Home Remedies for Stinky Shoes and Feet!

stinky feet remedy

I think I have made it fairly obvious in the year and 9 months I’ve been writing this blog that I’m not afraid to “overshare” when necessary. :-)  So if we had a problem with stinky feet in this house, I wouldn’t be afraid to tell you. The funny thing is….despite living with all “boys” in this house…we really don’t. Well at least I don’t think we do. I’ve never had an overly-sensitive nose, so I guess I could just be missing the stink. But anyway, even though we don’t have a huge problem with this, I have had quite a few people email asking for help! So I am going to try my darnedest to do just that!

My mother-in-law told me once that she and her sisters would put “Stinky Pinky’s” inside their boys’ stinky athletic shoes. I remember laughing at that. Stinky Pinky’s! lol! I actually looked up Stinky Pinky’s online today and the only thing I came up with was this advertisement from a 1987 magazine:

stinky feet remedy

Can you believe that? $19.00 for three pairs! That’s a lot of money…especially in 1987. :-) But as silly as the name was, or how ridiculously priced they were…the idea was a solid one.

The ad says, “Just put a Stinky Pinky “sock” in each shoe and overnight odor is gone, absorbed by the special blend of all natural earth materials.”

Well, I decided to come up with my OWN “special blend of all natural earth materials” and make my own Stinky Pinky’s.  Are you ready for this?


stinky feet remedy



How To Make Your Own Stinky Pinky’s

You will need:

  • an old pair of nylons/pantyhose/tights (even an old sock would do)
  • baking soda
  • essential oil (optional)
  • some string or twine (I used my homemade T-shirt yarn)


stinky feet remedy 3

stinky feet remedy

Cut the “foot” off of a pair of nylons or tights, fill with baking soda, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, tie the top closed some string or twine, place in shoe.


stinky feet remedy

You can also make one out of the “leg” of the nylons by tying both the top and the bottom.


Here are some other Homemade Remedies for Stinky Shoes and Feet (although it’s going to be hard to beat the Stinky Pinky’s!)


stinky feet remedy

  • Using the same idea as above, but substitute the baking soda for kitty litter or coffee grounds.


stinky feet remedy

  • Sprinkle Your Shoes. After removing your shoes for the day, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of baking soda into each shoe. Leave overnight then in the morning tap shoes over a trash can to remove excess before wearing.


stinky feet remedy

  • Newspaper. No powder, no problem. Stuff the shoes with newspaper to dry them out.


stinky feet remedy

  • Rotating Shoes. If you can, alternate shoes on a daily basis so that you don’t wear the same pair two days in a row. Loosen the laces and pull up the tongue on the pair you’re not wearing, and let them dry out in the sunshine.


stinky feet remedy

  • Vinegar. Soak your feet several times a week in an apple cider or plain vinegar bath. Mix 1/3 cup vinegar into a bowl of warm water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Or, an alternative is to wipe out the shoes with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and then let them dry.


stinky feet remedy

  • Black tea. Soak tootsies in black tea. Tannic acid, a component of tea, is thought to have astringent properties that prevent feet from perspiring. To make a foot-tea soak, brew 5 bags black tea in 1 quart boiling water. Let cool, and soak feet for 20 to 30 minutes. Afterwards, most people only have to repeat this maybe once or twice monthly. You can do the same thing for sweaty palms. The tannins have a drying effect and also kill the odor causing bacteria.


stinky feet remedy

  • Hot and Cold. Alternate foot baths of hot and cold water to help reduce blood flow to your feet and reduce perspiration. After soaking in a hot foot bath, dip them into a second foot bath containing cold water, ice cubes, and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Try this dual treatment once a day, especially in warmer months.


stinky feet remedy

  • Salt. Add table salt or Epsom salts to water for a foot soak. Pour a few teaspoons of salt into a tub of warm water. Soak for ten minutes.


General Tips For Better-Smelling Feet:

Good Socks. Wear socks that let your feet breathe. If possible, change your socks at least once during the day, and don’t wear the same pair two days in a row without laundering them.

Open Shoes. Choose shoes such as sandals whenever possible, because they allow air onto the feet, which helps evaporate sweat and slows the growth of odor-causing bacteria. If sandals aren’t an option, choose shoes made of natural materials like leather or canvas shoes, which allow your feet to breathe and dry out.

Wash Well. Sweaty feet combined with bacteria make for foul-smelling feet. Washing with deodorant soap (and drying well) will prevent this.

Eat Wisely. Avoid strong-flavored foods such as garlic, onions, scallions, and peppers, because the substances that give them their powerful flavor and aroma can pass through the bloodstream and eventually concentrate in your sweat.

Keep Calm. Stress and anxiety increase production of sweat, giving bacteria even more to feed on.


Then there’s MY favorite cure for smelly feet…..just GO BAREFOOT! Growing up in Southern California I was always barefoot, much to my mother’s chagrin! But I never had stinky feet!  And you can’t argue with that. :-)



Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Dee says

    I used newspaper in my husband’s work boots for years. When I started just using baking soda overnight, I would empty the soda along with some white vinegar to clean the toilet next morning.

  2. Tammi says

    Very good suggestions. I’ll overshare and say I have very sweaty feet. Sometimes it drives me crazy. Ive tried different things but I’m not consistent. And even while wearing sandals the bottoms of my feet will have moisture on them. In fact I’m lying in bed right now surfing pinterest on my tablet…and my feet are moist. :( That’s just TMI. LOL. I’m going to try those foot soaks and see how they will work for me.

  3. Awnali Mills says

    Don’t forget that stinky feet can be a medical problem. My dad had stinky feet for YEARS, so bad that it could gag a maggot :-). Then, we discovered that he had a severe case of athlete’s foot, even though he didn’t have any itching. Once medication cleared up the infection, the smell went away and he’s been stink free ever since. So, for a chronic problem, be sure to consult a doctor.

  4. Maria says

    Laurie S- please do not use the mixture more than once! I am going to gift some stinky pinkies *holds nose* I regularly scrub the soles of my sandals with Jillee’s homemade laundry detergent. Smell you later :) and sweeter!

  5. Angela says

    I actually had Stinky Pinky’s in 1987 and I’ve looked for them everywhere since. They worked line a charm!! I will try your mock ones, however, just the baking soda will not leave the same texture in the sock that the stinky Pinky’s had inside. It was more of the kitty litter feel inside although a bigger sized granule.

    • mary says

      Baking soda is mined from the earth. Then it is pulverized to the fine powder that is in the boxes we buy at the grocery store. You may have noticed that Arm & Hammer baking soda is always very finely ground, but the generic brands sometimes have lumps. Anyway, I suspect that Stinky Pink used baking soda that we not yet pulverized. That would account for the different texture.

  6. Judy says

    A friend of mine used the tea soak on her teenage son who had really stinky feet. She said it worked miracles! And just like you suggested, they only have to re-treat now and then. Good method, especially for someone who doesn’t want to have to do something every single day (that would be me!)

  7. LD says

    My husband has a pair of nevados, the summer closed type walking sandal, hybrid sneaker/sandal type. Anyway, they stink!!!! They can clear a room!!!! I make him put them out in the sunshine for a day and it seems to work.

    • mary says

      You can also wipe them down with alcohol. This worked very well for my son’s sandals. The alcohol did no damage to the shoe, but I can’t vouch for that for every kind of shoe insole. For us, this trick was wonderful!

  8. Annie says

    When I make up our deodorant (baking soda, coconut oil and lavender EO), I put some aside in a separate container for my DH to use on his feet. He smears a little on the soles every morning – no smelly feet and therefore no smelly shoes!

  9. Kaz' Bunch says

    I’m glad your “boy house” doesn’t stink. Our sure does from time to time. For us, freezing anything “stinky” also works. We use the freezer (or outdoors during winter) trick all the time to get the stink out of sport’s gear and shoes.

  10. Kim says

    I soaked my son’s stinky running shoes in your Magic Cleaner (Dawn, vinegar & lemon juice), washed with some towels and dried them in the sun. Now to keep them Smell free I put them in a grocery bag and into the freezer each night. I’m going to have him try the tea soak though. Every little bit helps (:

  11. Kristie says

    I also use dryer sheets in our shoes! I even use the ones that have already gone in the dryer with a load of laundry since they usually still smell nice. I just replace them weekly in each pair of shoes.

  12. Mel says

    I have two teenage daughters who play volleyball….I will not allow them to remove their shoes in the car after games. It is horrendous! It took me a long time to figure it out with my oldest daughter. I now believe it’s a hormonal issue. I think after about 15-16 it calms down…after puberty is about completed! So as you can imagine… my 13yo stinks, her teammates stink, all of the parents have discussed it! lol … anyway I have been using baking soda in a sock for a long time now. Works! I do not add essential oil.

  13. Bee says

    What worked really well for my husband is washing with antibacterial soap (Dial) and moisturizing with antibacterial ointment and covering with socks at night. After about a week with the ointment and maintenance with soap when he showers, his feet don’t smell anymore!!! Hallelujah :)

  14. says

    To help dry out our shoes and keep them smell free, especially boots and sneakers, we put them in front of the refrigerator door at night with the opening facing the door. The warm air from the refrigerator going on and off dries the insides of the shoes and they are fresh in the morning. Then you can add whatever you want to the insides to help keep them dry during the day. Hope that helps someone.

  15. CTY says

    Never had much of a problem with shoes stinking until my son started rock climbing. Those climbing shoes would clear a room.
    What we use is very similar to Jillee’s solution.
    I mix clay kitty litter & baking soda (1:1) & fill an old sock. The litter helps absorb moisture.
    Always worked.

  16. Izzie says

    Though Lysol can be a harsh chemical response, with my sweaty, stinky feet year-round, I use Lysol in my shoes…I just spray both shoes thoroughly when I get home and let them dry out for a day or two. I use it with my TOM’s and it works great (those things get FUNKY)..they don’t really stink and I feel like whatever bacteria that could be growing in those shoes from the wet funk is killed!

  17. says

    Jill I love your website and often share your recipes/tutorials on my site (with your name and a link to your website here)

    I just had to comment that I sent the Stinky Pinky’s recipe to my daughter. She and my son-in-law have a small homestead. He evidently has the stinkiest feet on the planet. You may have saved a marriage with this recipe lol :)

  18. Kimberley says

    During the first war in Iraq the Department of Defense frequently contacted me, requesting as many of my son’s shoes as we could spare. Their smell was so bad that the ground forces would launch them into enemy territory, rendering all enemy troops stunned, choking, and ultimately fainting. Our guys, wearing gas masks of course, could then easily capture entire bands of incapacitated enemy soldiers. Since then DARPA has developed an artificial Stinky Shoe so they don’t call us anymore. Operation Stinky Shoe was our way of helping the war effort. No thanks necessary. We were glad to help…

    (This is one of our favorite family jokes…)

  19. says

    If I must choose between garlic & onions and sweet sweat, I choose garlic & onions. I used to have my sons spray their sneakers and other stinky shoes with Lysol disinfectant spray. I kept a can in the mud room so they could spray their shoes after a day’s hard work. It helped, I think.

  20. Rita says

    I think this sounds like a great idea. I may try it.

    For years now, I have just put scented wax tarts (small wax melts) in my shoes. I put them in small plastic bags with holes in them. They keep my shoes and slippers sweet.

  21. Katy says

    During the warmer months, I live in my TOMS (when I’m not at work, of course!) and they get quite stinky, since you don’t wear socks with them. Every week or two, I generously sprinkle baking soda and cornstarch inside the shoes, tap and rotate them to make sure it covers the whole sole, then let sit overnight. The baking soda absorbs the odor and the cornstarch dries out the leather insole (and keeps my feet from sticking to it). In the morning, just dump the excess mixture and go! P.S. You can also wash canvas shoes like TOMS in the sink with a little detergent – just be sure to rinse the soap out well and let them dry completely (pinning them up on the clothesline works great – but I wouldn’t put them in the clothes dryer).

  22. picasso80 says

    A friend of ours suggested strongly that we try Boric Acid powder sprinkled in my nieces shoes, before she puts them on. I swear the odor died a fast death when she came home, we did not notice that she had already taken her shoes off. Our friend said she had the same results when she was a teen, before this cure she had never been able to go to overnight sleep overs for fear her feet would brand her banned from the premises. Now she’s in her late 60′s still no more stinky feet.

  23. April says

    I seem to only have a problem with my flip flops, we live in Florida. I only buy “Yellow Box” brand and they are pricy, but so comfortable! After a couple years of wearing them, they were so smelly!!! So my cure was to cover them in peroxide, keep doing till there are no more white bubbles. I may also try the freezer idea! Thanks!

  24. Clary says

    I have found for not only smelly shoes, but for underarm deodorant a mixture of equal parts baking soda and cornstarch mixed well together, and applied with a powder puff works perfectly. When I put on my socks I puff some of the mixture on the bottoms of my socks and my shoes and socks never smell. In fact, my 2yr old sneakers still smell like just out of the box. As I said, this also works perfectly as an underarm deodorant as well. Have been using this formula for 3 years, and my shoes, socks, and underarms are always odorless. If you wear shoes w/o socks then just lightly sprinkle the mixture into the shoe when you remove them, then shake out excess before donning them at next wearing.

  25. Heather says

    Use caution with the black tea remedy. Tannic acid in high amounts can be carcinogenic. I’d rather have stinky feet.

    Actually, I’d rather try any one of the other remedies than have stinky feet. :)

  26. says

    Hi Jill! So glad to meet you. I am super excited that I signed up to your site as I’ve already read a great deal helpful and useful information. Thank you so much for all you share. I hold you with highest respect and regard for the journey you have chosen to take, as well as the immense courage you have mustered up to do it, good luck to you and may you succeed, as I’m certain you will. Bless you and take care.
    Big hugs to you!

  27. Nadine says

    I did this years ago with my son. his feet smelled so bad I thought he had poo on s shoes. to get the smell gone in the first place if the shoes are washable, I used lemon juice. I poured a little in the shoe rocked the shoe back and forth let it sit over night, washed the shoes in the machine the next morning let them dry in the sun. had him soak his feet in warm tea. I used generic Lipton type. every night for a month he has never had stinky feet since. use the baking soda sock after washing the shoes. :)

  28. says

    I’m sure when you say “coffee grounds” you actually mean “ground coffee”. The former refers to used–and probably still wet–coffee, the latter is fresh unused coffee.

    Baking soda is known for absorbing odors (how many of us have an open box in the fridge or a closet?) Even cheaper is clay cat litter–for filling your Stinky Pinky socks. I used a blend–with some essential oil–for those years. Soccer gloves and shin guards–made with synthetic materials–were THE WORST! For years my car reeked, and even a bowl of “Pinky mix” under the seat couldn’t keep it away.

    A podiatrist confirmed that puberty is the cause of many kids’ horrendous foot odor. He recommended regular tea soaks (nightly until it’s under control) to curb the smell and sweat. It really works, but you have to keep it up.

    Poor darn stinky kids! Only a mother could love the little skunks.

  29. Maggie says

    Using odor absorbing products doesn’t deal with the fact that odor causing junk is growing on the foot and in the shoe. Here are some things to get at root causes, instead of just temporarily absorbing (masking) it:

    1. Feet: Use a deodorant crystal (avail. at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) upon exiting the shower, while feet are still wet. It keeps odor-causing bacteria from growing on them and really works.

    2. Clean shoes with enzyme cleaner — I spray them inside with the same commercial enzyme cleaner I use to clean dog pee or other accidents in the house. It “digests” the organic matter that is causing the odor and works overnight.

  30. says

    As a mother of boys, I too can relate! Another thing I do is put Arm & Hammer cat litter deodorizer in a small plastic bowl and punch holes in the lid. I keep it at the bottom of their hamper to help with the stinky gym clothes :) I’m looking forward to trying your recipes, especially since I love essential oils. Thank you!

  31. Rebecca says

    Very, very good tipps. But one important thing is missing. The use of special medical insoles. For example cedarsoles form zederna made from antifungal cedarwood. They keep your feet also very dry and prevent them from getting athlete’s foot and so on. You can them in the internet.

  32. Jacki S. says

    For some with body/foot odor problems it can also be caused by a zinc deficiency. A small daily dose of a zinc supplement or eating foods rich in it has amazing results. Had a brother in law whose feet were so bad that on a camping trip his brothers put his socks on the campfire as a joke, the joke got funnier when the socks would not burn but just smoldered and gave off more stink. After he started taking the zinc the odor problem went away. Have recommended this to a number of people over the years and it helped every time. (btw – zinc is a common ingredient in deodorants which I haven’t had to purchase since using the supplements)

  33. Flerbiejean says

    I wear croc-type shoes all the time since they’re my favorite. In cooler months, I wear solid ones (with no holies). My feet suffer particular odor due to a man-made material and little to no air circulation. I use a little solid deodorant on my feet when I am getting ready in the morning. No issues here now because of that!

  34. Tami says

    The coffee in the sock idea really works. We were moving to Japan and were storing most of our household items for 3 years. One of the guys from the moving company told us to put coffee in a sock and leave it in the refrigerator. He said it would prevent mold and that musty smell. He was right, after 3 years in storage our refrigerator smelled like a big cup o’ joe!

  35. JODY says

    Thank you so much for the “stinky pinky” recipe, it saved my daughters ice skates! We bought her ice skate not even a year ago and the smell was starting to get to the point I couldn’t stand it when she took them out of her zuca bag. I made some homemade stinky pinky’s with the baking soda and spearmint oil and now the smell is gone!

  36. says

    Stinky Shoes!
    I have use 20 Mule team Borax to tackle stinky feet and shoes. I dust the inside of the shoes with the borax and leave it in the shoes. the 20 mule team borax not only rids the shoes of the nasty smell but it whiten the socks and it help stop athletes foot.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *