Hey, it happens to the best of us. Your favorite kicks just look better without socks, but it really sucks when they smell like funky, sweaty toes. But don’t lose hope just yet! There are simple ways to not only attack the bacteria that cause the odor and banish the stink from your shoes, but also infuse a fresh scent that will make you happy! 🙂
How to Freshen Smelly Shoes
If your shoes have a funky, sweaty smell, here’s what to do:
1. Start with your feet. Your feet are the cause of your smelly shoes. Getting rid of smelly feet may be as simple as washing your feet daily with antibacterial soap and drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
2. Soak your feet. There are numerous natural remedies to get rid of smelly feet, such as salt baths, tea soaks, and vinegar baths. These practices, along with proper hygiene and the rotation of shoes, may help eliminate foot odor. Just make sure you dry your feet thoroughly.
Once you have dried your feet, you can apply baking soda or cornstarch which help sweaty feet stay dry by absorbing extra moisture and make them smell fresh in the process.
3. Give your feet a scrub. Sometimes your feet just need a good ol’ scrubbing. A foot scrub not only polishes your grubby heels and leaves them feeling soft and silky smooth but also clears away dead skin cells which can harbor odor-causing bacteria (gross). You can even add essential oils such as lavender and tea tree oil to your favorite scrub. These oils have major antifungal power.
4. Next, tackle the shoes themselves by putting them out in the sun or in the freezer. The sun and fresh air are the best natural ways to get rid of odors. The sun’s UV rays kill odor-causing bacteria and eliminate the odor completely. Another option is to put your shoes in the freezer overnight (not kidding), though we recommend putting them in a plastic bag first. This is a surefire way to freshen your smelly shoes as bacteria can’t survive in freezing temperatures. But you need to leave them there for a day or two for the cold to kill all the odor-causing bacteria and get rid of the odor.
5. Use tea bags to freshen your smelly shoes. Tea bags are one of the most effective home remedies. Simply put some tea bags in your smelly shoes as soon as you take them off. They will absorb the odor, get rid of the stink, and leave your shoes smelling fresh. Leave the tea bags in overnight for maximum effectiveness.
6. Mix up a few key ingredients. Namely activated charcoal, baking soda, dried rosemary, peppermint, spearmint and sage, and lavender and tea tree essential oils. Activated charcoal absorbs moisture and foul odors and keeps shoes smelling fresh. Baking soda can absorb extra moisture, sweat and funky smells, balance pH and dry up any moisture which bacteria thrive on. Blend of dried rosemary, peppermint, spearmint and sage is naturally antibacterial; it fights the build up of bacteria and neutralizes odors. Lavender and tea tree essential oils both have antifungal properties, and tea tree oil is also ridiculously effective at killing bacteria that cause funky odors.
7. Here’s an antibacterial spray that works. This natural shoe deodorizer is intense, if your shoes are really smelly. Every athlete, runner, workout enthusiast or mom should have a bottle of handy. It contains African wild cucumber, a natural antibacterial that’s extremely effective at killing odor-causing bacteria after a single use, keeping your shoes smelling fresh.
Natural Tea Bag Shoe Sachets
You can make these tea bag shoe sachets in just a couple of minutes. They’re really easy to make and simple to put together. They are featured in our blog post, How to Cure Stinky Feet Naturally With This Antibacterial Spray, which addresses the issue of stinky feet with an antibacterial spray that gets rid of odors on contact.
Unlike normal tea bags, these sachets are larger and are a bit more powerful when it comes to getting rid of odors. They make use of activated charcoal and baking soda which are known for their odor-absorbing properties. A dried blend of rosemary, peppermint, spearmint and sage, and lavender and tea tree essential oils round out the key ingredients.
These natural shoe deodorizers work well in smelly shoes as well as in gym bags, diaper pails, and lockers. And they’re reusable!
- 1/2 teaspoonful Activated Charcoal.
- 2 ounces Baking Soda.
- 3/4 cup Blend of Dried Rosemary, Peppermint, Spearmint and Sage.
- 6 drops of Lavender Essential Oil.
- 6 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil.
- 4 Bath Tea Bags (5″ x 3.75″ each).
- 1 Scoop (1/2 oz.).
- Iron (to seal bags).
Gather the ingredients needed.
In a glass bowl, place 2 oz. of baking soda. Slowly add 1/2 teaspoonful of activated charcoal and gently mix into the baking soda with a plastic fork.
Drizzle 6 drops of lavender essential oil + 6 drops of tea tree essential oil onto it and mix well with the fork.
Place 3/4 cup of dried herb blend in a large glass bowl. Add the baking soda mixture and mix well.
Turn iron on to medium setting. Open one end of a bath tea bag. Place 3 full scoops of mixture into bag.
Iron open end of tea bag shut. If bag isn’t sealing, raise temperature on iron. Continue to mix dried herb blend while filling so the activated charcoal and baking soda mixture doesn’t settle to the bottom. Continue until all 4 bags are filled and sealed. For the finishing touch, I punched a hole in the seal of the tea bag and tied on some raffia. They turned out awesome (totally optional)!
These tea bag shoe sachets will freshen your smelly shoes for up to 3 months. That’s when the activated charcoal and baking soda need to be changed.
The recipe above makes 4 shoe sachets. Stick them down into each shoe and they will get rid of odors and leave your shoes smelling fresh! The activated charcoal and baking soda need to be changed every 3 months as they become saturated with the foul odors from the shoes.
If you have any tricks for freshening up smelly shoes, please share them in the comments section below.