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How to Fix Smelly Shoes Overnight?

Having smelly shoes can be embarrassing and unpleasant. Fortunately, there are several quick and easy methods to get rid of shoe odor overnight. With a few household ingredients and a little time, you can make your smelly shoes fresh again.

Why Do Shoes Get Smelly?

Shoes can develop an unpleasant odor for a few reasons:

  • Sweat – Feet sweat throughout the day, especially if you wear closed-toe shoes. Sweat creates a moist environment that allows bacteria to thrive.
  • Bacteria – The bacteria on your feet eat dead skin cells and sweat, producing isovaleric acid as a byproduct. This causes the cheese-like smell.
  • Fungus – Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can also lead to foot odor. The fungus releases octenol as it feeds on skin, causing a musty smell.
  • Poor ventilation – Shoes that don’t breathe well trap sweat and bacteria inside, amplifying the odor.

Effective Ways to Deodorize Shoes

Here are some simple, natural methods to remove odors and make your shoes smell fresh again:

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is highly effective at absorbing odors. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your smelly shoes. You can focus on the insoles, but also coat the bottom and sides. Allow the baking soda to sit overnight, or up to 24 hours. The baking soda will draw out stale odors. In the morning, shake out the excess powder.

2. White Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the inside surfaces of your shoes with the solution. Let the shoes air dry completely before wearing again. The vinegar will kill bacteria and neutralize odors.

3. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has incredible absorbing abilities. Place two to three charcoal bags inside each shoe overnight. In the morning, remove the charcoal bags, which should now be filled with foul odors. Allow shoes to air out for a few hours before wearing. The charcoal will pull smells out of your shoes as it absorbs moisture.

4. Freezing

Freezing your shoes can kill bacteria that causes odors. Place your shoes in a plastic bag, tie it shut, and put the bag in the freezer overnight. In the morning, remove your shoes and let them thaw completely before wearing. Freezing will disrupt bacteria growth and decompress shoe materials.

5. Disinfectant Spray

Look for a shoe disinfectant spray containing ingredients like thymol, eucalyptus oil, or tea tree oil. These natural extracts have antimicrobial properties. Spritz the inside of smelly shoes thoroughly with disinfectant. Allow shoes to dry fully before wearing again. The spray will suppress bacterial growth and associated odors.

6. Dryer Sheets

Stuffing a couple dryer sheets into your shoes can make them smell fresh. Opt for dryer sheets with a light, pleasant scent. Leave them in your shoes overnight, or up to a few days. As you wear the shoes, the dryer sheets will release subtle fragrance. They also absorb moisture.

7. Essential Oils

Essential oils like lemon, peppermint, and tea tree oil naturally neutralize foot odors. Add a few drops of your chosen oil onto cotton balls or scraps of cloth. Stuff these inside shoes and leave overnight. The oils’ antimicrobial compounds destroy bacteria, while the pleasant aroma overpowers bad smells.

Preventing Smelly Shoes

Practicing good foot hygiene and shoe care can stop odors before they start:

  • Wear breathable shoes and socks to allow ventilation
  • Alternate between different pairs of shoes
  • Use antifungal shoe sprays and foot powders
  • Wash shoes regularly by hand or machine
  • Use cedar shoe trees to absorb moisture
  • Allow shoes a day to air out between wears
  • Clean socks frequently

With these quick, overnight remedies, you can successfully banish shoe odors. Don’t put up with stinky shoes – freshen them up right away with items you probably have at home already. Keep your footwear smelling clean with these handy tips.