To get smells out of shoes just scatter a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) inside each shoe. Give it a shake and leave overnight or about 8 hours. Next morning shake out the residue and Hey Presto! the smell will have gone.
If you want to avoid loose powder in your shoes, then put the baking soda in the middle of a paper towel and gather the corners into the centre and secure with an elastic band and pop it inside the shoe overnight. Bicarbonate absorbs moisture as well as smells (see more tips for using bicarbonate soda at the end of this article).
Keeping shoes fresh
For particularly bad odours – eg shoes belonging to teenagers! – you may have to repeat the process. Alternatively – or even in addition – give them a spray with Febreze.
Sports shoes especially can get very smelly because they collect sweat and often don’t dry out properly and the wet sweat attracts bacteria which cause the stink.
Slippers and popular Ugg boots also suffer in the same way. One approach is to wash soft shoes in the washing machine which won’t harm them and will actually help extend their life.
- Trainers can be washed often. Take out the laces and any liners before putting into a machine on a short wash and gentle spin. Dry thoroughly before wearing again.
- Ugg boots can also be washed in a machine on a short wash with a gentle spin. When you dry them use a shoe tree or coat hanger inside to dry them upright so the air gets right to the foot. When fully dry, vigorously rub the sheepskin and it will come back like new.
Feet – deal with the cause of the problem
Sweaty feet don’t have to lead to smelly feet.
- Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly.
- Change your socks every day.
- Wear cotton socks and avoid nylon – it doesn’t absorb moisture very well.
- Change your shoes after sports and let them dry out – don’t sling them in a closed-up sports bag and leave them there.
- Try not to wear the same shoes two days running – letting them air for 24 hours will help
- Remove the insoles and let them air – make sure they are allowed to dry thoroughly
- Use some talcum powder on your feet – particularly if you go without socks.