How to Keep Wet Shoes from Smelling? Freshen Smelly Shoes

Sometimes, the weather can be unpredictable and that means your footwear can get wet because of rains. It is not only water damage you have to bother about once your shoes get wet. Wet shoes can get smelly and take an eternity to dry. Also, your shoes can accumulate sweat and initiate the development of bacteria, leading to stinky feet. If you are looking for ways to help keep your wet shoes from smelling, here are easy hacks you can employ to deal with or prevent that awful smell altogether.

See also: Best Breathable Shoes for Nurses

How to Keep Wet Shoes from Smelling

Dry Your Wet Footwear Using Paper Hand Towel

To prevent your wet shoes from getting stinky, the first thing you have to do is dry them quickly. Odor-causing bacteria flourish in humidity. It is not a good idea to simply let your wet shoes lie there to dry in the air. That will wreck the beauty of your shoes in addition to causing them to smell. The simplest method to get your wet footwear dry quickly is by using a rolled-up Paper hand towel stuffed within the shoes.


  1. Take out the shoe’s insoles and leave them to dry separately
  2. Remove the shoelaces or simply slacken them and then open up your shoes
  3. Get some paper hand towel pieces and roll them into a ball.
  4. Stuff the rolled-up paper hand towel pieces inside your shoes
  5. Place your shoes under a shade to dry
  6. Replace the paper hand towel ball periodically until your shoes are completely dry.
  7. For extra drying power, place your shoes before a heating vent, fireplace, or radiator

How to Deal with Stinky Odor in Shoes Due to Wetness

If your shoes have become stinky, use any of the following methods to eliminate the foul smell. A single option might be able to do the trick; however, you may have to employ several of them depending on the degree of stink.

See also: Best Waterproof Nursing Shoes

  1. Throw your smelly footwear in the washer

If your shoes are made of canvas or fabric, you may be able to clean them using a washing machine. To be certain, Google your specific shoe brand for cleaning information. Generally, a gentle cycle, using cool water plus mild detergent will do the trick. Drying within the dryer produces an irritating racket, which can ruin your shoes. Thus, be sure to stuff them using rolled-up paper hand towel balls. Once the paper towel wads are saturated, replace them until your shoes have dried out completely.

For shoes that cannot be machine cleaned, you can soak such shoes inside warm soapy water and leave it for some time. After that, remove the shoes from the water and get rid of the detergent residue using a clean damp fabric. Lastly, place them in a properly ventilated area to dry.

  1. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is widely known to soak up and neutralize smells. You can simply throw some baking powder straight into your shoes but that will mean you have to clean out the powder after your shoes are dry. A better way is to fill 2 socks with some baking soda (a few tablespoons will do). Tie the ends of the socks and place them within your smelly shoes overnight. The foul odor will be absorbed by the baking soda leaving your shoes freshened up.

  1. Try Essential oils

This easy hack will work wonders if the smell coming from your footwear is only an insignificant annoyance, rather than a discomforting issue. Any of these essential oils will do – tee tree oil, lavender oil, or lemon oil. Put approximately 5 drops of the essential oil into your smelly shoe. While this will not eliminate all of the bacteria in your shoes, it will help to reduce the smell. You can achieve a similar result using citrus peels as it is packed with natural essential oils. Place one or two peels in your shoes and leave them overnight. Your shoes should smell fresher in the morning.

  1. Try Vinegar and water

You can get rid of the foul stench from your shoes using a solution of water (50 percent) and vinegar (50 percent). Spray the solution on your footwear as well as inside the lining and sole of your shoes. Leave them to air dry for approximately 30 minutes. If you want your shoes to dry faster, you can dry them using a hairdryer.

  1. Put your Shoes in the Freezer

Get a plastic bag and put your stinky shoes in it. Put the bag in the freezer leaving it overnight. For best results, let the shoes thaw naturally under sunlight the next day. The cold in the freezer should kill the odor-causing bacteria; however, some individuals say this technique does not solve the problem completely. Why not try it out and see for yourself what the outcome would be.

  1. Try Homemade Shoe Odor Spray

There is a wide variety of products in the market designed to eliminate foot/shoe stink. However, most of them are expensive and typically contain the same moisture-absorbing ingredients and essential oils you may already have at home. This homemade spray contains only natural ingredients and is far cheaper.

What you will need:

  • White vinegar (1/2 cup)
  • Tea tree oil (6 drops)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Spray bottle (small size)

Pour all of the above ingredients into your small spray bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the content thoroughly and your product is ready. Whenever your shoes start to stink, spray some of this mixture into them. You can also use it as a pre-emptive measure once you remove your shoes after spending all day on your feet.

How to Prevent Stinky Feet/Shoes

Prevention is always better than cure. Below is a list of how you can keep your shoes and feet stench-free

  1. Wash your feet every day even on days you may not shower
  2. Have more than one pair of shoes so you can alternate them
  3. Take care of fungus/athlete’s foot to reduce your risk of foot odor
  4. Wear socks that wick away sweat

See also: Why Do Nurses Wear Compression Socks?

In addition to the above tips, taking good care of your footwear is a vital step to keeping them stink-free. Dry your shoes whenever they get wet and do everything you can to prevent sweaty and stinky feet. This way, your shoes will remain as cool as when you initially purchased them.

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