Is smelly feet making you feel uncomfortable? Or does your favorite shoe smells bad over time?

Smelly shoe could make you and others feel uncomfortable and give you a bad impression. If you find that your shoes stink, you’re gonna love this tea bag hack.

While you could wash your shoes or apply a shoe deodorizer spray to eliminate the foul odors, there’s an even easier way to make your shoes smell good.

Today, I’ll share with you how to get shoe smell out with a couple of tea bags.

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Why Does My Shoe Smell?

Smelly shoes is  a common problem that people like to avoid. But it’s important to know why does your shoe smell at the first place?

First thing that came to mind is definitely sweat.

Each foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands producing up to half-pint of sweat every day.

Hold on a second. You sweat all over your body but why it doesn’t smell as bad as your feet?

Well, the problem isn’t just the sweat.

It’s the lack of ventilation on your feet.

Many shoes are made of synthetic materials that are not breathable and do not absorb sweat.

The sweat on your feet is trapped in the shoes and with lack of ventilation on your feet, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria proliferation. These bacteria produces isovaleric acid — a strong cheesy and sweaty smell — that’s causing the bad odor.

Does Tea Bag Absorb Shoe Odor?

Image by: GoodHouseKeeping

Yes. The loose leaves in a tea bags contain tannins — a group of polyphenols found in plant foods that’s responsible for the bitter taste in tea.

While research suggests that tannins provide health benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflamatory effects, tannins also works well for killing odor-producing bacteria in your shoes.

Tannins’ unique properties prevent the formation of unpleasant odors, making it a powerful natural antibacterial agents that fight the bacteria responsible for bad foot odor.

How to Get Rid of Shoe Smell with Tea Bags?

To start off, pop 2 - 3 tea bags inside each of your smelly shoe. You could use any tea bags even the minty or herbal tea bags.

Let it sit for at least 24 hours in a cool and dry area. The longer you leave it, the better.

Tea bags works great because they’re super absorbent. They’ll absorb the moisture and smell out of the surrounding area.

After 24 hours, your shoe will be filled with pleasant smell depending on the tea bags your use.

If your shoe still smells bad, you could try to let it sit longer or try the following approach for stronger smell.

Use black tea to get rid of stronger shoe odor.

Black tea has the highest tannins concentration amongst the tea types that’s very effective in killing the bacteria.

Steep the tea bags like you would normally do. Place the tea bags in the boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let it cool down for a few minutes.

While the tea bags are still warm, place the tea bags in the shoes. The moisture from the tea bags will allow tannins to seep into the insole of your shoe to fight the odor-producing bacteria more effectively.

Leave the tea bags in the shoe for 1 - 2 hours and allow your shoes to dry.


While there’re other methods you could use to remove the smell from your shoe, tea bags is the easiest and most effective way to kill off the bacteria responsible for the smell.

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