Thanks to my kids’ stinky feet, I had to learn how to get rid of bad smell in shoes early on! All their running around in sports, jumping in puddles, and disdain for socks created the perfect storm for super stinky shoes.
Of course, it’s not just my kids’ shoes that have this problem. Even with no-show socks, my Toms can get pretty unpleasant. And ALL of my husband’s footwear needs some odor-fighting help too.
I’ve actually tried several remedies over the years, some that worked and some that didn’t. Today, I’m going to share the most effective ways to make shoes smell better that we tried and why we moved onto what we use now.
How to Get Rid of Bad Smell in Shoes
I’m a firm believer in saving time by not reinventing the wheel. I figured we weren’t the first family who needed to know how to get rid of bad smell in shoes. So, my first course of action was to head off to the store and see what others had already invented.
Best Store-Bought Shoe Deodorizers
After trying several different brands, I settled on Dr. Scholl’s Odor X Powder because it worked the best at actually getting rid of the odors, rather than just covering them up. This was our go-to for years.
After my mom moved in with us, I became a lot more conscious of the chemicals and unnatural ingredients in our home since she has really sensitive skin and many allergies. During my effort to switch to more natural products (especially those that came in contact with our skin), I switched to Right Foot.
Right Foot is all natural and super effective. This stuff is amazing and I loved that I could spray it right on my daughter’s stinky feet if I wanted. This was the perfect solution for us.
But we kept having kids. And they all have feet. Stinky ones.
I needed something that worked just as well but that wouldn’t break the bank. How to get rid of bad smell in shoes without spending a fortune? Make my own giant batch of deodorizing shoe powder!
Baking Soda Shoe Deodorizer
Baking soda is great at absorbing odors so it was an obvious base for a homemade solution. I also needed something to soak up moisture (which contributes to the bacteria growth that causes smelly shoes) so I added some cornstarch.
Since I liked how effective Right Foot is, I used the same essential oils it uses. This way I knew I was getting the same antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties, along with the same fresh scent.
And of course, I needed something to keep the powder in. I have a huge collection of mason jars (another item I find lots of uses for) so I used those.
Finally, I needed to create a shaker lid so the powder wouldn’t pour out in big clumps. Trying to keep this project as cheap as possible, I just used white cardstock.
Making the powder is super easy. You just have to add all of the ingredients to a jar.
Then, you can stir it all together to mix it or just put the mason jar lid on and shake it really well for a minute or two.
To make the shaker lid, use the lid insert as a template and trace a circle on white cardstock. Cut out the circle and use a thumbtack to poke a bunch of holes in the paper.
Replace the lid insert with the hole-poked paper and secure the lid.
That’s it! You can make a jar for each member of your family to keep in their closets.
Baking Soda Shoe Deodorizer
- Combine cornstarch, baking soda and essential oils into a glass jar with metal ring lid.
- Cut cardstock to fit the lid. Using a thumbtack, poke several holes in cardstock. Place it on top of your glass jar then secure with a lid ring.
- Sprinkle in shoes at night. Pour out powder in the morning and enjoy fresh-smelling shoes all day!