How To Remove Smell From Shoes Instantly? – Proven Methods

Smelly shoes are a common phenomenon, especially during summer. The factors that contribute to shoes becoming smelly are bacteria, fungus, sweat, dirt, overuse, skin shedding, and lack of proper airflow. Bacteria are known to thrive in dark and warm places with little to no airflow. When the feet get sweaty like during a hot day or after a long walk or run, the shoes will start to smell. Feet are known to have too many sweat glands but the sweat they produce doesn’t smell.

get smell out of shoe immediately

It is the bacteria that grow and produce organic acids as waste products that cause a stinky smell. Even after having the best foot hygiene, one might wonder “How to remove the smell from shoes instantly” and this article explains all the DIY methods that can be of use to them.

How to Get Smell Out of Shoes Instantly

Method 1: How To Make Shoes Not Smell Using Cotton Balls

The steps for the process of getting rid of the bad smell from shoes using cotton balls are as follows:

  1. Before starting the process of getting rid of the smell, one should first decide on the smell they would like their shoes to have. They can choose one or more citrus flavored essential oils like lemon, tangerine, lemongrass, sage, grapefruit, orange, and mandarin.
  2. The materials required are four cotton balls i.e. two for each shoe and the essential oil. 
  3. A few drops of essential oil should be poured on the cotton balls. Then two cotton balls should be placed in each shoe.
  4. The shoes should be aired out and they should be kept overnight in a well-ventilated place. The essential oils have three chief uses that are getting rid of the bad odor, fighting the bacteria in the shoes, and making the shoes smell fresh.

Method 2: How To Clean Shoes Using Baking Soda To Remove Smell

Baking soda, known for its deodorizing and moisture absorption properties can be used to remove the stinky smell from shoes by following a few steps:

  1. The materials needed are mainly coffee filter paper, rubber band, baking soda, and essential oils. 
  2. After placing the baking powder on the filter paper, a few drops of the chosen essential oil should be added.
  3. The filter paper then should be twisted and tied and finally placed in the shoes.
  4. The shoes then should be kept aside overnight for the baking soda to deodorize the shoes.
  5. Another DIY method with baking soda is to directly sprinkle it in the shoes along with a few drops of essential oils. This shoe Afterward they are to be kept aside overnight.
  6. Before the shoes are used again, one should remove the baking soda.

Method 3: How to Deodorize Shoes with Lemon Peels

Citrus peels can be used to keep the shoes smelling fresh instead of being thrown away in the trash in the following steps:

  1. The peel should be placed inside the shoes from where the bad odor keeps coming. When the shoes are made of leather or canvas the peels should be wrapped in parchment paper before they are placed in the shoes so their essential oils do not damage the shoes.
  2. The shoes should be kept in a ventilated area for 24 hours or overnight. During this time the oils from orange peels with their antibacterial property will work on any bacteria or mold in the shoes. They will get rid of the bad odor and infuse the citrusy smell in them.
  3. The shoes can be used if the smell is completely gone. If not the peels can be kept in them for a bit longer.

Method 4: How To Make Shoes Smell Better With Just Sunshine

The simplest way of getting rid of bad odor is by using sunlight and humans have been doing so for thousands of years. The following steps explain the method:

  1. Keep the shoes in a place that receives proper sunlight for a few hours. 
  2. The sunlight will help rid of the sweat and moisture from the shoes.
  3. Drying the shoes in direct sunlight will also get rid of any bad smell, kill all the bacteria in the shoes and stop further bacterial growth.
  4. Shoes that are washable can be washed with water and dried under sunlight. For shoes that are made with leather, they should not be kept under direct sunlight or any heat source since that might damage them.
  5. If the shoes are still smelly then they should be kept under sunlight for a bit longer. The shoes are finally ready for the next use.

Method 5: Using Freezer to Arrest Smell In Shoes

The freezing method to get rid of bad smell from the shoes include the following steps:

  1. Before putting the shoes inside the freezer they should be dried completely.
  2. The shoes should not be placed with anything else. Anyone would hate the idea of placing their stinky shoes with anything edible. So they should be wrapped in plastic or put inside a plastic zip-lock bag. 
  3. They should stay in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Bacteria and the germs that are causing the foul smell in the shoes are unable to withstand cold temperatures.
  4. After taking them out of the refrigerator and unsealing the plastic the shoes be rid of any foul smell.
  5. If the smell is completely gone they can be used but in case they are still smelly they should be kept in the freezer for a bit longer. 

Method 6: How To Fix Smelly Shoes With Rubbing Alcohol

The antiseptic and evaporating properties of rubbing alcohol help get rid of any foul odor from shoes through the following steps:

  1. Rubbing alcohol and water should be filled in a spray bottle in a 1:1 ratio. 
  2. Spray on the inside of the shoes where it smells. The alcohol will help evaporate any moisture from the shoes and at the same time kill the bacteria.
  3. They should be left in a place with good ventilation to dry.
  4. In the case of shoes that cannot be washed such as leather shoes rubbing alcohol should not be sprayed directly. Cotton balls should be dipped in them and then left inside the shoes overnight. Instead of using one or two, it is advised to fill the shoes with them.
  5. The next morning the shoes will be odor free and rid of any bacteria. They might smell a bit musky but that is way better than being stinky.

Method 7: How to Remove Smell From Shoes Instantly Using Soap Bar

One of the popular DIY methods anyone can use is to use a regular bar of soap to give their shoes a refreshing smell by the following steps:

  1. Before beginning the method it is important to choose the soap. One can decide based on their preference of fragrance such as a soap with citrus or rose smell.
  2. The shoes should be dry when a bar of soap is to be placed inside each of them. The porous nature of the soap helps absorb any odor or moisture from the shoes.
  3. The shoes should be kept aside overnight while the fragrance of the soap gets infused in them. 
  4. The next morning after the soap bars are removed the inside of the shoes should be brushed to remove any remaining flakes.
  5. The shoes can now be worn since the bad smell has been replaced by a refreshing one.

Method 8: Use Activated Charcoal To Get Smell Out Of Shoes Instantly

To get rid of the stinky smell from shoes, active charcoal can be used following these steps:

  1. The first thing to do would be to purchase active charcoal since not every household has it. It is available in tablet form and can be purchased online if not available in the nearest health store.
  2. A few charcoal tablets should be placed inside the shoe. The same should be repeated for the other one. 
  3. The shoes should be left overnight with the charcoal tablets in them in a place with good ventilation.
  4. The charcoal will help in getting rid of any unpleasant odors. It also absorbs any moisture in the shoes. This makes them suitable to be used even for wet shoes.
  5. Check if the shoes are dry and odorless. If they are still wet and not fresh enough the charcoal tablets can be left in them for a few hours again.

Best Shoe Odor Eliminator/Spray

  1. Dr. Scholl’s Probiotic Foot Spray 4oz
  2. Natural Foot and Shoe Odor Eliminator
  3. Rocket Pure Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray & Foot Spray – Shoe Spray Deodorizer
  4. Natural Shoe Deodorizer and Foot Spray – Foot Odor Eliminator for Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. How to get rid of shoe odor with teabags?

    A couple of teabags should be placed in each shoe and they should be placed in a place with good ventilation overnight. Not only will the shoes stop smelling stinky but they will start to smell like freshly brewed tea.

  2. How to remove shoe odor from a car?

    To remove the shoe odor from a car one can use air fresheners, carpet cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, or charcoal briquettes. Air fresheners are most commonly used and instead of buying them from a store, one can also make them at home with natural ingredients.


The reason behind every smelly shoe lies in the feet that were put in it. The feet sweat and the bacteria find the warm and dark environment ideal to grow further. They are not harmful but the bad odor they produce can make the user embarrassed in public. The first thing to do would be to maintain regular foot hygiene so the feet remain clean. Even if it is inevitable to stop the shoes from getting smelly it can be delayed. But if the shoes are also cleaned at regular intervals before they start smelling then stinky shoes would never be a concern. But most people forget and their shoes get an unpleasant odor over time. The purpose of this article is to get the shoes of those who are wondering “How to remove the smell from shoes instantly?” to smell fresh and get rid of the bacteria.

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