Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Stains & Odor from Shoes

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Safely Clean Smelly Shoes
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Safely Clean Smelly Shoes

Hydrogen Peroxide is a great way to not only get rid of odor from your shoes but clean off stubborn stains as well.

So in this article, we will guide you on how to use Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid of odor from shoes and remove stains as well.

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Get Rid Of Odor From Shoes

Hydrogen peroxide will get rid of odor from shoes by killing the bacteria, fungi, mold, and other germs that cause the smell in the first place. 

According to the CDC, Hydrogen peroxide works by producing destructive hydroxyl free radicals that can attack membrane lipids, DNA, and other essential cell components that keep these germs alive and thriving in our shoes. 

The CDC also suggests that the commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate and soft surfaces (like shoes). 

Related Article: How to Clean Fabric, Canvas or Mesh Shoes: White & ColoredOpens in a new tab.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Get Rid Of Shoe Odor

Things You Will Need:

  • 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • A clean cloth
  • A spray bottle

What To Do:

  1. Pour the hydrogen peroxide into your spray bottle (some come in a spray bottle already)
  2. Spray The hydrogen peroxide all over the inside of your shoes
  3. Use the cloth to spread the hydrogen peroxides all over the inside surfaces of the shoes.
  4. Let your shoes sit and air dry completely. 
  5. Repeat as often as needed. 

However, keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is a relatively strong bleaching agent. Therefore, if the insides of your shoes are black, or colored, you should be prepared for them to be bleached. 

If you do not have white shoes or do not want the insides of your shoes bleached, you should not use this method. 

While you can dilute the hydrogen peroxide, it may still bleach the shoes a little, and it will not be effective enough to kill all the germs. 

Other methods to get rid of odor from smelly shoes are:

Tea Bags For Smelly Shoes & Feet – Easy Home RemedyOpens in a new tab.

Freezing Shoes to Get Rid of Smell & Fungi – What to KnowOpens in a new tab.

Spraying Lysol to Clean Shoes- Is it Safe & Does it WorkOpens in a new tab.

How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean & Disinfect ShoesOpens in a new tab.

How To Clean The Outside Of Shoes With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is great for cleaning and disinfecting the outsides as well as the insides of shoes. Your method may depend on the kinds of shoes you are cleaning. 

However, Nike suggests that a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is generally safe for both colored and white shoes. This method, they say, removes mild stains while also disinfecting the shoes. Nike recommends spraying the hydrogen peroxides on the bottoms, sides and tops of the shoes, letting them sit for a few minutes, and then wiping them clean. 

If you have cloth shoes (canvas) it is best not to saturate the material with hydrogen peroxide and not to let it sit for too long before wiping it off. This will prevent it from fading or downright bleaching the material. 

Hydrogen peroxide is generally safe to clean leather shoes and the plastic, rubber, and silicone parts of shoes. 

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For colored shoes

The easiest way to use hydrogen peroxide is by spraying it on and using a brush, cotton pad, or cloth to clean the inside of the shoes. You can also dilute it with water. To prevent it from fading or bleaching your shoes, try not to saturate the material and make sure to wipe off the hydrogen peroxide after cleaning. Also, make sure to allow your shoes enough time to dry. 

One of the safest ways to clean colored shoes is to use Vinegar click here to learn more.Opens in a new tab.

Video: How to get ODORS out of Shoes

For white shoes

For white shoes, especially those made of canvas, the best way to use hydrogen peroxide is to make a paste:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with ½ tablespoon hydrogen peroxide and ½ tablespoon water (you may adjust these measurements based on how much paste you need to make to cover both shoes).
  2. Apply the paste all over the shoes as thickly as possible and use an old toothbrush to gently brush the surface and loosen any first and stains. 
  3. Then apply a second layer of the paste all over. 
  4. Soak the shoelaces in the remaining paste. 
  5. Place your shoes and the laces in the sun to dry for 3-4 hours. The hotter the sun, the whiter your shoes will get. 
  6. When the paste has completely dried, brush or wipe it off. 

Video: How to Clean White Shoes – Method that Works

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I spray hydrogen peroxide inside my shoes?

Yes, you can spray hydrogen peroxide inside your shoes. 

This will help to kill bacteria and fungi that cause them to be smelly. Ensure that you allow them to dry properly before wearing them again. 

Related Articles:

Why Shoes Smell After Getting Wet & What to Do to FixOpens in a new tab.

Baking Soda for Smelly Shoes – Read This Before TryingOpens in a new tab.

Can you use hydrogen peroxide to get stains out of shoes?

Yes, you can use hydrogen peroxide to get stains out of shoes. 

Hydrogen peroxide loosens up dirt and is great for removing stains from the outsides and even the insides of shoes. 

Related Articles:

Cleaning Shoes with Toothpaste: All that You Need to KnowOpens in a new tab.

How to Clean Shoes with a Magic Eraser – Ultimate GuideOpens in a new tab.

Does hydrogen peroxide ruin or bleach shoes?

Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching properties so it can ruin or bleach your shoes. However, this can be prevented. 

You can dilute your hydrogen peroxide or reduce the amount you are using and how long you are leaving it on the surface of your shoes. We recommend just spraying a little on the surface of your shoes, wiping or brushing them as quickly as your can to clean them, and then wiping or rinsing the hydrogen peroxide (and the stains or dirt) off again. 

Related Article – 7 Hacks To Fix Smelly Shoes Overnight Without WashingOpens in a new tab.

Will hydrogen peroxide yellow shoes?

Hydrogen peroxide has not been reported to cause shoes to become yellow. Rather, many people use it to clean yellowing shoes and soles. 

The bleaching properties of hydrogen peroxide make it a great agent to make discolored shoes and soles white again, especially when combined with baking soda. 

Related Article – UV Shoe Sanitizer: Does It Work & The Best Ones to GetOpens in a new tab.

What concentration of hydrogen peroxide should I use to clean shoes?

3% Hydrogen peroxide is the safest concentration for you to use and it is the most available commercial strength. 

This concentration is safest for your skin, will not damage the material or the color of your shoes if used correctly, and is affordable at many pharmacies. 

Related Article: How to Clean Shoes with OxiClean – What You Need to KnowOpens in a new tab.


Chemical Disinfectants | Disinfection & Sterilization Guidelines | Guidelines Library | Infection Control | CDCOpens in a new tab. 

How to Disinfect Your Sneakers. Nike.comOpens in a new tab. 

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How to Make Your Shoes White AgainOpens in a new tab. 

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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