Boot odor is a common problem with many people.
The issue can be tackled easily using at home methods, cleaning products and even following some basic hygiene tips.
Before we go into discussing how we can remove odor, let’s try to understand what causes it in the first place.
What Causes Boot Odor?
Boot odor is caused due to the natural odor produced by the feet that soak up into the boot’s interior. When boots are worn for a long while, sweat is produced by the feet. Due to lack of proper ventilation and the unhygienic condition within the boot, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria break the sweat down and produce odor.
The main reason why boots get that stinky odor after being used for a long time is due to feet odor that has gotten subsumed into the boot’s interior.
Human feet have around 250,000 sweat glands, more than anywhere else in the human body.
Naturally, when the feet are enclosed within boots for a long while without any proper ventilation, sweat is produced by the glands.
Thus, within the boot, the environment would be hot and humid and an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria then break the sweat down into scented fatty acids that reek.
Therefore, boot odor ultimately depends upon the amount of sweat produced by the feet.
Sweat production can increase if feet are not ventilated properly.
Also, if the boots are worn too frequently, the sweat can soak into the boot’s inside. This unhygienic condition would result in a perpetual bad odor.
Again, sweat can pool inside the boot if no socks are worn with it or if the socks worn are not doing a good job in absorbing sweat.
Steel-toe-boots can also conduct heat into the boot’s interior, producing a warm environment for the bacteria to grow.
A person’s lifestyle can also affect sweat production, and by extension, boot odor.
Stress can cause a condition called hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Hormonal changes in adolescents can also cause unwarranted amounts of sweat.
Best At-Home Methods to Remove Boot Odor
Some methods that can be easily done at home to remove bad odor from boots are to use materials like baking soda, tea leaves and salt that draw out moisture and kill germs. Natural deodorizers like essential oils, citrus peels and kitty litter can be used as a homemade shoe deodorizer. Lastly, boots can be washed with bleaching powder to remove the germs and bad odor.
These methods to remove odor from boots are mentioned in more detail below –
1. Using Baking Soda
This is a simple method which can be employed to remove boot odor overnight.
The main ingredient required for this method is baking soda, which is a natural deodorizer and can be obtained easily from any kitchen.
A few teaspoons of baking soda, along with corn starch, can be sprinkled into the shoes and left overnight. This time is used by the baking soda to kill the bacteria that bring about bad odor.
The baking soda can be shaken out of the boots on the next day.
A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar can also be sprayed into the boot.
Reusable baking soda “bags” can be made by stuffing old socks with baking soda and then leaving them in the boots throughout the night.
The main drawback of this method is that when baking soda is used too often, leather in the boots may become too dry due to the baking soda drawing moisture out.
Teabags can be recycled and used to remove boot odor.
The tea leaves present in the tea bags contain a chemical compound called tannin. Tannin is known for its antimicrobial properties.
Thus, it is very useful in removing the bad odor-producing bacteria in boots.
The tea bags have to be soaked in boiling hot water for five to ten minutes after which they can be cooled and placed in the boots. After one or two hours, they can be removed.
Also, any excess juice from the tea bag has to be removed from the boot.
Using Fabric Freshener sheets and Dryer Sheets
Fabric freshener sheets are known for their pleasant smell and moisture absorbing capability.
A couple of these freshener sheets can be taken and placed in the boots overnight. The sheets will completely draw the moisture out of the boot and deodorize them.
Dryer sheets can also be used for this purpose.
These sheets can be crumpled into boots and worn. They can absorb feet sweat and moisture. Also, they are light in weight and will not cause any discomfort to the wearer.
Salt has a natural property of absorbing moisture. A liberal amount of salt can be sprinkled into the boots and left overnight to remove the bad odor.
Using baby powder, citrus peels, scented oils, rubbing alcohol and kitty litter
Baby Powder is infused with deodorizers. Some baby powder can be sprinkled on the feet before wearing the boots.
Several scented oils such as lavender, clove or eucalyptus are available. A few drops of the oil can be put on a paper or tissue and left in the boots overnight to drive the bad odor away.
Kitty litter and crushed citrus peels can also be used in a similar way to remove the stink.
Rubbing alcohol is another way to remove bad odor. It can be rubbed onto the inner surface of the boot using a paper towel. In addition to driving away the stink, rubbing alcohol is also a good disinfectant.
Boots can be left in the sunlight to dry. Sunlight can draw the moisture out of the boots and kill the odor-causing bacteria.
The boots (after being checked to be completely dry) can be bundled into a plastic bag and left in the freezer overnight.
The bacteria will not be able to withstand the low temperatures and will die.
The main ingredients required for this method are water and bleaching powder.
The boots can be placed in a sink or a tub. A small amount of bleaching powder can be put into each boot.
Then, warm or hot water can be poured into each boot to wash it. The boots can be allowed to sit in the water for a while.
Finally, the water can be drained and the boots can be allowed to dry.
Care must be taken to not expose the boots to too much heat. Otherwise, the leather might crack and blister.
The drawback of this method is that the boots can shrink when soaked in water for too much time.
Best Professional Products for Removing Boot Odor
Some professional products to remove boot odor are foot sprays, foot deodorizers, antifungal powder, antimicrobial soap and specially treated boot insoles.
These products to remove boot odor are discussed in more detail below –
Antifungal Powder or Soap
An antifungal powder is typically used for treating athlete’s foot and other fungal skin infections of the foot. This powder also comes infused with deodorants.
An antifungal powder can be sprinkled into the boots and left for a while to remove bad odor.
Specially treated insoles
The bad odor from boots can be checked by regularly swapping the insoles of the boots.
Some specially made insoles are available which can help in fighting bad odor.
These insoles act by absorbing the perspiration from the feet. They also come infused with deodorants that can freshen the boot.
Some insoles also come with antimicrobial additives that help in killing the odor-causing bacteria.
Foot spray and deodorizer
Several foot sprays and deodorizers are available that can be sprayed onto the boots to remove bad odor.
These deodorizers are made with several essential oils such as pine, lavender, etc. which lend a hand in masking the bad odor.
Some deodorants can also act as deterrents to microbial action.
How to Prevent Boot odor?
Some ways to prevent boot odor is to wash and dry the feet regularly to remove excess perspiration, using the right kind of socks, changing the socks and insoles regularly and taking care not to use the same kind of boots regularly.
One simple way to prevent boot odor is to wash the feet regularly before putting the boots on.
As stated before, it is because of the breaking down of feet perspiration by the bacteria that bad odor is produced.
Therefore, this odor can be prevented by washing the feet with soap and water to keep them clean and odor free.
Using antiperspirants and antibacterial sprays on the feet is also a good idea. The feet must be dried thoroughly before wearing the boots.
Using the right pair of socks is also necessary to prevent bad odor.
The socks must be light enough to let the feet breathe but also must be able to soak up the sweat from the feet.
Moreover, socks must be swapped regularly for fresh ones to prevent the socks from losing their sweat-locking ability and from absorbing the bad odor as well.
Changing the insoles of the boots regularly can also check bad odor production.
To prevent the boots from absorbing the bad odor from the feet, the same pair or boots must not be worn for over two days or very frequently. It is necessary to give them some time to dry.
In the end..
Boot odor is a very common issue and thankfully can be easily prevented with some quick changes. You can also use at home methods or products available in the market to tackle the odor situation.
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