Learn How to Stop Slippers Smelling With These 8 tips

Learn How to Stop Slippers Smelling

If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of having smelly slippers, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only are they unpleasant to wear, but they can also leave your feet feeling sweaty and unclean. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help stop your slippers from smelling bad. In this post, we'll outline some of the best tips for tackling those nasty odours and keeping your slippers fresher for longer. Read on to learn more!

Why Do Slippers Smell?

Slippers are notorious for accumulating bad smells over time. This is due to the fact that they are often worn without socks, which allows sweat and dirt from feet to build up on the surface of the slipper. In addition, the warm, moist environment inside a slipper, while great for keeping your feet comfy and warm, is the ideal place for bacteria to grow.

If you notice your slippers beginning to smell bad, follow these steps:
  1. Identify the smell.
  2. Determine the cause of the smell.
  3. Take corrective action to prevent slippers from continuing to smell.
  4. Enjoy your fresh-smelling slippers!

What Causes Slippers to Smell?

The most common cause of smelly slippers is smelly feet. The technical term for smelly feet is Bromodosis, a very common condition that, luckily, is easy to treat! Bromodosis occurs as a result of sweat build up which produces the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Fungal infections like athlete’s foot can result from this and it is important to tackle these issues as soon as possible. 

how to stop slippers smelling - woman with smelly socks and feet

There are a number of ways to clean both your feet and slippers to prevent smells, either using over the counter products designed specifically for this purpose or some easy DIY methods that can be equally as effective. 

It is important to note that if you are cleaning your slippers to prevent odours then you must clean them thoroughly. Simply spraying perfume into them will not kill off the odour causing bacteria which will just carry on the cycle of smelly feet-smelly slippers-smelly feet!

Techniques to Prevent Smelly Slippers

There are a few things you can do to prevent your slippers from smelling bad. First, make sure to wear them with socks whenever possible. This will help absorb excess sweat and keep your feet clean. Second, let them air out after wearing them by taking them off and letting them sit in a well-ventilated area. Finally, if you notice a lingering, pungent smell then you should give them a thorough clean or throw them away. 

Here are a few more top tips:
  1. Invest in a good pair of slippers - this might sound unnecessary, but the higher quality your slippers, the longer they are likely to last with proper care. 
  2. Wash your feet regularly and never put dirty or wet feet into your slippers.
  3. Use a foot powder or spray your feet with deodorizer. These can be bought quite easily from pharmacies and supermarkets, and are designed specifically to prevent bacteria and odour build up.
  4. Trim your toenails regularly. Keeping your feet clean is key to keeping your slippers clean. 
  5. Wear socks with your slippers (more on this later!)
  6. Sprinkle baking soda in them overnight to absorb bad odours.
  7. Place them in the freezer for a few hours to kill odour causing bacteria.
  8. Wash them regularly with a mild detergent or vinegar solution.
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Considerations When Cleaning Different Types of Slippers 

With the above tips considered, there are a few things you should know for different types of slippers. Here's a quick guide on how to approach cleaning the different types:

Faux fur 

Faux fur slippers can be machine washed or hand washed with a mild detergent. Make sure to air dry once washed, do not put them into the dryer. 


It is not recommended to submerge sheepskin slippers in water. Instead, gently brush away any dirt and debris with a soft bristled brush. Next, mix together one part white vinegar with two parts cold water and use this solution to spot clean any heavily stained areas. Rinse off vinegar solution with lukewarm water and finally, spray with an antibacterial, deodorizer.


Similarly to sheepskin, you do not want to fully wet suede. You can use mild soapy water to spot clean any remaining dirt or stains. If the suede material is wet, you should wait until it dries completely before brushing again. Air dry them, do not put them in the washing machine or dryer, as this could cause permanent damage. 

How Socks Prevent Slippers From Smelling

Socks play a vital role in preventing slippers from smelling. When you wear socks, they act as a barrier between your slippers and any moisture or dirt from your feet. This helps to keep your feet dry, which in turn prevents the growth of bacteria that cause smelly feet. 

bamboo socks stop smelly feet
There are many different types of socks on the market but their main role in preventing smelly slippers is simply to absorb the sweat that is likely to create the unpleasant smell. If you have warm fur slippers then a thin sock made from natural material is a great option or if your slippers are not as warm then a thermal or wool sock might be a good choice. 

Remember, no matter which sock you choose, wash and replace them regularly as this will help keep them smelling fresh too and stop the smell from spreading to your slippers.

When To Throw Out Slippers

In general, shoes can last for between 8 and 12 months without needing to be mended or thrown away. Slippers however, are a slightly different story. There are many factors that play into how long slippers can last in good working condition and you may need to replace them more often or dispose of them sooner than you would with, for example, trainers. 

As demonstrated above, there are many measures that can be taken to tackle nasty odours and prevent your slippers from smelling. However, if you notice a persistent and lingering bad odour coming from your shoes, then this is an indication that there may be bacteria and fungus growing in them. In this instance, if a thorough cleaning does not seem to eliminate the bad smell then, you should throw away your smelly slippers.

Smelly Slippers FAQs

Do tea bags stop shoes from smelling?

Tea bags can be used to absorb bad odours in shoes. However, this is not the most effective method if the smell is very pungent. In the case of strong, bad smells over the counter treatments, vinegar or baking soda will be more effective at neutralising them. But if smells are not too extreme then tea bags can be an effective short-term solution. 

Can I put deodorant on my feet?

Standard, over the counter antiperspirant can be an effective way to tackle smelly feet. While advertised largely for underarms, antiperspirants are a fast and effective way to control moisture all over the body and can therefore prevent any damp related odours. 

However, in most cases it is not just the feet that smell but the shoes themselves. Shoes and slippers can cling onto bad odours so once they begin to smell, simply putting antiperspirant on your feet will not resolve this problem. 

How do you get rid of smelly feet naturally?

If you do not want to buy creams or medications to kill your foot odour then try this natural method: soak your feet in a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 litre water for 15 minutes. You may have to do this more frequently if you are on your feet a lot or do a lot of physical activity that can cause your feet to sweat. This solution will help restore pH balance as well reduce bacteria that can cause infections! Alternatively, combine lemon juice with water for a natural disinfectant but be careful to rinse your feet well afterwards and never submerge broken skin in this solution.

How do you dispose of old slippers?

There are many options for getting rid of your old shoes and slippers:

  • Donate to a charity shop (if in good condition!)
  • Upcycle them into something new.
  • Use a shoe bank or shoes recycling bin so the fabric can be repurposed.


So there you have it! Slipper smell is a common issue, but it doesn't have to be permanent. By following the tips in this post, you can keep your slippers from smelling and keep them fresh for that much longer. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know your favourite foot odour fighting tips!

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