You’re sure you’ve already tried it all. *Literally* everything, annnnnnnd…
Somehow or another, your shoes still smell like road-kill.
Everything that Google has offered up when you search “how to deodorize my shoes plz and thank you” has been suggested in vain. The only solution which seems available to you now seems to chuck your sorry shoes and get a brand new pair. All the sad vibes.
But seriously, I think we can do better than that.
I mean it! I think that maybe– just maybe– it’s time that we looked on that second page of Google. *cue all of the wild gasps* I know, I know– treading outside of that comfort zone is wild and horrifically new. The very definition of desolation (when searched) is found on that second page. But you know what? Sometimes you have to try new things before you can fix old problems, ma’ dude. Just trust me on this one, alright?
Of course the tried and true options for deodorizing shoes aren’t terrible. I mean, we’ve got the baking soda. The vinegar. A sudsy rag, perhaps. Or I guess there’s always the good ol’ washing machine. You won’t catch me raining on any of those fresh-smelling parades.
What works for some peeps (and their malodorous shoes) isn’t going to work for others, though. That’s totally alright, and we’re here to talk about it. I’ve got a lovely lineup of options coming right on up for your perusal. Each and every one is admittedly probs not the first thing that Google would chuck in your direction, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not just as effective. Seriously, try one and go from there. If none of them work you can totally blame me, but for real I think at least one of them is going to be able to do the job.
1. Baby Powder Power
Baby powder to begin with! This stuff has an incredible multitude of uses, one of which is fixing the funk fanning up from your shoes.
The thing about your smelly shoes is that it’s not you– like, it’s not really your feet. It’s more what lives on your feet.
Our feet play host to a wide range of bacteria, which, when fed by our feet’s sweat, are going to produce the most unwelcome odor. Now, let’s put 2 and 2 together– shoes get moist from our sweat, trapping it in, right where our feet and the bacteria are. As a fun little bonus, it also is kind of toasty from our body’s heat, essentially creating the perfect incubators for the bacteria. Shoes and feet equal bacteria. Freakin’ SMELLY bacteria.
So, what, precisely, are we to do about it, you may ask? Baby powder reduces the moisture (aka the food for the bad-smelling bacteria) on your feet, and thus in your shoes. See, it contains talcum powder, which is a naturally occurring mineral made up of oxygen, magnesium, and silicon. It absorbs moisture, which is going to deprive the bacteria of their food of choice. Less bacteria, less smell!
Baby powder additionally reduces skin-on-skin contact, and can as a result reduce chafing and rashes, which, if that’s also something else you’re looking to remedy, baby powder will be a win-win for ya’ then.
Here’s the run-down on how to use baby powder to remove the reek from your runners: shake it into your hands (and away from your face), and then simply rub it onto your feet before putting on your socks.
That’s kind of it! Supes easy, and really, really fast.
2. Baby Powder but better
If you thought baby powder was great, wait until you try it AGAIN! Here’s another option for baby powder, but this time it’s going to pack a bit more of a punch.
Option number two when it comes to baby powder will take a bigger chunk of your time, but see you know what they say: fresh feet for those who fill a sock with baby powder and leave it overnight, am I right?
Yes I am, in fact-- right, that is. For this second option on how to deodorize your shoes weirdly yet successfully, you’re going to want to find yourself a sock (preferably two, because I’m assuming you’re going to want to deodorize both of your shoes, unless you simply have a favorite) and fill it up with baby powder. Stuff said sock inside of your shoes, and then put the sock-stuffed shoe into a ziplock bag overnight. Squeeze out the air, and that’s that.
You’ll wake up to the freshest of smells wafting from your newly dried-out shoes.
For best results, use two ziplock bags, so that each shoe is separated. Wouldn’t want them getting any (egregiously smelly) ideas from one another.
You can actually do this option more than once. What’s nice about baby powder is that it typically comes in bulk-sized containers, so really you can go crazy on this one and repeat as often as you think your shoes need it. I’d kind of recommend doing it right after you’re done using your shoes. Like seriously, the moment you get home, whip off the funky footwear, and stuff a sock in ‘em. The goal here is to minimize moisture, and we don’t want it to go sinking into the shoes’ material, because then it's going to be a lot harder to get out.
Remember, consistency is totally key here!
‘Cause the cold never bothered me anyways! *Cue best Elsa impersonation*
But it did bother the bacteria, and that’s what we’re all about here.
Remember what we chatted about earlier? How warm and moist shoes are actually like perfect incubators for the bacteria that produces the pungent punch from your shoes? Yeah, that.
So we’re trying to make your shoes as inhospitable for that bacteria as possible. Too moist? Dry ‘em out! Too warm? Well, I mean we took your toasty feet out of the shoes, but the ambient temperatures of most houses is still totally enough to let the bacteria keep multiplying and replicating inside of your shoes. Disaster! So we gotta think out of the box, here, and put them into the icebox.
Simply stick the shoes in the freezer overnight, and BOOM! It’s going to suck to be a bacterium inside of your shoes! The low temperatures slow down the metabolism of the bacteria, and stop them from A) Making your shoes smell and then B) Making more of their horribly smelly friends to stink up your shoes in the first place!
I’d also kind of recommend ziploc bags for this one, because I mean I don’t know what you typically keep in your freezer (typically not tennis shoes, I would imagine), but you may or may not want your well-loved (though funky) footwear right next to the six-month-old cheese and broccoli casserole; it may or may not affect the taste (although if the casserole is really that old, you might also think of the ziploc as the shoes' defense against the casserole’s own variety of funky smells. We wouldn’t want to trade the smell of your sweaty feet for ancient and quite possibly mummified cheese and veggies).
4. Fill your shoes up with Cedar Wood Chips
Here’s another thing to try: cedar wood chips (or any lovely-smelling wood chips you just happen to have on hand– or foot, as the case may turn out to be).
In terms of how to implement this option, it's basically the same deal as the second baby powder option, although you could probably skip the sock bit, just because cedar chips tend to be a bit chunkier and easier to remove than infinitesimally small powder-- just tip your shoes over and pour the chips out when you're done.
These cedar wood chips are going to absorb the moisture in the shoes, and ALSO as a fun little bonus leave behind a nice woodsy aroma in the sweat’s place. It’s absolutely fabulous, really.
Fill up your smelly shoes with cedar wood chips after you’re done for the day, and let the shoes sit overnight. While you sleep, the cedar wood will soak up any moisture left behind, and impart some of its own (fresher) scent to your shoes. Just make sure you pour ALL of the wood chips out when you’re done, because seriously, if your think a small rock or something in your shoe is bad, then having a wee little wood chip tumbling around your shoes, needling into your toes, while you go about your daily business, is like the actual and most literal worst. If you’re really worried, then you can put the cedar wood chips in a sock, and then stuff the shoe with the sock, but really, just double-check when emptying out your shoes in the morning, and all should be well– well and fresh-smelling, thanks to nature’s fresh little powerhouses.
5. Stuff newspaper in shoes when not in use to absorb excess moisture
Now, onto a not-so-natural option– but nonetheless, an effective one! Newspapers, my dear reader, newspapers! A manmade powerhouse that’s going to make the bacteria wish it’d never set eyes (do bacteria even have eyes?) on your shoes in the first place.
Newspaper, or just paper in general, if you did not already know, comes from wood. If you don’t have easy access to cedar wood chips (not all of us are ready for s’more season, it would seem), then hopefully you’ve got some old newspaper lying about, just waiting to be used as a solution for your smelly shoes. Paper and wood have the same properties of moisture-wicking, which is really awesome for those of us who want clean-smelling shoes.
Roll the old newspaper up into a ball, and fill up your shoes before letting them sit overnight. Once again, you don’t really need a sock for this one (assuming you don’t go about shredding the newspaper into unmanageable pieces), because in the morning when you’re ready to grab your shoes and go, you can literally just pull out the paper and forget that your shoes were ever really stinky in the first place.
Also, like basically everything else on this list, you can and should absolutely feel free to do this option often and with recurring frequency. See, the more consistently you make sure to nip the nasty nasal assault in the heel, the less effort it’ll take to fix it the next time around. A totally tiny ounce of prevention, being a pound of awesome cure, and all of that, you know? I mean, if your shoes are just going to be sitting around all night, we might as well make use of all that time by deodorizing the shoes while they wait for your next adventures.
But if you don’t have time to wait while you sleep for fresh smelling shoes, then LUMI is going to be one of the quickest and most effective options for you. Spritz a little of Lumi’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer right into your shoes, and go on your merry way, smelling crazy-clean and fresh.
LUMI only uses the highest quality essential oils to safely and naturally combat the sweaty funk in your rank shoes. And it’s MAXIMUM STRENGTH. No need to worry if your shoes will be funky again before you can sneeze, because this stuff really delivers, and it does it all asap.
What’s actually kind of cool about this option as well is that it’s totally a multi-use product. Smelly socks? Spritz! Smelly kitchen or bathroom? Spritz it again, you fool! This is literally stupid-simple, and we clearly wouldn’t want it any other kind of way.
There’s absolutely amazing value in this one little bottle– like for real, there’s 700+ sprays ya’ get in one, small bottle. That’s certainly enough to keep your shoes fresh and fit for society for a really long time. This natural shoe deodorizer found in a bottle can also be taken on the go, because as aforementioned, it’s one wee bottle that can fit in your bag– so NO excuses for smelly feet, even when on the run!
Convenient, and effective! The strong formula hails from a family-owned business and was proudly made in the USA. Plus, as if it weren’t already so freakishly fantastic, LUMI makes its products without ever testing on animals (and that's ever). ½ a million other people say this is the product for the win, so seriously, give it a try if you want to say goodbye to shoe stink for good.
All seven! All seven of the secret and unlikely solutions for your smelly shoes. *High-five* through the internet! You made it, and here we are!
Who says that the best fixes are always the ones everyone’s already heard of? Sometimes those #1 picks work just fine– for real, totally no hate here. BUT here’s your sign to try out the options that you just may have never heard of.
Baby powder to boot out the bad smells (twice!), fight back with the freezer, save the day with cedar chips, or newspaper even! Lumi’s Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Shoe Deodorizer will also be the speediest secret quick-fix, and we’re glad of it.