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How to keep shoe odour at bay

By Wendy Amarteifio
Shoe odour
How to keep shoe odour at bay
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Shoe odour can be embarrassing.

Bacteria is the prime cause of shoe odour, and it thrives on sweaty shoes. Sweat itself also causes shoe odour, and although sweating is really healthy, it can draw attention to smelly shoes. 

If you want to banish the smell from your shoes forever, here are a few great ways that help to keep shoe odour at bay. Let’s take a look

Essential Oil

Essential oil has many uses and health benefits. But what you not have known is that essential oil can also double down on smelly shoes.

Dab a few drops of oil inside your pair of offending shoes, before stuffing with paper. Then, leave the oil and paper to work their magic for around half a day (or overnight). Remove the papers and you're all good.

Boiling Water

Nothing kills bacteria quite like boiling water. To implement this super simple technique, all you need to do is boil some water before filling each shoe.

You can also add a dash of bleach to each shoe for maximum results. In fact, bleach is highly recommended because it’s really this what kills the odour-causing bacteria. 

Once the water has cooled, simply pour it out before washing the shoes.


Like essential oil, vinegar has lots of uses and health benefits. You can pour it on your fish and chips, add it to a casserole, and even use it to treat wounds and wasp stings.

And you can also use it to cure a stinking shoe!

Pour a smidgen of vinegar into your pair of shoes. It will fizz and bubble, but just bear with it and let it sit for around 20 minutes.

Then, remove the vinegar from your shoes before rinsing and washing.

Orange Peels

The zest of an orange actually has incredibly potent health benefits. Most of us, however, discard the peel once we’ve eaten the orange. But even if you don’t fancy munching on it, you can place unused orange peel into your shoes before leaving for a few hours.

When you remove the peel, your shoes should be smelling much sweeter.

Coffee Grounds

Who’d have thought that coffee could perform any other function besides waking us up in the morning and making us more productive at work?

It turns out that coffee grounds can actually cure a stinking shoe that is offending your nostrils.

Simply fill up a pair of socks with coffee grounds (preferably a pair of socks you don’t use anymore – as opposed to your favourite pair) before tying the ends and dumping them in your shoes.

Leave overnight so that the grounds can absorb as much odour as possible.Then throw away the socks. 

READ ALSO : Your mouthwash can give you cancer and more


All of these tips and tricks for keeping shoe odour at bay are really easy to implement, and cost little to money extra cash because you’re generally getting more use out of household properties that have run their course – such as the daily newspaper.

Instead of throwing away today’s newspaper after you’ve read it, you can instead get more bang for your buck by stuffing it into your smelly shoes. Leaver overnight before removing the next day for optimal results.

How does it work? The newspaper absorbs the smells!

Cat Litter

So, it turns out that cat littler isn’t just for cats. This might sound like a strange technique (though, these all sound like strange techniques!!), but cat litter can actually eradicate unpleasant smells from shoes.

Pour fresh cat littler in an old pair of socks before tying at the ends. Then, place the socks into your offensive shoes before leaving overnight. Remove the next day.


You either love or hate onions, so if you hate them you might want to try another trick before this one.

If, however, you stand the pungent smell of onions and the foul smell of your shoes at the same time, you’re a walking miracle (or you have no sense of smell).

To execute this tip, cut up 3 onions before placing them inside your shoes. Leave for a few hours before removing. Then rinse and wash your shoes.


Wear Socks

Wearing socks is a preventive measure that can prevent shoe odour from even arising in the first place.

If you walk around all day with just your bare feet rubbing against your shoes, you’re going to sweat more – and your shoes are going to reek more.

Always wear a pair of clean socks (wear new ones each day) and let them absorb the sweat.

Your bare feet might feel more free, but they create more bacteria.