With warmer temperatures, bare feet and pedicures right around the corner, we're all looking forward to ditching our boots for flats. But before you start wearing flats everywhere again, we should probably discuss that funky foot smell that most women who regularly wear flats have experienced. No woman wants to admit that her favorite pair of flats smells like the inside of the men's locker room after a sweaty game of basketball, but there's no reason to be ashamed. Flats are a footwear must-have, so let's be honest: They aren't the most breathable option in our shoe collection, and sometimes your toes get sweaty in there.
Sweating a lot may not the sexiest thing in the world, and sweaty feet may be near the top of the icky, sweaty body part hierarchy, but they're a lot more common than we're willing to admit. Trapping all that moisture in your beloved spring flats can cause a build-up of bacteria which leads to that distinct foot smell we've all suffered. Short of wearing socks forever or wandering into the intimidating foot care department at the drug store, what can you do? There are several DIY options that use household items to de-funkify those stinky shoes, so you won't have to spend a ton on special insoles or heavy-duty sprays. Try one of these stink-squashing solutions the next time you get a bad whiff of your favorite flats:
1. Drop Tea Bags Into Your Flats
As if we needed any more proof that tea is better than coffee, did you know that your favorite Earl Grey can also help remove odors from your favorite flats? Thanks to way they're designed, tea bags are like little sponges when it comes to soaking up moisture. The next time you kick off your shoes after a sticky, sweaty day, drop a few unused tea bags into your shoes and let them sit for a few days. The tea bags will not only help them dry out, but they'll eliminate that funky foot smell, too.
2. Use An Old Pair Of Pantyhose And Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Remember how your mom always used to keep a box of baking soda in the refrigerator? Well, that's because baking soda helps keep all the food in your fridge smelling fresh, even when you've got onions and fish on hand. Outside of the kitchen, baking soda is essential to your beauty regimen, so of course you should put it to work in those old smelly shoes you haven't worn in a while. Take an old pair of pantyhose — the ones you never wear with the suffocating control top and the major run near the knee — and cut off the toe of each leg to create a little pouch. Fill it with baking soda, and use some ribbon or string to tie the end. Stick these little baking soda bombs into the toe of your smelliest shoes and give them a new life.
3. Spare A Couple Coffee Filters And Some Coffee
The thought of using those magical beans for anything other than caffeinating yourself on a Monday morning might be hard for some hardcore coffee drinkers to grasp, but bear with me here. If you've ever done any perfume shopping, you've probably seen that little container of coffee left out on the shelf to rescue your sinuses. Well, it's there to clear your palate — so to speak — after sniffing Eau de Moth Balls and Magnolia. The same technique works wonders in your shoes. After you've made yourself a cup of coffee, take two coffee filters and fill them with coffee grounds. Using string, ribbon, a rubber band or whatever else you have lying around, tie it up and put each little coffee pack in your shoes for a day or two. Just like at the perfume counter, the coffee will help freshen up your footwear.
4. Stick Your Shoes In The Freezer
Don't freak out. I know the thought of putting shoes — especially stinky shoes — anywhere near your frozen pizza supply seems kind of crazy, but this is actually a really good option to use as a quick shock treatment if the only thing you have around the house is some extra space in your freezer. Shove your shoes in there for a few hours or overnight to minimize any odors. But please, put your shoes in a grocery bag or freezer bag before putting them anywhere near your frozen veggies.
5. Embrace The Power Of Fresh n' Soft Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are the most underrated household item. Besides making you want to nap in your clean laundry pile, dryer sheets get rid of deodorant stains on your clothes and de-frizz your hair when you’re running out of the house in a rush. These miracle sheets can also do wonders for your stinky shoes. Dryer sheets are amazing at neutralizing static and odors. After all, when was the last time your clothes left the dryer smelling less than amazing? To get that same fresh scent in your shoes, put a dryer sheet near the toe of each shoe, and let them hangout like that at least overnight. When you’re ready to wear those flats again, they’ll smell as amazing as your maxi dress.
6. Borrow Some Of Your Cat's Litter
Your cat might be ruining your beauty routine in many ways (many of which begin and end with clumps of cat hair on your clothes), but helping yourself to some of his or her litter to eliminate the smell in your shoes is one small way your beloved feline can pay it forward. If you've ever scooped a litter box, you know there are a lot of clumpy, stinky and generally gross things going in there, so even though litter might seem like an unlikely choice for your shoes, it makes a lot of sense. Take a scoop of clean litter and put it in the snipped end of an old pair of pantyhose. Make one of these for each shoe, and let it sit for 24-48 hours. If you suspect your cat has an evil vendetta, put this in a place where he or she can't get to them. There is no DIY solution for cat pee or poop in your shoes.
7. Make Your Own Deodorizer
So what if you're not into wasting your precious supply of cat litter, coffee or tea bags? Pinterest to the rescue. There are tons of different "recipes" out there for mixing your own shoe deodorizing spray. My personal favorite Stinky Shoe Spray requires an empty spray bottle and just two ingredients: vodka (an essential household item) and tea tree oil. The vodka helps kill the bacteria in your shoes while the tea tree oil — in addition to smelling a lot better that sweaty feet — is antibacterial and antifungal.
Images: Author's Own; Giphy