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How to Disinfect Shoes With Foot Fungus

Dr. Kline & Green Team
7 April 2020
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Toenail fungus can cause problems for your shoes too, find out how to combat that and disinfect your shoes properly.

What’s that smell?

Your first clue that your pair of shoes, boots, or sneakers need disinfecting may be their unpleasant odor or when a family member insists you leave your stinky, smelly shoes outside the house. Sweaty feet, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus are the usual suspects and, happily, there are some tried and proven ways to rid your shoes of the smell your feet can cause!

Causes of foot odor

First, let’s look at some possible causes of that fungus in your shoes. Keep in mind that footwear is a breeding ground for athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), onychomycosis, fungus spores, and fungal infection. All may continue to thrive in the warm, dark, and moist environment of an infected and unsanitized pair of shoes.

Sanitizing your shoes and eliminating the infection on your nails or feet should happen at the same time: Kill the fungi and prevent re-infection. You may wish to consult a podiatrist for help with this.

If you notice that your shoes have been smelly or the condition of your nails has changed, either through discoloration or brittleness, then you may have an issue with nail fungus. The good news is that you can restore your nails to their former glory with our range of nail products such as Clear + Restore, which has been designed to help improve the condition of your nails.

One issue you need to be aware of is if you continue to wear shoes already infected with fungus spores and bacteria, the fungal condition will potentially recur through re-infection.

More information about Toenail Fungus in Shoes

Treatment options

Cleaning agents that disinfect also act as deodorizers. Remove the spores and infection and you remove the smell. If you’re cleaning tennis shoes or sneakers, toss them into a washing machine by themselves with hot water and an antifungal laundry detergent. To deal with the problem of smelly feet and toenail fungus you should aim to wear clean shoes and a dry pair of socks, fresh every day, which will help avoid many of these unpleasant foot problems.

Most antifungal sprays and antifungal powders are home remedies that may be purchased over-the-counter. Shoe deodorizers offer a temporary fix, but many brands have effective antifungal properties.

Antibacterial spray

Bacteria produce fungi, so thoroughly spray an antibacterial spray into each shoe, taking care to reach the toes. Some are also antiperspirant, which is an added benefit.

Baking soda and vinegar

Before you put them on, sprinkle baking soda into each shoe to absorb odor. It also acts to decrease the activity of fungal spores. Fill a spray bottle with diluted white or apple cider vinegar and spray it into your shoes whenever you’re not going to wear them. It can help slow down the growth of fungal spores. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will disappear as it dries. Use both together to keep bacteria under control.

UV shoe sanitizers

Put this small machine into your shoe and, within 25 minutes fungi, bacteria, and microbes, will be destroyed. The sanitizer does more than just keep these problems away; it helps to eliminates them.

Foot powder

Miconazole antifungal powder is very effective, weakening the cell membranes of the fungi so it cannot replicate. It’s a topical treatment, usually applied twice a day, and should be prescribed by a medical professional.


Some websites recommend the use of bleach to help kill foot fungus. Bleach may kill fungus, but it can be dangerous, and damage your skin so this is not a treatment that is recommended.

Keep fungus away from shoes in the first place

  • Clean nail clippers thoroughly in boiling water with a toothbrush. Wipe them dry with rubbing alcohol and follow up with a clean towel.
  • Protect your feet around swimming pools and locker rooms by wearing flip-flops and drying feet thoroughly. These locations tend to be breading grounds for foot fungus, so you should take protective measures when in these locations.

Find out more about toenail fungus:

Is Athlete’s Foot Related to Toenail Fungus?

How to get rid of Toenail Fungus

Buy Clear + Restore online

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