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Household - laundry

How to stop shoes smelling

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 uprigh so the air get 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

Beautiful feetYou can’t stop a sweaty foot but it doesn’t have to be a smelly foot. The best way to stop smelly shoes is prevention of the cause of foot odour. Smelling feet is caused by the bacteria in stale sweat. Here’s how to prevent them:

  • Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly.
  • Changeyour socks every day.
  • Wear cotton socks and avoid nylon – it doesn’t absorb moisture very well.
  • Change out of your shoes after sports activity 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.

Other ideas for using baking soda to get rid of smells

  • image of saucer full of baking sodaTry keeping a small bowl or saucer of bicarbonate of soda in your fridge to absorb any bad smells but remember to change it every couple of months.
  • Add a couple of dessert spoons of bicarbonate of soda to the wash or rinse cycle of your washing machine to get rid of any smells in clothes and to act as a natural fabric softener.
  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in the bottom of your rubbish bins to keep smells at bay.

As bicarbonate of soda is one of the most useful items to have in the home it’s useful to have a good quantity in. If you like buying green and fairtrade where possible – and get a good deal – The Ethical Superstore is a great place to shop. >> Ethical Superstore

Make it and Mend it – tips for living

Making things last longer is very much at the heart of the MIAMI ethos… but importantly it’s as much about looking good and feeling good about yourself as well. How about updating the look of your shoes as well as stopping them being smelly. Check some of these articles. Plus, why not sign-up to Make it and Mend it for FREE and get our newsletter full of tips, ideas and projects on living sustainably and creatively. Click to the right.


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