How to stop slippers from smelling

a close-up of a woman's feet in cosy slippers.
Indoor slippers are a footwear essential, especially in winter. They keep your feet warm and cozy, while also ensuring you don’t have to wear your dirty outdoor shoes around the house. However, the warmth they provide can cause your feet to sweat, in turn making the slippers start to smell bad over time.   

Luckily there are ways to both prevent your slippers from becoming smelly in the first place and, if that ship has already sailed, completely deodorise them, leaving your favourite indoor shoes feeling and smelling great. In this blog, we look at the best ways to prevent and remedy smelly slippers. So, whether you favour traditional leather mules or fleece-lined slip-ons, read on for our top deodorising tips. 

How to keep slippers from smelling

Before looking at how to remove bad smells from slippers, it’s worth first exploring the ways in which you can prevent your slippers from becoming smelly in the first place. After all, prevention is always better than cure, as they say! Below are a number of methods of keeping your slippers clean and odour-free.   

 -        Keep your feet clean 

Smelly slippers are typically caused by bacteria that finds its way into the fabric of the footwear when sweat from your feet is absorbed. For this reason, one way to help keep slippers clean is to wash your feet regularly, especially immediately before putting your slippers on. Sweat that has accumulated from a day of wearing socks and outdoor shoes, dry skin and general dirt should be cleaned and scrubbed away, ideally using antibacterial soap, before slippers are worn. Once clean it is also important to make sure your feet are completely dry before putting slippers back on, as trapped moisture can encourage smelly bacteria to thrive.   

 -        Give your slippers a break 

While it’s easy to get into the habit of putting your slippers on whenever you’re in the house, it’s important not to wear them all the time. Indeed, slippers are designed to keep your feet warm and cosy, especially in winter. With this in mind, when temperatures start to rise, slippers are not the best type of indoor footwear. Hot weather causes your feet to sweat more, leading to your slippers becoming smelly at a quicker rate. For this reason, it’s a good idea to give your slippers a break when you don’t need them to keep your feet warm. If you still want to wear something on your feet indoors when it’s hot, why not try a comfy pair of sliders or flip-flops?   

 -        Use baking soda 

Baking soda is a fantastic deodoriser and can help to prevent smelly slippers, as well as treating them. With this in mind, it can be a good idea to place small bags of baking soda inside your slippers when you’re not using them. This will draw out any lingering smells before you can even notice them, keeping your slippers feeling and smelling fresh.  

Are you supposed to wear socks with slippers?

While the answer to this question all comes down to personal preference, if you want your slippers to last as long as possible and remain feeling fresh and odour-free, the simple answer is yes. Socks provide a barrier between your feet and the typically absorbent fabric of the inside of your slippers. This means they can help to prevent sweat, oils and other bacteria-causing substances produced by your bare feet from permeating the fabric of your slippers.   

Although many people believe a socks and slippers combination is very much a fashion faux pas, as well as an inferior comfort experience, you don’t have to wear bulky socks to protect your slippers from becoming stinky. Thin sports socks or no-show socks can be used to help keep your indoor footwear smelling nicer for longer without having to compromise on style or comfort. 

How to get feet smell out of slippers

Although there are many ways to get that feet smell out of your slippers, including washing them in the machine, placing them in the freezer overnight, or using store-bought shoe deodoriser, we believe using a method that actually absorbs the smell rather than covering it up works best. For this reason, we recommend using the baking soda method outlined below.   

 Step 1 

Lightly sprinkle regular baking soda into the insides of your smelly slippers. When you are done, you should not be able to see the insoles of your slippers through a thick layer of powder.   

 Step 2 

Leave the baking soda to sit inside your slippers undisturbed for several hours, or ideally overnight. This will give it time to absorb all bad odours from the footwear. Once this has been done, shake both slippers over a bin until all baking soda has been removed. At this point, you should notice all the bad smells have gone.   

 Step 3 

If your slippers still smell after the baking soda has been removed, repeat this process, this time leaving the powder inside your slippers for a longer period of time. Sometimes, it will take the baking soda longer to absorb all bad smells, especially if the slippers have not been cleaned for a while.   

 Step 4 

Finally, stuff your slippers with tumble dryer sheets and leave them overnight. This will help to remove any lingering baking soda and add a pleasant, fresh odour to your slippers. Once this is done, remove and discard the dryer sheets and your slippers are ready to wear again. As we mentioned above, it might be worth wearing socks with your slippers after this to keep them smelling their best for longer!        

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