How to Get Smell Out of Leather Sandals

Leather sandals are a great accessory for summer and a fast solution for going somewhere in a hurry.  With constant use, the leather can absorb dead skin particles and sweat and can develop foul odor stench.

Fortunately, there exist several household solution to removing unwanted smells to return leather sandals to normal.  By following the suggestions provided within this guide, you can be assured that the sandals will be smelling fresh and returned to normal.

Leather Sandal Smell Removal Solutions

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1. Outdoors + Direct Sunlight

Placing leather sandals outdoors within direct sunlight will work well in diffusing embedded foot odor.  The ultraviolet rays and open space effectively diffuse odorous residues within the leather surfaces.  Although this may fall short of completely eliminating the foot stench, it will work well in combination with some of the below suggestions.

2. Baking Soda

This household ingredient is highly effective at absorbing odors.  Place leather sandals within a ziplock bag and pour a half cup of baking soda within the bag.  Zip the bag closed and shake the bag vigorously. Provide 24-48 hours for the baking soda to absorb the unwanted odor.  After a day or two has passed, return to remove the sandals and shake the powder off.

3. White Vinegar

This natural acid works to strip odorous residues off the surface of leather sandals.  Create a solution of one part white vinegar with two parts water within a large flat pan.  Place sandals upside down within the containers so that the leather portions are able to absorb the vinegar within it's fiber.  Allow the sandals to sit for 2-3 hours before returning to remove the leather sandals.  Finally, place within direct sunlight to allow for the formula to evaporate away.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Similar to white vinegar the hydrogen peroxide will work to eliminate the bacteria embedded within the leather to freshen the sandals.  Mix a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide with five parts water, and pour within a large flat pan.  Place sandals upside down within the solution 2-3 hours.  After time has passed, finish by placing leather sandals outside in direct sunlight to air dry.

5. Paper Towel & Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol has a unique way of neutralizing odors on the spot.  Fill a small bowl with rubbing alcohol and dip paper towels within the solution until they are completely moist.  Take the moist paper towels and strategically place over the top of the areas of the leather sandal that the foot normally comes in contact with.  After 3-4 hours return to remove the towels, and place the sandals back into use.

6. Enzyme Cleaner

Though this solution is usually used on household pet odors, it can be highly effective at treating sandal odors.  Fill a large flat rectangular dish with enzyme cleaning solution and place sandals upside down within the solution.  Provide 2-3 hours for the active enzymes to eat through all odorous organic residues.  Once complete, remove sandals and place within direct sunlight to air dry.

7. Freeze Them

It may sound abnormal, but freezing the sandals will have the effect of killing the odor producing bacteria found within them.  Place sandals within a ziplock bag and put within the freezer for 24-48 hours.  During this time the bacteria embedded within the leather will die out due to their inability to survive the cold temperatures.

8. Cat Litter

Similar to baking soda, cat litter has wonderful absorption powers.  Place rainbow sandals within a ziplock bag and add two cups of cat litter.  After zipping closed, allow the sandals to sit for 24-48 hours while the cat litter works it's magic.  After the time has passed, remove the sandals and brush of any debris from the cat mixture.

Damage Prevention

1. Do Not Use Bleach

Despite what other guides may suggest, resist the urge to use bleach in deodorizing the leather sandals.  Bleach may be effective at killing the odor producing bacteria but it will also have the unwanted effect of drying and bleaching the leather.

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