How To Remove the Smell from Running Shoes: 4 DIY Tips!
Does your favorite pair of running shoes have an odd odor? Let’s be honest, do you have running shoes that just plain smell bad?
Don’t lose hope. There are ways to work through the stinky foot problem.
How to Remove Smell With 4 Home Remedies
There are many methods to remove odor from your shoes. Some people try to solve their problem using home remedies. The most common thing used to take care of smelly shoes is present in most people’s pantries. Do you know what it is? That’s right: baking soda.
You can simply sprinkle baking soda into the shoe and it acts as a shoe deodorizer. Often, this is all it takes. S
Essential oil in the shoe can sometimes help to remove odor. If you remove the insole, clean it and put a cloth with essential oil on it, that can deodorize the shoe.
You can fill your shoes with wood chips to absorb the odor. Some feed mills sell a natural wood chip cat litter that smells very good. This would be a great thing to try and it is very inexpensive!
Another ordinary household item you can place in your shoe to absorb odor is a teabag. It does not have to be any fancy flavor or anything. Just pop it in and give it time to do its work.
Does Baking Soda or Vinegar Work?
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer because it works to neutralize both acids and bases. The chemicals in the baking soda work to neutralize the odor for you.
Vinegar is another popular household item to reduce or remove odor. Acids in vinegar have both anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities. If your foot odor is caused by one of these two things, vinegar may be your answer.
When using vinegar, there are a couple of options. The simplest is to saturate a cotton ball with vinegar and leave it inside the shoe. Another thought is to dilute the vinegar with water and spray it inside the shoe.
Does Freezing Shoes Work?
I was surprised when a friend told me that she freezes her shoes to kill the odor. For her, when someone asks how to remove the smell from shoes instantly, she always responds the same, “try popping them in the freezer overnight.”
The extreme cold temps will kill the bacteria which will often remove the odor. Many people choose to put their shoes in a plastic bag before freezing them. When you remove them from the freezer, take them out of the bag and let them dry naturally. Never put your shoes in a dryer.
Best Shoe Odor Eliminator
There are items you can purchase to help you out. When searching how to get rid of shoe odor, you will find some quality products.
- Deodorizing balls: These are small balls you buy to put in your shoes when you are storing them.
- Sprays: Shoe sprays are made to alleviate odor. You just spray them into your shoe.
- Powders: Just like the baking powder trick there are products made especially for reducing shoe odor.
If you are interested in purchasing a product, check out our Best Shoe Deodorizers, 2021 Buying Guide.
Washing Stinky Shoes
Another way to get rid of shoe odor is to wash them. How you choose to wash them really depends a lot on how dirty they are. Sometimes, the best way to wash a pair of dirty sneakers is to hose them off in the front yard.
When my shoes get muddy from running on trails, I just give them a good rinse. Often, that is enough to fix the problem.
Shoes can also be washed in a laundry tub. I use a mild laundry detergent and a soft brush to scrub my shoes when they are dirty. Remove the insoles and wash them separately. Leave your shoes to air dry, with the soles still removed.
Avoid putting them in direct sunlight to dry as the hot sun can cause your shoes to become misshapen. And never, ever put your running shoes in a dryer. You should also not use a boot dryer on your sneakers.
How to Wash Smelly Shoes in the Washing Machine
Let it be clear that I am giving this advice as a last resort. I do not believe you should jump to putting your shoes in the washing machine. If you really need to do that, follow this advice.
First, prewash them some. Don’t throw them in covered with mud or dirt. Remove the laces and insoles. When you wash them, you will get the best results using cold water and using a gentle cycle. When I absolutely have to use the washing machine I wash mine with a few towels to avoid them bumping around in the washer too much.
I do spray my shoes with a prewash laundry spray no matter how I am washing them. I always use a mild laundry detergent, also.
Remember not to put your shoes in the dryer when they are done washing. For best results, place them outside to dry but out of direct sunlight.
If they are not drying fast enough, you can fill them with newspaper. The paper will absorb the moisture.
Avoid Making Them Stinky!
There are also ways to avoid getting stinky shoes to begin with. You can do this with these few tricks. When you run in the rain, take your shoes off immediately and fill them with dry newspaper.
Alternating the shoes you wear between runs is another way to help keep them smelling fresh. It gives them time to air out between wears.
Never wear your shoes without socks, and always put on a fresh pair of socks with your sneakers.
Follow these tricks to keep your shoes smelling clean and fresh as the first day you opened the box!
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