How to Keep Wet Shoes from Smelling [Permanent Solutions]

Written By Mahia

Recently, I’ve noticed a guy complaining about his stinky Nike Flyknit Chukkas on Reddit.

As per his saying, the shoes got drenched and now smell quite awful. Baking soda, kitty litter, chemicals, and freezing haven’t worked. And the most touchy part is, he wanna stick with his favorite pair.


Hence, I thought of sharing some permanent fixes and preventions so that others like that guy can easily get rid of such a problem.

Without further ado, let’s disclose the solutions!

How to Keep Wet Shoes from Smelling?

Dry and handle the shoes with so much care – it’s the most convenient way to keep wet shoes from smelling. Besides, wear moisture-wicking socks and store the shoes in a dry, and well-ventilated place. Thus, the chance of dampness and stinkiness can be reduced to a minimum.


As soon as you return home with wet shoes, wipe them with a towel. If it becomes wet due to rain, extract the water.

Keep the sneakers in the dryer with appropriate techniques. Or put them in an airy place until dry.

Now, disinfect them with the help of a shoe sterilizer. It removes bacteria, fungus, and foul odor from the footwear. Additionally, adds a refreshing fragrance to them.


If you can’t afford this useful equipment, just keep your shoes in an airy place or use a hair dryer on them. Moisture will be out!

After that, apply some disinfecting spray or shoe protector on the shoes and make them vivid.

Below I have mentioned some tips to prevent shoes from smelling. Remember, these are the steps to follow on a regular basis. And all of these preparations will help you to stay away from the problem of shoe stinking.

Here are some ways to keep shoes stink-free:

1. Shoe Storage in a Dry Place

Humidity is the enemy of shoes. That’s why storing them in a suitable place is essential. I’ll recommend drying the shoes first and then storing them in a well-ventilated cabinet.

Also, take them out of the cabinet once a week and keep them in an airy place. It will help to unlock any moisture from the shoes and will keep them buoyant for years.

2. Wear Absorbent Socks

This kind of microfiber sock wicks moisture or sweat away from the feet. As a result, there’s no scope for stinking or sweat-soaking in the shoe materials. The sets are affordable and also come in low height (hidden inside shoes).


For people with excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis issues, this type of sock is an amazing escape. So no matter which shoe you wear, always wear breathable and sweat-absorbent socks.

Do not forget to wash your socks regularly. Otherwise, the socks, shoes, and feet all will be smelly.

3. Use Antiperspirant

Prior to wearing the shoes, spritz antiperspirant on your neat feet. This will prevent them from being sweaty. That means, no supportive zone for bacteria and fungus.

If you have an allergic issue or feel itchiness due to the antiperspirant, stop using them. Instead, follow the previous or upcoming approach.

4. Change the Insole

After returning home from work, wash the used insoles and keep them to dry. For the next day, insert a new insole into the shoes.


The negative side of this trick is – you have to clean the insole every day, which is not preferable for people who come back home late at night after a long tiring day. Rather, you can alternate among different pairs if you can afford it.

How Do You Get the Wet Smell Out of Shoes?

Proper cleansing and drying stave off stank from shoes. So, when you notice a bad smell coming from the shoes, wash them immediately with mild detergent and normal-tempered water.

However, the cleaning process depends on the shoe material. Hence, research the material of your shoe and decide which cleaning procedure is applicable to your pairs. Once the cleaning is complete, put them to dry.


If you’re that unfortunate guy whose footwear has already become crappy and the nasty smell hasn’t vanished yet after cleaning and drying, then you must be yearning for some effective solutions.

Well, I have gathered several proven ways to get the wet smell out of shoes. Let’s check them out!

UV Light

Applying UV light on shoes kills 99.9 % of bacteria from shoes. It also removes fungus from shoes. Scientists have introduced shoe sanitizer, which disinfects and deodorizes shoes with the help of UV rays.


So if you’re constantly struggling with malodorous footwear, purchase this tool. Then put your shoes inside it for 45 minutes and make them fresh.

However, this UV shoe sanitizer is expensive (around $130). So what’s the ultimate solution if you can’t afford it?

Well, you can take help from the YouTube tutorial to make an Indoor UV Light Box for only $30 and resolve the case.

Cedar Shoe Tree

We all know that a shoe tree works as a stretcher. But do you know it also works as a moisture absorber?


Additionally, it deodorizes the shoes with a natural fresh scent of aromatic cedar. According to researchers, regular use of shoe trees can lengthen the life of your shoes by as much as 30%. So, why not invest in such an advantageous component?

Odor Eliminator


Though some people claim odor eliminator doesn’t perform well to get stink out of shoes, I guess they purchased the poor quality. A good quality odor eliminator disinfects the shoes by penetrating into the sole and eradicating stubborn smells.

So it’s better to avoid stinginess while spending money on disinfectant spray.

Spritz Vinegar

Apart from removing the smell, vinegar also shrinks leather shoes. Make a solution with an equal amount of vinegar and water. Apply this mixture to your moisture-free shoes and preserve it in a windy zone for at least 1 hour. That’s all to remove the smell of shoes with vinegar.

Dryer Sheet

Fill your stinky shoes with an unused dryer sheet – it is one of the useful hacks to remove shoe odor overnight.


Allow your wet shoes to dry. Afterward, put dryer sheets in them and leave them for a night. In the morning, you can hope to get a smell-free shoe.

Insert Tea Bags

Stuffing dry tea bags in wet shoes absorbs moisture and fights against germs. Moreover, it includes a sweet aroma depending on the flavors of the tea bags.

So all you have to do is collect some tea bags and stuff them inside the shoes. When your shoes are damp from sweat, 4-5 tea sachets are enough. But if rainwater wets the shoe, you will have to dry them first and then get rid of the odor with tea bags.

Why Do Shoes Smell after Getting Wet?

The damp interior of shoes is a favorable site for malodor-creating bacteria growth. So, when shoes become wet from water or perspiration, make sure to clean and dry them properly. Otherwise, germs reign in the shoes and make them stinky & unwearable.

No one loves to walk with drenched shoes. But there’s nothing to do when the rain starts all of a sudden or shoes get wet from unexpected incidents.


The level of suffering reaches further extremes when these wet shoes start emitting a disgusting smell. And out of curiosity, you wonder why your shoes smell after getting wet.

Actually, it’s due to the moisture-locked sole. Odor-producing microbe rises there without any barrier and brings about reek. So, maintain the prevention and cure of smelly wet shoes as per your requirement.

Wrap Up

So, the days of soggy smelly shoes are gone. Make your shoes refreshing and scented with Cedar shoe tree, UV light, dryer sheet, vinegar, or teabags as I have exposed in this content.

Further queries fluttering in your mind? Just ask them in the comment section.

You can also share your experience of making wet shoes smell-free with us.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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