Smelly shoes getting you down? You’re not alone. Foot odor is a common problem that can be embarrassing and difficult to tackle. But before you toss those stinky sneakers, know that there’s an inexpensive, natural solution: baking soda.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how baking soda can help zap shoe odors and keep your feet fresh.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Baking soda absorbs and neutralizes odors, making it a safe and effective way to remove smells from shoes. Simply sprinkle baking soda into your shoes overnight or mix with water to form a paste and apply to problem areas.

What Causes Shoe Odor?

Shoe odor can be an unpleasant and embarrassing problem. Understanding the causes of shoe odor is essential in tackling this issue effectively. Here are two main factors that contribute to the development of shoe odor:

Bacteria and Sweat

One of the primary causes of shoe odor is the combination of bacteria and sweat. Our feet naturally produce sweat, which provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria feed on the sweat and produce waste products, including volatile compounds that result in the unpleasant smell.

When we wear shoes, the sweat gets trapped inside, creating a warm and moist environment that is ideal for bacterial growth. As the bacteria multiply, the odor becomes more pronounced.

To combat this, it is important to keep our feet clean and dry, as well as regularly clean and disinfect our shoes. One effective method to eliminate shoe odor is by using baking soda.

Dark, Moist Environments

Another factor that contributes to shoe odor is dark and moist environments. Shoes provide the perfect conditions for moisture to accumulate, especially if they are not properly ventilated or if we wear them for long periods.

Moisture in shoes can come from various sources, such as rain, sweat, or even wet surfaces we walk on. When moisture is trapped inside the shoes, it creates an environment where bacteria and fungi can thrive, leading to odor issues.

To prevent shoe odor caused by dark and moist environments, it is important to allow our shoes to dry thoroughly between wears. This can be done by removing the insoles and placing them in a well-ventilated area.

Additionally, consider investing in shoes made from breathable materials that allow air circulation.

By understanding the causes of shoe odor, we can take proactive steps to prevent and eliminate it. Regular cleaning, disinfecting, and proper shoe maintenance are key to keeping our feet and shoes smelling fresh. Baking soda can be a valuable tool in our battle against shoe odor.

Why Use Baking Soda?

Baking soda is a versatile household ingredient that can be used for various purposes, including eliminating shoe odor. Here are a few reasons why baking soda is an excellent choice for tackling unpleasant smells.

Absorbs Moisture and Odors

Baking soda has excellent moisture-absorbing properties, making it effective in combating shoe odor caused by sweat and moisture. When you sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes, it acts as a natural deodorizer by absorbing the excess moisture that can lead to bacterial growth and unpleasant odors.

By reducing moisture, baking soda helps keep your shoes dry and fresh-smelling.

Alkalizes Stinky Acids

One of the reasons why shoes develop a foul odor is the presence of stinky acids produced by bacteria that thrive in warm and moist environments. Baking soda works by neutralizing these acids and creating an alkaline environment in your shoes.

This change in pH level inhibits bacterial growth and helps eliminate the odor-causing agents. By neutralizing the stinky acids, baking soda effectively freshens up your shoes.

Non-Toxic and Inexpensive

Baking soda is a safe and natural alternative to chemical-based deodorizers. Unlike some commercial products that may contain harmful chemicals, baking soda is non-toxic and gentle on your skin. It is also an affordable option, as a small box of baking soda can go a long way in eliminating shoe odor.

By choosing baking soda, you can effectively freshen up your shoes without breaking the bank or exposing yourself to potentially harmful substances.

For more information on the benefits of using baking soda to eliminate shoe odor, you can visit Healthline.

How to Apply Baking Soda to Shoes

Sprinkle onto Insoles/Interior

One effective way to eliminate shoe odor using baking soda is by sprinkling it onto the insoles or interior of your shoes. Simply remove the insoles if possible and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto them. Rub the baking soda into the insoles and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

The baking soda will absorb any unpleasant odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh and clean. Afterward, shake off the excess baking soda and put the insoles back into your shoes.

It’s important to note that this method works best on shoes made from materials that can handle moisture, such as fabric or leather. Avoid using this method on shoes with sensitive materials or electronics.

Make a Paste and Target Odor Spots

If you have specific areas in your shoes that are particularly smelly, making a baking soda paste can help target those spots. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water to create a thick paste. Apply the paste directly to the problem areas, such as the insoles or the toe box of your shoes.

Let the paste sit for a few hours or overnight, allowing the baking soda to absorb the odors. Then, wipe off the dried paste with a clean cloth or brush before wearing your shoes again. This method is especially useful for stubborn odors that are deeply embedded in your shoes.

For more stubborn odors, you can also try adding a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda paste for a pleasant scent. Lavender, tea tree, or peppermint oil are great options that not only mask odors but also have antimicrobial properties.

Put Socks Filled with Baking Soda Inside Shoes

Another method to eliminate shoe odor with baking soda is by filling a pair of socks with baking soda and placing them inside your shoes. Fill each sock with a generous amount of baking soda, tie the ends, and place them inside your shoes.

Leave the socks in your shoes overnight or for a few days to allow the baking soda to absorb the odor. This method is particularly effective for shoes that are difficult to sprinkle baking soda directly onto, such as boots or high heels.

Remember to remove the baking soda-filled socks before wearing your shoes and give them a good shake to remove any excess powder. This method not only eliminates odor but also helps to keep your shoes fresh and dry.

By following these simple methods, you can easily apply baking soda to your shoes and eliminate unpleasant odors. Baking soda is a natural and cost-effective solution for keeping your shoes smelling great. Give it a try and say goodbye to shoe odor!

Tips for Eliminating Odor Long-Term

Let Shoes Air Out and Dry Between Uses

One of the simplest and most effective ways to eliminate shoe odor long-term is to allow your shoes to air out and dry completely between uses. When you take off your shoes, make sure to remove any moisture by placing them in a well-ventilated area.

This helps prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Additionally, consider using shoe trees or crumpled newspaper to help absorb any remaining moisture.

Use Antibacterial Insoles or Sprays

Another helpful tip for eliminating shoe odor long-term is to use antibacterial insoles or sprays. These products are specifically designed to kill odor-causing bacteria and prevent the buildup of unpleasant smells.

Simply insert the insoles into your shoes or spray them directly on the inner area of your footwear. This will not only help eliminate existing odor but also prevent it from returning in the future.

Wear Moisture Wicking Socks

Moisture-wicking socks are a great investment if you’re looking to combat shoe odor long-term. These socks are made from special fabrics that draw moisture away from your feet, keeping them dry and reducing the likelihood of odor-causing bacteria.

Look for socks made from materials such as merino wool or synthetic blends that have moisture-wicking properties. By wearing these socks, you can enjoy fresh-smelling shoes throughout the day.

Clean Shoes Regularly

Cleaning your shoes regularly is essential for keeping them odor-free in the long run. Start by removing any dirt or debris from the outer surface of your shoes using a soft brush or damp cloth. For deeper cleaning, you can try using a mixture of mild soap and warm water.

Gently scrub the shoes, paying extra attention to the areas where odor tends to accumulate, such as the insole and toe box. Afterward, make sure to let your shoes air dry completely before wearing them again.

By following these tips, you can say goodbye to pesky shoe odor and enjoy fresh-smelling footwear for the long term. Remember, prevention is key, so make sure to implement these practices consistently.


Next time you slip on your shoes and get a whiff of something foul, don’t fret – just reach for the baking soda. With its odor-fighting power, this pantry staple can help kick stinky shoe smells to the curb. Simply sprinkle it in overnight or make a targeted paste to neutralize odors on contact.

Along with consistent cleaning and drying, baking soda offers an easy, affordable way to keep feet fresh. So step lively – and stench-free – with this fuss-free foot odor solution.

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