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How to Deodorize Shoes Quickly and Easily?

Having stinky shoes can be embarrassing and unpleasant. While thoroughly washing shoes in the washing machine can help, this isn’t always practical for quick odor removal. Fortunately, there are several easy methods to deodorize shoes fast without putting them in the wash.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most effective and affordable ways to remove odors from shoes. Its absorbent properties help soak up sweat and bacteria that cause shoe odor.

To use baking soda:

  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into each shoe – focus on the insoles, but also coat the insides and tops of shoes.
  • Let the baking soda sit overnight – this gives it time to fully absorb odors.
  • In the morning, shake out the excess baking soda. You can reuse baking soda for shoes 2-3 times before replacing it.

For extra smelly shoes, combine baking soda with a few drops of essential oil like lemon, lavender, or tea tree. The oils’ antimicrobial properties boost baking soda’s deodorizing effects.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is another pantry staple that banishes odors. The acidic vinegar kills bacteria and helps remove lingering sweat stains.

Make a vinegar shoe spray by diluting equal parts white vinegar and water. Spritz the solution liberally on the insides and outsides of smelly shoes. Let shoes air dry completely before wearing.

For extra cleansing power, wipe shoes down with vinegar first before spraying. The vinegar smell disappears as shoes dry.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has incredible absorbent abilities that trap odors. It’s a great option for a quick shoe deodorizer.

Stuff odor-fighting activated charcoal bags into each shoe. Let them sit for a minimum of 2-4 hours. The charcoal will pull odors out of the shoes into the bags.

For shoes that don’t hold a bag well, you can sprinkle loose activated charcoal powder inside instead. Let it sit before dumping out the excess.

Activated charcoal bags can be reused over and over until they’re fully saturated with odors.


Freezing shoes can help kill odor-causing bacteria trapped inside. Simply place shoes in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer overnight.

If shoes are damp, stuff them with crumpled newspaper first to aid drying as they freeze. The newspaper also absorbs residual odors.

In the morning, remove shoes from the freezer and let them thaw and dry out before wearing again.

Freezing works best for soft shoes like sneakers and slippers. Avoid putting leather shoes in the freezer as the rapid temperature change can damage the material.

Disinfectant Sprays

Disinfecting shoes with antibacterial sprays is an easy way to sanitize shoes and eliminate odors.

Look for shoe disinfectant sprays containing ingredients like thymol, ethanol, or benzalkonium chloride, which all kill germs and bacteria that cause odors.

Lightly spray the disinfectant inside and outside of smelly shoes. Allow them to fully air dry before wearing again.

Lysol and other household disinfectant sprays also work well. Avoid using rubbing alcohol, which can damage certain shoe materials.

Odor-Removing Insoles

Insoles treated with odor-fighting technologies like activated charcoal or baking soda can absorb smells right from your feet. Simply stick them inside shoes anytime odors start building up.

Odor-removing insoles need to be replaced every 3-6 months once saturated. Look for eco-friendly odor-fighting insoles made of bamboo charcoal or natural rubber instead of chemical gels.

Baking fresh insoles with baking soda before inserting into shoes boosts odor absorption.

Tea Bags

Used dry tea bags can absorb shoe odors thanks to the tannins in tea leaves. Stuff cool, used tea bags inside shoes and leave them in for at least a few hours, or overnight if very smelly.

For extra potency, opt for black or green tea bags. Damp shoes will dry out thanks to the tea bags’ absorption powers.

You can also put used tea bags in old socks and tie the ends to create DIY odor-fighting satchets.

Open Air Drying

One of the simplest ways to deodorize shoes is letting them thoroughly air dry between wears. Don’t store shoes in closets or plastic bags where smells get trapped.

Take shoe odor-prevention a step further by using cedar shoe trees inside shoes when not being worn. The cedar wood naturally repels odors and moisture.

Rotate pairs of shoes so each has a chance to completely dry out before wearing again. Letting shoes rest avoids odor build-up.

Deodorizing smelly shoes quickly doesn’t require much time or effort. With these simple at-home remedies, you can eliminate shoe odors in no time. Just grab ingredients from your pantry to make stinky shoes fresh again. Be proactive against odors by regularly air drying shoes and using natural deodorizers.