Smelly shoes? How to keep them smelling fresh and clean

Your feet have around 250,000 sweat glands, so it’s no surprise they spring into action when you stuff your feet into shoes walk around all day. When your feet are confined to shoes, sweat and warmth create a breeding ground for bacteria (which causes the smell).

March 17, 2022

If you are suffering from smelly shoe syndrome (okay, we just made that one up), we’ve got some tips that might help.

  • Wear socks made of natural materials like cotton.
  • Wash your shoes – fabric and canvas shoes can be thrown into the washing machine. Don’t do this with your favourite leather shoes, you’ll ruin them.  
  • Wash shoe inserts and insoles.  
  • Make your own deodourising spray by combining 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, and 5 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Shake well. Mist the inside of your shoes or apply the spray to a cloth and wipe the inside of the shoes.
  • Make your own shoe deodourising powder by putting two tablespoons of sodium bicarb into the toes of old socks and tying them closed. Put into your shoes at night and remove in the morning (obviously!)
  • Pop a new tumble dryer sheet into each shoe and leave overnight to neutralise odours.  
  • Drip a few drops of essential oils onto a tissue and put into your shoes overnight.
  • Put a bar of soap inside each shoe – it will absorb odours and leave a fresh scent behind.
  • Try to rotate your shoes, so you’re not wearing the same pair every day – this will give any smells a chance to subside.

Handy Home Hints