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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Simple hacks for smelly work shoes

Words can’t explain how embarrassing it is to have people twitching their noses in your direction or even cussing under their breath when you take your shoes off in the office or any other public place.

The shame and indignity that comes from having to deal with reactions to the stench that oozes out of smelly work shoes can really be a confidence killer.

If this has been a major cause of worries and sleepless nights, then stick with us as we’ll be focusing on how to eliminate this foul odor from your shoes.

We’ll also be dishing out some proven simple and quick techniques that you can employ at home to keep your work shoes clean and fresh.

But why do they even smell so bad?

To be able to protect our feet effectively, even in the most hostile of environments, most work shoes – especially covers – come tightly and heavily padded. One of the major demerits of this is that it causes heat and humidity which then causes our feet to sweat.

The sweat, though odorless and colorless, creates an enabling environment for bacteria to thrive which then causes the foul embarrassing odor. The culprit is called BreviBacterium.

Another major cause of work shoes oozing out foul odor is wearing non–breathable shoes and socks that trap moisture. Wearing shoes without breathable mesh linings in the right places for long hours – say, 9-5, everyday, would most likely cause your feet to end up all sweaty and messy.

This is why it is advisable to opt for quality shoes with breathable mesh linings, especially if you work in an environment where you won’t have the luxury of taking off your shoes to give your feet a breather.

Tips for cleaning stinks out of your work shoes

Baking soda: This is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to handling the embarrassing stench that comes from work shoes. It’s as simple as mixing baking soda and cornstarch and sprinkling some of it inside your work shoes before going to bed.

Leave it to work its wonders overnight and wake up to see the amazing result. Take some moment to properly drain and clean up the in-soles and you have a pair of shoes, good as new. To add some extra scent, you can include a few drops of essential oil in your baking soda and cornstarch mixture.

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The magic of used teabags

Used teabags

This might sound absolutely crazy but testimonies abound to back this up. Teabags are known to contain tannin that has antibacterial properties.

Stuffing them in your shoes overnight after making your tea is a great idea that helps to combat the foul odor-causing bacteria in your work shoes.

Simply take out the teabags the following morning, clean up your shoes and you’re good to go.

So, when next you make your early morning tea and are about to discard the used teabags, you might wanna have a rethink as you just might be trashing up that remedy you’ve been searching for all along.

Homemade vinegar spray

 vinegar cleaning spray


Vinegar has been well-known over the years for neutralizing odors and fighting bacteria in shoes. You can take advantage of this hack and take some time out to make your homemade shoe spray.

Add half a cup of water to the same measurements of vinegar and mix it up with a few drops of Tea tree oil.

Get a used spray can to store your mixture and you have your own custom-made shoe spray. This formula has been proven to be more effective than so many commercial shoe spray brands on store shelves and also costs little to nothing, comparatively.


Frozen shoes


Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, they say. If all other methods have been a let-down, this is one radical, yet scientifically-proven approach you can count on to never fail you.

Freezing helps to eliminate the bacteria that is responsible for foot smell, so you can expect to have your shoes smelling fresher than usual while dressing up to go to work the next morning.

When you get back home from work, take your shoes off and ensure to dust them thoroughly. Get a plastic bag and place them inside before putting it in the refrigerator overnight. You might have to wake up earlier than usual the next morning to take it out of the refrigerator to give it enough time to thaw.

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The fruity approach

lemon rind


Citrus fruits are packed with anti-bacterial qualities and lemon and lime are two of the most blessed of them.

Get some lime or lemon peels and crush them. Put in your boots overnight and allow the essential oil in the fruit peel to help fight off the bacteria in your work shoes. Wake up the next morning to a fresh-smelling pair of work shoes.

And oh, have a FRUITful day!

The alcohol solution

Disinfectant alcohol gel


Alcohol is well known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties so, making a mixture of it and water is a great idea that helps to combat shoe smell.

Make sure the water and alcohol are of equal measure and sprinkle inside your work shoes overnight.

You can get a used spray can to make it easier to penetrate the nook and crannies of your shoes.


Smelly shoes are always a huge source of embarrassment, especially when you’re out in a public place. It can also cause you to spend unnecessarily, especially when you have to keep changing your work shoes more often than normal.

Each of the suggested hacks in this article has been proven over the years by others to help combat this menace. You can also take some time out to try them out so you can get to choose a suitable option that works best for you.

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