Leather footwear has excellent durability, feels comfortable to wear, and looks spectacular no matter where you show it off. Nevertheless, because leather is a porous material and contains natural fibers, it’s vulnerable to absorbing unpleasant odors and sweat from your feet, which can make it smell unpleasant.
In this article we’ll share some of the best ways on how to deodorize your leather shoes to keep them smelling fresh and clean. By following this list of best practices and useful tips, you’re able to restore the natural scent of your leather shoes, as well as remove any foul odors or unpleasant smells.
1. Clean Them Properly
One of the best tips to ensure your leather footwear smells amazing is to clean them inside and out. Leather is a naturally absorbent material that can easily trap in the odor from your foot.
Therefore, to help prevent that, you should regularly clean the dirt and grime from your shoes using a dedicated leather shoe cleaner. We recommend using the Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit since it not only renews the look of your leather shoes but also removes dirt, grime and other substances that foster bacterial growth.
Always ensure to air any odors out of your shoes while cleaning them by removing the laces and the insole. Clean shoes are more likely to smell fresh, and there is a lower possibility of them absorbing any extra sweat as you wear them.
2. Use Shoe Deodorizers
A shoe deodorizer is a product that can help you eliminate any unpleasant smells from your shoes without having to resort to harmful chemicals. Sprays and sticks both work great, but we’ve had better results with deodorizing sticks.
Leaving a deodorizing stick in your leather shoes will allow them to absorb the sweat trapped inside and make your shoes smell fresh and odor-free, essentially deodorizing them in a relatively short period of time.
While any type of natural shoe deodorizer for leather would work, we highly recommend the NonScents Shoe Deodorizer. These deodorizing sticks work great on leather shoes and don’t contain any harmful chemicals or ingredients. And the best part is that they last for about 6 months!
Ensure that the leather shoe deodorizer you opt for contains ingredients that eliminate odors instead of simply masking them with scents. Moreover, it is important to choose a shoe deodorizer that is compatible with leather for best results.
A good leather deodorizer not only eliminates bad smells but also instills a brilliant freshness in them.
2. Remove Bad Smells
If you’re dealing with foul smells and bad odor, you’ll need to remove them from your leather shoes. We’ve written an extensive guide on how to remove odors from leather shoes, that will teach you how to best achieve this. While we encourage you to read that guide, we’ve summarized the most important points for you to follow below.
You can start by using some popular home remedies to remove unpleasant or bad smells. Teabags can be used to absorb the sweat from your leather shoes and remove any bacteria present inside.
Applying baking soda inside your shoes is also a great technique to neutralize the smell in your leather shoes, but it may damage your leather if you don’t place them in trays. Please take note of that.
Lastly, you can also try a homemade vinegar solution (mixed with water) to rid your leather shoes of any bad odor. Remember to follow the procedures carefully so that you don’t damage the leather by accident.
3. Store Them Appropriately
It’s natural for your feet to perspire when walking in warm and humid environments or over a prolonged period of time. Feet have about 250,000 sweat glands that will cause perspiration, especially when wearing leather shoes.
Therefore, it is important to store your leather shoes appropriately to air and deodorize them in a clean and dry environment. We advise storing leather shoes in an area with plenty of air circulation to keep your leather shoes dry and smelling great.
Damp environments foster the growth of odor-causing bacteria; therefore, you should avoid stale and dank closets for storing your beloved leather shoes. Also ensure that you keep them out of direct sunlight, as that could damage your leather.
4. Wear Socks with Leather Shoes
Another great way to ensure that your leather shoes are properly deodorized is to wear socks. Wearing socks with leather shoes can help you create a barrier between the leather material and your feet.
Your socks can withhold the moisture from your feet from making the insides of your shoes damp, which causes growth of foul-smelling bacteria. It can also help avoid the transfer of any dirt, grime, or natural oils from your feet to the inside of your shoes and ensure that they are deodorized.
Therefore, we highly recommend wearing socks with your leather shoes (even no-show socks will do the trick) to ensure that they are kept clean from the inside and always smell fresh.
Additional Tips & Best Practices to Keep Leather Shoes Smelling Fresh & Deodorized
Keeping your leather shoes fresh and deodorized also helps to preserve them. While you’re able to use all of the methods that we’ve shared above, we also wanted to touch on some additional tips and best practices that you can make use of.
- Swap Out Insoles – Since insoles are the part of your leather shoes that are in most contact with damp parts of your foot, replacing them with new ones will keep your shoes smelling great again.
- Store Insoles Separately – Storing your insoles separately from your leather shoes will allow them to fully dry. You should store the insoles in a well-ventilated area, to naturally remove odor-causing bacteria.
- Clean & Maintain Them Regularly – Frequent cleaning and maintenance of your leather shoes will ensure that no sweat odors remain trapped. Cleaning your leather shoes inside and out will help to deodorize any unpleasant smells. Also remember to let them dry in a clean and open environment for best results.
We hope that this guide was able to help you out with deodorizing your leather shoes. Please remember to only use cleaning solutions or products that are compatible with leather. Feel free to use any combination of methods described in this guide and to get in touch if you have any questions.
Co-Founder, Researcher & Writer At Leatherskill
I’m a leather enthusiast who spends most of his free time crafting, researching, and writing about the many facets of this versatile material. Thanks for reading!