How to Clean Smelly Shoes (10 Quick & Easy Steps)

How to Clean Smelly Shoes

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Shoes can easily get smelly due to the accumulation of sweat, dirt, and bacteria. However, with the right cleaning techniques, it is possible to remove odors and keep shoes smelling fresh. Keep reading to learn my best tips on how to get your shoes smelling good again.

How To Clean Smelly Shoes in 10 Steps

1. Remove Any Debris From The Shoes

Before cleaning your smelly shoes, it is important to remove any debris that may be inside them. Use a brush or a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt, dust, or debris.

This will make the cleaning process more effective and will also prevent the debris from becoming embedded deeper into the shoe.

2. Stuff The Shoes With Newspaper

To help absorb stinky odors and moisture, stuff the shoes with newspaper. The newspaper will absorb any sweat or moisture that may be inside the shoes and will also help to keep the shoes in shape.

Leave the shoes stuffed with newspaper overnight, or for at least a few hours, to allow the newspaper to work its magic.

3. Wipe The Interior Of The Shoes

Once you’ve removed the newspaper, use a damp cloth to wipe the interior of the shoes.

This will remove any remaining dirt or debris and will also help to remove any odors that may be lingering. Be sure to focus on any areas that appear to be particularly dirty or smelly.

You could also use a cleaning wipe made for shoes like these here.

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is an excellent odor absorber and can be used to clean smelly shoes.

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside the shoes, making sure to cover all surfaces. Leave the baking soda in the shoes overnight, or for at least a few hours, to allow it to work its magic.

5. Brush The Shoes

Use a brush to gently scrub the exterior of the shoes.

This will remove any dirt or debris that may be clinging to the surface of the shoes. Be sure to use a brush that is gentle enough not to damage the shoes, but firm enough to remove dirt and debris.

6. Wash The Shoes

If the shoes are washable, you can also put them in the washing machine.

This is a good option for shoes made of canvas, mesh or other synthetic materials. Make sure to use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent.

Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as these can damage the shoes.

7. Dry The Shoes

After washing the shoes, it’s essential to dry them properly.

Avoid drying them in the direct sunlight or using a dryer. Instead, stuff the shoes with newspaper again and leave them in a well-ventilated area to air dry.

8. Use Shoe Odor Eliminating Products

You can also use odor eliminating products such as shoe sprays, odor-eliminating insoles or odor-eliminating balls to keep your shoes smelling fresh.

These products can be used to eliminate odors and prevent new odors from forming.

I like this Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray by Lumi Outdoors.

9. Store Shoes Properly

Proper storage of shoes is also important to keep them smelling fresh.

Keep shoes in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing shoes in damp or humid areas, as this can cause mold or mildew to form.

10. Smelly Shoe Prevention

The best way to keep shoes from smelling bad is to prevent odors from forming in the first place. To do this, it is essential to wear clean socks, avoid wearing the same shoes two days in a row, and to keep your feet dry.

Different shoe materials need to be cleaned using different methods so be careful not to damage your shoes. If you don’t have smelly shoes but they are dirty, you might also enjoy my articles on how to clean leather shoes or how to clean suede shoes.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean smelly shoes and keep them smelling fresh.

Remember to be patient and persistent, as it may take a few cleanings to completely remove the odors.

Additionally, it is a good idea to implement a regular cleaning routine to maintain the freshness of your shoes.

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