How to Get Rid of an Odor in Leather Sandals

Leather sandals are a great staple in any shoe collection because of their comfort, durability and style. However, a pair of well-worn leather shoes can, on occasion, become the source of unpleasant odors that can give the wettest dog a run for his money. Luckily, in these cases, you don't have to choose between throwing out your beloved shoes or becoming a smelly social pariah. Use one of several tried-and-true methods to neutralize the odors and make your sandals wearable once again.

Wet sandals on a lava beach
credit: Wet sandals on a lava beach image by feferoni from <a href=''></a>

Step 1

Air the shoes out. Place the shoes in a dry area, preferably one where they will receive sunlight, for a day or two. This will remove a good deal of the odor as the air and light destroys a good deal of the moisture and odor-causing bacteria that have accumulated.

Step 2

Spray the sandals with anti-bacterial shoe cleaner. This will help to eliminate the lingering strains of bacteria that could thrive in the right conditions. Try to direct as much of the spray as you can into cramped, closed-off areas of the shoes, such as the insides (with densely-woven sandals) or any areas of the sole that are cracked or have hollow spots. Remember that bacteria doesn't need much cramped space to reproduce enough to thrive.

Step 3

Keep the shoes cool and dry for an extended period of time. Bacteria growth requires moisture and warmth in order to thrive, so avoid wearing the shoes for at least several days to keep them away from perspiration or ambient moisture. Store them in a space that's kept at room temperature or slightly cooler (but not cold).

Step 4

Treat the shoes with baking soda. Baking soda will absorb odors of all kind, including any you might want to be rid of that aren't caused by bacteria (such as natural leather odors). Sprinkle soda in powder form over shoes in a brown paper bag, then shake to coat the shoes. Leave overnight. Alternately, mix baking soda with water, spray over the shoes, then wash off after leaving overnight.

Step 5

Store the sandals overnight in a paper bag along with some charcoal. This treatment will absorb smells and is especially good for any odors in new sandals that might come from chemical treatments.