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Family Foot & Ankle

How To Remove Odor From Smelly Shoe

With summer coming up in the near future, there’s a lot to look forward to. Visiting the markets at Fountain Square or Gabriel’s Place, attending the “Hump Day Concert Series” at Voice of America MetroPark, or checking out the Summer Cinema program at Washington Park are all warm weather events local residents enjoy. Of course, while you’re participating in your favorite summer activities, your feet are working overtime to stay cool.

How to Remove Odor From Smelly ShoesTo help keep temperatures down, your feet rely on hundreds of thousand sweat glands in the skin. Everyone knows sweat causes odor, but not as commonly known is the fact this odor is the byproduct of bacteria digesting the sweat. What all of this means is you—and your loved ones—can end up with some smelly footwear. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to treat shoe odor.

To eliminate the smelliness, use these following measures:

  • Wash them. Check the label first, but if your child’s shoes can be machine-washed, take out the laces and insoles, put them in a pillow case, and then close up the open end. Toss them in the washer with some detergent, and run the washer at 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the washer has stopped, run it a second time, and then allow the shoes to air dry completely before they are worn again.

  • Dry them out. The bacteria responsible for the offensive odor require moisture to survive. You can deprive them of this by removing the laces, lifting the tongue up and out, and then placing them in a sunny spot so they will dry faster.

  • Antifungal and antibacterial sprays and powders. Another way to address the bacteria, and possible fungal contamination, is to use over-the-counter antibacterial and antifungal products. Spray or sprinkle powder in your child’s shoes before and after they wear them to eliminate microorganisms that can cause a funky odor. Even better, this can help prevent athlete’s foot and fungal toenails as well!

  • Use citrus fruit peels. Citrus fruit peels contain essential oils that produce the fragrant aromas we associate with oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Place some fresh citrus fruit peels in a pair of shoes at night, take them out in the morning, and they should smell much better.

  • Purchasing cedar wood insoles. Cedar wood is antifungal, can help prevent odor, and it smells fresh, all of which make it a great option to eliminate shoe odor.

  • Inserting fabric softener sheets. Take one or two new dryer sheets, ball them up, and then place them in the shoes after your child wears them to wick away moisture and leave a pleasant aroma.

  • Alternate them. A method to maintain fresh-smelling shoes is simply alternating them to avoid wearing the same pair two days, or more, in a row. This is an organic way of ensuring they dry thoroughly inside and do not provide an environment for bacterial growth, the source of the pungent smells.

Keep in mind that smelly shoes and feet can potentially be an indication of a serious medical condition that may require professional care. If you have foot odor that will not go away, contact us online or make an appointment with any of our Family Foot & Ankle Center offices by calling toll free (888) 689-3317 today!
Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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