Freezing Shoes to Get Rid of Smell & Fungi – What to Know

Does Freezing Shoes Get Rid Of Smell & Kill Fungi
Does Freezing Shoes Get Rid Of Smell & Kill Fungi

One of the most annoying and embarrassing things we have to deal with is smelly feet and smelly shoes. In enclosed shoes, bacteria and fungi, combined with sweat from our feet, make the perfect ingredients for odor.

Humanity has been trying to explore different ways to get rid of this annoying issue. Some quite surprising things have been proposed. One of them is: Freezing. 

Yep. You can apparently put your shoes in your good, ol’ freezer (preferably well separated from your frozen meats and food). 

Will Freezing Shoes Get Rid Of Odor 

Freezing your shoes will not permanently or completely get rid of shoe odor, but it will get rid of some or most of it and make it better. 

When it comes to smells, odor molecules move much slower in cold air than in normal or humid air. Therefore, if your shoes are still smelly even after you have washed them, or if deodorant sprays do not help completely, you can freeze them to help with the smell. 

How well this works will also depend on how smelly your shoes are, the cause of the odor, and how long you can freeze them. The longer they are frozen, the better. 

Also, you need to make sure they thaw out properly and are completely dry before wearing them again. 

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Does Putting Shoes In The Freezer Kill Fungus & Bacteria

Freezing your shoes will kill some of the bacteria and fungi that cause them to smell, but it will not kill all of them, especially if they are many. 

Bacteria and fungi thrive in places that are damp, hot, warm, humid, and wet. Freezing your shoes when they are dry will eliminate many of these factors. This means that many of the bacteria and fungi will die eventually. 

Killing off some of the fungi and bacteria will go a long way in making your shoe cleaner and smell better since bacteria and fungi mixed with sweat are what cause smelly feet and shoes in the first place. 

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How To Safely Freeze Shoes

To make this method effective, you need to do it properly. 

  1. First, ensure that your shoes are dry and relatively clean.
  2. Some people wash and dry their shoes first. Others simply sun them out to make sure they are dry. 
  3. Then, place your dry shoes in plastic bags that can be sealed to keep any outside odors from getting in. The best options are air-tight zip locks. This will prevent your meat or frozen food from smelling like shoes and vice versa. 
  4. When your shoes have been adequately covered in plastic, place them in a clean part of your freezer. 
  5. When you are ready to take your shoes out, let them thaw out completely and then remove them from the plastic bags. 
  6. After they have been removed, let them thaw out some more and dry. 
  7. You may spray them with a disinfectant spray, but do not saturate the soft areas. Let them dry completely. 
  8. Repeat the freezing process as often as needed. 

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How Long Do You Need To Freeze Shoes

To kill bacteria and fungi, and to get rid of odor, it is recommended that you freeze your shoes overnight at the very least. 

How effective this will be will depend on how smelly your shoes are. The longer you can freeze them the better. If you can leave them in there for 24 hours or more, all the better. 

However, leaving them overnight or for 12 hours should be enough to get rid of much of the smell. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often can you freeze your shoes?

Depending on the material of your shoes, you may freeze them every time the odor becomes too much for you or as often as your feel is necessary. 

Some shoes may be damaged by too much freezing or some may be able to resist developing an odor for longer. Therefore, when deciding how often to freeze them, look at the care instructions and material of your shoes to make sure they can withstand the process. 

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Will freezing shoes damage them?

Some shoes may be damaged by freezing while others may not, especially if you do not freeze them correctly. 

For instance, if you freeze them wet and then thaw them out repeatedly, this will damage things like the soles, stitching, or glues that hold the shoes together. 

Other shoes simply cannot withstand the process of freezing because of their material and manufacturing process, so always check to make sure. 

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What types of shoes can be frozen and what types cannot?

Different kinds of shoes will be affected differently by freezing. 

Running shoes with soft insoles may become damaged, especially when it comes to cushions and sole flexibility. If possible, you should take out your soles before freezing your shoes and clean them separately. 

Leather shoes will become more stretched when frozen. If you want to stretch your shoes as well as get rid of odor, then freezing your leather shoes is a great idea. However, if you do not want them to become looser on your feet, freezing them may not be the best idea. 

Shoes that are glued may unravel after freezing and thawing out. This process will make the bonds in the glue weaker and easier to break. However, this depends on the kind of glue that is used. Stitched shoes have a better chance of lasting longer when frozen and thawed out properly. 

Shoes that are made of hard plastic, silicone, or rubber on the outside are great for freezing. While the thin versions of these materials can break under extremely cold temperatures, the kinds on your shoes hold up rather well. They become cold but they do not freeze enough to break. They thaw out well too. 

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What other methods can help with odor and fungus in shoes

Other methods that can be used to help with shoe odor and fungus include:

  • Washing with detergent and air drying completely
  • Using disinfectant sprays and wipes like Lysol
  • Spraying regularly with bleach and water or bleach sprays
  • Cleaning with baking soda and vinegar
  • Spraying with hydrogen peroxide
  • Cleaning with rubbing alcohol
  • UV shoe sanitizers
  • Filling them for a few hours with kitty litter
  • Replacing soles 

Video: How to Get Rid of Stinky Shoe and Sneaker Stench

The Doctors test out 4 different methods to get rid of shoe odor including freezing!


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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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