How to stop work boot odour

Many careers and trades require employees and business owners alike to wear work boots. But spending hour after hour in a heavy pair of work boots can really take a toll on your feet, not to mention the work boots themselves. Sweaty, tired feet can produce offensive odours that may send your family running when you peel off your boots at the end of the workday. Finding ways to combat the odour can ensure you never have to face the embarrassment of smelly work boot odour again.

Clean the inside of your boots every few months with a mild shampoo. Dampen a washcloth with water and add a squirt or two of shampoo. Massage the washcloth over the inside surfaces of your boots and rinse the shampoo away with a second damp cloth. Shampooing will remove odour, dirt and dead skin cells, as well as body salts and acids that can cause work boots to smell.

Spray your feet with an odour-neutralising foot spray that can control odours and prevent them from soaking into the work boots. Odour neutralisers do not cover up foot odours; instead, they produce molecules that cancel out the offensive smells.

Deodorise your work boots after you wear them by sprinkling 60 ml (ΒΌ cup) of baking soda in each boot. Tap the bottoms and sides of the work boots to spread the baking soda around and coat the inside of each boot. Remove the baking soda when you put the work boots back on by turning them upside down over a garbage pail and giving them a shake.

Switch to antimicrobial socks. Ordinary socks--made of cotton, polyester or nylon--do not keep your feet dry or kill odour-causing bacteria. Antibacterial socks, which are available in stores that sell working gear and online, will help keep your feet dry and odour-free--which will also greatly reduce work boot odour.

Give essential oils a try. Dab a small amount of essential oil onto two cotton balls, and place the cotton balls in your boots when you take them off. The alcohol in the essential oil will overpower the bacteria and remove the odours inside of your work boots. Clove oil works especially well for removing odours.

Allow your work boots to dry out thoroughly if they get wet. Immediately place them on an air vent or out on a sunny porch to dry. An air vent or the fresh outdoors will provide good circulation for the shoes to air out while they dry.


Practicing good hygiene will also help to reduce boot odour. Washing your feet daily, and applying a foot powder that contains boric acid, will keep your feet dry and odour-free. Try not to wear the same work boots every day. Rotating between two or three pairs of different work boots will give each pair a chance to dry out before you wear them again.


Do not put your socks on after a shower until your feet are completely dry. Bacteria thrive in damp, dark places, and a damp foot inside of a sock is the perfect environment. Dry your feet well, including between your toes.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild shampoo
  • Damp clothes
  • Odour-neutralising foot spray
  • Baking soda
  • Antimicrobial socks
  • Essential oil
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About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.