• The Best Shoes for Nurses

How to eliminate bad odor from your shoes?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

How to eliminate bad odor from your shoes?
How to eliminate bad odor from your shoes?

Having bad smelling shoes are expected when they are used for 8-12 long hour shifts. When moisture builds up inside those shoes (non-breathable styles), odor-producing bacteria begins to replicate exponentially, which will generate that unpleasant smell coming from your feet.

It is quite embarrassing when that happens and self-confidence tend to decrease in front of co-workers and family members. But don’t fret! There are simple ways to prevent this from happening. Read along and pick up some tips to eliminate bad odor from your shoes.

Coffee grounds

Have you ever used coffee grounds to remove some awful smell inside the refrigerator where we forgot to throw away moldy food that has been sitting inside the fridge for days? They really work great!

It’s the same principle when we use coffee grounds to eliminate smell from our shoes. Place 1 cup in old nylon tights or coffee filter, tie them good and place inside the shoes for 24-48 hours and odor is gone. Using a tea bag is a good alternative also.

Essential oil and cotton balls

Apply several drops of essential oil (any citrus or lemon scent would be perfect) to some cotton balls then place them inside the shoes, leave them overnight.


Moisture is one of the most common cause of stinky shoes. The heat from the sun can dry up those shoes pretty good and naturally kills bacteria. However, this does not apply to leather shoes because sun exposure can fade the color and the surface may crack.

Citrus fruit peels

Don’t throw away those orange or citrus fruit peels. They can be used as deodorant for stinky shoes. Studies have shown that they have good antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The highest antibacterial activity was seen against Enterococcus feacalis and Bacillus subtilis (nasty bugs)

Place some peels inside the shoes and leave them overnight. Those foot wear will smell fresh the next day and less bacteria.

Baking soda

Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is a great moisture absorbent (including sweat and water) and has antibacterial property also, making it as a cheap shoe deodorant, available at any time.

It can be applied directly inside the shoe or use a coffee filter (same as with the coffee filter). If you will do the latter, adding some drops of essential oil is optional, for addition scent.

What if you have hyperhidrosis? This is a condition where there is hypersecretion of sweat greater than a physiologic need to regulate body temperature. This can be seen in axilla, palms or feet.

Sweaty feet can create stinky shoes, that’s a known fact. Topical antiperspirant therapy is initially tried first because they are easy to apply and available at any store. However, for some cases, prescription antiperspirants may be needed if the first therapy fails. Frequent changing of socks, using absorbent shoe insoles and foot powder are helpful to avoid smelly shoes.

Hope this helps to keep those working shoes odor-free and ready to use on you next shift!!!

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