Conquer Stinky Shoes With A Surprising Spice You Already Have

The good news is your floors are immaculate since adopting a no-shoe rule in your home. The bad news is the pungent smell wafting from the fetid footwear sitting at your front door is utterly revolting. Don't sweat the stink. Stenchy sneakers, festy flats, and malodorous moccasins are an all-too-common issue in homes around the world. Sure, you could try adding salt to your shoes to deodorize them or maybe put those smelly shoes in the freezer to freshen them up. However, when all else fails, consider hightailing it to the kitchen for a surprising spice that'll help conquer your stinkiest shoes: cinnamon.

Before going to battle against putrid-smelling footwear, it pays to know what you're up against. The fetor of fermenting feet that seems like it's baked into your shoes is caused by a combination of sweat, bacteria, fungus, dirt, and yeast. What's more, because most footwear limits airflow, shoes become a breeding ground for smelly germs that eventually become absorbed into the shoes' fabric. Add to it the frequency with which you wear them and it's not unusual for the odor to become permanent.

When this happens, your isolated shoe problem becomes a whole house problem. The acrid aroma of smelly shoes can transfer to your socks and feet, then spread to carpet, furniture, and other porous surfaces throughout your home. If ignored, the odor can become embedded, making your living spaces smell like rotten eggs. Fortunately, you can stop shoe stink in its tracks with the spicy, sweet scent of cinnamon.

How to use cinnamon to freshen smelly shoes

You may not end up with shoes that smell like freshly baked cinnamon rolls, but using the popular spice to combat noxious shoe fumes will help eliminate germs that fuel footwear funk. According to the journal Nutrients, cinnamon contains antibacterial properties, which help curb the formation and spread of microbes that contribute to shoes' sulfurous odor.

To replace the skunk-like smell of well-worn shoes with the toasty warm, vanilla-like scent of cinnamon, select either the stick or ground version of the spice. Next, wrap the cinnamon in a porous material, such as cheesecloth, coffee filters, medical gauze, or an old pair of pantyhose, and tie it with string to keep it contained. Then, place the shoe deodorizing packets inside your foul-smelling footwear. Depending on the size of your shoe, you may have to add more than one cinnamon sachet to each side. Allow the spice bundles to sit overnight. If the nasty scent hasn't neutralized by morning, make a new batch of cinnamon pouches and repeat the process until the smell subsides.

For footwear that's particularly rancid, consider making a shoe spray using cinnamon bark essential oil. Start by combining 1 ounce of distilled water and 2 ounces of witch hazel in a spray bottle, then add 30 to 40 drops of the cinnamon bark oil and shake thoroughly. Finish by spritzing the mixture inside your shoes. Leave the spray untouched for at least 12 hours or until the shoes are completely dry.