This simple DIY shoe deodoriser is really effective, reusable, and doesn't require chemicals to freshen up smelly shoes. All you need is Bi-Carb soda, old rice and a sock or stocking. Great way to use up uncooked rice and odd socks too!
This may not necessarily seem like a zero waste recipe, but my increased vigilance in reducing food waste lead to this! Several months ago I spilt a cup of coffee on my phone, so I did the rice trick to try and save it's life. If you haven't heard of this, the rice is supposed to help dry out your phone (or gadget) - you just take your phone apart and dump it into a bowl of uncooked rice overnight and it should help to prevent further water damage. (You can see how it's done here).
My phone was saved but left me with a bowl of rice that I didn't want to eat! I popped the rice into an old food container and wrote 'Not to eat' and put it back in the pantry, knowing I had a few uses for it in the future. (My family are used to seeing weird items in the kitchen and I don't actually think anyone noticed it there).
One of my best friends put me onto this shoe deodorising tip, and it is so simple. I use this in sneakers and open toe summer shoes.
Innersoles can help of course, but I'm avoiding those because they cannot be recycled and those deodoriser balls you get in shoe shops have some nasty stuff in them.
This method is safe to use around kids and pets...assuming they aren't eating going to eat it.
What You Will Need:
Essential oils (optional)
Container or jug
I used some socks that I never wear, but this could be an opportunity to repurpose odd socks, or any that no longer have functional elastic, or even stockings.
Step 1: Using an old container like a yoghurt pot, add about 1/4 cup of uncooked rice and 2 tablespoons of bi-Carb Soda. (you don't have to measure perfectly).
It is super important you use uncooked rice! I cant imagine how badly this would go using dinner left overs in your shoe.
Step 2: Mix It, Shake it or Stir it....
Step 3: Add essential oils (if you want a scent) and mix through.
I used a combination of lemon and peppermint (3 drops of each) which smells so refreshing. Experiments with wild orange and cinnamon wasn't as successful, a bit over powering and didn't enjoy the whiffs of cinnamon every time I wore the shoes.
Step 4: Place half the mixture in each sock, tie a knot and pop it into the shoes.
My shoes aren't particularly smelly (not that I'm aware of anyway) but now we have the puppy with BIG teeth that love shoes,..... I'm having to make sure I put all my shoes away in the wardrobe, and remember to shut the door.
So, sometimes the wardrobe gets a bit of a shoe/feet smell, but now it smells like Peppermint & Lemons.
If you're planning on using this in kids shoes, go easy on the essential oils and use small socks.
I made a few of these so I can keep my winter shoes smelling great while they aren't in use, and the others I rotate amongst my footwear. Of course if your shoes are really on the nose, you may want to put them through the washing machine first, or put bicarb directly into the shoe. Even though the bicarb and rice eliminate odour (which is better than masking it) and absorb some residual moisture, it shouldn't be used in wet shoes.
My shoes last a very long time and some I've been wearing for 6 years...these ones are only 3 years old (so still considered newish shoes, and no, I haven't bothered untying shoe laces since my pregnancy....haha)
These are long lasting and all you need to do is top up the oils every 3-4 months or when the aroma fades. If you find they are losing their effectiveness, replace with a fresh mix.
This recipe can work to make any deodorizing sachet for your wardrobe, drawers or other areas, and can also be added into a glass or ceramic container (minus the sock) and placed in your fridge to minimise odours.