The design and construction behind running shoes allow us to wear them in various environments for many years. Running shoes hold up well to regular use due to their materials, usually polyester or nylon; however, like all footwear, they are susceptible to odor causing bacteria if they become damp with water or sweat. Learn how to get the smell out of running shoes to keep your sneakers smelling fresh.
While the immediate response for removing smells from your shoes is to wash them, overwashing your shoes damages the material. Machine washing and drying your shoes is not ideal, as there are more effective and inventive ways of cleaning your shoes and getting rid of unwanted odors.
Many commercial items for removing smells from shoes are overpriced versions of cleaning options you can make at home. Keep reading to discover how to make your favorite running shoes smell new again.
- How to Handle Unpleasant Shoe Odor
- How to Deodorize Running Shoes with Baking Soda
- Eliminating Foul Odors with Cat Litter
- Use Baby Powder to Eliminate Shoe Odor
- How to Remove Shoe Odor with Rubbing Alcohol
- How to Get the Smell Out of Running Shoes with Coffee Grounds
- Deodorizing Vinegar Spray for Smelly Sneakers
- Homemade Shoe Deodorizer with Essential Oil
- Freshen Stinky Shoes with Dryer Sheets
- Killing Bacteria with Bleach
- Avoiding Smelly Shoes
- How to Clean Stinky Running Shoes
How to Handle Unpleasant Shoe Odor
Many of the best options for removing foul smells from running shoes involve everyday items found around the house. Skip the washing machine and remove shoe odor with simple household remedies, whether you need the best way to get gas smell out of shoes or they have an unpleasant moldy odor.
How to Deodorize Running Shoes with Baking Soda
If you only use baking soda to freshen your refrigerator, you miss out on a powerful cleaning agent. When mixed with vinegar or water, baking soda creates an abrasive paste for scrubbing, but even by itself, it has the power to remove bad odors from your shoes.
Fill two socks with one cup of baking soda each, tying them off at the ends. Stuff each sock into your shoes and leave them sitting overnight or longer. Remove the socks when you need to wear the shoes and save the baking soda socks for future use.
Eliminating Foul Odors with Cat Litter
Clay litter is the most common type used for pet boxes. The granules absorb moisture and odors around it, making it effective when used for a pair of smelly shoes.
For the best result, measure roughly one cup of kitty litter for each shoe. One cup should cover the bottom of your shoe and fill the toe box. Pour the litter into each shoe, leaving it to sit overnight. Dump the litter in the morning and vacuum out any small pieces left behind.
Use Baby Powder to Eliminate Shoe Odor
If your trail running shoes are constantly wet, you could be dealing with sweaty foot rashes on top of an unpleasant odor in your shoes. Baby powder, typically made from talc, is the perfect tool for deodorizing your shoes and preventing rashes.
It’s easy to learn how to deodorize running shoes with baby powder. Sprinkle a fair amount of powder into dry shoes to eliminate the odor. Let the powder sit in your shoes overnight and shake the powder out the following day. If you used a lot of powder, use a vacuum attachment to remove the powder before wearing your shoes again.
How to Remove Shoe Odor with Rubbing Alcohol
Although a bad smell in your shoes is unpleasant, it is not the most severe issue concerning wet shoes. The same bacteria that cause foul smells can contribute to mold growth in our shoes. To eliminate odors and kill harmful bacteria, learn how to clean stinky running shoes with rubbing alcohol.
Add rubbing alcohol to water in equal parts in a spray bottle to mix your own DIY shoe odor eliminator. Spray this mixture on the interior of your shoes, allowing them to dry before wearing them. This method for cleaning shoes also works well for cleaning leather shoes.
How to Get the Smell Out of Running Shoes with Coffee Grounds
If you’re a coffee drinker dealing with a bad smell in your shoes, you likely have everything you need to eliminate odors. Like baking soda, coffee grounds absorb odors, making them an effective tool for tackling odors in your shoes.
Fill a pair of old socks full of coffee grounds and stuff them inside your running shoes as an ingenious way to get rid of foot odor in shoes. Leave your socks inside the shoes overnight to allow the grounds to absorb the odor.
Deodorizing Vinegar Spray for Smelly Sneakers
Like rubbing alcohol, white vinegar works as a disinfectant, although it is not as effective as rubbing alcohol or bleach. Combine vinegar and other household items to create a homemade spray for deodorizing your shoes.
Pour your ingredients into a 16-ounce spray bottle. Add an essential oil like lemon or tea tree oil to fight bacteria and odors and get the smell out of slippers or your favorite pair of running shoes.
Homemade Shoe Deodorizer with Essential Oil
Essential oils are must-have cleaning accessories because they have natural scents for any cleaning job. To create an effective shoe deodorizer, combine the essential oil of your choice with baking soda to freshen your shoes.
Pour baking soda into a plastic bag and add the essential oil drops. Leave the baking soda to sit overnight and absorb the oils. The next day, break up baking soda clumps before adding the powder to your shoes. Vacuum out the powder when you’re ready to wear the shoes.
An alternative solution to keep your shoes smelling fresh is to create a sachet using an essential oil like tea tree oil with baking soda in a coffee filter. Seal the filter with tape and stick the sachet into your shoes overnight.
Freshen Stinky Shoes with Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets smell amazing straight out of the pack, and they leave our clothes smelling great after they dry. If you’re struggling to conquer shoe odor and are looking for a quick way to freshen your footwear, look no further than the laundry room.
Stuff the toe box and the bottom of your shoes with dryer sheets and leave them overnight to find better smelling shoes in the morning. For freshness that lasts all day, lay dryer sheets down under the shoe insoles to avoid your shoes smelling bad.
Killing Bacteria with Bleach
The most effective methods for eliminating shoe odor and getting rid of bacteria are the most straightforward options. Bleach is a universal cleaner that cleans and sanitizes. Although it is a strong cleaner, it is safe to use around the house when diluted.
Boil a pot of water and add a teaspoon of bleach. Place your shoes in the sink and pour the boiling water into each shoe. Let the water sit for several minutes until it cools before letting it drain out.
Avoiding Smelly Shoes
Knowing how to deodorize running shoes is simple, and you must learn to avoid having smelly shoes to save yourself the extra steps to keep your shoes clean. While there are environmental reasons why your shoes might stink, like stepping in dog poop, other causes of shoe odor are avoidable.
The most efficient way to keep your shoes smelling fresh is to avoid moisture in your shoes and if your shoes do become damp, allow them to dry. If you change shoes at some point during your day, don’t leave your running shoes stuffed inside your gym bag. To properly dry your shoes, they need proper air circulation.
If sweaty feet are a common problem for you, wearing socks with all your shoes is the most effective way to avoid excess moisture. Another way to keep your feet dry and fresh is to apply foot powder to your feet before putting your shoes on.
How to Clean Stinky Running Shoes
If your shoes are dirty and smelly, thoroughly washing them is the best way to remove accumulated dirt and lingering foot odors. To avoid putting your shoes through the washing machine, fill a bucket or sink with water and add your favorite laundry detergent or mild soap to clean your shoes.
Remove the insoles of your shoes and use an old toothbrush to scrub stains from the fabric. Once clean, leave your shoes out to air dry on a towel to absorb dripping water.
If you own a favorite pair of running shoes, they’ll inevitably get dirty and stink. However, you don’t have to settle for smelly shoes with the proper odor-fighting methods.
We hope you liked learning how to get the smell out of running shoes with our guide and will share our tips on how to clean stinky running shoes on Facebook and Pinterest.