Removing Odor From Boots ( Smelly Work Boots)


In every job, that requires wearing a work boot, the wearer has to face unpleasant and funky smell stemming out of his boot. Of course, it’s embarrassing, especially, in the company of others.

As soon as you remove your footwear, after a long hectic day, in home, it creates an annoying condition for everyone. Changing to a new pair or moving to a new brand doesn’t solve the condition. You have to follow some basic steps in order to remove odor from your work boots.

Let’s discuss the steps but in short.

Trouble With The Work Boots

Most of the work-boots are manufactured with an insulated design and their lining are sealed very tightly to protect the foot from the job-injuries. But, at the same time, this insulation can make it hard to pass-through for the air.

This insulation is good in winters but not in summers. The foot is less likely to sweat in winter but a little up in the temperature during summer can cause excessive sweating to the foot. This sweat is the breeding ground, inside the boot, for fungus and molds causing the terrible odor.



Although, some non-insulated boots are also available in the market but that too doesn’t help much.

The boot, in a work environment, usually gets covered with oil, dirt, mud etc. that hogs the way for the air to pass through.

This is the inner mesh and the insoles of the boot that soaks all the sweat and hosts all the funky bacteria.

What Causes Your Work Boot To Stink

In the nutshell, it is the ‘Foot Sweat’ or, better say, the ‘Bacteria’ thriving due to sweat that makes your boots to stink.

The human foot has more than 250,000 glands that releases sweat to keep the temperature down during summer or hot conditions. This sweat is soaked by the inner mesh of the boots. The warm environment inside makes it conducive for the bacteria and fungus to grow causing a funky scent.

The major factors for the bacteria and eventually the smell to grow are:

  • Lack of proper ventilation in the work boots.
  • Wearing Steel-Toe-Boots as they conduct heat that warms the inner environment up causing the bacterias to grow.​
  • Excessive sweating during the job as the body gets heat-up while working and releases sweat more than the normal.
  • Having an infected foot injury.
  • Wearing cotton socks as they absorb the sweat and soon gets wet. It multiplies the bacterial growth.


Treating The Boot Odor

No matter, what is the reason for the odour to rise but we can’t let it reside. Treating boot odour is not a daunting task but needs some extra care.

Here I enlisted some of the most effective yet simple methods so as to eliminate the stink in the boots.

The odour curing practices are divided in 3 parts.

First, the practices that you should do everyday, Second, that you should do bi-weekly and third, that you should do every quarter.

The Odor Curing Practices
Daily Practices  –  Bi-Weekly Practices  –  Quarterly Practices

Although performing them all are not mandatory and you can choose methods according to your ease and ingredients availability. Let’s jump into this:

Daily Practices

Baking Soda: Baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer for removing smell. 

Just sprinkle some of it along with some cornstarch in the work boots before going to bed and leave it overnight.

remove odor with baking soda

In the morning or just before wearing them, spill all the baking soda out of the boots.

Do it on daily basis and the smell won’t occur.

baking soda in boots

Here is a nice video showing how to remove odor from your shoes with baking soda;

Black Teabags: Tea is an everyday recipe in every home.

Teabags act as a disinfectant because they contain Ta​​nnins – a perfect match to stand against the bacteria. So, instead of, throwing them away use it as:

tea bag to remove bad smell from shoes


  • Keep the teabag in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Take out the teabag from the hot water and let it cool for few minutes.
  • Place the teabag in the work boot for 1 or 2 hours.
  • Afterwards, remove the teabag and wipe off the excess juice.

Foot Washing: It all stems from the feet sweat. It is must to keep them clean and germ free.

foot washing to remove odor

Wash your feet with mild soap and warm water, everyday or before and after using the work boots, especially between your toes.

If your are prone to excessive sweating, then:

  • Use an antiperspirant to remove the sweat and odour.
  • Apply cotton soaked with surgical spirit between the toes after washing them.
  • Use antibacterial foot scrub for cleaning the feet. But remember not-to-use them if you have a broken skin or eczema (skin disease).
  • Always keep your foot dry before wearing the socks and the work boot.

Utilising Dryer Sheets: Dryer sheets are used when you have to wear your work boots for longer hours.

dryer sheets


Dryer sheets keep your feet dry and absorb all the sweat stemming from them rather than passing it to the insoles of the work boots, thus, preventing odour. For this:

  • Place the dryer sheets in the shoes before wearing.
  • As they are light-weight or no-weight, you will feel comfortable while walking or doing the work.
  • Throw the dryer sheets once the day is over.

Fabric Freshener Sheets: Just ball up two fabric softeners and place it inside of the work boots after every use.

Leave the shoes for few hours and the sheets will spread their pleasant smell all over the shoes soaking any excessive moisture present inside the boots.

Applying Baby Powder: To remove the funky scent, baby powders can be used as an alternative as they have the deodorizing properties and comes in different pleasant scents to keep the feet dry and smell great. For this:

remove odor from shoes with baby powder
  • Apply some baby powder on feet before wearing the socks.
  • Powder the feet from time to time when they get more sweaty.
  • Not to use excessive powder as it will aggravates the powder fragrance might be visible as well.

Anti-Bacterial Spray or Anti-Fungal Foot Soap and Soaks: To remove the boot odor, you can also purchase an anti-bacterial spray .

These are specially formulated to remove all the bacteria inside of the boots and leaves them with a bacteria-free and smell-free characteristics.

Just apply the anti-bacterial spray on the inside of the work boots and leave it for some time to see the effective results. Better if you place it in a ventilated place.

An anti-fungal foot soap and a foot soak deals with the workers foot-related problems, if you sweat too often and are prone to expose to the fungus and other germs. Apply a bit on your foot everyday. It will take care of the issues.

Using Right Pair of Socks: Do not use the cotton socks as they soak the sweat, from the feet, and pass it on to the boot’s inner mesh.

socks 1

Instead use  recommended socks  made of synthetic, as they soak the sweat and lock them inside disconnecting it from both the feet and the boots.


Wear a fresh pair of socks everyday. If possible, change the socks twice a day, especially, during the working hours.

Mixture Of Water and Vinegar: Mix 50 percent of white distilled vinegar in 50 percent of water. Spray it on the walls of the inner mesh and on the insole. Leave it for a couple of hours. You will see that the bad smell is over and the boots seem quite fresh.

Salt Treatment: At the end of a hectic day, salt is a quick remedy to chew the funky smell in the footwear away. Just shower some Kosher Salt in the boots before putting them on the rack. Next morning, you have a fresh pair to wear.

Bi-Weekly Practices

Washing The Work Boots: Most of the work boots are washable. So do wash them at regular intervals with a detergent or a recommended washer so as to remove all the soaked sweat completely.

After the wash, do dry them up in the shine as it kills the remaining bacteria.

Freezing The Work Boots: Bacteria’s cannot stand against the cool temperature, thus, freeing can help to kill all the bacteria inside of the work boots to eliminate the odour from them.

Freezing is opted if all other treatments went fail and the smell still remains stubborn.

shoes in freezer

Do it as:

  • Put the work boots in resealable bags before placing in the freezer to protect them from the extreme temperature.
  • Leave the bag inside of the freezer for overnight and it will vanish all the bacteria.
  • Take the work boots out of the freezer and thaw them up properly before wearing.

Kitty Litter: Iron cuts iron and diamond cuts diamond. The same way unpleasant smell of the kitty litter is very effective killing the boot odours.

cat litter for shoe odor

Don’t feel awkward but Kitty litter is infused with natural deodorizer to prevent the smell. It’s own smell doesn’t last for long once you remove it.

Try it and you will be amazed with the results.

Do it as:

  • Fill a pair of socks with fresh kitty litter and tie a knot on the top to seal it properly.
  • Stuff the socks inside the boots and leave it overnight.
  • Remove the socks and dispose them into the dustbin.
  • Congrats! You got rid of the boot-odour.

Placing Lemon Peels: Citrus is highly anti to the bacteria and is acidic in nature. Some natural sources for citric acid are fruits like orange or lemons.

use lemon for shoe odor


Peel these fruits off and crush the peels. Place them inside your boots for overnight. You will yield some fruitful results for sure.

Use Lavender Oil: Essential oils such as Lavender oil are very helpful in eliminating the boot odour.

 Just drop 2 drops of lavender oil in the boots and place some papers afterwards. Leave the boots for a few hours or, preferably overnight, and you will notice the desired results.

 Alternatively, Tea Tree oil can also be a good option.

Besides, lavender oil has the antibacterial properties that helps to eliminate the bacteria that leaves the boots with fresh and adorable smell.

A Tinge Of Alcohol: Alcohol is the greatest enemy to the bacteria. Its the best home remedy to remove the boot odour as bacteria and alcohol reacts against each other.

Although, alcohol itself has an unpleasant smell but it gets evaporated on it’s own after killing the bacteria and the fungus.

  • Take a spray bottle.
  • Fill it with Alcohol and the Water in a 50-50 ratio.
  • Make a few sprays inside the boot and cover it with a paper.
  • You can also apply the mixture on the surface of the boot, using a cotton swab.
  • Leave it overnight and you will see the odour disappeared.

Quarterly Practices

Change The Insoles: Make it a routine for changing the insoles every couple of months.

Also, use antimicrobial odor control insoles they have a deodorising effect and are anti-bacterial. They are light-weighted and well cushioned as well.

Change The Socks: No matter, how clean and fresh your socks appear yet change them every 3 months as they have lost their sweat-locking capability. Do not keep on using them and buy a new pair.



No matter, how stubborn the problem is there’s always a way to remove the odours from your work boots. But do find out the core. In the nutshell, it is the feet sweat the causes smell but make sure if you have any condition like Bromodosis that over-exaggerates the sweat production. If so, treating the boot odour is not productive, instead, you must consult your doctor.

As an additional advice, you can also prefer to buy two pairs of boots wearing them rotationally. It will provide each pair with enough time so as to dry up. But, obviously, that’s not a mandatory step. Hope that helped.

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