How to Make Cleats Smell Better

Nothing’s worse than putting on your running or football cleats after a long practice and immediately being confronted with an unpleasant smell. You may think it’s just part of having to wear the same equipment day after day during the season, but we’re here to tell you that there is something you can do about it!

How to Make Cleats Smell Better

In this blog post, we’ll take you through helpful tips and tricks for how to make cleats smell better. From using essential oils to packing in fresh herbs, learn how you can transform the scent of your shoes while prolonging their lifespan. Read on to find out more!

Why Do My Soccer Cleats Smell So Bad?

Soccer cleats are an essential part of any soccer game — but they can be notorious for having a bad smell. This is because the shoes become damp and sweaty during extended play, which creates an environment where microbes such as fungus and bacteria thrive.

These microbes produce odors that range from mildly unpleasant to downright unbearable! Fortunately, there are a few ways to make your cleats smell better so you don’t have to dread putting them on before games.

The first step in tackling foul-smelling cleats is to clean them regularly. After each use, take off the laces and wipe them down with a damp cloth or paper towel. You can also use a mild soap if necessary. It’s important to get rid of any dirt or mud, as this can contribute to the smell.

Next, allow your cleats to dry completely before storing them. Moisture is a breeding ground for odors, so if you don’t let your cleats air out after use they will remain damp and will continue to smell bad over time. To speed up the drying process, you can insert newspaper inside the shoes just be sure not to leave it in for too long as it might damage the material.

Finally, you can use odor-reducing products such as deodorizing sprays or powder specifically designed for athletic footwear. These products are designed to absorb moisture and eliminate smells without damaging the fabric of your cleats. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging for best results.

10 Methods How to Make Cleats Smell Better

1. Air Them Out

Air Out Your Cleats

The first step to getting rid of the funk is to air out your cleats. Take them off after every practice or game and let them sit in a well-ventilated area. If possible, put them outside in the sun for a few hours. This will help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor.

If you can’t put them outside, an open window in a dry room will also help. However, make sure your cleats don’t get wet in the process. While some water won’t hurt, moisture can make the smell worse.

2. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great way to absorb odors and keep your cleats smelling fresh. Before wearing your cleats, sprinkle some baking soda inside each shoe and let it sit overnight. In the morning, when you take out the baking soda, your cleats will smell significantly better.

To complete the process, you can spray a deodorizer into the shoes to give them an extra fresh scent. You can also put a layer of baking soda in your cleats after every use and let it sit overnight to keep them odor-free. However, be careful to avoid using too much baking soda as it can cause skin irritation and damage the material.

3. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is another great natural odor absorber. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and place it inside your cleat overnight. In the morning, remove the cotton ball and enjoy fresher-smelling cleats. You can also use a spray bottle of vinegar to mist the inside of your cleats.

Leave them overnight, and the odor should be significantly reduced in the morning. If you don’t have vinegar on hand, white wine can also be used in a pinch. Just soak a cotton ball with the beverage and place it inside the cleat for a few hours. The acetic acid in the vinegar and wine will help to neutralize odors.

4. Use Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds Can Also Help

Coffee grounds can also help to absorb odors and keep your cleats smelling fresh. To use this method, fill a small bowl with coffee grounds and place it inside the shoe. Let the coffee grounds sit in the shoes overnight. In the morning, take out the bowl of coffee grounds, discard them and let the shoe air dry.

This method can be repeated as necessary to keep your cleats smelling fresh. While this method does not eliminate the smell completely, it can help to control odors. However, be that coffee grounds can stain the inside of your cleats. Although this will not affect the performance of your cleats, it is best to test a small area before using them.

5. Use Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are great for absorbing odors and keeping your cleats smelling fresh. Put a few sheets in each cleat, and leave them overnight. The next day the smell will be drastically reduced. You can also use dryer sheets to keep your cleats smelling fresh by placing one sheet in each shoe for a few days. This will help to reduce the odor and keep them smelling great.

6. Use Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is great for absorbing odors and keeping your cleats smelling fresh. You can buy activated charcoal online or at grocery stores. To use, simply fill a small container with enough activated charcoal to cover the bottom and place it inside your cleats.

Let it sit for a few hours and then brush away the excess charcoal before wearing them. This will help remove unpleasant odors and keep your cleats smelling better for longer. While this method may not be as effective as some of the other methods, it can still help to freshen up anyelly cleats.

7. Use Essential Oils

Essential Oils Are Great

Essential oils are great for masking odors and keeping your cleats smelling fresh. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the insides of your cleats and let them sit overnight. You can also add some drops of essential oil to a cloth and use it to wipe down the outside of your cleats. This will give them an extra layer of protection against odors.

Make to spot-test any essential oils you use on the inside of cleats before using them, some can be quite strong and may irritate your skin. Finally, essential oils can also be used in a foot soak to help keep feet and cleats odor-free.

8. Use Baby Powder

Baby powder can help to absorb moisture and keep your cleats smelling fresh. Sprinkle baby powder inside your cleats and allow it to sit for a few hours before removing. You can also sprinkle it on the outside of the cleats, paying particular attention to any areas that tend to become damp or sweaty. Reapply baby powder every couple of days for best results.

Although it may completely eliminate odors, baby powder can help to lessen them and keep your cleats smelling fresh. While baby powder can be a great choice for stinky cleats, avoid using any other type of powder as this could clog up your laces or make them too slippery.

9. Freeze Them

One way to kill bacteria that causes odor is by freezing your shoes overnight. This method works best if you live in a cold climate or have access to a freezer large enough to fit your shoes.

To do this, make sure your cleats are completely dry. Place your shoes in a Ziploc bag and make sure all the air is out. Put them in the freezer for at least 8 hours, or overnight. This will kill any odor-causing bacteria and refresh your cleats.

10. Wash with Soap

Washing your shoes with soap can also help get rid of bad smells. You can use any type of soap, but dish soap or laundry detergent works best. Just add a few drops to a bucket of warm water, then submerge your cleats in the mixture and scrub them with a brush.

After that, rinse off the soap and let them air dry. However, do not use a washing machine to clean your cleats! The high spin cycles can damage the material of the shoe.

Washing Your Shoes With Soap


A smelly pair of cleats doesn’t have to mean the end to a good game. Get rid of offensive odors with these easy tricks and keep your shoes sanitary, fresh, and ready to play. Give your feet a reward for a great performance by treating them to some odor-busting power by investing in proper cleaning products and ventilation methods.

While this may seem like it requires more effort up front, we guarantee that you won’t regret it when you realize how much better your cleats smell and last because of it. Follow these simple instructions outlined in this blog post about how to make cleats smell better and you’ll be able to get the job done with ease. 

Photo of author

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

Leave a Comment