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.

bare feet

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


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  1. Jaynie says

    We have actually been using Tinactin spray and I think that it smells worse than the stinky feet!!! :)
    Thanks for the info! I will be doing this post haste!

  2. 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.

      • Brigitte says

        I had some of those Stinky Pinkys and broke them open once. It’s activated charcoal inside.

  3. Stacy Schulte says

    I am going to try this with my kids soccer gear. Shin guards and goalie gloves smell worse than the kids shoes!

  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!

    • says

      Maria…I assume you meant don’t use the baking soda over that you sprinkle inside your shoes. The stinky pinkys would be fine to reuse. :-)

  5. 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.

  6. Laurie S says

    Good Idea! Can these be reused over and over again before you change out the mixture or is it a one time use?

    • says

      Laurie….yes the “Stinky Pinky’s” can be used over and over until you notice it’s not working anymore. Then just replace the baking soda.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Amy says

    Sometimes during the worst days of summer I’ll spray the bottoms of my feet with antiperspirant, let them dry then put on my shoes.

  10. lindaf says

    Love this… sent it to my son and daughters. My ex could use it too, but honestly, I’m just not feeling generous enough to share with him!!!!

    • says

      It’s summertime and sometimes the heat causes stinky feet. Stinky feet cause stinky boots. Wash your boots while treating the leather right. Leather-Clean is the ONLY product that allows you to really wash leather in water.
      We’ve been hard at work, and are excited to announce that our product is ready to go!