How To Get The Smell Out Of Your Leather Boots In 4 Steps

Start by air-drying your boots. If that doesn’t work, dab it with a mixture of white vinegar and tea tree oil. Next, spray the insides with baking soda after drying to get the smell out. Black Tea Bags and disinfectant sprays are also effective ways to remove odor in boots.

Leather boots begin to develop an odor after a while, which may be embarrassing. I once had a roommate who would take his shoes off inside the house, and this would fill the house with this foul odor.

We blamed it on his feet, his socks, and everything but the boots. Not until recently did I realize that it was a combination of all these factors, and it is not that hard to remedy.

In this article, we will discuss in detail four major ways to get small out of your leather boots. If you cannot carry out any of these four, there are other ways listed below.

various boots

4 Ways On How To Get Smell Out Of Leather Boots

There are four major ways to rid your leather shoes of foul smell. These methods have been tested in multiple households with great success.

Method 1. Air Out The Boots To Remove Light Smells

This may seem the most obvious way to remove odor in shoes, but it actually works. Dampness can trigger a smell in leather boots, leading to a mildew smell. Some air may be all you need to get them back to normal.

Place the shoes outside or in a well-ventilated space and let them dry for a couple of days. Remember to put them where they won’t be hit by direct sunlight or rain.

If you live in a humid region, it is better to air them indoors in a ventilated space. You may try using a hairdryer for people living in cold regions. If this doesn’t work, try the next step.

Method 2. Remove Boot Odor with Vinegar And Baking Soda

You will need white vinegar, tree tea oil (optional), baking soda, and a rag or sprinkler for this process.

1. Mix White Vinegar and Tree Oil with Water

Mix the white vinegar and tree oil in a sprinkler container with water. About 120ml of vinegar, half a cup of water, and a few drops of tree tea oil. This mixture will work without the tree tea oil. Shake to mix until satisfied.

2. Soak A Rag with the Mixture

Spray this mixture lightly on a paper towel or rag. Squeeze the rag to ensure it is only damp. 

3. Wipe the Interiors of the Boots

Use the rag to wipe the interiors of the shoe. Try to be as thorough as possible, removing the laces and opening the tongue for effectiveness. Ensure to clean from the toe box to the insoles, through the sides, etc.

4. Dry the Boots with Another Rag

After this has been done thoroughly, wipe the interiors of the boot with a clean, dry cloth to ensure it is not damp.

5. Sprinkle Baking Soda into the Boots

Sprinkle baking soda into each shoe and shake well to ensure even distribution. The baking soda should cover all sides of the shoe evenly. Apply until this has been achieved.

6. Leave it Overnight

Let the shoe sit overnight as the baking soda absorbs the odor in the shoe. Shake off the dust into a bin or use a vacuum cleaner to eject the remnant.

Avoid using apple cider vinegar. It may cause discoloration of the leather. You may also want to keep this mixture for future use.

Method 3. Eliminate Boots Smell With Black Tea Bags

get smell out of leather boots using tea bags

1. Soak Black Tea Bags in Hot Water

Place black tea bags into hot water and soak in the water for 5 minutes. Ensure that the teabags are adequately soaked. Black tea possess tannins which act as natural disinfectants that combat smells.

2. Place the Bags in the Boots

Without squeezing out the moisture within the bag, place one tea bag halfway into each shoe and leave for about 2 hours.

3. Air Dry the Shoes 

Remove the tea bags and dry out the shoes thoroughly. Throw the tea bags out and wipe the shoes with a dry piece of clothing. Repeat this process if the smell continues.

Method 4. Get Rid of Boot Smells Using Disinfectant Spray

For this process, prepare a shoe cleaner that is safe for leather boots. Not all disinfectant sprays are suitable for leather boots, so it’s important to confirm.

1. Spray the Shoes with Disinfectant

Turn the shoes upside down and apply them to each shoe. Aim the nozzle at the toe area to maximize the even distribution. Spray for about 4-5 minutes for practical use.

2. Air Dry it for Some Minutes

Leave out to dry for about 5 minutes, after which you can smell to confirm. If the smell persists, repeat this process until the smell dissipates.

Avoid soaking the shoes with the spray to avoid warping.

Other Tested Ways To Get Smell Out Of Leather Boots

Here are other tested ways to get rid of the smell in leather shoes:

Alternative Method 1. Freezing

This may sound weird, but it is a practical approach. The bacteria that cause the smell in leather boots cannot survive the extremely cold temperature of the freezer. 

1. Keep it in a Freezer

Place your boots in a box and place the box inside the freezer for 1 – 3 days. This allows the cold to get into every part of the shoes. Just make sure not to store any food in that same freezer. 

2. Air Dry the Boots

Bring them out and air dry for at least 3 hours, depending on how long you froze them for.

Alternative Method 2. Change Insoles

how to remove smells from leather boots by chaning the insoles

Many times, your boots are not smelling; your insoles are. Changing them may be the solution to that foul odor. You can get new insoles from nearby stores or your boot manufacturers.

Alternative Method 3. UV Rays

You should avoid placing your shoes in a closet for long periods. Exposing your shoes to UV light speeds up the drying process and kills the bacteria and fungi that cause odor. Make sure to use UV protectors as excess UV rays may spoil shoes.

Alternative Method 4. Cat Litter

Another way to rid your shoe of odor is using cat litter. Sprinkle some cat litter into each shoe and leave it overnight. Empty the shoe in the morning and vacuum the litter out. This may help get the odor also.

Alternative Method 5. Citrus Fruits

Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit have peels with strong odor combative properties. Place the peel of any citrus fruit into the shoes, leave it overnight and remove the peel in the morning. This can be a routine practice to prevent the smell in your leather shoes from getting out of control.

Causes Of Odor In Leather Shoes

The best way to avoid stinky feet is to know what causes them. The major causes of smelling leather boots are humidity and warmth—the smell results from sweat, which creates an enabling environment for the bacteria to thrive. The bacteria feed on dead skin cells in our feet, developing into a strong odor. 

The thick insoles and lining inside boots keep us comfortable, but they cause heat, leading to sweating. If you use waterproof boots, it creates a barrier for moisture to come in and leave. This implies that the sweat and moisture from the feet breed odor.

FAQs On How To Get Smell Out Of Leather Boots

Why do my shoes smell after I have washed them?

When washed, leather boots will smell if not well aired or dried. Drying must be done in a well-aired space until hidden moisture is dried up.

What is the most effective way to combat boot smell?

Airing out is the most effective. It is much better when combined with vinegar and baking soda. It curbs the smell immediately.

 How long does it take to get leather boot smell out?

The process to deodorize leather boots can take between 24 to 48 hours. Letting the boot dry naturally is an important step to effectively ward off odor in the future.

Can leather booths make my feet smell?

Yes, when leather is not well-treated, it absorbs odor from the environment. With constant wearing, your feet can begin to smell like leather boots.

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