We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Stinky Closet? Deodorize Your Shoes with These Simple Tricks

Woman putting her shoes away after freshening them up.
Kostikova Natalia/Shutterstock

Stinky shoes can smell up your entire closet. The smell drifts around and permeates the space soaking into your clothes, leaving you wondering if other people will notice the smell, too. Freshen up your closet with these tips.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and removes smells from many places. If you check the ingredients in shoe deodorizers, you’re likely to see it on the list.

Save some money and use good old-fashioned baking soda on its own (or add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to it to add a pleasant scent). You can sprinkle the baking soda right in your shoe, just be sure to get it spread evenly in there. Your socks may get a little white powder on them the next time you wear those shoes, but the lack of stink will be worth it!

Try White Vinegar or Rubbing Alcohol

Both white vinegar and rubbing alcohol kill bacteria, which could be the culprit of your stinky shoes. White vinegar will help neutralize the smell, too. Just use a cotton ball with either of these liquids to clean the insides of your shoes. Be sure to let them dry completely before you wear them again.

Wash Your Shoes

Not all shoes are washable, but if yours are (like canvas shoes and tennis shoes), consider sending them through the washing machine to help get rid of the smells overtaking your closet. Don’t wash leather shoes!

To thoroughly wash your shoes in the machine, remove laces and insoles and place everything in a pillowcase. Tie it off and run it through a regular wash with warm water and your usual detergent. Don’t dry your shoes in the dryer. If you can, dry them outdoors, in the sun. The sun will help disinfect them, and the fresh air will add to the “airing out.”

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?