Removing Shoe Odors With Baking Soda

A Cheap Fix for an Embarrassing Problem

Dirty football boots on a grass pitch
Tom and Steve/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Wearing smelly shoes can cause you to lose your confidence and damage your social life. It's embarrassing and you don't need it. All this can be changed with a product you probably already have in your home—baking soda. You may have heard the advice to place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb funky food odors. Well, baking soda can do the same thing for your shoes. 

Make Baking Soda Sachets for Your Shoes

After you are done wearing stinky tennis shoes, put a sachet of baking soda inside each of the shoes to absorb the odors until you're ready to wear them again.

To make the sachets, just wrap up some baking soda in a small piece of cloth and tie it with ribbon or string. You'll have your own homemade sachet to use in your shoes.

Sachet Variation: Fill the toe of a sock with baking soda and tie it off. Leave this sock sachet in your shoe overnight to absorb odors. You'll need two, of course.

Use Baking Soda Straight

Sprinkle a layer of baking soda directly into your shoes to sit overnight. With this method, the baking soda comes in contact with every part of the shoe, and the bacteria that cause the odor have nowhere to hide. In the morning, tap out the baking soda before wearing the shoes, or you'll leave a white powdery trail. This method works well with cloth shoes, but be cautious about using baking soda directly in leather and suede shoes. A buildup of baking soda can cause these shoes to become brittle. Use sachets in leather and suede shoes.


Benefits of Using Baking Soda

  • Using baking soda to remove shoe odors reduces the chance of a sensitive skin reaction that might occur with other products.
  • It removes odors without adding other fragrances that linger and mingle with your shoes.
  • Baking soda acts as a fungicide and has antibacterial properties.
  • It's the cheapest way to treat smelly shoes.

Preventing Shoe Odor

  • Air out your shoes regularly by opening the laces and placing the shoes in a sunny spot.
  • Wet insoles or other wet parts of a shoe encourage bacteria growth (and odor). Remove any wet parts of the shoe (if you can) and air-dry the shoe in a warm spot or in the dryer set on low heat.
  • Don't wear the same shoes every day. Alternating shoes gives the offenders time to air out.
  • Wear socks with your shoes.