To learn how to deodorize shoes, you have to start at the foundation of the problem. Whether your the one smelling up the room or a family member’s outer extremities are triggering your gag reflex, there are a number of things you can do to address the issue. The solutions here range from implementing simple fashion changes to adding steps to your hygiene routine, so eliminating odor should be a snap.
Causes of Foot Funk
As you probably already know, the cause of foot odor is bacteria: naturally occurring populations of microbes grow until they start to give off a yeasty aroma. These yeasty colonies can’t develop as quickly if you don’t provide them with moisture. That means that although bacteria are technically the cause of foot odor, wetness is the reason those bacteria are able to multiply to the point that they generate a nasty stink.
While some guides look at killing the bacteria, that is unlikely to solve a serious foot odor problem. So, if you could solve your problem with a can of spray or a little bit of baking soda, you probably wouldn’t be diving into a how-to guide on the subject. Most of the solutions on how to deodorize shoes that you are about to read require you to make a few changes in your routine to reduce dampness in your shoes or combat your overenthusiastic sweat glands.
Change Your Footwear Habits
The most effective way to control moisture, and therefore reduce foot odor, is by switching up your habits. Some of these changes are easy to make, but others might be more challenging. Feel free to mix and match these tips until you get a set of results that both fixes your problem and suits your lifestyle.
How to Deodorize Shoes: Switch Your Look
Your footwear is probably an important part of how you present yourself. Shoes have always been an indicator of style, social position, and many other social factors. However, if your choices are leaving your feet damp and smelly, it might be time to go with a more practically minded choice. For example, if you wear vintage leather army boots most of the time, switching to canvas shoes might alleviate some of your odor woes. Similarly, shoes made of plastic or heavy materials will often be better off switched out for shoes made of light, natural fibers. If you are a footwear bargain hunter, it might be a good idea to raise your budget. Higher-quality shoes tend to be made of more forgiving materials when it comes to stinky feet.
How to Deodorize Shoes: Alternate Shoes
If you have a little extra space in your budget and your entryway, then having a spare set of footwear for everyone in your household with a swampy shoe issue could reduce the odoriferous vapors in your household considerably. One thing you might not realize is that, even if your shoes seem dry when you put them on, it takes a long time for a day’s worth of moisture to evaporate completely. The shoes are probably still damp inside, even if you can’t feel it.
While eight hours of rest might be enough for you, it’s rarely enough rest for a pair of sneakers. Alternating pairs every other day is one of the simplest and most effective tricks in reducing foot odor. This is certainly no problem for fashion mavens, but if you’re dealing with finicky kids, it could be a problem. If possible, buy two identical pairs of shoes when you go shopping and keep an eye out for buy-one-get-one sales.
Of course, just having an alternate pair won’t do you any good unless you switch them every day. Make sure everybody is on board with the schedule and has a way to identify one pair from another.
How to Deodorize Shoes: Remove Your Shoes When You Aren’t Walking
The concept with this tip is that removing your footwear now and then gives your shoes, feet, and socks all a chance to dry off. This reduces the overall moisture levels in your shoes and therefore cuts back on the potential smell. You can sneak a breather in anywhere, such as when you’re at your desk at work, for example.
The main snag here is that this tip requires some strategy to implement. Obviously, it requires you to take your shoes off relatively frequently which is something you can’t do with a nauseating cloud of food stink. To take full advantage of this tip, while not simultaneously alienating your friends, co-workers or classmates, you will need to do this when you have a fresh pair of shoes.
You don’t even really need to take your shoes all the way off to take advantage of this trick. Just loosen the laces or slip your heel out to promote some airflow. Again, if you intend to try this out, start doing it immediately after you take the tissue out of that fresh pair of kicks.
How to Deodorize Shoes: Try Sports Socks
If you decide you don’t want to change your look, then you might want to start your anti-odor campaign from the inside out. One of the ways you can do this is by grabbing a pair of breathable sports socks. Hiking socks are also quite effective at wicking moisture away from your foot and letting it evaporate, but make sure you get a lightweight pair. Breathable socks are usually marketed for hot weather or short-term trekking, but they might also have the weight listed on the package. Thicker wool socks for cold-weather camping or mountain climbing will simply exacerbate the problem, no matter how expertly woven they are.
Sports socks are usually the best bet. They are widely available, and they come in a variety of styles from discreet to ostentatious. You can probably find a pair that looks good with nearly any type of footwear, from semi-formal leather shoes to basketball sneakers.
How to Deodorize Shoes: Insert Special Insoles
Along with upgrading your socks, you could look at switching out your factory insoles for a therapeutic pair. Bear in mind that insoles are not a permanent fix, so you should probably start buying in bulk once you find a brand that works for you. Most manufacturers suggest that you switch out your inserts frequently, some as often as once a week. That might seem excessive, but you can often drastically extend the life of your shoes by using insoles that soak up moisture. Using insoles is also likely to make a dent in your odor problem, maybe even making your shoes smell nice because insoles are one of the most common culprits as far as moisture retention is concerned. Lifting the insoles out while you’re letting your shoe rest could also help speed the drying process. In the end, it’s up to you to balance the cost of consistently switching your insoles against the benefit of the dryer and better smelling feet.
Home Therapy Options on How to Deodorize Shoes
If you haven’t had any luck with the bug fixes, such as getting a spare pair of shoes, switching out your socks or adding new insoles, there are still a few more things you can do to banish your ever-present foot miasma. These aren’t quite as easy as switching up your footwear because home therapy techniques require you to pick up a new set of habits and maintain them in order to get any positive results. Try to incorporate these solutions into your daily hygiene routine.
Wash Your Feet
Feet are easy to forget when you’re bathing. After all, it is a hassle, not to mention somewhat risky, to get down there and soap up your stompers, especially if you’re standing up in a shower. The solution: either sit down on the floor while you scrub or grab a small bucket to wash your feet outside of the shower.
For kids or elders with stinky feet, you might want to find a small bath stool. You can pick these stools up at medical supply stores. They might look a little strange at first, but the stools are certainly safer than trying to balance on one soapy foot while scrubbing the other.
Many resources will direct you to use antibacterial soap when you are combating foot odor. The fact is that almost any soap will help reduce the smell. There’s no magic soap on the market, so just use the product of your choice regularly. Ideally, use the soap twice a day, to thoroughly clean your feet. It’s better to use a cleanser that you enjoy to help motivate you to continue your good hygiene habits, so feel free to splurge a little. Additionally, you might want to look for soaps that have herbal ingredients used to reduce odor or enlist the aid of popular conventional deodorant soaps.
After the Bath
Cleanliness is probably your most effective step in preventing foot odor. However, once your feet are clean and freshly toweled off, there are some extra steps you might want to take. You could use foot powder, apply to rub alcohol or even apply antiperspirant spray.
If none of these things work, it might be time to approach your doctor and share what you’ve tried so far. You may get access to a prescription-strength antiperspirant. Your healthcare provider might also suggest more advanced therapies to help you combat your wetness and odor problems, but probably only after you demonstrate that you’ve tried every simple solution first.