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How Long Does It Take Baking Soda to Deodorize Shoes?

Having stinky shoes is a common problem that many people face. The stench can be embarrassing and make your feet uncomfortable when wearing closed-toe shoes. While throwing smelly shoes in the wash can help, it doesn’t get rid of odors for good. A simple, natural solution is using baking soda. But how fast does baking soda work to get rid of shoe odor?

Baking soda is highly effective at absorbing odors and deodorizing shoes. It works in a few different ways. First, it absorbs and neutralizes odors chemically. The soda binds to the smelly compounds, changing their chemical structure so they no longer smell. Second, it creates an inhospitable environment for odor-causing bacteria. Baking soda is alkaline, which makes the environment too basic for bacteria to thrive. Finally, it simply helps dry out moist shoes to prevent the bacteria that causes odors from growing.

When using baking soda to deodorize shoes, most of the odor-removal happens within 24 hours. Here is a timeline of what to expect:

  • 1 hour: The baking soda begins chemically neutralizing odors in the fabric of the shoes. You will notice a reduction in smells.
  • 6 hours: About half of the detectable shoe odor should be gone. The baking soda has had time to fully absorb and interact with many of the smelly compounds in your shoes.
  • 12 hours: Only faint odors remain. The shoes will smell significantly fresher with few noticeable unpleasant scents. The baking soda has neutralized most of the odor.
  • 24 hours: The shoes are fully deodorized with no remaining foot odor. The baking soda has had time to completely absorb smells, inhibit bacteria growth, and dry out the interior of the shoes.

While 24 hours is optimal, even just 6-12 hours can make a big difference in shoe smells. The longer baking soda is left in shoes, the more effective it will be at removing odors.

To deodorize shoes with baking soda:

  1. Remove shoe insoles and laces if possible. This allows the baking soda to reach all areas of the shoe.
  2. Generously sprinkle baking soda directly into the shoes. Concentrate on applying to insoles, under tongue, and sides of shoes.
  3. Allow shoes to sit with baking soda inside for at least 6 hours, or preferably 24 hours.
  4. Shake out excess baking soda and wipe out any visible deposits inside shoes.
  5. Replace insoles and laces.
  6. Repeat process as needed for stubborn odors, or once every few months for maintenance.

Baking soda is a gentle, safe way to remove odors from shoes without damage. It does not cover up smells but interacts on a chemical level to fully neutralize and absorb odor compounds. While baking soda works fastest if shoes are able to dry out fully, it can still reduce smells even in damp shoes within 6 hours. Next time you are looking for a cheap, natural way to make stinky shoes smell fresh again, reach for the box of baking soda in your fridge.