Fresh Wave Travel Spray being sprayed into boots

Your Guide to Getting Rid of Shoe Odor

Shoes can put that just-right finishing touch on your outfits and get you ready for long, leisurely walks, exercising or outdoor explorations. Whether you’re reaching for a pair of sandals, sneakers or pumps, the last thing you want is to be overwhelmed by an unpleasant odor and to have to worry about whether others can smell your shoes throughout the day. Stinky shoes can also lead to smells in entryways, bedrooms, luggage and gym bags, leading to even more odor removal concerns. Fortunately, there are ways for you to freshen up your footwear, and this guide on how to get rid of shoe odor will teach you some of the most effective methods.

What Causes Shoe Odors?

Before you can fully understand the tips on how to get rid of odor in shoes, you need to understand what causes the problem in the first place, and it starts with your feet. Each foot is home to 125,000 sweat glands. The soles of your feet have more sweat glands per square inch than any other place on your body, and they give off about half a pint of perspiration every day.

Sweat is odorless, but problems arise when it builds up inside of your shoes. When you sweat, the insides of your footwear become the perfect damp, dark environment for bacteria to grow. The bacteria then break down substances in your sweat, creating thioalcohols that have a foul odor. Since you can’t stop your feet from sweating, the strategy for how to get rid of foot odor in shoes is to eliminate bacteria or absorb the thioalcohols that they give off.

Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Shoe Odor

Home remedies are one way to deal with stinky shoes. Here are four for you to try:


White vinegar is highly effective at killing bacteria and an effective way to get rid of shoe odors. However, pouring white vinegar directly onto your shoes could damage them. Instead, dip a soft cloth or newspaper into vinegar, ring it out and dab the insides of your shoes. Make sure to let the vinegar dry completely before you wear them.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can also freshen up shoes by eliminating bacteria. As with vinegar, you should use a cloth or newspaper dipped in alcohol to wipe out the shoes rather than pouring the product directly into the shoes to prevent ruining them.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is so effective as a shoe odor eliminator that it’s a key ingredient in many commercial products made for deodorizing shoes. The kitchen staple works by normalizing pH levels and absorbing odors. To use it at home, sprinkle some baking soda along the footbeds of your shoes and let it sit overnight. In the morning, dump out the baking soda and wipe the interior clean with a dry cloth or tissue.

Tea Bags

A few fresh bags of your favorite tea can help neutralize shoe odors and leave behind a pleasant earthy scent. Tea bags work by absorbing moisture to fight the growth of bacteria, and the method for how to get rid of shoe odor with tea bags is simple. Just slip three to four unused teabags into your shoes and leave them in a cool, dry place for 24 hours.

Fresh Wave's Remedies for Getting Rid of Shoe Odor

Fresh Wave Odor Eliminating products can help you take the stink out of your shoes with a powerful formula that features plant-based ingredients with no harmful chemicals. Using Fresh Wave products is a quick-and-simple solution for shoe odors that won’t leave behind vinegary scents or messy powders. Although Fresh Wave products are highly effective, they’re gentle enough to be used on a variety of materials, so you won’t have to worry about damaging your favorite kicks. You can choose from one of two products for your footwear-freshening needs: Fresh Wave Odor Removing Laundry Booster and Fresh Wave Odor Removing Spray.

Odor Removing Laundry Booster

When shoe odors have been lingering for a while, use Fresh Wave Odor Removing Laundry Booster to give your shoes a deep clean by following these steps:

  1. Dampen a soft cloth with the Odor Removing Laundry Booster.
  2. Wipe down the outsides of your shoes.
  3. Apply more Odor Removing Laundry Booster to the cloth, if needed.
  4. Wipe down the insides of your shoes.

If you happen to have shoes that are machine washable, you can add two to four capfuls of the laundry booster to the load during the wash or rinse cycle. Use it in the washing machine to refresh stinky socks and use the above method to wipe out gym bags and luggage that shoe odors have transferred to.

Odor Removing Spray

For a quick and simple approach to shoe deodorizing, try Fresh Wave Odor Removing Spray. Just a quick spritz inside of your shoes can neutralize odor-causing molecules and replace the unpleasant smell with the fragrance of plant oils. The spray is also an effective solution for fighting shoe odors in gym bags and luggage.