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How to Get Rid of Sneaker Odor


What Causes Sneaker Odor?

The first step in getting rid of sneaker odor is to understand what causes it.

Why do feet stink?  Could it be because the feet have more than 500,000 sweat glands?  That’s part of the equation, but your hands have nearly as many and don’t smell.  The answer is fermentation.  When your hands sweat, it simply dissipates.  Your poor feet are held prisoner within a dark sock and a pair of shoes.  The natural bacteria present on your body thrive in this dark, dank atmosphere and congregate, eat, and excrete an organic acid.  This process is called fermentation and it is the byproduct that smells.

Why Do Some People’s Feet Stink More Than Others?

Understanding why your feet stink when other’s feet don’t will help you to stop the behaviors causing it.

First, some people just naturally sweat more than others do.  It’s just a fact of life.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to surrender to always being the person in the room with the stinky feet.  You just need to be more vigilant than others are.  Certain habits can actually create an environment that encourage bacteria growth, so changing a few habits can help to keep the bacteria to a minimum.

Are Your Habits Encouraging Bacteria Growth?

If you are prone to smelly feet and the subsequent fermentation that accompanies bacterial growth, there are some habits that you must be absolutely vigilante about.  First, you should not allow your sneakers to get wet.  If they do, take them off immediately and do not wear them again until they are fully dried.  Never, and that means ever, wear your sneakers without a pair of socks.  Socks may harbor bacteria, but they keep bacteria from setting up shop in your sneaker that isn’t quite so easy to launder. If your feet sweat profusely, alternate shoes.  Don’t wear the same pair of sneakers every day without giving them a chance to come up for air.

How to Neutralize Odors Now

If you are stuck with a pair of sneakers that are smelly and aren’t quite ready for a new pair, there are a few things you can do to temporarily get rid of the odor.  Just make sure when you get your new pair of sneakers, you follow the advice below to make sure you prevent the bacterial growth before it occurs.

Use Foot Deodorant:  Those with chronic foot odor should use a foot spray just like they use toothpaste and deodorant.  A deodorant designed specifically to discourage perspiration will go a long way in preventing the problem.

Baking Soda: Sprinkling baking soda in your insoles may to help absorb some of the odor present in your sneaker.

Dryer Sheets: Many swear by the dryer sheet method.  Place a dryer sheet in each sneaker at the end of every day to absorb the day’s odors.

Cat Litter: Fill a nylon with clean, absorbent cat litter and place in your sneaker every night.

Cedar Shavings: Fill a nylon with cedar shavings and place in your sneaker every night.

Shoes in the Freezer: Though this idea receives an ‘A’ for creative thinking, most bacteria do not die when you freeze them.  They will slow down and this method may help prevent odor for a few hours, but most will just reactivate when they heat up.

Avoid Washing Smelly Sneakers

The first thing that most people want to do when their sneakers start to smell is to throw them in the washing machine.  There are several reasons why this is not a good idea.  Today’s technologically advanced footwear is often manufactured with unique materials that do not fare well in the washing machine.  Even the most basic of sneakers is usually manufactured with some sort of adhesive that can reactivate when coming in contact with the high temperatures of the washer and the dryer.

Unless you have tried everything else unsuccessfully and have no choice but to throw the sneakers away, do not toss them in the washer.  The trick to neutralizing current odors is to find something that will work to absorb them while they freshen shoes.

If you constantly fight with foot odor, purchase a pair of sneakers that has a removable insole that can be removed and washed on an as needed basis.  If you can’t, purchase inserts before your sneakers start to smell, such as Dr. Scholls, that can be removed and replaced as needed.

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