Baking Soda for Smelly Shoes – Read This Before Trying

How to Use Baking Soda for Smelly Shoes
How to Use Baking Soda for Smelly Shoes

If you have cleaned the outside of your shoes and even cleaned the inside but they are still smelly, then you may need more than just a wipe-down to get the odor out.

If you do not want to take out the soles, wash them or replace them, you can use good ol’ baking soda to help. 

How Baking Soda Gets Rid Of Smelly Shoe Odor

Baking Soda is a natural deodorizer that absorbs moisture, kills bacteria, and gets rid of odor. 

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes the acidic pH of sweat and the area inside the shoes where bacteria thrive. This kills the bacteria and prevents them from proliferating. Its powdery consistency also allows it to simply absorb moisture and debris to help dry the area and clean it. 

Shoe odor becomes obvious when sweat, dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells, and moisture all interact within your shoes. The environment in your shoes is usually dark, warm, and damp. This makes it a breeding ground for odor-producing bacteria, fungi, and other debris to build up. 

The longer it is left uncleaned, the worse the smell will get. 

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Benefits of Using Baking Soda To Get Rid Of Smelly Shoe Odor

  • By using baking soda to eliminate shoe odors, the possibility of an adverse response on those with sensitive skin is decreased.
  • Without introducing additional scents that remain and mix with your shoes, baking soda eliminates smells.
  • Baking soda possesses fungicidal and somewhat antibacterial qualities.
  • One of the cheapest remedies for musty shoes is by far baking soda, which is easily available.

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How To Use Baking Soda To Get Rid Of Smelly Shoe Odor

To get rid of and manage stinky shoe odors, you can use baking soda in different ways.

Using Baking Soda Alone

  1. Clean your shoes first. Make sure that your shoes are as clean as you can get them. Try not to get them wet during this process. However, if you have washed them, make sure they are completely dry. 
  2. Use a spoon and spread the baking soda all over the soles inside the shoes. Be generous and make sure that the baking soda is spread over all the surfaces of the soles of your shoes. 
  3. Let your shoes sit with the baking soda in them for at least 12 hours (overnight works too). If your shoes are extra smelly, you may need to let them sit for 24 hours. 
  4. At the end of the time, empty the baking soda out of the shoes. You may use a toothbrush to brush the excess out of the shoes. 
  5. If your shoes are still smelly after this, you may repeat the process as many times as you need. 

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Using Baking Soda & Essential Oils

  1. Clean your shoes first. Make sure that your shoes are as clean as you can get them. Try not to get them wet during this process. However, if you have washed them, make sure they are completely dry. 
  2. In a bowl measure out 2 Tbsp of baking soda (you may need more or less depending on the size of your shoes). 
  3. Add about 5 drops of the essential oil of your choice to the baking soda (if you add more baking soda you will need more drops of essential oil).
  4. Use a fork to mix everything until you can no longer see any lumps and clumps. The mixture should be powdery again. 
  5. Use a spoon to deposit the mixture in the heel area of each shoe. 
  6. Then tilt the shoe downwards to let the mixture spread into the toe areas of each shoe. 
  7. Gently shake the shoes around to make sure the mixture gets everywhere. 
  8. Let the shoes sit for 12-24 hours and then empty them
  9. You can use a small hand-held vacuum or a soft brush to get the excess baking soda out of the shoes. 
  10. Repeat this process as often as needed. 

Using Baking Soda To Make Shoe Deodorizing Sachets

  1. Find a clean pair of socks that you no longer use. Thin ones might be better than thick or fuzzy ones. Make sure they do not have holes. 
  2. Fill each side with 1-2 Tbsp of baking soda. Shake it down so that the baking soda collects in the toe area of each sock. 
  3. Use a ribbon, piece of cloth, shoelace, or rubber band to tie each sock just above the bulge of the baking soda. 
  4. Stick each sachet into the toe area of each of your shoes. The baking soda will still absorb the odor without getting the baking soda on the shoes themselves. 
  5. These sachets can be left in your shoes for as long as you want. 
  6. Change your baking soda and wash the socks weekly or more often depending on how smelly your shoes are and how often you use the sachets. 

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Tips & Tricks for Using Baking Soda for Smelly Shoe Odor

  1. Do not turn your baking soda into a paste. Part of the reason baking soda works is that its powdery form is very absorbent. Making a paste will add more moisture rather than get rid of it. 
  2. Do not rub the baking soda into the material. Just sprinkle it on top of the material and let it sit. If the material of your shoes is porous, and you rub the baking soda into it, it will be hard to get it all out. And having baking soda in your shoes for days and weeks will no longer be sanitary. 
  3. It is better to use baking soda inside of dry shoes. This way, it will absorb any remaining moisture that was left in the material. If it is wet or damp, there is only so much the baking soda can do. 
  4. Clean and treat your feet regularly. You can use baking soda or other ingredients to soak and clean your feet. This helps to get rid of dead skin cells, clean your pores, and help with sweating. Doing this can help to prevent odor. 
  5. Try to always use a pair of socks. Use a clean pair every day if you can. 

Video: How to Remove Foot Odor with Baking Soda

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will baking soda get rid of shoe odor?

Yes, baking soda has been shown to get rid of shoe odor. However, how well this will work will depend on:

  • How smelly and dirty your shoes are
  • The amount of baking soda you use
  • How long you leave the baking soda inside the shoes

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How long does it take baking soda to deodorize shoes?

Depending on how smelly your shoes are, baking soda can start to noticeably reduce odor within an hour or two. 

You may need to leave it for 12-24 hours for maximum results. 

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How long should I leave baking soda in my shoes?

For the best results, you should leave baking soda in your shoes for 12-24 hours. After this, you may need to change the baking soda. 

If you are using baking soda alone, you will need to leave it in your shoes for at least a few hours if you do not have more time. However, if you made and are using baking soda sachets, these can be left inside your shoes for as long as you want. 

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How much baking soda does it take to get rid of smelly shoes?

Usually, average-sized shoes take 2 or more tbsp of baking soda to cover the sole of one side of the shoes. 

However, you may need more or less depending on how large or small your shoes are and how smelly they are (you may need to fill your shoes with more or you may need to do more than one treatment). 

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Can you have Baking soda in your shoes while wearing them?

You can have baking soda in your shoes while wearing them, but there are a few things you need to consider. 

  • Baking soda is a loose powder that can be very messy. If you do not mind that, then you’re good to go. 
  • Baking soda is very absorbent. This means that it will also absorb the moisture from the skin of your feet along with sweat. This can cause your skin to become too dry. However, if you can manage your skin, you should be fine. 
  • Baking soda may be too harsh for your skin. It is alkaline and may change the pH of your skin, leading to additional foot problems. It may also negatively affect any wounds that you might have on your feet. Pay attention to the sensitivity of your skin. 

Can I put baking soda in my socks?

You can put baking soda in your socks. However, there are a few things you need to consider. 

Please see the question above for the considerations to keep in mind when leaving baking soda in your socks where it will be in contact with your skin. 


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Saskiya Inshanally

Saskiya Inshanally is the editor-in-chief at The HomeKeeperHub. She has years of experience researching and experimenting in a wide array of topics. Saskiya has also co-founded which is dedicated to helping individuals have better skin.

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