How to Clean Smelly Shoes With Vinegar

Your shoes may be smelly for various reasons, but don’t worry, there is a solution! In this article, we will teach you how to clean smelly shoes with vinegar. Vinegar is a natural and effective way to remove bacteria and odor from your shoes. So, follow these simple steps, and your shoes will smell fresh in no time!

Shoes are a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria cause your shoes to smell, but they can also lead to skin irritation. So, it is essential to clean your shoes regularly. One of the simplest and most effective ways is with vinegar. Many people are hesitant to use vinegar on their shoes because of the smell. However, the vinegar will dissipate once it dries, and your shoes will be left smelling fresh.

How to Clean Smelly Shoes With Vinegar

Summary: Cleaning smelly shoes with vinegar is an easy and effective method that can help eliminate bad odors caused by bacteria in shoes. The process involves mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water, then soaking a cloth or paper towel in the solution and wiping the inside of the shoes. The shoes can then be left to dry in a well-ventilated area, and the vinegar smell will dissipate as the shoes dry.

General Uses of White Vinegar

White vinegar is a versatile product that can be used for many purposes in and around the house. It is made from a fermentation process of diluting ethyl alcohol with water. The result is a 5% to 20% acetic acid solution. White vinegar has a host of benefits, including:

  • Killing bacteria and viruses
  • Acting as a natural deodorant
  • Removing grease and grime
  • Dissolving mineral deposits
  • Cutting through soap scum
  • Unclogging drains
  • Removing stickers and labels
  • Cleaning glass

How Vinegar Remove Smell?

The vinegar’s acetic acid helps break down the molecules that create odor. So when you pour vinegar on shoes, it will start to neutralize the smell immediately. It may not eliminate the smell on the first try, but over time, the vinegar will help to eat away at the stinky molecules until your shoes no longer smell.

Any vinegar will work to remove shoe odor, but white vinegar is a good option because it has a milder taste and scent than other types of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is another popular choice because it contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria that can help to fight odor-causing microbes.

What do You need To Clean Smelly Shoes by Vinegar?

Nearly every person has suffered from smelly feet or shoes at one time or another. The smell is often caused by bacteria that thrive in a warm, moist environment. Shoes that have been worn all day can start to smell bad by the end of the day, and this smell can be challenging to get rid of. One easy way to clean smelly shoes is with vinegar.

You Will Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • A bowl
  • A toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • Shoes that need cleaning

A Detailed Guide How To Clean Smelly Shoes With Vinegar

Method 1: Use Homemade Shoe Deodorizing Spray

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3-4 drops of tea tree oil or lavender oil

Step 1: Make Solution

Mix the warm water, vinegar, and oil in a spray bottle. Shake well to combine.

Step 2: Spray Shoes

Spray the shoes generously with the solution, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then, let them sit for about 10 minutes.

Spray the Shoes Generously

Step 3: Wipe Off Solution

Use a damp cloth to wipe off the solution. Then, allow the shoes to air dry completely.

Method 2: Machine To Cleaning

If you have a machine to clean your shoes, you can use it to clean smelly shoes with white vinegar.

Add one part white vinegar to two parts water in the machine’s cleaning solution chamber, then put your shoes in and run the machine. The vinegar will help kill any bacteria or fungus that is causing the smell and help remove any dirt or residue that may be causing the smell. Be sure to let your shoe air dry completely after cleaning them with vinegar, as the vinegar can make them a little bit tacky to the touch.

Method 3: Clean Shoe Inserts Only

If you only have the inserts of your shoes and not the entire shoe, then you can try using vinegar to get rid of the smell. Vinegar is a natural deodorant and will help to remove any bad smell from your inserts.

Mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a bowl to clean your shoe inserts with vinegar. Soak your shoe inserts in the mixture for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse them well with cold water and let them air dry. Your shoe inserts should now be free of any bad smells!

Method 4: Using Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another effective method to clean smelly shoes is vinegar and baking soda mixture.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • A bowl
  • A spoon
  • Shoes that need cleaning

Step 1: Prepare the shoe-cleaning mixture.

Pour the white vinegar and baking soda into a bowl, and mix them until they are well combined.

Pour the White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Step 2: Clean the shoes

Take your shoes that need cleaning and dip them into the mixture. Make sure to coat them thoroughly.

Step 3: Let the shoes sit.

Let the shoes sit in the mixture for at least four hours. Overnight is best if you have the time.

Step 4: Remove the shoes and let them dry

Remove the shoes from the mixture and place them somewhere where they can air dry. Please do not put them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, which could damage the material. It may take a few days to completely dry, so be patient.

Your shoes should now be fresh and clean, with no unpleasant smell.

Method 5: Clean Smelly Leather Shoes With Vinegar

Leather shoes are beautiful and luxurious, but they can often develop an unpleasant smell over time. To clean smelly leather shoes with vinegar, start by mixing a solution of one cup of water and one cup of vinegar in a bowl. Next, soak a cloth in the solution and then wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping. Next, wipe the shoes down with the cloth, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Finally, allowing boots to air dry. If the smell persists after cleaning, you may need to try a more robust vinegar solution or a commercial leather cleaner.

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How Do I Get the Smell Out of My Shoes?

There is nothing worse than shoes that smell bad. They are embarrassing, but they can also be a health hazard. Here are some steps:

Step 1: Prevent, if Possible

The best way to deal with smelly shoes is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Make sure you allow your shoes to air out after each use. If possible, alternate between different pairs of shoes so that they can all air out.

Step 2: Clean Them Regularly

 Clean Your Shoes Regularly

It is also essential to clean your shoes regularly. This will help eliminate any bacteria or fungus that may be causing the smell. Use a toothbrush to scrub the inside and outside of the shoe. Be sure to pay special attention to the areas where the smell is strongest.

Step 3: Blast the Bacteria with Vinegar

If you have already tried cleaning your shoes and the smell is still there, it may be time to blast them with vinegar. Pour a tablespoon of vinegar into a bowl. Place the shoes in the bowl so that they are entirely submerged. Let them soak for an hour. Then, take them out and scrub them with a toothbrush. Air dry them overnight.

The vinegar will kill any bacteria or fungus that is causing the smell. It will also help to remove any built-up dirt or grime.

Step 4: De-stink the Stench

After following these steps, if the smell is still there, it may be time to try a commercial de-stink product. Many products are available on the market that can help get rid of bad smells. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them strictly.

Step 5: Keep Them Fresh and Dry

Some people recommend stuffing your shoes with newspaper to help them dry properly. I never do this because I’m afraid the ink will rub off my shoes. Instead, I just let them air out overnight. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to leave them out for a few days to completely dry. When they are completely dry, apply a coat of shoe polish or cream to protect the leather and keep them looking new.

Apply a Coat of Shoe Polish

Step 6: Toss Them

If you have tried all of these steps and the smell is still there, it may be time to toss them. Smelly shoes can be a sign of bacteria or fungus, and in some cases, they may even be dangerous. If your shoes are beyond help, consider donating them to a charity or recycling them.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to get the smell out of your shoes for good. However, remember that prevention is key, so try to air out your shoes after use and clean them regularly. If the smell persists, vinegar may be your best bet. And if all else fails, it’s time to toss them!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Put Vinegar on Shoes?

It depends on the type of shoe and the amount of vinegar that is used. Some people believe that vinegar can help remove odors and stains from shoes, while others believe that it is not effective at all. If you want to try vinegar on your shoes, it is suggested that you use a small amount and test it first before applying it to entire shoes.

What Does White Vinegar Do to Shoes?

White vinegar can be used as a shoe cleaning agent, polish, or deodorizer. It is also effective in removing stains from leather, fabric seats and upholstery, and brake pads. White Vinegar works by breaking down the organic matter that has built up on these surfaces over time. This process is aided by its acidity (which ranges from 2 to 4%), which helps to dissolve substances faster than normal water does.

White Vinegar can also remove oils and grease residue from shoes—a task that often requires more complicated cleaners like heavy-duty soap or silicone products. In short, white vinegar can do wonders for your footwear whether you’re just looking to clean them gently or get rid of stubborn messes!

Can I Soak My Shoes in Vinegar and Baking Soda?

It depends on the type of shoe you are soaking. If it’s a leather or suede shoe, then boiling water may be enough to clean them. However, if it’s a rubber or plastic shoe, then the acidic environment of vinegar may be necessary to remove dirt and debris. It is also important to note that baking soda should not be used on delicate materials like leather shoes because it can cause damage.

Is Vinegar a Good Shoe Cleaner?

Vinegar can be a good shoe cleaner, but you need to use it in the correct way. Make sure to wet your shoes before spraying them with vinegar, and then scrubbing them clean with a brush. Vinegar is also effective at killing dirt and bacteria, which will help prevent foot odor.


We hope you have gone through the article on how to clean smelly shoes with vinegar. Vinegar is a great way to clean smelly shoes. All you need is a bowl, vinegar, and water. Soak the shoes in the mixture for about an hour, then rinse them off with water. Let them air-dry overnight. Your shoes will be fresh and odor-free!

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Jennifer Branett

I am Jennifer, a passionate blogger since 2016. I like to write informative articles to help peoples in my free time. I am a family person. I have two kids who keep me busy all the time. I always try to give importance to my family. Sometimes it becomes challenging for me to maintain the time along with my family. But I never lose hope. I hope my articles are helping you in some way. If so, You can give me a thumbs up to my inbox, which means a lot to me. Thank you. You can email me at

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