Five Ways to Make Your Raw Tennis Shoes Smellier


Have you ever been to a bowling alley? If so, I have a question for you. What’s the first thing they do when you return your bowling shoes to the employee at the office? Yeah! They spray them with disinfectant and deodorant. They cut the dust off those things with an aerosol to kill odors and fungus and whatever your nasty clogs may have left behind.

Well, I don’t know about you, but my tennis shoes could use the exact same thing. My tennis shoes smell HORRIBLY. And look. Why wouldn’t they? I play tennis almost every day for an hour to two hours. And my feet sweat like the rest of me. Yes, I know that’s rude. But it’s also biology, so we all have to accept it and do something about it.

Speaking of doing something about it, here are five possible remedies for that horrible stench.


I will admit it. I started doing this just a few weeks ago and I’m quite proud of this hack. I started spraying Right Guard in my tennis shoes. I think if it can improve the smell of my underarms, it can also work on my tennis shoes.

Chad Benefield

Chad Benefield

Whenever I’m done playing tennis or cycling or whatever, I just spray Right Guard Sport into each shoe. And it seems to work.

I usually keep my tennis shoes in the utility/laundry room. A few weeks ago, before I started using deodorant, Kevin opened the door and yelled, “What stinks in the laundry room?” He quickly, and rather judgmentally, assessed the contextual cues and realized the smell was coming from my funky shoes. Then the drama began. I’m pretty sure the suggestions ran the gamut from “Put those things out on the back deck” to “Get a torch and set them on fire now”.

But, I have to tell you. I think the Right Guard works. I haven’t heard any complaints or exaggerated suggestions since I started using it.

Because I’m curious to explore and try other possible remedies, so I decided to research other ways to keep these shoes dry, safe and confident. Here are four other ways to do it, as suggested by the interwebs.


I don’t know why I never thought of it. But, it’s been perfect since, isn’t it?

I mean, you can use baking soda to neutralize all kinds of smells. I know people who constantly keep a box slightly open in the refrigerator. I know others who use it in their laundry. And others who use it in their toilets and garbage cans. If it can improve the smell of a bathroom, it can certainly improve the smell of your filthy shoes.


I’ve never done this, but I know some people swear by it. My radio host Angel washes her tennis shoes in her washing machine and she said it works like a charm. I guess it makes sense to do that. There are various YouTube tutorials showing you the best practices.

But, for me, I’m going to have to get past the fact that I have a weird laundry room quirk. I CAN’T. SUPPORT. HEARING. STRONG. THINGS. FALL. DRY. This noise drives me crazy and the sound of shoes banging against the inside of the dryer would drive me crazy. #BoyInterrupted Damn it! If it means my shoes don’t smell like the Arizona desert road, I’ll consider giving it a try.


Something about it looks brilliant. Something else about it sounds REALLY disgusting. When I was looking for advice on the Internet, I came across an article from He suggested putting your smelly tennis shoes in “the freezer.”

Developer Benjamin/Unsplash

Developer Benjamin/Unsplash

Cold freezer temperatures will kill any bacteria in your shoes that ultimately causes them to smell. But I do not know. I love opening my freezer and seeing mouth-watering steaks and ice cream. In fact, the strawberry ice cream in this photo is really good. So, I don’t know how I would feel opening the freezer door and seeing a tennis shoe I wore in a public restroom. To borrow a popular command from the 80s – Grody to the max!


And, now, for our full circle moment. Why can’t we just get some of that stuff they use in bowling? I was curious if lay consumers like you and I could just market this stuff like bowling alleys and guess what? We can. Now, I don’t know if there is an industry-favorite 2-1 brand for bowling, but there are plenty of similar products on I did a simple internet search for “bowling shoe sprays” and a bunch of different options came up.

Here is a great example:

It can cost $12.99 and look! It also kills MRSA. Bargain. It’s a double win. In fact, a triple. Look at the illustration on the box! It shows various sports – baseball, football and hockey. You know, the feet of people who play these sports smell like a pig pen and a bag of Fritos that’s been set on fire. If 10 Seconds can work on their shoes and cleats, it certainly can work on ours!

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