I travel a lot.
Sometimes for years on end.
This means I often only have a single pair of shoes available. At most two.
They get a lot of time on my feet and not much time to air out.
Eventually, they start to stink.
And once the smell gets bad, I end up having to throw the shoes away.
I’ve tried so many different sprays, but none of them worked. Then someone told me how to get rid of shoe odor with tea bags.
I figured, why not? It turns out it’s an easy process.
Keep reading to learn exactly how you can use tea bags (both used ones and fresh ones) to eliminate the smell from your shoes.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Get Rid Of Shoe Odor With Tea Bags
- 1.1 Method 1: Using Moist Black Tea Bags
- 1.2 Method 2: Using Dry Tea Bags
- 1.3 Does Tea Remove Shoe Smell?
- 1.4 What Is The Best Tea For Stinky Shoes?
- 1.5 What Tea Is Best For Soaking Feet?
- 1.6 Does Coffee Help Smelly Shoes?
- 1.7 What Can I Put In My Shoes If They Smell Bad?
- 1.8 What Is The Quickest Way To Remove Smell From Shoes?
- 2 Tea Bags In Smelly Shoes: Final Thoughts
How To Get Rid Of Shoe Odor With Tea Bags
You can get rid of shoe odor using dry tea bags or ones that have already been steeped. We will give you both methods, starting with wet tea bags.
Method 1: Using Moist Black Tea Bags
Black tea contains a high concentration of tannins that can eliminate odors quickly. The tannins destroy the odor-causing bacteria in the shoes to completely remove the stinky smell.
- 2 tea bags with black tea
- Boiling water to steep the two tea bags
- Hair dryer (optional)
- Smelly shoes
- Place both tea bags in a cup.
- Pour boiling water over them.
- Steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the moist bags carefully – they will be hot.
- Place one bag in each smelly shoe.
- Leave the bags in the shoes for at least an hour.
- Discard the bags.
- Wipe away the excess moisture in the shoes.
- If your shoes are very wet due to the teabags, use a hair dryer to dry them quickly.
For mild to moderately smelly shoes, one tea bag per shoe should be adequate. For stronger odor, you need to line the entire length of each shoe with several tea bags. Place a couple of bags in the toe box region and a few near the shoe’s heel area
The longer you leave the bags, the better. You can even leave the bags overnight.
Method 2: Using Dry Tea Bags
In this method, you need unused tea bags to eliminate the shoe odor. Teabags are highly absorbent, and they immediately soak up the moisture from wet, sweaty shoes, leaving them fresh and clean.
- 3-6 unused tea bags. You can use any tea bag – chamomile, peppermint, lavender, black tea, green tea, oolong tea, etc.
- Smelly sneakers
- Line each of the smelly sneakers with 3 tea bags per shoe. You can place a bag in the toe area, one bag in the middle, and one near the heel. Repeat for the other shoe.
- Leave the bags in the shoes for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Discard the tea bags (you definitely don’t want to drink them).
While black tea is the best for this method, herbal teas like lavender, peppermint, and chamomile can also leave your sneakers smelling herbal-fresh.
Does Tea Remove Shoe Smell?
Yes, tea is an effective remedy to eliminate shoe odors. Tea bags absorb the excess moisture from the shoes. The reason shoes smell bad over time is that the moisture from our sweat seeps into the shoe’s fabric lining.
Over time, this moisture creates a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. Tea bags absorb moisture from the shoes’ inner surfaces, while the tannins (or tannic acid) in the tea kill the odor-causing bacteria and freshen up the stinky sneakers.
What Is The Best Tea For Stinky Shoes?
Black tea is the best tea for stinky shoes. This is because black tea contains a higher concentration of tannins than other types of tea.
According to studies, black tea contains 11.76%–15.14% of tannins. On the other hand, green tea only contains an average of 2.65% of tannins. At 8.66%, oolong tea’s tannin concentration lies between that of black tea and green tea.
Since tannins are what eliminate the odor-causing bacteria in stinky shoes, it is best to use black tea for this remedy.
You can also use herbal teas like peppermint, lavender, or chamomile to eliminate the stink from your shoes. While these teas do not contain tannins, their herbal scent could help mask mild-to-moderate shoe odors.
What Tea Is Best For Soaking Feet?
Tea baths made using green or black tea can detoxify the feet. If you have smelly feet, soaking them in a tea bath made by brewing strong black tea or green tea can help.
The tannic acid in the tea absorbs the sweat, kills the odor-causing bacteria, and leaves the feet smelling fresh and clean. Additionally, the tannic acid in the tea closes the pores of the skin, which helps reduce sweating in the feet. The tannins in the tea also soften rough feet.
Thus, regularly soaking your feet in tea baths can result in softer, healthier, and odor-free feet. Here is how to do it.
- Make a tea bath by steeping 4-5 green tea or black tea bags in hot water.
- Add the brewed tea to a large bowl or tub and top off with some more hot water.
- Test the temperature and adjust as needed.
- Soak your feet in this tea bath for 10-15 minutes.
- Afterward, scrub your feet gently with a pumice stone or a foot brush.
- Dry your feet and wear clean socks.
- Repeat this pedicure monthly for healthier, softer feet.
Does Coffee Help Smelly Shoes?
Yes, ground coffee is also an excellent remedy for eliminating odors from smelly shoes. Coffee contains tannins and the strong scent of coffee helps mask the dirty smell of shoes. To use coffee for treating malodorous shoes, use the following steps:
- Stuff some ground coffee inside old socks.
- Place the socks in each smelly shoe and leave them overnight.
- Remove the socks for fresh-smelling shoes the next day!
What Can I Put In My Shoes If They Smell Bad?
In addition to tea bags, you can add the following items inside shoes to freshen and deodorize them.
Baking soda absorbs odors and deodorizes your shoes.
- Sprinkle baking soda inside the shoes liberally.
- Let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove the soda by dusting the shoes. You can even vacuum the shoes.
- Repeat the remedy at least once a week to keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean.
This cooking staple is an effective remedy to make your shoes smell clean and fresh.
- Sprinkle some cornstarch liberally inside the shoes. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil inside the shoes.
- Leave it in for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove the excess cornstarch the next day.
Use this remedy to keep your sneakers smelling fresh and clean. However, it may not work on wet, dirty shoes.
- Toss some lemon peels inside each smelly shoe.
- Leave the peels inside the shoes for a few hours or overnight.
- Use this remedy fortnightly to keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean.
What Is The Quickest Way To Remove Smell From Shoes?
The quickest way to eliminate foul odors from smelly shoes is to spray some diluted white vinegar inside them. Vinegar neutralizes the odor-causing bacteria that impart the foul smell to sneakers and shoes.
- Fill up a spray bottle with water and distilled white vinegar in a 50:50 ratio.
- Spray this solution inside and outside the shoes.
- Let it sit for a few minutes. (If you have the time, leave the shoes to dry overnight).
- Wipe the shoes using a cloth or a hairdryer.
- Repeat this process monthly to keep your shoes smelling fresh.
Tea Bags In Smelly Shoes: Final Thoughts
Now that you know how to get rid of shoe odor with tea bags, give it a try! You don’t even have to use up any tea bags. You can steep them first and then use them. That way you can still drink the tea.
Of course, using wet bags does leave your shoes wet, so you have to let them dry a while or use a hair dryer. Dry tea bags make that par easier, but it does mean using up good tea bags. Sure, you could still steep them afterward, but do you really want food odor tea?
Fighting shoe odor is not the only superpower tea bags have. They can do all sorts of things. For example, you can use them to alleviate fever blisters. Or to combat tooth pain.
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