How to Wash Smelly Shoes?

As we know that many bacteria live and breed in our shoes and therefore, our shoes get smelly sometimes. Since smelly shoes are not something cool and can pull you into a very uncomfortable situation; therefore, washing them properly is crucial.

No matter where you come from, a long walk or run, a daylong meeting, a proper formal get together, or just a one-hour evening walk, your shoes might have an odor. Now, that isn’t very kind. Therefore you need to follow specific steps so that you don’t face such an abusive situation.

Here come some efficient steps that will help you how to wash shoes properly. It will help you to avoid bad smells as well as make you more confident. Let’s begin to know how to wash smelly shoes!

5 Steps of How to Wash Smelly Shoes

Step 1—Prevent, if Possible

how to wash smelly shoes

Also, all know, “Prevention is better than cure.” Yes, you heard it right. Hence no matter how hard you try to avoid the foul smell of your feet, you can’t succeed if you don’t know the root of this problem. Therefore, it’s vital to maintain hygienic shoe habits.

This way, there will be no chance of getting affected by several bacteria. For instance, washing your feet properly with soap and freshwater and rubbing your sole properly and washing off are two essential steps to avoid foul odor from the root.

Also, do not forget to rub your toes with soap as there might be bacteria too. On another note, never forget to rinse the water off and dry your feet thoroughly before you put on your favorite shoes. Also, you should wash your shoes if it’s allowed and dry them in the sun.

This way, bacteria don’t get a chance to breed inside them. Moreover, not repeating the same shoes every day and wearing moisture-lock socks can also help you ignore the foul smell problem. Give it a try!

Step 2—Blast the Bacteria

On the other hand, sanitizing your shoes is another win-win deal to avoid such a problem. It would help if you had a sanitizer spray that has alcohol in it. Spray it all over your shoes and keep it for a while. It will stop the bacteria from thriving and saving your shoes from getting odor.

Another way is you can use your freezer to chill the smelly shoes. Sounds funny, right? However, it works like magic. Because bacteria breed and live freely in humid areas and it’s hard for them to survive in such cold areas like a freezer.

The next thing you need to do is get off your shoes from the freezer and defrost them before you use them next. Using a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar can also help you in this process. However, you have to spray the mixture in your shoes and dry them for 30 minutes before you put them on.

Step 3—De-stink the Stench

Later on, after washing off the bacteria, it’s time to remove their wastes. Baking soda helps the best in this case. Since soda neutralizes the acid that bacteria produce, it helps remove all the left parts of bacteria.

People say that only 1gm baking soda can destroy 12ml malodorous acid, which is excellent. Isn’t it?

Now, how to use it? One can directly dump the shoes into it, but that creates a mess. Therefore, go for a better idea. Just tie some soda in a soft cloth and make a ball.

Put that inside of your shoes. Your shoes will be smell free overnight. Putting some pieces of charcoal is also a useful product to deodorize your shoes. It helps the shoes to breathe and remove the smell.

Step 4—Keep Them Fresh and Dry

Ok, there is no foul smell now. However, some of you want a different fresh smell from your favorite pair of shoes. You have to go to the next level.

As we all probably have some leftover soap in our house, you will use some of that excess soap and put inside of your shoes. This way, the soap will absorb all the foul smell and leave a fresh and clean scent there.

On another note, essential oils can also do the same in the case of getting some fresh fragrances. Spray some drops of it on cotton balls and keep them in the shoes. On the other hand, you can replace the essential oils with the regular disinfectant that you have in your house.

Don’t you have either of these in your house? Only a piece of lemon or orange will do the same magic for you. Keeping the shoes dry is also essential. Some newspapers can help you to do this.

Step 5—Time to Toss Them

Did you finish all the steps and still suffering from bad smell problem? We want to suggest you change your shoes. Because some shoes you will never be able to recover no matter how hard you try.

Most probably, bacteria have taken over all the corners and the smallest pores of the shoes. On another note, always take care of the new pair of your shoes so that bacteria do not take it over like the previous pairs.

It’s because if you would have taken proper care, your last couple could go some more days. Therefore, it’s necessary to follow step no.1 to 4 when your shoes are still free from bacteria.


In short, the secret of having healthy shoes are your healthy feet. Washing shoes properly is also essential. Moreover, wearing the right socks and keeping them clean is simultaneously essential.

Remember, smell-free shoes are not a matter of one hour or a day. It’s a whole process and regular practice. Therefore, keep following the steps above and get smell free shoes.

Lastly, we hope the steps above will help you keep your feet healthy and let you get free from smelly shoes. I wish you a smell-free shoe closet and a more confident life. All the best!