Remove Fungus From Shoes Easily [Complete Guide 2023]

Written By Sunny

Let’s be honest; your beloved shoes can quickly turn into a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria if not taken care of properly. 

While maintaining a hygienic foot life is a habit, there are some effective treatments to decimate problems such as athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, etc.

What are those remedies?

You’ll know soon, as I’ve listed some tried and tested methods that will eradicate all these issues and enable you to have healthy feet.

So, let’s get straight into the content without wasting any more time.

Better start scrolling.


When Do You Know Your Shoes Need Disinfecting?

Has any of your friends or family members ever told you to leave your shoes or socks outside? Let’s forget about them for a moment. Has anyone ever insisted you leave your shoes outside?

If yes, then my friend, it has something to do with your favorite footwear. They stink! It’s rude to say it in your face. Hence you’re politely asked to leave them outside.

Now that you know they’ve become smelly, it’s high time you clean/disinfect them.

Periodic maintenance, sweaty feet, toenail fungus, athlete’s foot are the proven culprits of stinky shoes and other foot issues.

Apart from smelly shoes, if you notice the condition of your toenail has changed, either by color or frailty, then it’s bad news. You’ve caught toenail fungus.

But, don’t worry!

With some tried and tested methods and regular maintenance, you can easily have clean shoes and healthy feet.

Go through our epic guide on How To Remove Shoe Polish From Dress Shoes.

Remove Fungus And Bacterias- In The Following Ways

Once your shoes catch fungus and other bacterias, it becomes pretty difficult to maintain good hygiene. Not only do your shoes stink, but also they become an epicenter of foot disease. 

But, I’ve got your back (as always). For your convenience, I’ve listed some of the most effective ways of removing fungus from shoes. The ingredients are easy to find and the techniques are super easy to execute.

Here are the best ways to remove fungus from shoes:

Vinegar And Baking Soda

We start off with two humble ingredients that you’ll find in your home, so you don’t need to spend any extra cash.

Sprinkle baking soda into each of your shoes before you go out. The soda absorbs any kind of trapped moisture, resulting in zero odor. It also prevents any kind of activity from fungal spores.


Use vinegar of any sort (apple cider or white) when you’re not going out. You’ll need a spraying bottle here.

Once you’ve filled up the spraying bottle, spray it into your shoes. Don’t worry about the smell! It’ll go away once your footwear dries up completely. It prevents the growth of fungal spores.

Baking soda and vinegar are like Batman and Robin when it comes to eliminating odor and bacteria.

Disinfectant Spray

Using disinfecting sprays is one of the easiest ways to eradicate unwanted fungus and bacteria. And the best part is, they’re readily available on the market.

Take a disinfectant and spray it inside your shoes; make sure you reach the toes. Some even come with antiperspirant properties, so it’s a bonus. The sort, I certainly wouldn’t mind.


PS: Don’t use bleach as a disinfectant. It can harm your skin and ruin your precious shoes.

Antifungal Laundry Detergent

Another simple yet effective product for killing fungus is an antifungal laundry detergent. You’ll readily find suitable detergents in your closest super shop. If you don’t, you can always order them online.

Not only do they kill fungus and bacteria, but they also eliminate any kind of bad odor.

Here’s a complete guide on how to Remove Shoe Polish From Suede Shoes.

UV Shoe Sanitizer

It’s a specialized machine built to eradicate any sort of foot fungus and bacteria. This machine doesn’t just stop the growth of unwanted microorganisms but literally eliminates them.


With it at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about getting reinfected again. Just use the machine in each of your shoes for 25-30 minutes, and you’ll be all good to go. It kills foul odors too.

Disinfectant Powder

Antifungal foot powder is another effective remedy. It weakens the cell membrane of the fungi, preventing them from multiplying. As it’s a topical medicine, you should use it under a professional guideline.


That’s right, Lysol! It’s a powerful disinfecting tool used for multiple purposes. And, one of them is for killing shoe bacterias. Recommended by Dr. Tyson Green, a foot and ankle specialist at the Center for Orthopedics.

This is what Doctor Green suggests:

“You can take wadded up newspaper or paper towels and spray them down with Lysol and stuff them in the shoes and just leave them there overnight. That’ll kill the fungus in there. It’ll also kill other bacteria. One of the neat ways of doing it is taking your shoes and putting them in a garbage bag and sticking them in a deep freezer overnight,”

What Are Types of Fungus You’re Likely to Come Across?

Of all the foot issues out there, foot fungus has to be the most infamous because it’s widespread and contagious. It’s caused by a mold-like germ that lives on the dead cell of your skin, hair, and nails.

You may come across more than 80 types of foot fungus, which is way more than any part of your body. Not even the palms are safe!

While some have bad reputations, most of them are harmless. Relieved right?

The athlete’s foot is the most common type of foot fungus people come across. People up to 25% can come across this itchy and painful (at a point) disease. One of my friends had it, and he had a tough time getting over it.

Athletes’ feet generally grow between your toes; if you fail to act from the very beginning, then it will go to the soles and toenails like a forest fire.

If you scratch your foot and touch other parts of your body, such as the armpits and groin, it’ll spread there too.

Apart from the athlete’s foot, other issues include; toenail fungus, fungal spores, and another foot fungus.

When you catch toenail fungus, the infected toenail will become misshapen and increasingly separate from your nail bed.

Apart from that, pain and itches shall be your regular customers. Once they become severe, you’ll have a hard time wearing your shoes and walking in them. And trust me, you don’t want that!

You may check out our separate post to know Are Zero Drop Shoes Good For You.

Where Do These Bacterias Thrive?

The types of fungus and bacteria mentioned above thrive primarily in dark, warm, and moist shoes. Hence, your shoes and feet are the ideal places.

Both of your feet have (over) 500,000 sweat glands, meaning each has over 250,000! While the numbers may seem staggering, it’s all part of nature, so no worries there.


To stop them from spreading, you must keep your feet dry. Get shoes with breathable material, and socks too.

Don’t move around with wet shoes. If your shoes are wet, let them dry as soon as possible. Don’t store them in dark or moist places. Fungus and bacterias crave those places.

In short, the moment you start to notice a slight bit of smell, you know you’ve got some unwanted guests in your footwear.

You’ll need to pay extra attention to your hygiene.

Prevent Foot Fungus From The Very Beginning

Is it possible to make your footwear completely invincible against bacteria and fungus? The answer’s no. 

While you can’t put a safeguard around your shoes, there are certain steps you can take to prevent them from smelling and becoming a playground for fungus.

Clean your nail clippers: One of the main reasons for toenail fungus is the usage of dirty nail clippers or using someone else’s one. It’s an excellent hygienic habit to clean them after every use.

Once used, put it in boiling water for a few minutes. Now, let it cool for a while. Take an old toothbrush and scrub it with dish soap to clean off any (leftover) residues and dead skin cells.

Now, wipe the clipper with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. Completely dry it to prevent rusting.

Keep the clipper to yourself: It’s always recommended to use your clippers to trim down your nails. If you use someone else’s or vice versa, you catch something unwanted.

I mean, you wouldn’t know what might come off that person, would you? Although it might sound selfish, keeping it to yourself ensures proper safety.

Protect your feet in public places: If you’re an athlete (of any kind), you’re bound to go to the locker room. And, who doesn’t love having a splash at the swimming pool?

Do you know these are places with the highest rate of infectious bacterias? The Gym’s shower’s included in the list too.

After a hectic game comes the changing in the locker room and hitting the shower. Most athletes walk around the changing room or hit the shower barefooted! And that’s where the problem arises.

Those floors are filled with you know what! So, it’s always recommended you walk in those places with your flip-flops on.

The same goes for public pools and gym showers.

Sundry them: Did you know sunlight is a natural sanitizer? Keep your shoes out in the sun once every 2-3 days after usage. Not only does it dry the moisture within but it also decimates any kind of living microorganism.

Use sanitizing sprays:  Using sanitizers only when your shoes are infected is a myth! You can use them (in a fair manner) from the very beginning. This decreases the chance of them getting infected in the first place.

You may also like to read: Why Do People Throw Shoes on Power Lines.

Keep Spare Shoes And Socks

Ever thought of keeping spare shoes and socks in your workplace?

Well, If you’re someone whose work requires wearing shoes for long hours and in moisture-laden areas, then it’s probably a good idea to keep a separate pair of shoes.

If you’re wearing shoes for long hours, let’s say 6-7; then it’s for the better you change your shoes. As mentioned earlier, fungus and bacterias thrive under damp and moist conditions.


The same goes for your socks as well. No matter how breathable the material is, at a certain time, you’ve to change them. Wearing the same pair of socks for long hours creates the perfect breeding ground for fungus.

And yes, always wear clean socks. Dirty socks are a ticking time bomb.

You should also know, dark hues absorb and accumulate heat faster. As a reason, you feel excess moisture and sweat inside your shoes. The end product of this process is a rapid increase of bacteria and unwanted infections.

Will Washing Shoes Remove Fungus?

A big yes, washing your shoes regularly is one of the best ways of removing bacteria. You get fungus and smell-free shoes, which ensures a healthy foot life. Regular washing prevents fungal infections from coming back. It’s one of the key parts of proper foot care.

I think there should be no doubt to the fact that a clean pair of shoes has no alternatives when it comes to leading a healthy foot life.

Yes, not all shoes are made for the washer; but most of them are. You can easily throw them in the washer and get the job done.

If you leave your shoes unwashed for an extended period of time, the athlete’s foot fungus can live long enough (in your shoes); causing reinfection. Especially, if you wear that pair over and over again.

Sneakers used for workouts, running, and cleats are the proven culprits.

Some Effective Products To Decimate Fungus

Finding the right type of products for any kind of job can be quite a challenge. And, it’s no different when it comes to disinfecting your shoes.

For your convenience, I’ve listed some of the most effective products available in the market. The list includes everything from disinfectant sprays to detergent.

Here are my top picks for the best disinfecting products:


Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive


Lysol is very well known, for it has products for disinfecting almost anything. This laundry liquid is super effective against germs and has a success rate of 99%. Plus, it’s quite mild on the fabric too. So, no worries there.


OxiClean Powder Sanitizer for Laundry


I’m a big fan of OxiClean, been using it; forever. You can rest assured about their functionality. It’s very easy to use, and super gentle on your skin and fabric.


Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy 10x Duty Liquid Laundry Detergent


I think Tide needs no introduction! It’s been around forever, to say the least. Not only will it shine your footwear, but it’ll also kill the germs effectively. Need I to say more?


10 Seconds Shoe Disinfectant and Deodorizer


In one word, it’s the complete package. It kills bacteria and deodorizes your footwear as well. It’s very efficient in its job too. So, you won’t have to worry about its functionality. The instructions are given on the bottle. Just take the required precautions.


Friendly Foot All Natural Shoe Disinfectant


Made from all-natural ingredients, this foot powder absorbs all kinds of moisture and odor efficiently. Not only that, but it also decimates the source of the smell as well. If you’re an athlete, then you’ll adore it. And, people of all ages can easily use it.

Why Does Foot Fungus Keep Coming Back?

There are many reasons why foot fungus keeps coming back.

Some noteworthy reasons include:

Improper Cleaning

If you don’t clean your shoes properly, the pores of the fungus tend to remain inside. And, after a specific time, they grow back.

Walking Barefooted

As I mentioned earlier, walking barefooted in specific areas may lead to danger. Let’s say you’ve sanitized your shoes, but you walk across a public pool without any footwear. There’s an excellent chance you may pick it up from someone else.

Irregular Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy foot life is a habit, which requires regular maintenance of your footwear. Failing to do it regularly may see the bacterias resurface.

Other Reasons

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, other issues result in the resurgence of these unwanted guests. They include poor blood circulation, weakened immune system, and other skin diseases.

Also, follow our guide on how to Make Shoes Non-Slip.

Parting Thoughts

Shoes will become stinky and catch fungus, if not taken care of properly. It’s your duty to take care of them from the very beginning. But hey! Life’s short and we’re too busy chasing our dreams.

In the midst of this non-stop hassle, there remains very little time for trivial matters such as maintaining footwear properly. I get it and it’s fine. So what do you do when your precious foot soldiers catch fungus?

You eliminate them of course!

I’ve mentioned almost each and every way to remove fungus from your shoes.  Do let me know if I’ve missed anything important. I’m a human, and I can make mistakes too. Take care

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

Leave a Comment