How to Clean the Inside of Stinky Shoes & Flats


When your feet sweat, they activate odor-causing bacteria. The bacteria-laden sweat transfers to the inside of your flats or shoes, resulting in an unpleasant, stinky smell. Rather than toss your shoes in a garbage bin, you can clean the inside of them to get rid of the culprit. Once you deodorize your shoes, you can work toward keeping the inside of your footwear dry and odor-free so you won't have the same problem again.

How to Clean the Inside of Stinky Shoes & Flats
(Leigh Green/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp. of water
  • Container
  • Sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Shoe disinfectant spray
Step 1

Mix 1 tbsp. of white vinegar with 5 tbsp. of water in a small container. Remove the insoles of the stinky shoes if possible.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 2

Dip a sponge in the vinegar and water solution and squeeze it gently to remove excess liquid. Wipe the insoles with the sponge to clean them. Allow the insoles to air-dry in a well-ventilated area.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 3

Rinse out the sponge under clean, running water and then dip it back into the vinegar and water solution. Wipe the insides of the flats or shoes with the sponge. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area to air dry.

Leigh Green/Demand Media
Step 4

Sprinkle the insides of your flats or shoes with baking soda after each wearing to deodorize them. Spray the inside of the shoes with a shoe disinfectant spray instead, if you don't want to use baking soda.

Leigh Green/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • To combat stinky odors, place a piece of plastic wrap in the bottom of each shoe. Dip two cotton balls in your favorite essential oil and place one cotton ball on the plastic wrap in each shoe. Leave the cotton overnight, or until you wear the shoes again.
  • Slip cedar blocks inside your flats or shoes to help combat odors.
  • Sprinkle table salt in canvas shoes to absorb existing odors. Don't forget to dump the salt into a wastebasket before wearing the shoes.
  • Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Give your shoes at least one day to air out before wearing again.


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