Here are 7 ways you can prevent shoe odor, or to nip any developing smell in the bud quickly before it gets strong, plus an explanation of what causes the problem so you can avoid smelly and stinky shoes from now on.
Do you ever notice when you or a loved one takes off their shoes that there's an aroma that's not so pleasant?
If you or a household member suffers from smelly shoes please know there's hope, and not just to wash your shoes, which as we know isn't possible with many types of shoes.
Better than removing a shoe odor before it gets too bad, is to take preventative steps to keep the smell from developing in the first place.
To actually prevent stinky shoes from forming though, you've got to understand what is causing this shoe odor, so you can understand why these tips work.
Odor in shoes is caused by the growth of odor causing bacteria, as well as fungal growth.
Bacteria and fungus thrive in warm, moist, dark environments with lack of air flow, which makes the inside of your shoes a perfect breeding ground.
Therefore, to prevent odors you want to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth, and the best way to do that is by making the inside of your shoes not as hospitable a place for them.
Below are 7 ways to do just that.
As you wear your shoes your feet get warm and sweat, and the odor causing bacteria and fungi absolutely love it.
When you take off your shoes at night the shoes begin to cool and dry out. But often these shoes aren't completely dry the next morning when you put your feet back into them, which gives the bacteria and fungi the opportunity to thrive.
To avoid that problem alternate shoes each day, meaning to not wear the same pair two days in a row.
If you do this you'll allow your shoes to completely dry and air out between wearings, which keeps bacteria from getting a good chance to establish themselves inside your shoe.
If you suffer from foot odor, and/or your feet sweat a lot, you most likely have some bacteria growing on your feet. It's gross, but it's also part of life.
This is especially true if you suffer from a bacterial or fungal infection on your feet.
To keep you from introducing and then re-introducing these odor causing organisms into your shoes each time you put them on you should wash your feet regularly.
You can even use a deodorant type of soap, if necessary, to help keep your feet from smelling.
Because sweaty feet are a big cause of both foot and shoe odor you should try to keep your feet from getting the inside of your shoes too damp.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to wear socks, which will absorb some of this moisture so it doesn't get inside the soles of your shoes.
It is much easier to wash socks than it is to wash inside your shoes, so when possible take advantage of this and sock up.
I know this doesn't work with every type of shoe, such as sandals, but do it when you can.
Wearing socks, for many, is enough protection to deal with sweaty feet and prevent shoe smells. However, if you have extremely sweaty feet you can add a little baby powder, or another moisture absorbing powder, inside your socks.
This powder typically has a nice aroma, plus it will help absorb some of this sweat, adding more protection to keep the inside of your shoes from absorbing the moisture.
In addition to adding a bit of the baby powder inside your socks, you can also sprinkle a little of the powder inside the soles of your shoes as well.
Another way to dry out your shoes and keep moisture at bay is to take them outside and let them air out, especially in the sun.
The sun's warmth will help dry them out, as well as the increase in air flow allowing the moisture to evaporate.
Plus, the sun, with its UV light, also has some germicidal properties. That means sunning your shoes not only dries the inside out, making them a less hospitable place for odor causing bacteria, but may also kill some of those bacteria and fungi who don't like the light.
You can check out this article with more tips for how to use the sunshine for cleaning, stain removal and more.
Remember that odor causing bacteria and fungi also love warm spaces, so another way to kill them is to get it too cold. Therefore, you can also freeze your shoes to reduce the stink.
Put your shoes in a sealable plastic bag, depending on their size perhaps you'll only be able to fit one shoe per bag, and place inside your freezer for around 24 hours.
Let the shoes come back to room temperature, slowly, after you remove them from the freezer before wearing them again.
If you have to nip an odor problem in the bud in the winter time, instead of putting them in your freezer you could put the smelly shoes in the trunk of your car as long as it's parked outside or in an un-heated garage.
Finally, you can either prevent or stop shoe odors using baking soda.
Baking soda is an awesome odor remover all around your home, and also works well to absorb moistore, makking it perfect to use for this task. (You can check out this article with lots of uses for baking soda around your home to understand why it's such a go-to product around the home for cleaning, laundry, and odor removal.)
At night you can sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda into your shoes and then tap out the powder in the morning before putting the now less stinky shoes back on.
If you don't want to have to deal with a residue of baking soda in your shoes though you can fill an old sock with a couple teaspoons of baking soda, tie it off, and stuff that down inside your shoe. It will work in much the same manner, deodorizing and drying the shoe out, but it is less messy to pull out, and then re-use the sock shoe deodorizer next time you need it for another pair of shoes.
Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.
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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.
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