How to Stop Shoes and Boots from Smelling

How to Stop Shoes and Boots from Smelling

Having bad smelling shoes and boots isn’t just unpleasant, but it can also be quite annoying, especially if you’ve tried multiple ways to stop them from smelling. 

We’ve listed some of our easiest tips you can use to help stop odours coming from your shoes and boots.

Why do shoes and boots smell?

You may think that your shoes and boots smell because of sweat, and while that is partly true, it isn’t the main reason. Shoes and boots are usually unventilated, meaning that when your feet sweat, your shoes become damp and therefore the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to grow. 

Bacteria is the reason why our shoes begin to smell and even if you have great foot hygiene, bacteria can linger in the shoes and boots, leaving them to become smelly. 

How do you kill bacteria in shoes and boots?

One of the best (and cheapest!) ways you can kill bacteria in your shoes is by using basic household products. 

All you need is white vinegar, water and a spray bottle. Mix the vinegar and water to a 1:1 ratio in the spray bottle and then spritz the inside of your shoes with the mixture after every wearing. Once done, place your shoes in a well-ventilated area to dry and the bacteria and smell should begin to disappear. 

Using white vinegar is an effective method of killing bacteria as it disrupts the growth of new cells and kills bacteria at the root. 

How do I stop my boots from smelling?

Letting your boots breathe is one of the best and easiest ways to stop them from smelling. Giving your boots a day off from wear allows them to be aired out and prevents bacteria spores from regrowing. If you have to wear the same boots everyday, consider buying another pair that you can alternate between. 

You can also incorporate simple things into your daily routine, such as wearing moisture wicking socks, washing your insoles more often and taking extra care of your feet. 

Cleaning your boots soon after they’ve gotten dirty is also a good idea.

How to keep shoes and boots smelling fresh

Listed below are a few ways you can stop your boots from smelling:

Using baking powder

Mixing baking powder with cornstarch is a great way to absorb any excess moisture in your shoes and prevent them from smelling. 

  1. Mix together half a cup of baking powder and half a cup of cornstarch, and then pour the mixture into two white, cotton socks. 

  2. Place the socks into the shoes, allow them to sit overnight and then empty the socks out in the morning. 

You should do this around once or twice a month depending on how often you wear the shoes. 

Wash your shoes 

Most shoes can be washed by hand or in the washing machine, however, you should always check the manufacturer's guidance. 

Start by removing any shoe laces and insoles and place the shoes into the washing machine if they are machine washable. Look for non-bio detergents that state they kill bacteria. Once they have been washed, whether that's by hand or in the washing machine, allow the shoes to air dry completely before wearing them. 

Use essential oils 

Tea tree and cedarwood essential oils both have antifungal properties that kill spores and help to deodorise shoes. All you need to do is mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spray the inside of the shoes. Allow the shoes to dry completely before wearing again. 

Take advantage of the sun 

Ultraviolet rays from the sun are great at killing bacteria. When you get a sunny day, you should take advantage of this by opening up the shoes as much as possible and placing them in direct sunlight. 

You should be aware that direct sunlight can cause colours to fade on some materials, so keep this in mind if you use this method.

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