Four Ways to Keep Your Shoes Fresh in a Pinch


Ideally, you don’t want to be spraying your shoes every single day in order to keep them fresh. Perhaps you have a pair of work shoes, ever reliable and worn every weekday. Keeping such a pair smelling fresh can prove to be a fairly difficult (or at least annoyingly regular) task. For optimal results then, you can scarcely do better than something like the new shoe deodorizer from ShoeFresh. The unique advantage of using this type of deodorizer is the sheer length of time it can keep shoes smelling as fresh as new. One spray will do for three months.

But what if you don’t have such a useful product to hand? There are many situations in which you could find yourself in a pinch. Perhaps you’re off to a social gathering at short notice, your trusty ShoeFresh back at home or just run out? Maybe you’re on your way to an important event through the wet streets on a rainy day? There’s nothing quite like getting them wet to have your shoes smelling foul in no time.

Fear not. There are in fact many ways you can get your shoes smelling fresh at short notice just by using a range of everyday household products. It’s a sub optimal solution, and some of these tricks might seem more trouble than they’re worth, but they could just be a saving grace in an hour of need.

Why Do Shoes Smell?

The reasons our shoes become smellier than any other item of clothing we may wear for extended periods is simply down to the fact that feet are the one part of the body that get almost no ventilation over the course of a day. This means that when shoes get wet – and this can happen by stepping in a puddle or simply from one’s own sweat – then the insides of shoes become a breeding ground for bacteria, and thus a bad smell.

Here are some makeshift solutions that can be a saving grace when that happens at short notice:

Makeshift Shoe Deodorizers

Baking Soda

Baking soda is the perennial Swiss army knife of kitchen substances, with what seems like endless diverse uses – from cleaning a wine stain from a carpet to settling an upset stomach. It can also be used to deodorize shoes. The method is simple: simply sprinkle the stuff on the inside of your shoes, leave them for a while and it will absorb all the moisture. You will need to make sure you shake off all that powder before wearing the shoes, of course.


When using this technique, you will need to make sure you get the right sort of vinegar – don’t go seasoning your shoes like a Caesar salad! However, if you have white spirit vinegar (or better yet, the vinegar spray normally used for cleaning windows) then this is a quick way of deodorizing your shoes. It’s still not instant, but it can have them smelling significantly better within half an hour.


If your house is in real need of some restocking and you can’t find any baking soda or vinegar, then salt is another desiccant (moisture absorbing substance) that can deodorize your shoes to a reasonably acceptable degree.

Cat Litter

The whole point of this product is that it absorbs the moisture from cat droppings and urine, thereby stopping them smelling too badly. Cat litter can do a similar job in your shoes.

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for a proper shoe deodorizer like ShoeFresh, but you never know when one of these sub-optimal solutions could actually save the day.

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