How To Dry Wet Shoes Without Them Smelling

If you are caught in the rain and your shoes get wet, they are going to smell! But that’s why you are here, to see how to dry wet shoes without them smelling!

If you leave your shoes wet for a long time, mold can start growing on them. They can also sustain irreparable damage.

The good thing is that even if you get your shoes wet today and you want to wear them the following day, you can dry them fast overnight.

However, be careful not to put steel toe boots in the dryer, or converse shoes in the dryer. Come to think of it, it is just not good to put any kind of shoes in the dryer.

Why do wet shoes smell?

Why do wet shoes smell

According to an article on BBC, there are hundreds of species of fungi on the human body. However, more than 200 of these types of fungi live on your feet, especially under the toes and on the heel.

They thrive well in humid environments and that’s why your feet smell if they sweat. If your shoes get wet, they make a perfect breeding ground for these fungi, and other bacteria that thrive on your skin.

If you wear your shoes too often, the bacteria are going to survive the period between two wears. This is because the shoes don’t get enough time to dry out completely before you wear them.

When you are caught in the rain and your shoes get wet, the humidity inside the shoes rises. And bacteria and fungi love humid environments.

Once you wear the wet shoes, the bacteria are going to multiply because they feed on the dead cells on your skin. As they feed, they also excrete. Their waste material contributes to making the smell even more pungent.

How to make your shoes not smell after getting wet

Now we know what makes wet shoes smell. We need to find out how to make them stop smelling. Here are a few guidelines to help you:

Dry the shoes as fast as possible

The sooner you can lower the humidity inside the shoes the better! This will prevent the bacteria lurking inside the shoes from multiplying.

Therefore, if you get wet today, dry the shoes the same day. You can follow our tips for how to dry shoes fast.

The longer you wait, the more the bacteria in the shoes will breed and the smellier your wet shoes will become.

If you get wet in the morning when going to work, you will have to spend the entire day in wet shoes. But as soon as you get home in the evening, clean and dry the shoes.

Clean the shoes thoroughly

Before you can dry the shoes, you have to clean them. They are already soaked anyway, so it’s not like cleaning them will make them any wetter.

If you want to wear the shoes the following day, you have to dry them both inside and outside. You can do this by stuffing and wiping them with towels.

You can also wrap them with towels to absorb water fast. Keep changing both the stuffings and the towels you use to wrap the shoes with.

Follow the right cleaning procedures for your shoes, depending on the type. The method for cleaning leather boots is different from that of cleaning sneakers.

Don’t dry the shoes in direct heat

Don’t dry the shoes in direct heat

The temptation to use a hairdryer to blast the shoes with heat will be there. But don’t do it! direct heat has many negative effects on  your shoes.

First, it is going to affect the integrity of the fibers. In return, this shortens the lifespan of your shoes a great deal.

Secondly, it is going to affect the gum that is used to join the upper to the sole. All shoes use glue at some place. If subjected to direct heat, this glue will start falling apart sooner than it should.

Direct heat can also burn shoes, for instance, if you keep them too close to a camping fire.

To dry the shoes fast, keep them a good distance from direct heat. If you have the time, clean them and air-dry them for as long as it takes.

Don’t dry your shoes in the dryer

Do not dry your shoes in the dryer. There are two reasons for this. First, they can damage your dryer because they are heavy and they will keep knocking against it.

Secondly, dryer heat is not good for the gum used to join your shoes soles and the upper. However, you can dry shoe laces and insoles in the dryer.

Even cleaning your shoes in the washing machine is not so advisable. If you must,  throw other garments in to prevent the shoes from knocking about inside.

You can use a boot dryer for the shoes

There is a reason why we recommend using a boot dryer that you can buy on or other marketplace.

The dryer does not blast your shoes with direct heat. It heats the air around the shoes, and then the moisture from your shoes evaporates on account of this dry air.

If you need to dry the shoes overnight so that you can wear them the following day, you should use a boot dryer. You plug it in and then place the shoes on it properly and you will be good to go.

If you do not have a boot dryer, your options are a bit limited. Below is another great option:

How do you dry wet shoes fast in rice overnight

Do you have enough rice to spare? It is incredible at pulling water from things. After you are done, you will have to throw it away, or keep it and use it in future for such things.

After dabbing out the excess moisture from the shoes using a towel or paper towels, find a plastic container, like a bucket, with a lid.

Pour in a good amount of rice in the container, but leave enough space for your shoes to fit in. Place your shoes on the rice and then cover the container.

Leave the shoes on the rice for some time so the rice can draw out the moisture. It does such a good job. By morning, the shoes will be completely dry.

How to keep wet shoes from smelling

How to keep wet shoes from smelling

After choosing a good method to dry your wet work boots overnight, now, we need to discuss how to get rid of the smell.

Of course, avoiding wetting your shoes is the best thing to do, but it is not always possible.

Even after the shoes are dry, they are going to smell! Therefore, cleaning them is one thing and getting rid of the smell is another thing.

We have already identified the causes of the nasty stink from your shoes. If we know the root cause, that’s what we are going to treat!

The bacteria are responsible for the stink that comes from wet shoes. Therefore, you must get rid of them.

Use baking soda to treat the shoes after cleaning them

Baking soda is the unsung hero of killing bacteria at home. You could as well use it on your shoes to remove odor.

When you are done cleaning the shoes, dry them thoroughly. You can then sprinkle the interior of the shoes with baking soda and leave it inside to absorb the odor.

If they have removable insoles, sprinkle them with baking soda too. They too carry many bacteria. Let them stay for a couple of hours with the baking soda.

After a couple of hours, shake the shoes to remove the baking soda. Shake the insoles too or slap them against each other to remove the excess powder.

Clean the shoes in vinegar solution

Sometimes, the baking soda might not remove the nasty smell that comes from wet shoes. That’s when you need to use water and vinegar, in the cleaning stage of the shoes.

In about 5 liters of water, add one cup of vinegar. Remove the superficial dirt such as mud, or pebbles from the shoes and then soak them in the solution for some time.

The vinegar breaks the odor molecules and it kills bacteria and fungi. This method is very effective because it kills bacteria, fungi and other germs right in the cleaning stage.

If you notice that the shoes are still stinking when you are rinsing them, repeat the process.

For good measure, you can clean the shoes in the vinegar water solution, then after they are completely dry, sprinkle them with baking soda.

Store-bought deodorizing spray

You have no baking soda, no vinegar, but the shoes are stinking to the high heavens after being drenched with water.

You can order a deodorizing spray from and follow the instructions for use. It can help get rid of the smell.

This might not really kill the bacteria that cause the smell. However, it can help when you want to wear the shoes, but you notice they have a lingering smell that same morning.

Clean, dry your feet and wear clean socks

how to prevent wet shoes from smelling

The bacteria that make your shoes smell come from your feet. Therefore, no matter how much you deodorize your shoes, if you do not do the same to your feet, the problem will recur.

Always wear clean, dry socks. Clean your feet and dry them thoroughly. In fact, you should have a towel that’s for wiping your feet only.

Never wear your shoes without cleaning your feet first. If leather work shoes make your feet sweat gallons, try breathable shoes.

Conclusion: How to dry wet shoes without them smelling

You have seen how best to dry wet shoes without them smelling. You should deodorize them thoroughly with baking soda or vinegar.

When you are storing the shoes, make sure they are 100 percent dry. If there is high humidity in your closet, use a small portable dehumidifier to lower the air moisture level.

Also, clean your feet, dry them thoroughly and pay special attention to the spaces between and under the toes. This is where most bacteria hide.

Remember how best to dry wet shoes. Do not blast them with direct heat because that’s going to compromise their integrity.