Nothing ruins a beautiful summer day like the stench emanating from your favorite pair of sandals. While sandals are known for their breathability and comfort during warm weather, they can also easily trap odor over time. Smelly sandals are not only unpleasant for you but also for those around you. Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to stinky sandals. With a few simple techniques and ingredients you likely already have at home, you can banish foul odors from your sandals for good.
One of the most effective and inexpensive solutions for removing smells from sandals is baking soda. The abrasive texture combined with odor-absorbing properties makes baking soda ideal for scrubbing away grime and absorbed sweat that leads to stench.
Start by mixing a tablespoon or two of baking soda with just enough water to form a spreadable paste. Using an old toothbrush, scrub the inside soles and straps of your sandals with the paste. Pay extra attention to areas that make direct contact with your feet. The abrasive texture of the paste will help lift away dead skin cells and residue.
Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed all surfaces, it’s time to let the baking soda go to work deodorizing. Fill up plastic bags with baking soda and place each sandal inside, sealing the bags. Allow the sandals to sit overnight, or even up to 24-48 hours for especially smelly shoes. The baking soda will continue absorbing foul odors over this time.
In the morning, remove the sandals from the bags and shake out any excess baking soda. Your footwear should now smell clean and refreshed!
White vinegar is another household staple prized for its smell removal abilities. The acidic nature helps kill bacteria responsible for odors while also lifting away built-up grime. Plus, vinegar dries odorless, so you won’t have to worry about smelling like a salad.
As with the baking soda technique, start by scrubbing down the sandals with a paste of equal parts white vinegar and water. Target the footbed, straps, and any visibly dirty areas. Rinse the paste away with clean water afterwards.
Next, fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar and spritz the insides of the sandals until damp. Allow them to air dry completely before wearing again. If the smell persists, repeat the process and allow them to dry in direct sunlight this time. The sun’s UV rays help eliminate odors as well.
The vinegar cleaning and drying process can be repeated as often as needed until your sandals are odor-free.
Activated charcoal has become popular in recent years for its ability to trap toxins and eliminate foul smells. When it comes to footwear, charcoal can be used to absorb odor-causing bacteria. Look for activated charcoal in powder form, and sprinkle it liberally throughout the insides of your smelly sandals.
If weather permits, place the sprinkled sandals in direct sunlight for several hours. The sun’s heat helps activate the charcoal. Otherwise, allow them to sit overnight before dumping out the excess powder. The charcoal will keep absorbing smells even while inside your shoes.
For extremely stinky sandals, fill two socks with activated charcoal powder and place one in each shoe. Zip them up in plastic bags and store for up to 24 hours. The charcoal socks maximize odor elimination power.
Fragrant essential oils like lemon, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus not only smell fresh and clean but also naturally kill germs and bacteria that lead to foot odor.
After cleaning your sandals, place 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil(s) on the insides of each shoe. Gently rub the oil around the footbed for even distribution before allowing them to air dry. The antimicrobial properties of essential oils will destroy odor-causing microbes while leaving your sandals smelling divine.
To complement the essential oil cleaning, fill a small spray bottle with water and add 5-10 drops of essential oil. Mist the insides of your sandals between wears anytime smells start to return. The oil will continue fighting odors every time you spray.
When odors stem from bacterial buildup, disinfecting your shoes is key. Any general household disinfectant spray will work wonders at removing smells and killing germs.
Look for sprays containing ingredients like ethyl alcohol, citric acid, or sodium chloride for the biggest impact. Thoroughly spray the disinfectant over all interior surfaces of your sandals until covered in moisture. Let them air dry completely. The disinfectant will kill bacteria in its tracks, stopping stink at the source.
To prevent future odors, make disinfecting spray part of your post-wear ritual. A quick spritz over your sandals after taking them off will keep smells from returning. alternate disinfectant spray with essential oils to stay fresh.
Odor Eliminator Spray
If you don’t have disinfectant spray on hand, an odor eliminator spray works too. Brands like Lysol or Febreze sell specially formulated sprays for eliminating shoe smells. These contain compounds that target foot odors at the molecular level, neutralizing the compounds that cause stench.
To use an odor eliminator, remove the insoles if possible and thoroughly spray the interior of the sandals. Make sure every surface gets covered. Slip the insoles back in place and allow everything to dry fully. Repeat as needed for stubborn odors. To prevent future smells, mist your sandals after every wear.
The odor eliminating ingredients will remain on your sandals between wears, activating each time you start to sweat to stop smells in their tracks. This makes them a reliable option for keeping sandal smells at bay.
Rubbing alcohol is renowned for its antibacterial and disinfecting abilities. For super stinky sandals, try soaking them in a rubbing alcohol bath.
Fill a bowl or bin with enough 70% isopropyl alcohol to submerge the footbed of each sandal. Leave them to soak for 1-2 hours, sloshing the alcohol around halfway through. Remove and allow to dry fully in direct sunlight if possible.
The alcohol will sanitize the shoes while breaking down any impurities stuck to the materials that cause odors. Sunlight helps deactivate any remaining bacteria. Doing an alcohol soak can fully refresh the smelliest sandals.
Smells whichever odor removal method you choose, be sure to incorporate some ongoing maintenance habits to prevent future smells. Here are some tips:
- Allow sandals to dry fully between wears, either in sunshine or stuffed with dry paper towels.
- Sprinkle antibacterial shoe powder inside shoes after wearing.
- Alternate pairs so each has time to dry out before the next wear.
- Use cedar shoe trees to wick away moisture when storing sandals.
- Freeze sandals overnight to kill bacteria – just be sure they are dry first!
- Clean insoles regularly with soap and water or replace if very worn out.
With some persistence and proper maintenance, you can have stink-free sandals all season long. Don’t let smelly shoes ruin your summer fun. Breathe new life into your footwear with these smell removal tricks. Your nose will thank you!