5 Easy Ways to Fix Stinky Rugby Cleats

5 Easy Ways to Fix Stinky Rugby Cleats

I had a friend in my old high school Spanish class that used to play rugby. Before chatting with this dude, I had in mind some sort of football-related sport, but other than that I just generally knew that rugby was a vaguely athletic, and likely outdoor activity. Quite possibly there was a sort of ball involved. Perhaps tackling. I’d wager a full packet of M&Ms that there’s a referee and spectacularly verbose parents on the sidelines at youth games.

Something like that? As aforementioned, it was a lower-level variety of Spanish class where I met my friend, the rugby enthusiast. If you’ve never been in an introductory level of language class, let me tell you all about how we were supposed to do conversation after conversation of basic get-to-know-you type of questions. 

They’re literally *so* fun. I mean, I get it, basic conversations are literally one of the very best ways to learn another language, but that doesn’t mean that such practice isn’t supes difficult. Said practice led to my partner informing me all about the great sport of rugby in very… ahem, *rudimentary* Spanish. In addition to that, I also had rather rudimentary Spanish listening skills, meaning that our conversations surrounding the topic in question were unique, to say the least. Translated, they went something like:

“Hi! My name is (very much not) Bob. I like pizza. I have a dog. I play rugby.”

To which I responded, “Hi Bob! I don’t know that word. What is this? Explain, please.”

“Dog? A dog is like a cat, but… not?”

I rolled my eyes. “No, the other word, the… the word that isn’t pizza or dog.”

He rolls his eyes this time. “Bob?”

“No, no– the other-other word?”

*cue the lad trying his best to mime rugby, because he didn’t know how to describe the sport in laymen’s terms in Spanish. 

We tried?

Afterward, said rugby friend informed me all about rugby in English, so now I can totally consider myself… Well, not an expert of rugby by any stretch of the term, although I do know that like basically every other set of sport footwear, rugby shoes, as light and durable as they are, can still get smelly.

But don’t you worry yourself about it, though! Here are several easy ways you can take care of rugby cleats and fix that funk before you take on the field!

Table of Contents

    1. Replacing Stinky Shoe Soles is like Actually Magic

    2. Rubbing Alcohol Rocks the Footwear Funk

    3. Steam Clean Means Better-Smelling Shoes

    4. Charcoal Envelope Trick

    5. LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder

    1.  New Soles

    New shoe soles are SO for the win.


    Now, alright I’m sure you read the title of the subsection here, and thought? Soles? New ones? Dude, I’m trying to fix the stinky rugby cleats that I already have, I don’t want to go on out and get new ones! Yes, yes I hear you and I totally get it! I don’t mean that you have to go on out and get new-new shoes. Really, all you really need to make your rugby cleats smell better is a solid set of new (stank-free) soles! And there’s a totally an amazingly awesome reason for that, I pinkie-promise you.

    You see, stinky rugby cleats become stinky not because of your sweaty feet– in actuality, it’s not even your feet that are causing your shoes to stink. Really, it’s this bacteria that just so happens to live on your feet (and also in your shoes, socks, etc.) that produce the terribly dank stank we’re all unfortunately all too familiar with.

    Said stinky bacteria feeds off of the moisture from any leftover sweat and also the dead skin cells which just naturally sort of slough off of your feet on a pretty regular basis (none of this is anything to be embarrassed about– it’s all natural, ma’ dear yet dank-smelling reader).

    The sole of your smelly rugby cleats is a perfect harbor for this stank-producing bacteria, meaning that a perfect solution for your funky footwear could include taking on those stinky soles. Replacing the sole of shoes that have gotten just a bit too rank (once again, it’s totally natural) can be a really simple and rather effective way to deodorize the whole set of shoes. Small moves for big, great-smelling gains, am I right?!

    2.  Rubbing Alcohol

    Rock the rank shoe stank with rubbing alcohol


    Rubbing alcohol can absolutely take on the terrible stank that’s wafting up from your poor pungent peds, ma’ dear (if somewhat rank) reader. Yes, yes, rubbing alcohol will pack a pungent enough punch on its own, but that’s sort of why it works, you see. 

    That sharp scent can and will absolutely be just the thing that’ll be able to finally take down the sharp, old, stinky (and quite possibly radioactive) cheese scent that’s been slowly yet surely taking over your gym bag, your shoe closet, basically everything, am I right? 

    For the sake of whatever remaining nose hairs you possess (and may their fallen brethren rest in peace), I think you and I both know that it’s time to pull out all of the easy deodorizing hacks and tricks that we’ve got up our proverbial sleeves.

    Rubbing alcohol and the stinky bacteria that have been just hanging out in those stinky rugby cleats of yours? Yeah, they ain’t besties. Ya’ can have one or the other when it comes to smelly bacteria and rubbing alcohol, and take one (only your very best, now) guess as to which one we all would rather have.

    So it’s totally simple for how to use rubbing alcohol to clean up your stinky rugby cleats. All you need are some cotton pads or rounds, then you’ll get them all soaked in some plain old rubbing alcohol, then you’ll want to just stuff all of those cotton rounds straight on into your smelly rugby cleats and go on and leave them in there for at least overnight, although any longer certainly would go a long way in helping to make sure that the dreaded stank doesn’t make any kind of comeback in your (now hopefully stank-free rugby shoes).

    3. Steam Clean

    Sock the shoe stank with a steam cleaner


    Do all y’all want to know how to steam clean those stinky rugby cleats? Yes– the very simple answer to that there question is an absolute yes, because knowing how to steam clean smelly shoes in order to deodorize ‘em is a stellar bit of information that you really ought to know. Yes, it works– absolutely yes steam cleaning stinky rugby cleats can absolutely work in order to make you and your funky footwear smell like something other than rank old cheese that someone decided to microwave and then abandon to dank desolation.

    Steam cleaning your stinky rugby cleats works really well, ya’ see, because the super hot water won’t be doing that smelly bacteria any favors. I mean, (basically) boiled bacteria won’t be producing too many bad smells, I suppose. So, that means that we’re huge fans of steam cleaning! It’s like, our new favorite thing, got it?

    I mean, admittedly, you can also for sure just use steam cleaners to get sad lil’ wrinkles out of your clothes but, ma’ dear (yet dank-smelling) reader, you would for sure be missing out on one of the best shoe deodorizing hacks out there. I mean, you can and should totally think of your steam cleaner as your very own magic wand, ya’ hear? I mean it! Go on and bibbity-bobbity-boop the bad smells right on out from your funky footwear!

    All you need to fix those stinky rugby cleats of yours is a steam cleaner (duh) and some time. Simply stick the steam cleaner right on into your stinky shoes for just a couple of moments (not too long– it’s just a steam clean, not time to melt anything important in the shoe, got it?)-- go for just about 20-25 seconds. Then after that, you’ll want to make certain that you go on and leave your (hopefully no longer funky) footwear out to dry afterward. This last bit is actually probs like the most important.

    Leaving your (now-clean) shoes to properly dry out will ensure that the stank won’t be coming back. If you’ll care to recall, all of the stank-producing bacteria simply love to chow down on moisture (amongst other things), and if there are any survivors after you’ve steam cleaned the shoes (hopefully not many, if any) you don’t want them to have access to any kind of moisture that will help them to make a comeback.

    Just make sure that you leave your shoes out to really thoroughly (and I mean it!) dry out before you stick your feet back in, otherwise you’ll be right back at (stinky) square one!

    4. Charcoal Envelopes

    Charcoal can totally save us all from smelly shoe doom


    Now, I’m sure you’ve seen all of those terrifically trendy charcoal recipes floating around the internet– I mean, they’re gorgeous. Like charcoal ice cream? Or how about charcoal pie crust? Those things literally look so incredible, but you’re probably more familiar with charcoal as a by-product of your most recent BBQ or s’mores night, am I right?

    Charcoal– it’s the crispy edges on all of the very best burgers (and it also makes up the entirety of those burgers that your “grill-master” uncle forgot he had cooking and now someone has to eat the charbroiled pattie– it’s only “caramelization” as he calls it, after all). Charcoal is the crispy bit ensconcing the best kind of gooey marshmallows that you get to squish between the layers of graham crackers and melting chocolate.

    Charcoal is basically just superheated carbon– the very solidly burnt bits, if you will. Besides all of those rad, tasty things we just chatted about, charcoal can also totally be used to successfully and easily deodorize stinky shoes in a snap.

    Fun lil’ bit of information for all y’all– charcoal can easily be acquired without burning bits of food off the grill. Nowadays, charcoal may be acquired in really rather convenient tablets that you can just get at your local grocery store or Walmart. This stuff is usually just superheated coconut husks, bamboo, and whatnot, and when it gets superheated all of this toasty carbon tends to form these tiny wee pores all across its surface, and that there is how charcoal has the absolutely fabulous ability to absorb any and all kinds of funk, including the kind from your smelly footwear.

    For real, you can easily deodorize stinky rugby cleats with just a couple of those charcoal tablets and some time. Spill a few of said tablets into a tiny container, such as a mini envelope, and then just go on and stick those charcoal-filled envelopes straight on into your stinky rugby cleats, leaving for at least overnight, or longer if you can manage it. After a couple of days, depending on how stinky those shoes of yours initially were, you may have to go on and replace the charcoal in order to keep your rugby cleats smelling fresh.

    5. LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder


    LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder is our fifth option for absolutely easy and super quick ways to deodorize rugby cleats that stink. It’s an all-natural and utterly fabulous funky footwear hack for making sure that smelly shoes are the furthest thing from your mind when you’re on the field. Seriously, prepare to have your pungent peds never be funky again with a quick dash of this stuff! 

    And you totally don’t just have to take my word for it. LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder literally has over 600 absolutely perfect 5-star reviews over on Amazon, averaging out to a solid 4.6-star rating overall. Amazon reviewer Ari Macisaac over here says that it literally just took one use before they couldn’t detect the dreaded shoe stank anymore. Like, is it magic? They think so:


    Stinky shoes WHO?!

    LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder is the company’s best product for actually preventing moisture (AKA the stinky bacteria’s fave source of food) in your shoes. LUMI also uses ingredients that are positively fabulous for your skin, such as zinc oxide, kaolin clay, bentonite clay (really, they’ve got all of the great clays), etc.

    LUMI also just so happens to be a really rad company themselves. They’re a small family-owned business that (as just mentioned) only use the highest quality of all-natural and great-for-you ingredients in their products, never ever (then ten gazillion types of ever) test on animals, and they also make all of their products in the United States. For real, feel free to go on and grab your glitter cannon and confetti because they really are that fabulous.

    All you need in order to clean up those stinky rugby boots of yours is a few dashes of LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder straight on into the smelly shoes themselves, and that’s literally all you’ve got to do! Go on and conquer the field without smelling it up!

    But how about a wee summary of all of those super easy and quick shoe deodorization hacks? I don't know about all y’all, but I myself literally have the memory of half a hamster, so I totally love and adore tiny lil’ reminders to condense it all, ya’ know?

    New soles are going to be the first of our easy ways to clean stinky rugby cleats, and trust me when I say this quick lil’ trick is literally one of the easiest smelly shoe hacks you can do for your stinky rugby cleats. The stank-producing bacteria that we’ve hamming on and on about just absolutely adores the soles of your poor pungent peds because that’s where a whole lot of the excess moisture from your sweat gets absorbed (it’s practically a wee sponge, if you will). Think of those soles in your smelly shoes as a classic sort of refrigerator (or even an all-you-can-eat buffet) for the rank lil’ suckers. Yeah, it’s totally a bit of a bummer, but hey, at least you don’t have to chuck the whole stinky set of shoes? Seriously, all you have to do is get yourself some solid replacement soles to go into your fave set of (sadly funky) footwear and it'll practically be like a fresh(-smelling) start for you and your (no longer funky) feet! Pretty quick, certainly easy, and it’s a successful stinky shoe hack to boot (to… cleat?).

    Rubbing alcohol is up next on our fun lil’ summary of simple, yet spectacularly successful ways to get rid of that stinky shoe smell for good. Rubbing alcohol has a bit of a sharp scent all on its own, I get it, but trust me when I say that rubbing alcohol can and totally will be salvation for the stench that I’m sure we can all agree has quite simply got out of hand when it comes to your smelly athletic shoes. All you need to fix said stinky shoes are some cotton pads or rounds that you’ve gone on and soaked in some regular old rubbing alcohol, then you can just stuff said cotton rounds right on into your smelly rugby cleats. After all of that is said and done you can feel free to leave the cotton rounds just to hang out in your (soon-to-not-be stinky) shoes for at least one night, but if you happen to feel so inclined (and don’t have a rugby practice or game in your immediate future), then you can go on and leave the rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton pads in there for longer in order to really make sure that the rubbing alcohol has got the time to properly get rid of the dreaded shoe stank for good.

    Steam cleaning smelly rugby cleats is one of the quickest shoe deodorization hacks out there, and you may or may not already have everything you need for it. For your prerequisites: a steam cleaning wand and time. Yep, two things, and one of them is quite literally metaphysical, so like it doesn’t even really count, right? So, the hot water from the steam cleaner can boil the bad-smelling bacteria, and then you’ll be back to smelling fabulous in no time at all. Simply stick the steam cleaner straight on into your stinky rugby cleats, and leave it in there for just about 20-25 seconds or so (too much longer may or may not melt some of the plastic material inside of your shoes, so just use some common sense, ya’ know?). Afterward, make TRIPLY SURE that you leave your (now fresh and fabulous) shoes out to dry PROPERLY! Did you see all of those caps? That means it’s really, (and I mean) really important! If you stick your feet back on into still-soggy shoes then A) You might get some pretty dreadful blisters from the subsequent chafing (ouch) and B) Be feeding any remaining stinky bacteria all of the nutrients they need to make even more footwear funk, which would totally suck. Don’t let that rank bacteria make even more of that dreaded stank, and leave your shoes to dry out for as long as it takes before wearing them again!

    Charcoal envelopes are up next on our list of fabulous ways to beat the footwear funk radiating up from your poor pungent peds. Charcoal, you see, is basically just superheated carbon. This stuff has got pores all along its surface that can absorb any and all kinds of odor (even the weird old cheese smell that you’ve got going on in your stinky athletic shoes that you need to deodorize ASAP). You can clean up stinky rugby cleats quickly and with ten kinds of success by putting charcoal (a couple of tablespoons worth) into an envelope or literally any other small container– just don’t dash the charcoal straight on into your (hopefully soon-to-not-be) smelly shoes, or else you may soon have to worry about stinky rugby cleats that not only smell but are also really terribly stained (totally not for the win, ya’ know?). Regardless, go on and leave the charcoal in there for at least overnight, although longer would be pretty rad if you’d like to truly get rid of the rank stank in your shoes.

    LUMI’s Natural Shoe and Foot Powder is an all-natural and supes high-quality shoe deodorizer. Fix rugby cleats that stink with hardly any effort– seriously, try not to strain yourself over tapping just a bit of LUMI right on into your smelly rugby shoes, because that’s all you’ve got to do with this quick trick! Yep, it’s that easy, and the lack of footwear funk in your stinky shoes is *that* fabulous.

    Any of these quick and easy ruby shoe deodorization tips ought to help! Best of luck on the field and also best of luck with making those sweaty shoes smell better!

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