How to Take Care of Ballroom Shoes that Smell

How to Take Care of Ballroom Shoes that Smell

See, when I think of ballroom dancing, I tend to think of some super cute scene from a Disney movie. I mean, we’re talking about the classic moment that’s as “old as time” in Beauty in the Beast or perhaps the epic ending from Sleeping Beauty (totally a *dreamy* moment). For real, give ‘em an epic song and a cute story, and those ballroom dancing scenes can literally become legendary.

But like apparently ballroom dancing is an actual thing, and people totally put a whole lot of work into getting good at it! It’s literally so impressive how artistic a sport this is. Trust me when I say that the people who do this thing are not only phenomenal athletes but also truly engaged artists– and this includes the amateurs too, ya’ know! Those peeps love what they do and we love to see it!

There’s totally way more to ballroom dancing than sweeping, majestic music in a Disney movie (even if that soundtrack includes a magical singing teapot). A whole lot of effort goes into making all of the hard work going into the performance look easy. 

Just think about all of the training that goes into it, for one. All of those classes and also the hours of outside practice. And that’s besides figuring out all of the equipment and the shoes!

Too-loose shoes might make it easier to mess up while dancing–or even sprain something– not for the win! Well-fitting shoes are though (for the win, that is), and they’re usually a classy suede or leather with a thin, twoish-inch high heel. 

Sound familiar? How about cleaning said shoes?! Yeah, figuring out how to make  ballroom dancing shoes smell better is totally tough. It’s not like you can just stick the leather or suede in the washing machine. It’s quite the pungent problem, if you will.


But not with any of these following 5 easy ways to deodorize stinky shoes! Read on for fabulously quick tricks for fixing stinky ballroom dance shoes.

Table of Contents

    1. Clean Socks Stick it to the Stank

    2. Corn Starch Saves Smelly Shoes

    3. Table Salt Shows Shoe Smell Who’s da’ Boss

    4. Vinegar Vanquishes Shoe Stank

    5. LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    1. Clean Socks 

    Sweaty socks ain't for the win, got it?


    Yes, yes, I know very well that clean socks may seem like an obvs. option for avoiding olfactory oblivion, but do ya’ know why? 

    Well, ma’ dear yet slightly smelly reader, the reason for your stinky ballroom shoes absolutely is NOT you or the shoes themselves. It’s stinky bacteria that just so happens to live on your feet and inside of your dank-smelling dance shoes– said stinky bacteria just so happens to love to feed off of the moisture from the sweat on your feet and also off of any of the dead skin cells which naturally sort of slough off of your skin on a rather regular basis. Yum, right? At least for the stinky bacteria. Hey, I won’t judge– I just won’t be giving up my own personal preference for a solid ham and cheese sammie for lunch, alright?

    Anyway, stinky bacteria is what’s been stinking up your beloved ballroom dancing shoes, meaning that it can be helpful to keep the smelly lil’ buggers in mind when figuring out how to make your stinky shoes smell better permanently. 

    Clean socks, you see, won’t be the perfect buffet of every smelly individual bacterium’s dreams. Sweat? Hmmph, already been washed out. Dead skin cells? Not here, ma’ hopefully soon-to-not-be funky friend! Yeah, wearing clean socks is great for you and everyone around you who still has got a functioning schnozz (RIP to the fallen nose hairs of dancing days past), if not so great for the smelly bacteria.

    So just always make sure that you’re wearing a good, clean set of fresh socks whenever you’ve got your ballroom dancing shoes on, and you should be all set to go without any worries about those wack wafts emanating up from your (formally) smelly court shoes. 

    2.  Corn Starch

    Corn starch is just kind of fabulous


    Corn starch is what we have up next for all y’all, and it’s something that you likely already have stored somewhere in the dusty back of your pantry– that is, unless you use this stuff all the freakin’ time while cooking or baking in the kitchen. That’s right, ma’ fine (yet frightfully funky) friends, it’s corn starch!

    Corn starch is a star of an ingredient in the kitchen, and totally a multipurpose item! Do ya’ want properly thickened puddings or pie fillings? Yeah, corn starch can totally do that. How about *extra* crispy fried chicken (who are we kidding, very nearly everybody wants extra crispy fried chicken)? Just dash in a lil’ bit of corn starch into the chicken dredge and you’ll be all set!

    Or what about how to make ballroom shoes smell better? Oh yes, corn starch can totally help us out with that. Now, exactly how do you use corn starch to get rid of shoe odor, one might be so bold as to ask? An excellent question, ma’ extra stinky friend.

    Corn starch, you see, is really rather excellent at absorbing ten gazillion kinds of liquid– including the moisture from any leftover sweat remaining in your well-loved (yet probs just a bit stinky) set of ballroom dancing shoes. And do you remember how the stank-producing bacteria lurking in your smelly shoes like to chow down on all of that leftover moisture from the sweat? Yep, so if we get rid of one of the stinky bacteria’s primary sources of food (once again: moisture from sweat that’s about to get absorbed by the corn starch), then said smelly bacteria won’t be as capable of making your poor shoes so stinky!

    So get yourself a couple of tablespoons of corn starch and dash it all right on into your stinky ballroom dancing shoes. Alternatively, if you’re worried about an easier cleanup for your future self (a perfectly valid concern, of course), then you can totally feel free to just put the same amount of corn starch into a sock, and then tie it all off securely with a rubber band or something. For whatever method you opt to go for, just make sure that you go on to leave the corn starch inside of your smelly shoes at least overnight, or for even longer if you think you can spare your (hopefully soon-to-not-be) smelly ballroom dancing shoes for that long.

    3. Table Salt

    *Season to taste* (don't actually eat your shoes, plz and thank you)


    Don’t leave the pantry just yet, because beyond corn starch being able to bust bad smells wafting up from those stinky ballroom dancing shoes of yours, your kitchen supply stash has yet more to yield in terms of stench saviors for our funky footwear. Look to your seasoning cabinet and go on and grab some plain ‘ol table salt to use for deodorizing stubborn shoe stank. 

    Yes, yes, I mean plain, good ‘ol fashioned table salt. We’re talking about the kind of stuff you use to season underwhelming casseroles, soups, and the like (don’t tell the chef). It’s what the doctor tells us that we all probably need a lil’ less of in our diets (but has said doctor even tried to eat old leftover fries without an extra dusting of salt? Not great, underwhelming, and a total waste of calories). Table salt is solidly for the win when it comes to a solid flavor profile, even if it’s not great to eat huge quanities of.

    So how do you use table salt to fix stinky shoes? Ah, well that ma’ marvelously mephitic master of the ballroom, is a matter of how amazing table salt is at absorbing moisture. Comparable to corn starch, table salt literally is able to absorb most types of moisture just like it’s some sort of magic sponge, leaving the sweat-hungry stinky bacteria bereft of the regular all-you-can-eat buffet that they’ve gotten used to after all of your dancing practices.

    First, go get yourself the cheapest table salt you’ve got stocked in the dusty back shelf of your kitchen pantry (I mean, you can totes feel free to go on and use your fancy pink salt, or whatever you have, but that stuff is way too good and also kind of expensive to use for stinky shoe deodorization, even if they are one of your fave sets of shoes– at least in my humble opinion). Scoop in a couple of tablespoons of said table salt into the smelly ballroom dancing shoes in question (or just as with the corn starch, you can put the same amount of table salt into a sock that you’ve securely tied off and then stuff that sock into the shoe you’re hoping to deodorize), then all you have to do is leave that table salt inside of your funky footwear for at least overnight (sweet dreams and then sweet-smelling shoes in the morning– or at the very least… savory and salty smelling shoes?).

    Leave the table salt in for much longer if you can, just so that we really absorb all of that excess moisture just hanging out in your smelly shoes. Once the table salt starts to clump up you’ll know that it's absorbed all of the sweat that it’s going to, and then you can go on and replace it with some more salt, should you so choose.

    4. White Vinegar Foot Soak

    It may *look* like water, but it isn't-- if only 5-year-old me had known that when my sister got me a cup of the stuff...


    Want another easy ballroom shoe deodorizing hack from your kitchen pantry? Seriously, all y’all probably already have this next stinky shoe trick already hanging out somewhere in the dusty back of the larder, ready and all set to go whenever you want to finally take on the super rank stank wafting up from your poor pungent peds.

    White vinegar ma’ funky friends– it’s that tangy stuff we use to dye Easter eggs, the base of many a great salad dressing, etc. etc. White vinegar admittedly possesses its own rather sour scent, that’s for sure, BUT I think we can all come together and agree that white vinegar is a whole heck of a lot better than the rank (and quite possibly radioactive) old cheese smell that presently describes what your ballroom dancing shoes smell like.

    You can use white vinegar to make stinky shoes smell better all because of that aforementioned sour scent– it’s SUPER acidic, and the rank bacteria that have been creating musty mayhem in your dance shoes just don’t do that level of acidity. So, sour vinegar and stinky bacteria basically just don’t mix, ya’ know? All of this means that we LOVE any and all of the acidity that vinegar can bring to the table– and to our smelly shoes!

    And you absolutely don’t need to just stick to white vinegar– whatever kind of vinegar you happen to have on hand ought to work just fine. I mean, I’d probs recommend not using your uber expensive, fancy-shmancy balsamic stuff (I mean, do what you want, of course, but I’d personally save that for a really fabulous salad dressing or perhaps a perfectly solid pasta dish). White vinegar usually just so happens to be what’s cheapest and/or already hanging out in the pantry, so honestly if I were you I would just go for that since it seems most simple.

    And speaking of simple, it couldn’t be more simple learning how to use white vinegar to clean ballroom dancing shoes that smell like– well, they probably smell like you’ve been having a heck of a lot of fun dancing in them.

    We’ll be going for a DIY spa adventure with this easy stinky shoe deodorization hack of ours, as we chat about how to make ourselves a quick lil’ white vinegar foot soak for you and funky feet (and also for the sake of all functioning nose hairs within the immediate area).

    Go on and get yourself a small tub that you can soak your feet in (or totes feel free to just use a bathtub if you’d like to), then fill it with one part white vinegar and two parts white vinegar (hot or cold water won’t make too much of a difference in terms of how well this foot soak will work, so just go for whatever temp. is most comfortable for you). Let your stinky feet soak for just about 30 minutes, then rinse everything off, and go on and moisturize because you totally deserve a deodorization hack that’s not only easy and effective, but also decadent!

    5. LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer


    LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer is the fifth fabulous option for easy and speedy shoe deodorization for you and those stinky ballroom dancing shoes of yours. LUMI is an all-natural, easy-to-use, and successful shoe spray for you and your funky footwear.

    And ya’ don’t just have to take my word for it! Go on and take the word of the over 10,000 reviewers over on Amazon who gave LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer a fully perfect 5-star review, averaging out to a solid overall rating of 4.4-stars. Amazon reviewer Denise Salazar here says that it’s an absolute MUST for her girls’ stinky dance shoes and bags:


    Sage words from this Amazonian reviewer

    LUMI also just so happens to be an actually fabulous company on their own. LUMI is a small, family-owned business that never ever tests on animals (heck to the freakin’ yeah), only sources the highest of all-natural ingredients for each of their products, and they also make all of those products in the United States.

    All you need to fix stinky shoe odor for good is one or two spritzes of LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer and that’s that! Yes you may absolutely feel free to lug out the glitter cannon and confetti now, because it’s for sure time to celebrate, now you’re all set to go and dance out your dreams in your so-fresh-they’re-almost-like-new ballroom dancing shoes.

    I don’t know about all y’all, but I think that some sort of summary of these stinky shoe hacks is in order. I personally have the memory of half a hamster (a goldfish on my more astute days), and so such summaries tend to majorly help me to remember the major points.

    Clean socks are first up on our list of easy ways to fix stinky court shoes, and ma’ dear (and perhaps a bit dank-smelling) readers, it truly is a quick and easy fix for taking on your funky footwear. If you may or may not care to recall, all of the sorry stank emanating up from those smelly ballroom dance shoes of yours is caused by bad-smelling bacteria lurking about in your shoes, on your feet, and yep your socks as well. Said stinky bacteria in your shoes just love to chow down on dead skin cells and moisture from your sweat (both of which can be found in plentiful abundance in your socks and shoes). So, your feet and shoes are basically a gourmet meal for the lil’ stinky suckers– quite tragic, I know. BUT with clean socks, all of that bacteria won’t have much to chow down on (and I’m sure it’s rather difficult to produce that rank old cheese smell in your shoes on an empty stomach). So– you need FRESH and CLEAN socks, ya’ got it? EVERY DARN SINGLE TIME YOUR DANCE, YOU’VE GOT TO WEAR CLEAN SOCKS! Did that make sense? Not “semi-clean” socks. Not “socks that’ll get washed *right after* this last dance practice.” Nope, we’ll be having none of that! Only the freshest and cleanest socks in the land for you and your stinky ballroom dancing shoes, each and every time you take to the floor.

    Corn starch is up next on our list of easy tricks and hacks of fixing up those stinky ballroom dancing shoes of yours. It all works because this stuff is utterly FABULOUS at absorbing any and all kinds of moisture. Moisture, if you’ll recall, is item numero uno on the rank bacteria’s list o’ favorite foods to munch on before stinking up your sadly funky footwear. That moisture can usually be found easily enough in a set of shoes that you dance– and sweat– for literally hours in, of course. So, sweaty shoes normally equals stinky shoes– that is, unless you snag something really awesome at absorbing basically all kinds of moisture, like freakin’ CORN STARCH, to give an (absolutely amazing) example. Knowing how to use corn starch as a shoe deodorizer for all of that not-so-rad footwear funk is totes one of the best stinky shoe hacks out there, and it all starts with just a couple of tablespoons of corn starch dusted right on into your stinky set of ballroom dancing shoes. Alternatively, if you’re hoping for an easier future cleanup then you can also totally feel free to put the same amount of corn starch into a sock that you’ve securely tied off before stuffing said corn starch-stuffed sock straight on into the stinky shoes. Leave the corn starch in overnight, or longer if you’d like to make certain that your stinky shoes smell better for good.

    Salt can likewise absorb most kinds of moisture, including the sweat that otherwise would have gone on to feed the stank-producing bacteria (totes not for the win). Salt can quickly deodorize stinky shoes by slurping up (just like a wee hoover) the excess sweat hanging out in our funky footwear, and badda-bing-badda-boom, that’s all you need to be smelling fresh and fabulous in no time at all. Put a couple of tablespoons of whatever kind of salt you’d like into your stinky shoes (making sure to evenly coat the floor of the shoe– mostly just make sure to cover where your feet regularly go), or feel free to put the same amount of salt into a tied-off sock. Leave overnight or longer!

    A white vinegar foot soak can take on foot funk with its marvelous acidity. So start  with a tub filled with one part vinegar and two parts water, then soak your tangy tootsies for at least 30 minutes, rinse off, and feel really fabulous (you already are, of course, but this is just for that *lil* extra).

    LUMI’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer is our fifth fantastic shoe deodorizer. All you need to keep your ballroom dancing shoes from smelling bad is a spritz or two of LUMI and you’ll be smelling better than ever in hardly any time at all.

    And that’s that! Five easy ways to make those rank ballroom dancing shoes of yours smell better. Go on and create magical dancing moments without smelling a lil’ bit like old microwaved cheese, because deodorizing stinky ballroom shoes is simpler than ever with any of these five options! 

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