How to Keep Your Shoes from Stinking
Are you bothered by the subtle but growing smell coming from your shoes and feet? Foot smell could be caused by any number of things: overuse of one pair of shoes, bacterial or fungal infection, or lack of aeration, among others. If you want to be rid of that tangy, musky, foul smell coming from your nice kicks, look no further. Read on for a discussion of how to keep your shoes from stinking.
Choosing the Right Shoes
Wear shoes that fit you.When your shoes don't fit you, your feet could sweat more than usual (aside from being incredibly uncomfortable). Get fitted before buying shoes and don't be afraid to see a podiatrist if your feet begin to hurt you.
Wear shoes that have breathable fabrics.It's not a horribly revolutionary idea, but wearing shoes with more breathable fabrics will cut down on foot-sweat and odor. Synthetic fabrics usually do not breathe well. The most breathable fabrics include:
Giving Shoes a Break
Alternate shoes.Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. This gives them a chance to air out before you wear again.
Give your shoes a nice airing out.Your feet need airing up, but so do your shoes. When it's nice and sunny outside, don't hesitate to let your shoes play outside—without you. That's it––give them a nice break!
Give shoes the boot.Banish smelly shoes to the car in winter. Leave them out there over a couple of freezing days and nights. Allow them to warm slowly to room temperature before wearing.
Wash your feet every day or every other day with soap.If fungus or bacteria is what's causing your feet and shoes to smell, it's a good idea to attack the smell at the source. Every day when taking a shower, give both of your feet a good, sudsy wipe-down with soap.
- Washing your feet every day with soap may dry them out and leave them cracked. If they get dry, moisturize them with after washing and consider washing every other day.
Put deodorant on your feet.This might sound weird, but keep in mind that your feet sweat too. Buy a stick of deodorant that is meant only for your feet (that is, don't use it anywhere else) and apply it every morning.
If your feet start smelling when they get damp, then a good way to keep them from getting damp (aside from giving them a breather every once in a while) is to powder them with baby or talcum powder. The powder has a pleasant, but subtle, smell to it and could help your feet from sweating in the first place.
Put baby powder or Gold Bond on your feet.Then cover up with socks.
Put another layer of baby powder in the shoes.Then wear the shoes.
Deodorize with baking soda.Sprinkle a bit into your shoes every night when you take them off. Before you put your shoes on in the morning, take the shoes outside and clap the soles together to get rid of excess powder.
Freezing the Shoes
Freeze out the smell.Put your shoes in freezer-size sealable plastic bags (one per shoe, if necessary) and put them in the freezer overnight. The cold should kill any fungus or bacteria causing the odor.
Wear socks when possible.Breathable cotton socks help absorb some of the moisture from your feet, keeping your shoes a bit cleaner.
- If you're wearing flats or high heels, you can wear socks that won't show. They should be cut so that they only cover the back of your heel, the sides and bottom of your feet, and the front of your toes.
- Use running socks. They apply "moisture-wicking" technology which helps to keep your feet dry.
Insoles or Linings
Use cedar insoles or chips.Cedar has anti-fungal properties and is often used to deodorize clothes. The insoles would stay in your shoes, while the chips would need to be inserted at night and removed in the morning.
Put in odor-control insoles.Odor-controlling insoles can be cut to fit the shape of your sole, and come in several different colors. These work well for sandals, high heels or open-toed shoes.
- Secure the insole with small strips of double-sided tape or dabs of rubber cement. These will help the insole stay in place while keeping it easily removable.
Use silver shoe linings.Linings containing silver are anti-microbial and can inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
Use dryer sheets.Simply place a couple of dryer sheets in your shoes while you use them. These instantly deodorize the smell.
Washing the Shoes
If your shoes are washable, give them a bath.Either toss them in the washing machine or submerge them in a detergent bath for a gentler clean. Be sure to clean the inside, especially, (the insole, too) and let all the parts of the shoe dry before using again.
QuestionDo tea bags help to stop shoe odor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI attempted this but it did not work. I am unsure if my shoes were too smelly and/or the tea bags were too old, but I left them in overnight and removed them in the morning. The odor remained.Thanks!
QuestionWill putting perfume in your shoes help?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt may cover the smell a bit, but will not eliminate it. The shoe odor is usually due to bacteria or other microorganisms. The alcohol in the perfume may have a little effect, but do not count on that. It would be better to use a method that kills bacteria, as outlined in the article, then finish off with a spritz of perfume for that scented touch.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have any tips on treating shoes that are wet and smelly?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse baby powder. Just put a thin layer on the inside sole and dust it out after a couple of minutes. If you use a fragrant powder as an alternative to baby powder this will make them smell nicer for longer.Thanks!
QuestionAre smelly shoes noticeable by nearby people?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey might be if they are cloth, canvass, or have mesh parts. If you take them off or even take your heel out of the shoe while sitting, remember that your foot/socks are slightly damp from normal sweating -- that's what causes the smell to travel fast. If you're in a small room (doctor's office, cubicle, etc.), the smell will linger quite a while, especially if you've walked in there shoeless, and it's carpeted.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need to store shoes so that they can air out, or can I store them in plastic containers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is better to store your shoes in an airy place if you're trying to get the smell out. A plastic container will trap the smell in the area around the shoe, not allowing it to come out.Thanks!
QuestionCan tea bags get sweat out of your shoes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTea bags help shoes with odor. They might soak up a little sweat from the shoes, but they mainly are for the smell.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best way to get the smell out of cowboy boots?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPlace wadded up newspaper in the boots overnight. This works for any boots or shoes.Thanks!
QuestionI use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to eliminate odor. Does the rubbing alcohol kill the bacteria?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, rubbing alcohol will kill off the bacteria causing odors, but the alcohol might damage or deteriorate certain shoe materials.Thanks!
QuestionAre there any problems with using foot powder so often that it builds up in my shoe and makes it less comfortable? Will that make it less effective?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOver time, powder can build up in shoes. Though this won't make the powder less effective, it could cause discomfort. Take your shoes outside once a week, tip them upside-down, and smack them together and shake all the excess powder out.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the soul of the shoe and how do I apply the baby powder?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe sole of the shoe is the inside inside of the shoe where your foot goes. Apply the powder by shaking it from the bottle onto the sole.Thanks!
Do you have any specific tips for dance shoes?
- When wet outside avoid water puddles, this may cause the shoes to smell rotten. Same with mud.
- Another way to get the stink out is to put some baby powder in the shoe. Putting a dryer sheet in the shoe works as well.
- Always wash and thoroughly dry your feet before putting on your shoes; that will help the prolong life of your shoes, too.
- Calluses often retain the smell of sweaty feet even after you shower, so gently use a pumice on your feet often to remove excess callus.
- Try orange peels. At the end of the day, put fresh orange peels in your shoes until the morning and it should get rid of the foot stench.
- Washing white socks with bleach can help keep them bacteria- and fungus-free.
- Do not put your shoes in the dryer! It will warp the shoe.
- There are also some sprays that you can put in your shoes. Follow the instructions on the container so you have a better understanding of the product.
- Most shoes can be washed in the washing machine or even by hand. Just make sure they are thoroughly dry before wearing them again.
- Baths always help! Remember to bathe every night, and wash your feet. Sometimes it isn't always your shoes.
- Try giving your shoes a break every other day.
- Use a UV light treatment device to kill bacteria inside the shoe daily. This is especially important if you are not wearing socks with your footwear.
- Freezing your shoe will not kill bacteria and fungus. Most of these can easily be frozen and thawed without dying.
- Put tea bags in your shoes. This really works.
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