How to disinfect used shoes

Updated February 21, 2017

Buying used shoes can be a good bargain. It is very important to thoroughly disinfect them before you wear them to prevent the spread of infection and disease that may be present in the shoes. Disinfecting the shoes will also deodorise the shoes.

Pour 237 ml (1 cup) of rubbing alcohol onto the shoes to kill bacteria. Some of the rubbing alcohol will seep into the shoes.

Place the shoes in direct sunlight for two hours. This will dry the alcohol and help to remove any germs in the shoes.

Mix 60 ml (1/4 cup) bleach with 237 ml (1 cup) water. Spray the mixture into the shoes. This will kill germs and fungus. Make sure that the bleach only touches the inside of the shoes. Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly.

Spray the outside of the shoes with a disinfectant spray. This will kill some germs, but disinfectant sprays will usually only disinfect non-porous surfaces.

Apply an anti-fungal spray to the inside of the shoes. This will kill any fungus, such as athlete's foot, and help to prevent it in the future.

Fill two stockings with cat litter and baking soda. Place one stocking into each shoe. This will help to deodorize the shoes.

Air the shoes out for a night. Remove the laces and pull the tongue out as far as possible.


Check the label on the shoes before applying any chemical to be sure that the chemicals won't alter the material. Pass up buying any used shoes that have a strong odour. Some used shoes can be machine washed with a disinfecting cleaner. If you disinfect the shoes in the washing machine, it is still important to apply an anti-fungal spray after the shoes are dry.


Never mix any chemicals when you are disinfecting shoes. After you disinfect the shoes with one chemical, make sure that they are completely dry before you apply another chemical.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Anti-fungal spray
  • Cat litter
  • Baking soda
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.