that, but she had enrolled in a class, and she needed to practice, given that her grade depended on it. Trust me when I say that the week leading up to finals was particularly raucous.


No judgment on my dear neighbor, of course– I’m very happy that she found a healthy hobby for herself, and got to take a class out for it as well. On the other hand, I definitely invested in a good set of headphones.

I can’t say I’m a clogger myself, but I do find the sport to be wildly interesting. I mean, who the heck decided that wooden shoes were a good idea for anyone? Did the first cloggers not have downstairs neighbors (or maybe they did, and they simply wished to terrorize them)?

Or cleaning? How do you deodorize clogs? Well, ma’ dearest reader, if that’s a question you’ve been asking yourself, then read on! I may not be a professional clogger, but trust me when I say that I certainly do know a thing or two about how to make your clogs smell like new!

Table of Contents

    1. Damp Cloth and Soap (if it ain’t broke)

    2. Best the Bad Smells with Baking Soda

    3. Free from Funk using your Freezer

    4. No Bad Smells with Newspaper

    5. Washing your feet thoroughly– an oldie but a goodie

    6. Cinnamon (since we don’t want the stank)

    7. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer

    1. Damp Cloth and Mild Soap

    Scrub the stank away!


    The first option that we’ll be chatting about is a simple damp cloth and mild soap. I mean, it should seem pretty obvious that plain old soap and water should work just fine, given that they do the same with our hands and such, but I get that you might have some hesitation on introducing even a little bit of water to your wooden clogs.

    But first, a little bit of science-- it turns out that it is not in fact your feet that produce the crazy stank emanating from your rank shoes. Oh no– you see, “foot funk” does not actually come from your feet. Indeed, said bad smell hails from bacteria that lurk on your feet, in your socks, and yes, inside of basically all of your shoes.

    These stinky bacteria tend to thrive and jive off of moisture (which, unfortunately, can easily be found on your feet from the normal amount of sweat) and dead skin cells (surprise, surprise– those are found in plentiful on your feet as well). So, in order to go after the funk, we really need to first go after the bacteria that produce it in the first place, am I right?

    Soap and water work well for cleaning up your clogs just like they would your hands or any other part of your body. The water itself, you see, acts as a sort of mechanical force (a physical push, if you will) to shove the bacteria off of the surface you’re cleaning and down the drain.


    Soap, on the other hand, is actually going to burst apart the membrane surrounding the bacteria’s cell. This membrane is usually like a wall or shelter for the little buggers, if that makes any kind of sense, and so without it, the bacteria can’t do much– especially stink up your shoes!

    So get yourself some soapy water, and then gently suds up your clogs. The varnish on most clogs should be enough to protect the wood from just a little scrubbing, and before you know it, your dance shoes will be smelling great again!

    2.  Baking Soda

    "Floof powder" as my science teacher called it


    Our next item up in our quest of anti-stank for your clogs is literally just simple baking soda. Yeah, that helpful magical ingredient that makes our cakes lofty and gorgeous instead of (still gorgeous and probably still edible) flat pancakes. Baking soda is totally good for more than just its obvious uses in the kitchen, and today we’re going to be talking about how it can save your stinky shoes from olfactory oblivion.

    So, do ya’ remember how we talked about the typical dietary requirements for the rank bacteria lurking in the depths of your clogs? Moisture and dead skin cells, yes that’s right– a gold star for remembering and two more for doing something about it! We’re going to go after the moisture on this particular option, and take away a major source of nutrients for the bacteria smelling up your shoes, and with any luck, it will help to give you your clogs back, stank-free.

    Baking soda, you see, absorbs moisture– like an actual and most literal sponge. Just slurps it down like it’s a milkshake bedecked in the most decadent whip cream and sprinkles and it’s the middle of the hottest July you’ve ever seen. A little bit of baking soda means a little bit of fabulousness when it comes to what your shoes will smell like.

    So get yourself a few tablespoons of baking soda (read: magic) and sprinkle it on the insides of your clogs (preferably right after you’re done dancing, given that that’s when your shoes will be at their most sweaty and moist.


    If you’re worried about clean-up afterward, simply place the baking soda into a sock, tie it off with like a rubber band or something similar, and then stuff it right on into the (soon-to-not-be) stinky clog. Leave the baking soda in overnight, or even for a few days if your clogging schedule gives you leeway to do so.

    3. Freezer

    If it's good enough for ice cream, it's totally good for your shoes


    But maybe you want to save your baking soda for your actual baking adventures; I totally feel this– you couldn’t pry my baking gear and ingredients out of my cold, dead hands now that it’s officially autumn and thus the official BAKING SEASON. I mean, it’s chilly and cold outside, and I mean we can all frankly and freely admit that one of the best ways to stave off the chilly winter blues is warm pie, warm cookies, warm cake– basically toasty anything that has sugar and carbs.

    You know what else doesn’t like the cold? Stinky bacteria! That’s right, y’all heard it here: cold can totally do the stank in. Cold temps will absolutely do a number on those rank little buggers, leaving you and your clogs to live your best funk-free life. 

    Since it's winter, I know that in many parts of the world right now it’s literally cold enough to just stick your clogs outside and call it good. There’s the wee little problem of snow and rain to worry about of course, however. That’s why we’ve got freezers, folks.

    Oh yes, I said freezers. Before you call me crazy, hear me out on this one. Your clogs are stock-full of living creatures, and the cold from your freezer can essentially set them back enough that they aren’t able to produce the funk that leads you to want to chuck your clogs, set them on fire to preserve your remaining tortured nose hairs, etc, etc.

    So simply stick your clogs in a plastic bag or pillowcase (keep your shoes and Ben and Jerry’s separate for the love of all things carby and sugary out there), and leave overnight or even longer if you can honestly manage it.

    4. Newspaper

    Reusing old paper for the wiiiin!


    Perhaps, however, you’re of the somewhat popular opinion that shoes (particularly those of the smelly variety) ought not mix with the sorbets, in which case you also feel that the freezer just ain’t an option for you to deodorize your stinky shoes. That’s absolutely alright, no judgment here. Go forth and eat your shoe-free ice cream in peace, ma’ dear reader.

    We’ve got other options that you can try out anyway. For example, NEWSPAPERS! If you still opt for the paper version of the news, then you’re in luck because the darn things have a secondary purpose of getting rid of footwear funk with ease and simplicity. Speedily eliminate funk with just a few scraps and then you’re free to try your hand at clogging greatness, sans-funk.

    It all comes down to this one kind of glaze that printers will use for their newspapers, known just as “sizing.” This “sizing” thing basically absorbs moisture before it can blur the words beneath it. Without “sizing” most of our “daily rags” would be literal rags of sopping wet paper that has nothing legible left for us to read. 

    This handy-dandy glaze is good for us, because even as “sizing” does its good work for preserving the daily news, it also can be repurposed to serve our needs for absorbing the moisture from the sweat leftover in your stinky shoes, and that dear reader, as we’ve already run through, is a part of what gives the funky bacteria its oomph.

    So crumple up a few balls of newspaper, stuff ‘em on into your crazy-smelling clogs, and then leave it all just to chill overnight. Longer is better, of course, but I’m going to respect that perhaps your clogging schedule is simply much too “clogged,” and full of previous engagements, if you will, to give up your dance shoes for more than a simple overnight.

    5.  Wash Feet Thoroughly

    Spa day, baby!


    I’m going to imagine that you just read the title of this option. Perhaps you paused and forced yourself to blink and reread it again, just to check that I as the author wasn’t being completely facetious. Well here we are, and I assure you that washing your feet thoroughly is anything but a matter of glibness. Trust me, or at least let me explain myself, m’kay?

    So do you remember how we talked about how water and soap are actually pretty rad for getting rid of the rank smell emanating from your devastatingly unusable clogs? How, like, the water is a great mechanical force for literally just shoving off the buggers, and how the soap itself can actually burst apart the smelly bacteria’s outer membranes. Do you? Do you remember all of that?

    Right, I’m assuming that you at least recall the shadow of perhaps 1% of it (I’ll be the first to admit that I have half the memory span of a guinea pig). I mean, I did just basically re-explain it all to ya’ so… Perhaps, now that you’ve reviewed it all, you can claim at least 50% memory retention? Maybe 30? Hopefully at least 15. Ok, yeah, we’re probs back to 1ish% again at this point. Go and reread it all if you need to, ya’ utter and absolute goose.

    But soap and water are pretty basic. I don’t know how many times you need to hear this, again and again, over and over until it’s literally ingrained in your mind. Treat it like the Baby Shark song– rewatch it like season four of Stranger Things. IDK, just don’t forget that soap and water are totally your friends in this quest to save your clogs from smelly doom. 

    Literally all you have to do is when you shower, scrub between the toes and extra well on the heel and arch; honestly, just all over. We don’t want to leave the stinky bacteria on your feet, else the next time you try out your clogs, they’ll just be infested all over again with the funky little buggers, which would absolutely not be for the win.

    And do this CONSISTENTLY! The bacteria will keep on trying, so that means that we ought to do so as well!

    6. Cinnamon

    Your clogs deserve the most basic, pumpkin-spice scent you can provide them


    But even with the basics like consistently washing our feet thoroughly with soap and water, sometimes it just feels like it’s never enough. Or maybe the soap and water did work alright– like, perhaps even decently or better than expected– but there's still just that edge of funk that you haven’t quite been able to evict from your smelly shoes.


    That’s quite alright, and that’s also why we’ve got another option that actually will work quite well in conjunction with one of the other stank solutions, given that it’s totally just one of the easiest things you can be doing to stop the footwear funk in its microbial tracks. For realzies, this next one is as simple as it could possibly get.


    We’re going to be using cinnamon– ya’ know, that absolutely wonderful and certainly magical ingredient in our pumpkin spice lattes, donuts, Yankee candles, etc, etc? Oh yes, the sweet yet pungent eau de gingerbread, apple pie, and all things (especially carby things) that we like to bake come autumn and especially in winter. 


    Simply get about 2ish tablespoons of cinnamon and then dust it right on into your clogs. Like the baking soda option, give your shoes a wee quick shake to evenly distribute it all in and throughout, and then leave it to sit overnight, or longer if you can (the more time the cinnamon has to sit, the better-smelling your clogs will get). Shake the cinnamon out when you’re done and then clog to your bitty heart’s content. 


    Once again, if you’d like to aim for something easier, just put the cinnamon in a sock, tie it off with a rubber band or something, and then stick that sock into the clogs.


    7. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    If you’re worried about tripping up on combining any of these solutions, or it just all seems like way too many things to think about, and honestly you just want to go back to clogging, plus this positively ridiculous smelly shoe issue is taking up all the time in the world– ah, well if any of that applies to you, may I just suggest LUMI?

    LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is literally one of the best things on the open market for solving shoe stank. It has over 1000 5 star ratings on Amazon and an average of 4.4 stars overall. Don’t just take my word for it– here’s Amazon reviewer Paul J Haffey’s thoughts on the matter:


    All the snaps for this reviewer


    He’s right– with LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer it’s cheap and easy to save your current set of dancing shoes. A quick little spray and you’re done! The bottle is good for absolute ages, so you can consistently upkeep your clogs without fear of the stink returning!

    LUMI also makes its products free from animal cruelty, is a small family-owned business, and produces all of its products in the US. I’m not kidding when I say that plenty of companies couldn’t hope to ever be so seriously fabulous, and with ​LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer your clogs will be fabulous and funk-free for good!

    Simply spray LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer right on into your clogs, and you’re good to go! Good to dance and properly set to annoy your neighbors with all possible zest and enthusiasm!

    So I’d like to just quickly summarize everything again, for those of us who don’t particularly want to slog our way through clog-cleaning methods (aren’t you glad I saved the worst puns for last?).

    Just a damp cloth and some mild soap will start us out. The water will mechanically be a literal push for the bacteria, while the soap is going to pop the membrane surrounding their cells. Just gently clean out the insides and outsides of your clogs and then don’t forget to let ‘em dry out completely any bacteria stragglers would simply love that you left them some snacks. Make sure that those clogs are dry!

    Baking soda in particular is absolutely wonderful for helping our stinky clogs to totally dry out. Dash a few tablespoons into your clogs (give ‘em a good shake to get the insides coated all around) or, if you’d like to simplify, put the baking soda in a sock, tie it all off, and then stuff the sock into the clog. Either way, leave the baking soda to hang out in your clogs at least overnight, but longer if you think you can manage it.

    Simply sticking your funky clogs in the freezer will also totally do the trick. The low temps will send the bacteria lurking in your stinky shoes into a spiral, meaning that they won’t be able to produce all of the stank. Put your clogs into a pillow case or like a plastic bag, and then just leave the clogs to get frostbite overnight, but longer if you think your 6-month-old casserole (oh yes, I’m calling you out on it) can handle clogs for neighbors for more time.

    Newspaper and its “sizing” glaze will also absorb moisture, so ball it up and stuff it on into your clogs when you’re not using them. Leave overnight or longer (per usual, as I’m sure you’d expect).

    Washing your feet thoroughly is a common cure for crazy shoe smells, but it’s common because it works! Get between your toes and over your arches when scrubbing in the shower to defeat the footwear funk!

    Cinnamon will make your clogs smell like autumn, all things pumpkin-spiced, and general happiness, so you’re welcome. Dust the insides of your clogs with it, or fill a sock with the cinnamon, then put the sock into the clogs, and then leave overnight or longer-- since more pumpkin spice is always better, am I right?

    LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is the final one on our wee list of how to deodorize smelly clogs. Simply spritz it right on into your dance shoes, and then you’re set! One step, and then you can go right on ahead and dance away. Downstairs neighbors will simply have to learn to cope– and to better appreciate finer culture, of course:)

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