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Shoes made with rubber or synthetic materials can smell really bad after a day's
use. Inadequate ventilation of the feet promotes excessive sweating, and moisture
from sweat collects in the shoes. Bacteria on human skin combines with perspiration
to produce unpleasant body odor (BO), which can attach itself to shoes (if worn without
socks), socks, shirts, and sports gear.
There are several ways to neutralize terrible smells and eliminate perspiration stains.
But, the best way to kill foul-smelling odors without introducing unquestionable
chemicals and carcinogens into your house are natural ingredients – essential oils,
vinegar, salt, and baking soda.
How to Clean Smelly Shoes and Remove Perspiration Stains
Essential oils are naturally powerful antiseptics. In fact, some essential oils are
found to be more antiseptic than phenol (carbolic acid), which is commonly used for
years as a disinfectant and germicide in conventional laundry detergents and air
Take thyme and Australian tea tree oil, for example. The strong antiseptic properties
of thyme are effective against a variety of bacterial and fungal species while tea
tree oil (an essential oil from the Melaleuca tree) kills bacteria and mold on contact.
Homemade Shoe Deodorizer Recipe
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons essential oil (thyme essential oil or tea tree oil) and
2 cups water.
How to make shoe deodorizer: Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake
vigorously to blend. To use, spray area with the odor (spray the insides daily to
deodorize smelly shoes). Don't rinse out.
You can also use the spray to remove nasty odors from sports equipment and gear that
can't be washed such as lacrosse pads, hockey bags, yoga mats, and gloves.
Note: Tea tree oil has a strong but not unpleasant odor that will naturally dissipate
in a few days. If you've any serious medical conditions or are pregnant, always consult
your physician before using essential oils.
Bacteria thrivewithin a narrow range of pH between 6.7 and 7.5. White distilled
vinegar has a pH value of about 2.4, which makes it unfavorable for bacteria growth.
Studies show that using a straight 5% solution of vinegar (commonly found in your
local supermarket) will kill 99% bacteria, 82% mold, and 80% germs (viruses).
Make a vinegar spray with half water and half white distilled vinegar, and use it
to clean and disinfect shoes, or spray onto sweat stains before washing.
Alternatively, add white distilled vinegar to laundry to boost the power of washing
detergent. Soak laundry with 2 cups of vinegar for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Add enough water to cover clothes. Agitate water before washing as usual.
Note: If you can't tolerate the smell of vinegar, trying adding a few drops of essential
oil to vinegar. Lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil, rosemary essential oil,
or oregano essential oils works well to mask the smell of vinegar.
Salt is extremely effective for sweat stain removal as well as eliminating lingering
Put clothes in a bucket of warm water. Add 4 tablespoons of salt to 1 gallon of water.
Let clothing soak overnight, and launder as usual the next day.
You can also make a paste with ½ cup table salt, 2 teaspoons hand dish detergent
and a small amount of water. Stir to completely mix the paste. Rub on perspiration
stains and leave it for a few hours before laundering the garment.
Although baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) doesn't get rid of sweat stains the way
salt might, it's a powerful odor absorber.
Sprinkle liberal amounts of baking soda into footwear (boots, slippers, shoes) and
let set for a few hours before tapping out excess.
To remove smells from sweaty garment, place 1-2 cups of baking soda into the washing
machine. Add warm water, agitate and let it soak overnight. Wash as usual.
I don't want to sound too disgusting but my husband's shoes stink like cat pee, and
my kids' sports jerseys smell really awful! I had tried all kinds of expensive commercial
products to kill laundry odors but nothing can remove bad smell from clothes efficiently.
Any natural ways to get rid of perspiration odors from clothing and also take stink
out of shoes? – Jane, Idaho.