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How to Remove Smell from Shoes: The Smelly Shoe Journey!

By November 23, 2022Sneaker Tutorial

How to Remove Smell from Shoes - AIO BotSo, the journey of shoe care and repair can sometimes definitely be a messy job. Especially when you’re dealing with smelly shoes… You know you’ve been there, you gotta admit it. We’ve ALL been there. But, does stinky BO automatically lead to a death sentence for the shoe? No. All you need to do is learn how to remove smell from shoes instantly.

Save yourself (and the people around you!) a lot of hardships and deal with the stench! Just take this is an ode to your favorite smelly kicks. And, taking inspiration from the words of the great Phoebe Buffet, we’re going to sing:

“Smelly shoes, smelly shoes
Always makes me smile
Smelly shoes, Smelly shoes
Next time I’ll avoid the old socks!”

Learning how to remove smell from shoes is not as difficult as it might sound. Also, there are many different things that you can try to see what works best for you. PLUS, some of the techniques listed here use things that you probably already own! So, without further ado, here are all the best ways you could get your kicks ✨minty fresh ✨


Do your favorite sneakers have a pungent stink to them? Are you getting funny looks on the elevator ride? It’s fine, we gotcha. We won’t bore you with all the details of WHY they get stinky in the first place. If you’re interested in a biology lesson on feet stench, click here

However, before we get right into it, you have to first estimate whether or not the sneaker is salvageable, to begin with. In other words, we’re not trying to revive a sneaker on its deathbed. If you don’t know whether or not your sneaker has reached its shelf life limit… Click on the button below for the 3 warning signs of a dying *sole*!


If it still has some spunk in it, in addition to the stink, then we can work on it! So, here are the supplies and strategies that you can use for an all-new ✨ fresh start ✨

What You’ll Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Soap
  • Essential Oils
  • 30 minutes of your time
  • A spray bottle

#1 Vinegar

First, we’re going to start with the age-old method on how to remove smell from shoes: using white vinegar. The vinegar naturally neutralizes all kinds of smells and kills bacteria. However, before you do try this method, make sure your insoles are clean!

  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water. Add into a spray bottle and spray into your shoes. Allow it to fully dry before wearing it!

#2 Baking Soda

So, when you’re learning how to remove smell from shoes at home, there’s the most basic and common method: baking soda. The reason it is so popular is that it is cheap and effective! Baking soda basically absorbs the smell and bacteria in your shoe!

  • Mix ¼ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of baking powder, and ½ cup of cornstarch. Either sprinkle them directly in the shoes or fill in a pair of cotton socks. Leave overnight!
  • Or, just sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda directly into your shoes and leave for at least 24 hours

#3 Soap

Also, there’s soap. And no, although we know that the most obvious method on how to remove smell from shoes is cleaning… THIS step however does not include that. Using soap to make stinky shoes NOT stinky requires a DRY bar of soap!

  • Drop a bar of soap into each pair of your shoes and leave them overnight

But, if you’re looking for guides on how to clean your shoes, check out these:
– The Best Sneaker Cleaning Kit
– How to Clean White Sneakers
– Cleaning Air Jordans
– Cleaning Yeezys

#4 Sunshine

Next, we’ve got an approach on how to remove smell from shoes that requires little to no effort. SUNLIGHT! All you need to do is put your shoes in direct sunlight for a few hours to let them dry completely. However, this method is most effective directly after wearing your shoes.

#5 Essential Oils

And, since we’re on the topic of nasty fragrances, what about using freshening things up a bit? Using essential oils like tea tree, clove, or cedarwood oil naturally deodorizers with their antifungal properties! They basically prevent bacteria from growing in your feet and eliminate the putrid smell! And, BONUS POINTS, they smell nice!

  • Place a few drops of essential oil in your sneaker and let it air out to dry!
  • Or, use essential oils alongside the previously mentioned methods above! 

#6 Socks & Insoles

Finally, the last two things you should check when it comes to learning how to remove smell from shoes are: socks and insoles. First, you have to make sure that you’re wearing good quality cotton socks that won’t make your feet sweat. And second, insoles are supposed to be replaced! So, if you’ve had your insoles there for a long time, just find a new one!