Shoes are the perfect place for bacteria and fungus to thrive, they are warm, dark and damp! Most of the body powders we have available to us in the stores are just a sweet smelling cover up which leaves the shoes smelling mediocre for a few hours but does nothing to address the source of the problem. Within a few hours the smell comes leaching back during the day with activity. With store bought powders after a few days there is a deep film in the shoes from all the sweat and powder then you have to wash them and the process starts all over again.
The most important thing to do is to start with a clean pair of shoes. Take the "offenders" and generously spray the insides of them - making sure to get all the way into the toe area with a mix of 2 oz. Peroxide, 1 oz Water, 5 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil and 5 Drops of Lemongrass Essential oil (shake well to mix). Let the shoes sit and foam for at least 15 minutes. Rinse out with tap water and repeat. Now you can either put them in a wash cycle in your machine or you can scrub them in your kitchen sink (I do the sink). Put Hot water in the sink (or washer) along with 1/2 cup of baking soda and a few more drops of the lemongrass and tea tree essential oils in there. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to finish killing the bacteria that may have survived (although unlikely because of the tea tree oil) then scrub with a brush the inside and out side, drain the water and rinse the shoes under cold running tap water. Use a towel to get most of the water out of the shoe to help in speeding up the drying process. In the summer you can put them on a line outside to finish drying where the sun will continue to cleanse the shoe while drying it. Or you can put it over a vent where air is forced up in there to **dry it completely** this is very important**
Now that the shoes are clean lets keep the odor from getting out of control between washings. Below is a quick recipe that can be made up in advance, stored in a repurposed "Powder" container or parm cheese shaker also works. This can be used daily or at the very least, every couple of days. Ladies you can also use this in your seasonal shoes to keep them fresh while in storage. I suggest to use the peppermint if you live in an area with spiders as they do not like peppermint and will stay out of your stored items that contain peppermint.
Homemade Foot Powder ~ Relief for STINKY shoes!
1 cup Baking Soda
5 drops Tea Tree Essential oil
5 drops Lemongrass Essential oil
2 drops either Peppermint Essential oil (girls) or Frankinsence Essential oil (boys)
Mix together in a bowl making sure to incorporate the oils into the powder with a fork or whisk. Pour into your "shaker" container and sprinkle into dry shoes at night before going to bed. Move the shoes back and forth to get evenly coated on the inside. The baking soda will absorb the odors and dampness from the inside of the shoes. Kids love to help with this ~ they love the smell and the freedom of knowing that they will not be self concieous about their shoes anymore. In the morning they can tap their shoes over the garbage can to remove the excess powder and get ready for their day!
Now they can focus on more important things like, Posing for self taken photos while playing with your phone ~ lol
Happy parenting! PSSS: the cost is about .25 per 8 oz of powder!