6 Weird Ways to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes Forever

6 Weird Ways to Get Rid of Smelly Shoes Forever

I mean we’re all at least a little familiar with smelly shoes. I really don’t think any one of us here has managed to make it through life without stinking up at least one pair of perfectly wonderful shoes– I mean, they were perfect before they started to smell like your roommate’s old fruits left in the bottom of the crisper in the fridge (that there is another thing I know we’ve all experienced– if you haven’t, I mean maybe you were the forgetful roomie who made the whole fridge funky.)

When your not-so-rad roommate makes the fridge funky with putrid produce they forgot to use.

No hate on horrifically smelly shoes, seriously. It’s kind of a universal problem. You want to know some universal cure-all to your curiously smelling set of shoes? Well, I mean honestly Lumi’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is a stellar solution, but I mean there are other options. 

Other, slightly less easy and fabulous options, granted, but I get it– you want to try it all because you are an utterly stubborn ding-dong who just can’t take the simple route. 

Table of Contents

    1. Air 'em

    2. Freeze 'em

    3. Scrub 'em

    4. Let vinegar do its thing

    5. Chuck 'em

    6. Extra Strength Solution (The big guns)

    1. Let your shoes air out some

    Fresh air means fresh smells for your smelly shoes

    All stink– and I mean ALL stink comes from tiny little bacteria that lives on our skin.


    Yup, and what a magnificent menagerie it is, too! The bacteria isn’t inherently harmful. Most of the time it’s just chilling, hanging, eating– the water, salt, and fat in your sweat are its twinkies; they love to chow down just like we would when faced with our favorite food. 

    Basically, they’re harmless. It’s not even the bacteria that actually smell.

    It’s their farts. 

    They eat the sweat we exude, then they metabolize it, and their byproducts beat up our sense of smell. We sweat, they eat said sweat, and we stink. Seriously, your sweat on its own is actually odorless. As in, sans-bacteria that lives on our skin, none of us would have stinky shoes.


    That’s right– YOU aren’t the one who actually stinks. It’s the freakin’ free-rider on your skin. Your sad, and quite possibly stinky skin. 

    The nasty nasal assault is natural. Really, you’re not weird– even though the smell wafting up from your way-smelly shoes sort of seems like it. Not weird at all. Everyone has their own herd of bacteria living on their skin, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even the most sanitary and squeaky-clean of us can’t escape the fact that we’ve got some stinky organisms living rent-free on our bodies.

    It just kind of sucks when your favorite pair of heels start to stink to high heaven. Yes, behold, here is a picture of someone from high-heaven who was unfortunate enough to get a whiff of your stinky feet.

    An angelic someone in high-heaven who was unfortunate enough to get whiff of your shoes

    Soooooo, how do we stop the smell?

    Well, that is the quintessential question. The definitive doubt you are assuredly asking me to answer. 

    Put quite simply: deprive the dunderheads of their primary food source– you. 


    Whomst could it be? Could it be I? Nay-- could not possibly be me... could it?

    That’s right– remove yourself and your feet from the equation. If you+sweat+bacteria= smelly shoes that you want to hurl off a cliff, then we just have to take a look at what’s removable. Everything that’s a part of you kind of has to stay, but the shoes– well they’re easily evacuated from the existential disaster which is currently your rad rank. 

    Really, just let your shoes hang out some, sans-feet and sans-sweat just for a little bit, and it should help. What’s done is done, and what’s funky is funky when it comes to your smelly shoes, but at least you won’t be adding any more sweat to the bacteria’s free-for-all buffet. 

    2. Freeze your fabulous footwear

    Em, yes, I did write that correctly, and you’re also reading it right. Stick your stinky socks, shoes, and favorite dashing Star Wars hero in the freezer. I mean, it worked for Jabba the Hut– Hans Solo certainly wasn’t as big of a problem when he was a popsicle. 

    This here is Hans Solo being a frozen-- and it could also be those dastardly smelly bacteria on your shoes.

    Remember the rad bacteria that your body boasts millions of? Well, the freezer slows down their metabolization– their digestion, if you will. This metabolization, let’s remember, is what causes your peds to be so peculiarly pungent. 

    So, admittedly, our most favorite and beloved bacteria will still be producing putrid aromas. BUT they will be producing it a lot more slowly, and as a result, your shoes will be *just a bit* less smelly. 

    Maybe if we’re lucky, some of the bacteria won’t come back, but who is to say? It just depends on how strong a batch of bacteria you were blessed with. Perhaps you have the weakling wuss bacteria that will kick the proverbial bucket upon being exposed to some extra cold. They who will for sure fizzle out upon being threatened with thirty degrees or lower, and beg for mercy which you won’t give, and then your shoes will be ever-so-simply saved.


    Or perhaps you have the ultra-strong, is-the-Thor-of-the-micro-world, and makes-other-bacteria-run for its bacteria-mommy kind of bacteria. It’d just figure, amiright? I think that may be most of us, but you can always hope.

    Pretend this hot fellow is the bacteria on your feet.

    Or you could just…

    Never mind. Keep reading. There is obviously no simple solution that I have already given you in the form of a handy-dandy link that’ll send you straight to Amazon and all things good-smelling. 

    There’s more, so let’s get into it.

    3. Scrub-a-dub-dub-dub!!

    Not necessarily the easiest option. In fact, it’s easily the most difficult one. You know what I mean here.

    Bath-time. For… your shoes?

    My clean way or the highway. Choose wisely;)


    Mechanical removal of the bacteria that thrive and jive on our terrific tennies is at least one way to get the job done. This author suggests that you scrub all of the shoe– every nasty nook and cranny– with a mixture of toasty warm water and baking soda, then wipe that down with a mixture of white vinegar and some more warm water. The baking soda is sort of gritty, and acts as a sort of sandpaper to rub away the bacteria (DO NOT RUIN YOUR FAVE PLEATHER SHOES with this– honestly, there are a butt-ton of shoe materials that this option would NOT work well for– but hey, I didn’t say that it would– it’s option numero three, and it’s certainly not my favorite). You also can follow this up by wiping your shoes down with some vinegar afterward so that it can do its work with the bacteria, but note that vinegar may also not be the greatest for your gorgeous-but-gag-worthy shoe-- once again, just be careful with your shoes. To be on the safe side of things, maybe read the label (on your shoes) for once in your life (lol as if we'd ever do that). 

    If you’re worried about your delicate dancing shoes, perhaps just use warm water– it couldn’t hurt, and maybe it’ll mess with the bacteria biome some, and leave your shoes smelling somewhat better.

    4. MORE vinegar

    And she’s back again– the liquid which somehow smells even MORE than our funky feet. Just place a bowl of this where your shoes sleep. IDK if you have a place as perfect as a real boot closet, but wherever you store your shoes– there– put the vinegar there. 

    Vinegar smells a bit better than your feet-- sorry not sorry

    Just like a lil’ cup or bowl. It'll absorb some of the funk, although, fair warning, your shoes and the surrounding area may or may not smell like a freshly-tossed garden salad from Olive Garden for a bit. But hey, anything is better than the rotten rank that’s normally residing in your shoes, right? Right???

    5. Chuck ‘em

    Straight into the garbage. Do not look back. Do not collect $200 on “Go” on your way around the Monopoly board. Send them straight👏  into 👏  the 👏  garbage👏

    Oscar wants YOU to chuck your grody shoes into the garbage.


    Yes, my dear reader, sometimes the bacteria win. Sometimes the only thing to do for our noses (and everyone else within range of our traitorously tragic teeks) is to throw them away, and move on with life.

    And into better-smelling shoes. Hey– just think of this as an opportunity to go and buy those cute new shoes you were eying– your stinky shoes are absolutely an acceptable excuse to go and snag those shoes you were eying on Amazon late last night.

    Race to retail therapy, as your rad runners rest in peace. May they never bother you or anyone else ever again with their wack wafts.

    6. LUMI’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer 

    Annnnnnnd we’ve made it to the most magnificent manner of masticating the smell of your malignant moccasins. 

    Lumi’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer is easy-peasy, dare-I-say-it, lemon-squeezy. You spritz, your shoes smell sweet. Or, like slightly sour, but this time in a good way, unlike the terrible tang which your shoes have previously touted.

    This shoe deodorizer has 4.5 stars averaged from literally 2000+ reviews on Amazon. All of those people were geniuses– they spritzed, forgot about the whole dang matter, and smelled great even though they’ve got the same problem that the rest of us bacteria-owning bubs have. 

    Ya wanna know how to save your shoes? To crush that killer smell? Spritz this stinky-feet remedy straight into your badly smelling shoes, and enjoy the gentle citrus scent instead of the naturally nefarious one. It's literally the easiest clean shoe hack out there.

    The bacteria are going to keep bumbling our social and professional lives unless we take drastic action. Now, you can air ‘em out, chuck ‘em out, or drown ‘em in vinegar– or create shoe popsicles, let us never forget that most simple and elegant of solutions.

    Ooooooooorrr you could just lift a finger and spritz Lumi’s Citrus Tea Tree Natural Shoe Deodorizer right where it’s radically rank. Well, I guess you might have to lift a finger twice, you know, for both shoes. Maybe you have several shoes you want to save, and you’ll have to do some more finger-lifting. It could get difficult. Who am I to say?

    lumi outdoors natural shoe deodorizer spray

    Back to blog