How to Clean Your Shoes and Insoles

Cleaning Tips for Shoes and Insoles  

Odor in shoes and feet is common. With more than 250,000 sweat glands in our feet, sweat seems to be the main cause of odor. Keeping our feet, socks and shoes clean and dry is the first step to avoiding unwanted odors, but if this doesn’t work, listed below are other options to try. Keep in mind that everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. 

  • Use warm water and mild soap or detergent and wipe down or gently scrub with an old toothbrush or nylon brush; do not saturate with water. Air-dry overnight. It is a good idea to remove your insoles from your shoes each night so that air can dry each side. This is especially important if you perspire heavily. 
  • Spray your shoes and insoles with a combination of 50 percent water and 50 percent white, distilled vinegar. Spritz the mixture into your shoe lining and sole, and let it air dry for 30 minutes. You can use a hair dryer after that if you are in a hurry to dry the shoe. Follow that up with baking soda in the shoe overnight. 
  • Using a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and 1 part hot water, soak the insoles for a few hours. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will work to kill the bacteria hiding in the shoes. 
  • Use baking soda to neutralize odors and kill bacteria.Put one to two teaspoons of baking soda in a large plastic bag. Then, place the insoles in the bag and shake the bag. Make sure you get the baking soda all over the insoles. Let the insoles sit in the bag overnight. Then, take them out of the bag and use a clean cloth to wipe off any remaining baking soda on the insoles.
  • Some people use a pet odor remover found at pet stores or hardware stores. One brand was called "Out! Stain & Odor Remover."  
  • Dryer sheets.Leaving the insoles in the shoes cut a dryer sheet in two and place each piece in each shoe. Let the dryer sheet sit in the shoes overnight to remove odor in the shoe and the insole. This is a good option if you are in a hurry to remove odor from the insoles and want a quick solution. 
  • Put smelly shoes or insoles in the freezer. This trick works surprisingly well, especially for shoes/insoles that shouldn’t get wet. Place the shoes/insoles in a clean freezer bag (I’m sure you don’t want shoe germs all over your food!) and let the cold kill the bacteria for 24 to 48 hours.

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