How To Keep Flats From Smelling Bad With 8 Products That Work


My shoe game is pretty straightforward: Black or brown boots in the fall and winter, and black or brown flats in the spring and summer. It’s a no brainer, except when it comes to keeping keeping your flats smelling fresh or keeping salt stains off your boots. The former is unfortunately not as easy as the latter, because ballet flats are normally made with some kind of lightweight fabric, and they’re very rarely worn with socks. Sweat, dirt, and bacteria ensue, and you’re left wondering how to keep flats from smelling bad.

If you’re going to make your flats last multiple seasons (or even throughout the summer), there are certain products and hacks that can make your shoes smell amazing all day. The most important thing, however, is to take a good look at the ingredients that you’re using on your feet and in your shoes, because your skin is porous. Like a sponge, it absorbs everything you put on it, and it’s also got a complicated microbiome of good bacteria that are already helping to fight smells, so if you wipe those out with chemicals, you’re not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Check out these natural ways to keep your flats clean, fresh, and odor-free all day long.

1. Spray Tea Tree Oil To Fight Bacteria

Black Bottle Shoe Deodorizer, $15 (Was $25), Amazon

Tea tree is another incredible deodorizing hack, and it’s the number one ingredient in this Black Bottle shoe deodorizer. It works fast to kill the bacteria that causes foot odor, it’s entirely natural so it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it’s got other great essential oils that leave feet smelling clean long-term.

2. Line Your Flats With Cedar Wood

Zederna Cedar Soles Inserts (US Women 7.5-13.5), $17, Amazon

Cedar wood is extra absorbent, which means it gets rid of both sweat and odors in your shoes. These Zederna cedar soles inserts might not look all that comfortable, but they’re actually very thin and pliable, so they mold to the bottom of your feet and absorb smells while you’ve got your shoes on. They come in all different sizes, and one reviewer says, “I wear these with my cute flats and they keep my feet dry all day.”

3. Wear Bamboo Socks Underneath

Womens No Show Bamboo Flat Liners, $13, Amazon

Bamboo is an awesome fabric to prevent odor because it’s lightweight, absorbent, moisture-wicking, and antibacterial. Theis set of six no-show bamboo flat liners have low seams, so they’re ideal for invisible wear under flats, and because they’re odor-resistant and quick-drying, they’ll help keep your flats feeling dry and smelling fresh.

4. Absorb Sweat With A Fresh Powder

Honeybuns Organic Baby Powder, $14 (Was $30), Amazon

Flats often begin to smell because the moisture from your sweat is a breeding ground for bacteria. Honeybuns organic baby powder easily absorbs any excess moisture with talc-free ingredients like arrowroot powder. It’s also got herbal extracts that smell fresh and clean, so a few sprinkles in your favorite flats should definitely do the trick.

5. Throw Your Shoes In The Dryer

Ikea Pressa Washing Bag, $8, Amazon

Most of my flats are made from a lightweight fabric material, and when they start to get dingy, I throw them straight into the washing machine in one of these Ikea Pressa washing bags. This set of three is durable, made with polyester, and has a reliable zipper, so you can keep your shoes safe and together while washing them.

6. Absorb Smells With Bamboo Charcoal

Mini Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags, $10, Amazon

These mini Moso natural air purifying bags are filled with bamboo charcoal, which is ridiculously good at absorbing any unwanted smells or moisture. Best of all, they’re fragrance free, non-toxic, and fit right in your favorite flats (one for either shoe), so when you wake up in the morning, they’re as good as new. They can be used for up to two years, and when they’re all full of smells, you can “recharge” them in the sunlight for a few hours.

7. Create A Barrier Against Bacteria

Crystal Body Deodorant Spray, $7, Amazon

This Crystal body deodorant spray can be used all over the body, but it’s especially effective at keeping feet dry and clean. It’s made from all-natural mineral salts that form an invisible barrier against odor-causing bacteria, and because it’s in a convenient spray form, a few spritzes after you get out of the shower can keep your feet fresh all day.

8. Clean Your Flats Safely And Effectively

Shoe Cleaner Kit, $18 (Was $30), Amazon

The more dirt and sweat that collects in your favorite flats, the more they’ll start to smell. This shoe cleaner kit is a safe and effective way to clean every material, from leather to cotton. It also comes with a high-quality brush that helps you get out all the stains.

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Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (8)