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How to Get Rid of Odor in Boots: 9 Simple Hacks

Goodbye odors. Hello freshness. 

Our boots carry you through a lot of treacherous situations — we love them. But what about that stinky smell when you take them off at the end of the day?

We’ve researched nine awesome ways to get rid of that odor in boots so that you feel fresh every time you put your shoes on.

Key Takeaways

  • Make a deodorizing powder using cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oil to freshen up boots.
  • Use a DIY spray with water, distilled white vinegar, and tea tree oil to eliminate odors.
  • Air boots out in a shady spot indoors or under a UVC lamp to help kill bacteria and fungi.
  • Replace insoles or use alternative methods like dryer sheets, teabags, or citrus peels to combat boot smells.

How to Get Rid of Odor in Boots

There are many ways to remove odors from your boots. We’ll share nine methods and you can choose the one that sounds easiest and most effective for you.

Make a Deodorizing Powder

You can use eco-friendly and cheap products to make a powerful powder.

  1. Mix together one cup of cornstarch, ½ cup of baking soda, and ½ cup of baking powder together in a small bowl.
  2. Add five drops of essential oil. We recommend lavender and tea tree oil for removing odors.
  3. Sprinkle the deodorizing powder into your boots. If you have some leftover, put it in an airtight container and save it for later.
  4. Leave this powder for eight hours or overnight.
  5. Dump out the powder in the garbage afterward.
  6. Vacuum the inside of your boots.

This will freshen up your shoes and absorb odors so they smell super fresh!

DIY Spray

If you don’t want to use a powder, you can use a spray. And guess what? This spray is super handy for removing odors all around the house. This includes clothing, bedsheets, furniture, curtains, and it works as a room spray. In fact, you can even use it to clean surfaces!

  1. In a spray bottle, mix together ½ cup of water, ½ cup of distilled white vinegar, and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
  2. Spray inside of your shoes but don’t oversaturate the boots.
  3. After 10 minutes, use a dry cloth to wipe up the residue.
  4. Let them air dry until completely dry.

Top Tip

You can do this every couple of days to combat odors before they get noticeable.

Use UV Rays

If you stuff your boots in the closet or a shoe bin after wearing them, then the odors have nowhere to escape to. Instead, undo the laces, pull the tongues loose and air them out in a shady spot indoors. Another option is to put them under a UVC lamp. This will air them out, and the UV rays can help to kill bacteria, fungi, and odors (1).

Top Tip

Don’t confuse UVC lamps with the UV rays from the sun which can actually damage leather. If you’re going to pop your shoes in a sunny spot to dry, make sure to use a UV protector beforehand.

New Insoles

Sometimes you know you don’t need new boots, but something might be a little off. No matter what you do, are your shoes still smelly? It might be time for new insoles! You can get these from online stores, a shoe repair shop, or maybe even from the original manufacturer of your boots.

Stuff in the Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are super useful for a range of household tasks, including combating bad smells in your boots.

  1. Ball up a few dryer sheets.
  2. Stick them in each shoe to cover the entire insoles.
  3. Leave them overnight.
  4. Remove them in the morning and check for odors.

Teabag Test

Teabags can actually absorb odors. This is a great method for sports shoes.

  1. Place about five teabags in each boot, depending on the size of your feet.
  2. Leave overnight.
  3. In the morning, remove the teabags and check for smells.

Kitty Litter

Your cat’s litter is more versatile than just providing a good place for them to do their business. It can also remove odors from your boots.

  1. Sprinkle about a cup of kitty litter in each boot.
  2. Leave it overnight.
  3. Dump out the kitty litter in the morning.
  4. Vacuum the inside of the boots well. Voila! Odors be gone!

Citrus Fruit

Did you know you can use oranges, limes, lemon, or grapefruit peels to combat bad odors?

  1. Peel your citrus fruit of choice.
  2. Put the peel in the boots and leave it overnight.
  3. In the morning, remove the peel.

This is the best for light-duty stink. You could do this every few days to stay on top of odors rather than using it to fight really awful odors.

Commercial Products

If it comes down to it, and none of our natural methods are working for you, you could invest in a quality commercial deodorizer.

This may be a more expensive option but many have moisture-absorbing and antibacterial qualities to them to get rid of odors. Plus, they have strong fragrances to leave behind a fresh scent in your shoes.

If you go for a commercial choice, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the odors.

How to Prevent Odor in Boots

Prevention is often easier than tackling the odor, so here are our top tips for preventing odor so it doesn’t creep up on you:

  1. Wear socks every time you wear your boots. Make sure to wash the socks after every use. This will minimize the sweat from your feet coming into contact with the boots and reduce odors.
  2. Even if your shoes don’t stink that noticeably yet, use one of our methods, such as the DIY spray, regularly to stay on top of odors.
  3. Don’t put your boots into a closet or box after each use. Air them out first. To speed up the odor-killing process, stuff them with newspaper while they’re airing out.
  4. Keep your feet clean. Make sure you clean your feet well every single day when you’re in the shower.
  5. Don’t wear the same boots every day. We recommend giving each pair of shoes a day’s break between wearing them. This gives them a good chance to air out properly between uses.


Why Do My Boots Smell Bad?

Boots smell because feet stink. Plus, boots have less ventilation than other shoes, so it traps the odors in a lot more fiercely.

Feet stink because they sweat. A lot. This is more likely to happen if you’re on your feet all day, wear enclosed shoes, are going through hormonal changes, are stressed or have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis (2).

Will Freezing My Boots Kill Bad Odors?

Many sources suggest putting your boots in the freezer to kill odors. While you can definitely do that, we haven’t put it on our list for one reason. Freezing doesn’t kill bacteria; it just prevents it from growing (3).

So once you take your shoes out of the freezer, you may still notice some bad smells. We don’t recommend this for killing odors, but if you can’t get around to cleaning your boots for a few hours, pop them in the freezer until you have time to clean them.

What Is the Best Odor Eliminator?

In our experience, fresh air and a baking soda or vinegar solution is enough to tackle bad odors once and for all. This is definitely what we would reach for first. So air out your shoes and put to test our deodorizing powder or our DIY spray and watch the magic happen.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism, and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!