How To Make Boots Not Smell? 11 Ways to Keep Boots from Stinking

Do you notice a foul odor from your shoes? Fret not! This article will walk you through the different ways how to keep your boots from stinking. 

I do not know about you, but whenever I return home after a long day at work, I often smell a foul odor from my boots. I tried throwing the shoes in the washing machine, but I could still notice the unpleasant smell.

That is why I researched further about how to keep boots from stinking. I will share the methods that I learned in this article, so you can achieve shoes that smell fresh.

I will also discuss the factors behind the bad odor from your boots. This way, it is easier to target the root cause and prevent your shoes from smelling bad again. 

So, without further ado, let us get on the article!

Why Do My Boots Smell Bad?

If you are wondering why your boots smell bad, this section will cover the main reasons behind this foul odor.

The primary reason for boots smelling is feet perspiring. When you sweat, moisture seeps into the material of the shoes. Unfortunately, bacteria and fungi can thrive in these warm and humid conditions. These organisms can lead to a foul smell in your shoes.

You are more likely to experience sweating if you are on your feet all day. You can also profusely sweat if you have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.

How To Keep Boots From Stinking?

There are several ways to prevent boots from stinking. I will walk you through nine methods in the section below. It is up to you to choose one that sounds the most effective for you.

Scrub Your Boots With Water and Cleaning Solution

When you always sweat, it is likely that your boots are filled with bacteria and fungi. You can also expect dirt and grime stuck on the exterior surface, especially if you are out and about.

So if you want to keep your boots from smelling, it is best to wash your boots with antibacterial soap.

Mix laundry detergent or saddle soap and warm water together. Grab a clean cloth and dampen it. Then, rub this soft cloth and apply the cleaning solution to the boots. Make sure to lather the saddle soap to cover all parts of the boots.

You can also opt to use a soft brush to wash away dirt and all the bacteria stuck on the boot exterior.

If you properly clean your boots, you can effectively get rid of bacteria and fungi, which cause foul boot odor.

Spray Alcohol in the Boots

If your boots are not that dirty, you can consider a quick-fix alcohol spray to kill the bad smell from them.

In a small spray bottle, mix 50% part alcohol and 40% water. You can also include a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or lime, to add a pleasant smell to the boots. Then, make sure to stir the alcohol solution thoroughly.

Once done, you can now spritz this alcohol spray on your smelly boots. You can also diffuse this cleaning solution on the inner lining and insoles of the shoes.

The ingredients of this alcohol solution can kill bacteria and fungi that cause a foul odor in your boots. Hence, they can keep your shoes fresh. 

However, it is essential to note that spraying alcohol on your smelly boots is often a short-term solution. If you can still notice an unpleasant smell, you can try the other methods below to keep your shoes from stinking.

Use Baking Soda or Cornstarch

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Do you want to get rid of unnecessary moisture that causes smelly shoes? You can try using baking soda or cornstarch. These are antibacterial cleaning agents that prevent dampness on boots. At the same time, they can effectively prevent a foul odor.

It is relatively easy to use them. Simply sprinkle the baking soda or cornstarch inside the boots to kill the foul odor.

Just be careful around leather boots or suede shoes because they can easily get brittle with direct contact with these ingredients. If this is the case, you can opt to put the baking soda or cornstarch inside a plastic bag. Then, put this sachet inside the shoes. Leave it overnight to deodorize the boots.

Sprinkle Talcum Powder

Imperial Leather Talcum Powder

As previously mentioned, the unpleasant boot odor is often a result of sweaty feet.

If uncontrollable perspiration is a recurring problem, you can try using talcum powder. Apply this to your skin to help prevent and soak sweat.

Once you control the moisture, you can also get rid of the unpleasant smell from the boots. 

Consider Essential Oils To Kill the Smell

A few drops of essential oil inside your boots can effectively kill any unpleasant smell. They can also act as a deodorizer for shoes to prevent foul odor from building up inside. 

Consider lavender or tea tree oil, which ultimately adds a pleasing scent to your boots. 

Put Lemon Peels Inside the Boots

Besides applying essential oils, you can also use citrus fruits to remove odors inside the boots. Feel free to use lemon, limes, oranges, and even grapefruit to fight bad smells.

Simply peel the citrus fruit of your choice. Then, place these fruit peels inside the boots. Make sure to leave them overnight to absorb the stink in your shoes. In the morning, remove the peel from your boots. 

However, putting lemon peels inside your boots is only best for targetting light-duty stink. You can try using this method every few days to stay on top of odors, but they cannot completely prevent your shoes from smelling bad.

Add Dryer Sheets Inside Your Boots

If you are looking for a cheap yet effective way to make boots not smell, consider using dryer sheets.

They are originally made for making laundry feel softer to the touch. But at the same time, they are ideal for a range of household tasks, including combating bad smells in your boots.

Get a few pieces of dryer sheets and ball them up. Then, put them in each boot. Make sure to cover the entire insoles.

After, you can leave them in a cool and well-ventilated area overnight. Simply remove the dryer sheets in the morning and check for odors. The chances are you would not notice any bad smell anymore. 

Insert Teabags Into Your Smelly Shoes

Believe it or not, teabags can effectively kill bacteria that cause the foul odor inside your boots.

All you need to do is finish your cup of tea. Then, insert the teabags inside the boots. Leave your boots overnight to absorb odors. In the morning, remove them and expect your boots to stop smelling bad and have a fresh scent.

Expose the Boots Under the Sun

If you have boots wet from moisture or your sweat, you can leave them outside and exposed to the sun. Make sure to undo the laces and pull the tongue loose to air dry them out effectively.

The heat from the sun can keep your boots dry completely. Hence, it can kill the bacteria and fungi inside your boots to prevent odor.

However, it is essential to use a UV protector before putting your work boots and shoes outside. This product can protect your leather boots from harmful UV rays. 

Invest in a Boot Dryer

PEET 2-Shoe Electric Shoe and Boot Dryer and Warmer

Do you prefer drying your boots indoors? If so, consider investing in a boot dryer.

As its name suggests, this piece of equipment can dry your boots effectively and quickly. It does this by introducing air to the shoes, which eliminates moisture inside the shoes.

Some models of dryers can remove moisture in several hours. Others even let you use high-speed settings to dry boots in under an hour or two.

Keep Your Feet Clean and Fresh to Prevent Sweaty Feet

The last method on how to make boots not smell is to keep your feet clean. As you probably already know, one of the reasons why shoes smell is sweaty feet. This moisture can seep into the boot interior, which causes bacteria and fungi.

When you wash your feet often with antibacterial soap, you can prevent them from sweating, and hence, smelling bad.

It is also best to scrub your feet once a week to kill odor-causing bacteria. You might also want to apply essential oils to help moisturize your feet.

Furthermore, regularly clipping and trimming your nails is a must for eliminating odor in your boots.

Finally, you can consider setting a weekly routine of removing dead skin on your feet with a filer and heel cleaner. 

Doing all these steps of proper boot care can ensure your work boots smelling fresh.

Will Freezing My Boots Kill Bad Odors?

Besides the methods above, you might have also heard about putting your boots in the freezer to kill odor.

While it is possible to do that, I do not recommend placing your shoes inside the freezer to leave overnight. The reason behind this is cold temperatures do not kill bacteria. Instead, it simply prevents it from growing. Hence, you could not rely on freezing to kill bad odors from your boots.

With that said, you can still pop your boots in the freezer if you cannot get around to cleaning them for a few hours. Doing so can save you from the unpleasant smell, even just for a few hours.


Your boots can smell bad if they are wet from sweat or dirty from constant outdoor use. Fortunately, there are several ways that can keep boots from stinking. Make sure to try each method to see which one is the easiest and most effective for your unique needs. Finally, do not forget to take care of your feet properly. Make sure to wash and scrub them regularly to prevent sweaty feet.