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How to keep the Shoe Rack from Smelling? Best Tips to Get Rid of the Foul Smell

Jun 29, 2022 Brien Chua

If you wear your shoes for more than 10 hours a day, there’s a chance that your shoe cabinet has a bad smell. But, how to keep the shoe rack from smelling? Well, there are various methods. Some are cheap, some may cost you more.

We have gathered some information to help you keep shoes fresh in storage. There are different factors that create an unpleasant smell. The shoe racks’ material and design are also the leading factors along with the humid and sweaty feet. But, without any further ado, we will help you make a shoe cabinet odor eliminator.

How to keep the shoe rack from smelling?

Here is a list of things you can do for shoe cabinet deodorizer DIY. Some of the things will only help you get rid of the shoe rack smell. Others are going to make shoe closet deodorizer. So, follow up on the best tips and tricks and learn how to keep the shoe rack from smelling.

Things to do to freshen the inside of shoes and keep them from smelling

Dry Tea-Bag

Well, the cheapest method to get rid of the foul-smelling cabinet is a dry teabag. A dry teabag soaks up the foul smell from the shoes. So, never throw a used teabag again. Let it dry and place it inside the shoe or a shoe cabinet.

Used Coffee Beans

You can use dried coffee beans to get rid of the smell. The coffee beans work as active carbon and they are going to help you keep your shoes fresh.


We all know newspaper ink has a lot of carbon in it. To soak up the moisture in the shoes that produce foul-smelling bacteria, roll up old newspapers into balls. Place the balls in the shoes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has always been known as one of the most common cleaning necessities. But, it also is effective against shoe closet smell. You can sprinkle a pinch of baking soda in your shoes. It will soak the moisture and will keep them from smelling.

It is mandatory to clean your shoes before wearing them. You might find it difficult to clear out the baking soda every time you wear the shoes. To avoid this issue, you can use the dry coffee pouches, put baking soda inside, and easily remove it before wearing them. That’s how to keep the shoe rack from smelling.

Spray Alcohol

Alcohol is not a moisturizer absorbent. However, you can spray a few times to kill the bacteria. The bad smell in the shoe rack is produced due to the bacterial growth in the moisture of the shoes. You can spray alcohol on the shoes to kill the source.

However, this is only effective for informal shoes, sneakers, and slippers. You cannot spray alcohol on leather shoes or it will make them weary.


Charcoal is active carbon. The pores in active charcoal help absorb the moisture. You can put small pieces of charcoal in a pair of socks, and put them inside the shoes. The active charcoal will absorb the moisture and the foul smell. Hence, your shoes or shoe cabinet will not smell at all. 

How to make shoe cabinet deodorizer DIY

We gave you a list to help you get rid of the bad smell in your shoe cabinet. Now, we are going to help you create a cabinet deodorizer to make your shoe cabinet smell fresh and fragrant. You should ask, what to do if my shoe rack smells? We have the answer, let’s get to it.

Scented Soaps

Well, the easiest and cheapest shoe cabinet deodorizer is a scented soap. You can put on any scented soap in the shoe cabinet to make it smell good. The foul smell will be countered by the good smell of the soap. Make sure not to put soap inside the shoes.

If you have a properly ventilated shoe cabinet, you can use the cover of the scented soap too. We have seen tremendous results from the scented soap cover in the shoe cabinet too. No kidding, it is free! Enjoy the cabinet deodorizer.

Moth Balls

Mothballs have a strong smell. They have always been used in wardrobes to repel pets and other unwanted creatures. You can use the mothballs in the shoe cabinet too. They will counter the smell of shoes. Plus, they will create a strong pleasant smell inside your shoe cabinets.

However, there are side effects of mothballs on pregnant women and kids. You need to make sure you do not use mothballs and use any alternate in place of them if you have kids in your home.

Cat Litter

Another simple and cheap deodorizer is the cat litter. If you have a pet, you must be familiar with the properties of cat litter. It is used to absorb the smell of pets’ feces. You can use the cat litter properties to get rid of the foul smell in your shoe cabinet too.

Just put cat litter inside socks or any other silk material. Fill it up and place it inside the shoe cabinet or shoes. Always be careful about which cat litter you are using. Because charcoal cat litter will be difficult to clean after absorbing the water. So, be aware and get rid of the cabinet smell.

Shoe Cabinet Designs

The smell in the shoe cabinets is produced by the design and materials flaws too. Along with humidity and sweat, a design plays an important part in producing or getting rid of a foul smell.

There are various designs available in the market for shoe cabinets. Some of them are open and have proper ventilation. Some of the cabinets have doors. They are most likely to produce a smell in the cabinets. While buying a shoe cabinet, always make sure you look for a ventilated one. Check out our guide on shoe rack DIY plans to know about the best designs and materials for your shoe rack.

There is also an electric shoe rack available in the market. It is great to dry the shoes and help in preventing foul smells in the shoe cabinets.

FAQs about the shoe rack smell

Here is a quick FAQs section to help you keep the shoe rack from smelling.

How do I make my shoe rack not smell?

To avoid your shoe rack from smelling, you can always delay the time you put your shoes inside the cabinet. Do not put them right after taking them off. Wait for some time, let the sweat dry a little, and then put them inside. It will help you to avoid the smell. Also put your unused shoes in a shoe box.

Can we keep naphthalene balls in the shoe rack?

Yes, but never put them inside without putting them inside a bag. They are toxic for pets and humans, especially the kids. Always keep them inside a silk bag.

Do charcoal shoe deodorizers work?

Yes, the charcoal shoe deodorizers are very affective in absorbing the moisture from shoes and keeping them from smelling.

Is camphor good for shoes?

Yes, camphor has been proved significantly affective in case of shoes and shoe cabinets. Just place the camphor sticks in the shoe cabinets and see them do their magic. Also, camphor sticks are not harmful to pets or humans. They are completely safe to use.

What can I use in place of mothballs?

Mothballs are toxic for pets and children, you can use cedar balls instead. They are non-toxic and make your shoe cabinet smell fresh.

Final Thoughts

The whole smelly shoe cabinet thing makes you uncomfortable around your house. We hope we answered your question about how to keep the shoe rack from smelling. If you follow these simple and cheap tips, your shoes and shoe cabinets will always smell fresh. Or if you have a cabinet with a door, replace it with a well-ventilated shoe rack.

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