Springtime. It brings the air of new life. Blooming flowers send delicious aromas in small bursts through the warm breezy air. It brings long days of children running through the grass, playing soccer and lacrosse, and bringing stinky shoes home to roost. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to decrease the odor, bacterial content and potential fungi from thoroughly used shoes.
Washing. If the shoes can take it, throw them in the wash. Canvas shoes without much support can go through the washer without losing much shape. Allow shoes to dry completely outside in the sunshine. If shoes can not go into an agitator like a washer, you can make a solution of borax, vinegar and lemon juice added to a gallon of water. Let shoes soak for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry in the outside air.
Sunshine. For supportive shoes or other shoes that cannot be washed in a traditional way, there are a few options. First, dry shoes completely. A damp shoe is a great place for bacteria and fungi to breed. UV light from the sun is a deterrent to fungus and certain bacterial growth. Sometimes just drying a shoe will decrease the odor.
Baking soda. Baking soda is wonderful for decreasing odors and killing both bacteria and fungi. For shoes that are routinely wet, make a mixture of baking soda, salt, water, and lemon juice into a paste. Apply to the inside of the shoe and let dry for a few days. When the mixture begins to crack off, bang shoes together to get rid of the remains. Dust the inside of the shoe with cornstarch and wipe out. If you have especially sensitive skin, baking soda may not be the best option.
Cedar. Recycle old panty hose by filling with cedar shavings and tying off the ends. Place in shoes each night. The shavings will help to draw the moisture out of shoes and leave a fresh scent.
Vodka. Fill a spray bottle with vodka and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Shake and lightly spray the inside of the shoe. The alcohol will help dry the shoe and prohibit bacterial and fungal growth.
Coffee. Place coffee grounds in a cheesecloth or recycled panty hose. Leave overnight. The coffee will absorb moisture and odors. Do not use with lightly colored shoes as the coffee may stain the material.