Wool is a wonderful fiber for slippers, offering unrivaled warmth, comfort and durability as well as a natural resistance to stains and odors. With enough wear, however, wool slippers do eventually start to smell less than fresh, which is when you encounter the only real drawback of wool – it's finicky to wash.
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You can't simply put wool slippers in the washing machine, and hand-washing must be done with minimal agitation, a gentle detergent and cold water only. Improper washing can ruin wool slippers due to shrinking and excess pilling, so you should only do so when it's absolutely necessary. Fortunately, there is an effective way to make wool slippers smell good that doesn't require a full wash.
Things You'll Need
Essential oils, such as tea tree or eucalyptus (optional)
Sealable plastic bag or lidded plastic box
Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
Select a sealable plastic bag or a plastic box with a tight lid that is large enough to contain the wool slippers. This could be a 2-gallon food storage bag or a shoebox-size container.
Add approximately 2 cups of baking soda and 2 cups of cornstarch to the container and shake or stir to mix well.
Optionally, add 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil to the baking soda and cornstarch mixture. Shake or stir to distribute it evenly. Some essential oils, such as tea tree, mint and clove, have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This makes them helpful as deodorizers in addition to adding a pleasant fragrance to the slippers.
Place the slippers inside the container and seal it tightly. Gently shake the bag or box so that the slippers get fully coated with a layer of the baking soda and cornstarch mixture. You might open the container and use a spoon or your fingers to distribute plenty of the powder mixture inside the slippers as well.
Leave the sealed container undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours or even longer if you wish.
Take the container outside, remove the slippers and shake off as much of the powder as you can.
Vacuum the slippers with an upholstery attachment to remove the rest of the powder. Any remaining traces of powder will naturally fall off the slippers when you wear them. The baking soda and cornstarch mixture is harmless and can be washed off your feet or socks or vacuumed from the floor if necessary.
Preventing Odors in Wool Slippers
It's easier to prevent your wool slippers from getting smelly than it is to deodorize them. An excellent way to do so is with store-bought or DIY odor-eaters that you slip inside the slippers whenever you're not wearing them. For a DIY version, fill a pair of old socks or pantyhose with the same deodorizing baking soda and cornstarch mixture, optionally with essential oils. Tie the socks or pantyhose closed to create a foot-shaped pouch and place one inside each slipper.
Another easy option is to stuff a few scrunched-up dryer sheets inside your slippers when you're not wearing them. Choose dryer sheets with a fragrance you like. Similarly, you could add a few drops of essential oils to tissues and stuff these inside the slippers. One more odor-killing technique is to put stinky wool slippers inside a plastic bag or other container and place it in the freezer overnight. The cold temperature can kill bacteria that causes odors.