You are just back from a long run. You are sweaty and very tired, and thud down on the couch with a glass of refreshing water and a banana to maximize the rewards of a temporarily guilt-less conscience. Your shoes come off, your feet resting on the arms of the couch, you recline and then lie back for a well-deserved nap… suddenly a horrific aroma reaches your nostrils.
It smells like a cross between an old block of cheese and a four-day-old steamed broccoli you’ve been too lazy to dispose of. Not in any mood for anything to disturb your sleep, you begin a sniffing investigation. A few sniffs here and there and viola the culprit is located; it’s coming from your shoes.
The smell is not just ruining your post-run relaxation time; it also got you baffled; the shoes are basically new! How do they smell just as bad as your old pair of runners?
Regardless of the reason behind your horrific shoe odor, there is plenty of natural, easy ways to kill the odor without a trip to the store (or wherever it is that a person buys deodorizing shoe powder). Below are five ways you can eliminate the shoe Odor, and get back to your nap ASAP.
1. Baking soda
Baking soda is the number one natural hack for killing shoe odor; it works like magic! You may have listened in to how some people leave open baking soda containers in their fridge to absorb odors that ooze out of food. The same approach can be applied to your shoes as well.
Baking soda’s anti-odor properties is conferred because of its amphoteric abilities. This ability enables it to react with both strong acidic compounds and gases and strong basic (alkaline) compounds and gases. These compounds and gases are typically the sources of the really strong odors, so when it comes in contact with these odors, it elicits a reaction that neutralizes the source of the smell.
It’s not exactly space science, but it’s still reasonably technical. Well, all you need to do, however, is to sprinkle little amount of baking soda in the stinking shoe and allow it neutralize the odor overnight. The following morning, dust out the used baking soda from the shoe and you are good to go. Just be sure not to use the smelly baking soda in your next batch of cookies!
2. Apple cider vinegar
Regular Herbalpharmal readers won’t be very surprised to see this hack on the menu. Apple cider vinegar can be used for just about anything, it seems!
Apple cider vinegar is not just a powerful superfood and natural medicine; it is also a remarkable deodorizer. Its effectiveness may be due to the beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in ACV or the strong mixture of acids is anyone’s guess, but apple cider vinegar applied to the inside of a stinky shoe works wonders.
Simply wipe some apple cider vinegar onto a cotton ball and wipe all around the inside of the offending shoe. Apply it two to three times a day until the odor begins to diminish. Don’t over apply the apple cider vinegar, as the excessive application can have your shoe smelling like vinegar instead of old broccoli!
3. Essential oils
Essential oils are potent natural shoe odor killer, many have been shown to eliminate a wide range of pathogenic microbes, not excluding those implicated in smelly shoes!
Three examples of such oils are thyme, clove, and cinnamon. These oils have been shown to also exhibit antimicrobial properties against Salmonella and Staphylococcus species.
Furthermore, both clove and cinnamon exhibit strong antimicrobial abilities, especially fungi often found in bread products. Certainly, among the three of them, you can get the stinking shoe odor under control!
The easiest way to apply this oil is to put a drop of each essential oil onto the sole of a smelly shoe. After a while, the volatile compounds in the oils will neutralize the odor by eliminating the bacteria responsible for the odor in the first place.
Another way is to mix a teaspoon of coconut oil (to serve as a carrier) with about three drops each of thyme, clove, and cinnamon, use a cotton bud to take a swab and dab the inside of the shoe. Leave the cotton bud inside the shoe and close the mouth of the shoe overnight, you can wrap the shoe in a plastic bag.
The following morning, gingerly unwrap your stinky shoe and, hopefully, the odor will be completely exterminated! Apart from maybe a pleasant aroma of cinnamon, clove, and thyme.
4. Kitty litter
I think we are really getting funky now. For those who are low on baking soda but have a house cat, there is a simple alternative; Kitty litter! Yes, you heard me right; Kitty litter! Just as kitty litter can absorb pungent aromas lurking inside your cat’s litter box, the same is applicable to absorbing odors from your stinky shoes.
For effective results, stuff the offending shoe with kitty litter and leave it until the following morning or as long as you can. After which you simply dump out the litter (you could perhaps reuse it in your cat’s litter box, but “hey don’t do it the other way around”), flip over the shoe and tap it a couple of times to remove any stubborn bits and dust, and you’re away laughing!
5. Lemon juice
Just as it is in essential oils, lemon juice also possess natural volatile compounds which makes it a sworn enemy of several odor-causing bacteria.
To make a natural odor-killing recipe, get squeezed lemon juice of about half a cup of water and use a cotton ball to wipe the mixture into the inside of the offending shoe once or twice a day.
After a couple of days, the stink should have been of a distant memory, replaced by a fresh lemon-ty scent. Cheers!