TOMS shoes are having a moment right now because they are comfortable and make the perfect shoe for summer weather. The only problem is that if you wear them barefoot and have sweaty feet they are going to stink! So how do you clean smelly TOMS shoes that have an awful odor? Well, we have some great tips to help you counteract the pong and make them look almost like new again.
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Do TOMS Make Your Feet Stink?
TOMS are a great pair of summer shoes and if you wear them with care you shouldn’t have a problem with food odor. The problems start when you start to get lazy with your footcare routines which can then cause problems.
You have to remember that TOMS are made from canvas and that means they are never going to be as hard-wearing as other pairs of shoes or sneakers. Canvas Toms are going to absorb foot sweat for example into the fabric. They are also a type of footwear that tends to get worn when you have bare feet, unlike traditional shoes. Add to that hot summer weather and you are going to find that they smell bad.
You also need to think about the weather you are wearing your TOMS in. Whilst they can deal with a small amount of moisture it probably isn’t going to be a great idea to wear them when it is pouring with rain. That moisture can be hard to dry out and is more likely to cause those smelly odors.
So what can you do to keep them smelling sweet?
Can I Put My TOMS In the Washing Machine
If you want to know how to clean smelly TOMS shoes then head over to the brand’s FAQ section on their website. They make it very clear in this FAQ section that putting their shoes into a washing machine should not be done full stop.
TOMS states that if you use a washing machine to try and clean your shoes you might ruin them so please don’t try this route unless you don’t care if they can’t be worn again.
A washing machine can ruin the integrity of the footwear and make them unwearable so this isn’t the best option.
TOMS also believe that you shouldn’t apply direct heat to their shoes or place them under running water either. If you are going to clean the shoes they also recommend you test a small area first to check that the color doesn’t run. Then air-dry them outside whilst keeping them away from direct sunlight so that they don’t fade.
They only recommend that you clean them with a damp cloth using lukewarm water and mild soap and then dry them with newspaper inside them to keep their shape.
How Do You Clean Smelly TOMS Shoes?
So the official advice from TOMS shoes doesn’t leave you with many options. You can’t use a washing machine even on a gentle cycle and you shouldn’t saturate them with water so what can you do to help get rid of the bad odors?
Well if you want to know how to clean smelly TOMS we have some alternative suggestions for you. Please note that some of these are not officially sanctioned so if you are going to try some of our suggestions make sure you test an area first before you dive in and do any damage to your shoes.
Get a New Pair of Insoles
Did you know that TOMS leather insoles can be removed and changed? Whilst TOMS themselves don’t actually make replacement insoles there are plenty of products on the markets you can use instead.
New insoles are a great solution for helping stop bad smells as they absorb a considerable amount of sweat when you are wearing your shoes. If they are never given a chance to dry out properly they are going to create a dreadful stink.
To change the insoles start by removing the leather inner soles from your TOMS and use them as a template when you are cutting insoles for your replacements.
The insoles from shoes can certainly hold bad smells so replacing them regularly can help you to keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean.
Remember you don’t need to replace the insoles with another leather pair if you don’t want to. You could always buy a deodorizing insole to help instead. Dr Scholl’s Odor X have activated charcoal in them to neutralise smells just trim them to fit your shoes.
TOMS Cleaner or Vans Cleaner
At one point TOMS did sell a shoe care kit that consisted of a foaming cleaner, a protector and a refresher but this seems to have vanished from their website.
As an alternative head if you want to know how to clean smelly TOMS head on over to Amazon and try the ShoeAnew Shoe Cleaner Set. This product is designed to clean canvas shoes so is a good alternative. Just don’t forget to do a spot test first.
Cleaning solution products designed for canvas should work well however stubborn stains may be problematic and not all TOMS shoes are the same color. Check for fading by testing inside the shoe first in case it causes problems.
Use Baking Soda For Cleaning Canvas Shoes
Baking soda is one of those wonder products that seems to help with lots of household problems and in this case, it is a great product for helping to stop foot odor smells.
All you need to do is sprinkle the baking soda into the inside of your shoes and allow it to sit for 24 hours. When the baking soda has done its job just tip it out of the shoe.
There is just one word of warning when it comes to using baking soda and that is the colour of your TOMS shoes.
Remember that baking soda is a white powder which means that some of that powder can get onto the inside and outside of your shoes and cause marks. A soft bristle brush should be helpful at removing these but be aware that the darker your TOMS the more obvious these marks could be.
Wear Socks To Combat Shoe Smells
Whilst most people wear their TOMS with bare feet this isn’t necessarily the greatest strategy if you want to avoid bad smells in your shoes. The sweat from your feet is going to permeate the insoles and canvas uppers and make them dirty and smelly.
A simple solution is to wear socks. Now of course that doesn’t mean your normal socks which would show and ruin the look of the shoes but specially designed ones that remain hidden.
No show sneaker socks are a great solution as you should be able to see them and they can help to absorb any sweat that you are going to generate in those closed-toe shoes. Just make sure that you change them regularly and wash your feet to keep your shoes smelling fresh.
Use Shoe and Foot Deodorizing Products
There are a ton of products on the market that promise to help you get rid of bad smells from shoes. You can choose from deodorizing powder with antibacterial properties to foot sprays or even products that you place in your shoe. The key is finding a solution that works to neutralize the smell from your shoes.
The natural foot and shoe odor eliminator is a powder that you place on your feet to stop smells. With lemon powder, lavender essential oil and zinc oxide it is designed to stop the shoe stink. It is a professional alternative to baking soda. Just remember not to put on too much otherwise you could get those marks on your TOM shoes especially if they are dark.
If you are looking for a spray to help stop the smell then Bare Plants Shoe Deodorizer Spray can help. We also love Odor Drop Fresh Linen balls which you twist and place into your shoes overnight. These are great as one set can last for up to one year and they aren’t going to ruin the canvas of the TOMS Shoes making them a really safe bet for getting rid of bad smells.
Whilst a washing machine might not be the most appropriate method of cleaning your TOM shoes there are always some people who are willing to take a risk.
If you are going to try the washing machine method then it makes sense to use a really mild laundry detergent. Then let the machine wash the TOMS on a gentle cycle preferably with the coldest water setting. When the washing machine has finished the cycle do not be tempted to place them in a dryer and instead let them air dry away from direct sunlight.
A more sensible solution is to take a gentler approach and clean them in a gentler fashion. Firstly get a soft bristle brush and gently rub any loose dirt from the shoes and soles. Then get some lukewarm water and mix in either some mild laundry detergent or mild dish soap.
Work the water into the TOMS shoes with an old toothbrush or a soft bristle brush and gently scrub the canvas fabric. When the fabric has been cleaned allow the shoes to air-dry overnight. Fill them with newspaper to keep their shape.
Woolite is a really mild detergent so could work well when you are cleaning the shoes.
Mix White Vinegar and Baking Soda
If you have a pair of white TOMS then white vinegar and baking powder can help. Mix one tablespoon of baking powder with two tablespoons of white vinegar and then mix them together.
When you have the products fully mixed wet your shoes with cold water and then start to gently rub the powder and vinegar mixture into your dirty shoes with a clean cloth or an old toothbrush.
Remove any excess product with a damp cloth and then allow the TOMS to completely dry before wearing them again.
Remember that this method isn’t going to be so helpful if you have coloured shoes.
Use Rubbing Alcohol
Foot odor is caused by the bacteria which create the horrible smell that you can’t seem to get rid of. A great way to deal with this is by using rubbing alcohol to neutralize the odor.
When you have worn your TOMS shoes and have taken them off for the day get a cloth and dip some rubbing alcohol in it. Then wipe your leather insoles with the product to get rid of the smell. This should stop the nasty bacteria from thriving and stop the problem before it has even started.
Place TOMS Shoes in The Freezer in a Ziplock Bag
If you want a great simple and cheap for keeping your TOMS smelling fresh and clean then look no further than your freezer.
If you get your shoes and place them in a ziplock bag and then put them in the freezer overnight it does a great job of killing those odors created by bacteria. The extremely cold temperatures simply kill those bacteria and also the smell.
Just make sure that you give your shoes a little time to defrost before wearing them again.
This is a great preventative measure that doesn’t cost anything and solves the problem before it gets out of control.
Use Unused Tea Bags
If you want to know how to kill smelly TOMS shoes then finally we have to mention the humble tea bag. Yes tea bags that you use to make a refreshing drink can be helpful at stopping some footwear smells.
Just stick two or three unused tea bags into your shoes and leave them overnight to do their work. As the tea bags absorb moisture and those nasty smells they can leave your shoes smelling fresh when they are removed.
Try and experiment with some different flavor tea bags to see which works best. If you like a particular smell such as lavender or chamomile it makes sense to use those so instead of being confronted with the usual horrible aroma you get a hit of one of your favorite smells.
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