Quickly Banish Mold Smell from Your Boots:

  • Air Out: Let your boots breathe in a well-ventilated area.
  • Baking Soda: A natural odor absorber, sprinkle inside your boots overnight.
  • Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts water and white vinegar, lightly spray inside your boots.
  • Freezing: Kill odor-causing bacteria by freezing your boots overnight.
  • Professional Help: For persistent problems, consult with experts like NuShoe Inspect & Correct.

Mold in boots is not just unpleasant, it’s a real problem that can ruin your favorite pair. Whether it’s from stepping in a puddle or just not letting them dry properly, once you’ve got that musty smell, you want it gone fast. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some expert-backed hacks that tackle the issue head-on, ensuring your shoes are fresh and ready for your next adventure.

Understanding the cause is the first step. Mold thrives in moist environments, lack of ventilation being a major contributing factor. By addressing these conditions, you can prevent the issue from recurring.

Infographic showing steps to remove mold smell from boots - Start with airing out your boots, followed by applying baking soda inside overnight. The next day, prepare a vinegar solution, spray it lightly, and let the boots dry. Optionally, freeze your boots overnight to kill remaining bacteria. For tough smells, seek professional help from NuShoe Inspect & Correct. - how to get mold smell out of boots infographic pillar-3-steps

Keep reading for in-depth explanations of each method and how you can integrate them into your boot care routine to keep mold smells at bay.

Vinegar and Baking Soda: The Dynamic Duo

When it comes to how to get mold smell out of boots, few household items are as effective and accessible as vinegar and baking soda. This pair works wonders due to their natural properties: vinegar is a mild acid that can kill bacteria and neutralize odors, while baking soda absorbs moisture and odors, making them a perfect team for tackling stubborn smells.

Vinegar: The Natural Bacteria Killer

Vinegar, especially white vinegar, has been a go-to solution for cleaning and deodorizing for generations. Its acidic nature means it can break down mold and bacteria, which are often the culprits behind that musty smell in your boots. To use vinegar effectively:

  1. Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar.
  2. Lightly spritz the inside of your boots with the solution. Don’t soak them!
  3. Wipe the interior with a clean cloth to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Dry the boots thoroughly, away from direct heat or sunlight.

Baking Soda: The Odor Absorber

Baking soda is another powerhouse in the fight against mold smells. It’s not just for baking; its odor-absorbing qualities make it an excellent choice for freshening up your boots. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside your boots.
  2. Leave it overnight to allow the baking soda to absorb the moisture and odors.
  3. Shake out the excess baking soda the next day.

For an extra boost, you can also combine the use of vinegar and baking soda:

  • After cleaning with the vinegar solution, allow your boots to dry completely.
  • Then, add baking soda inside for overnight odor absorption.

This combination is particularly effective because the vinegar works to kill the bacteria and mold, while the baking soda neutralizes any lingering odors and draws out moisture, ensuring your boots are fresh and dry.

A Word of Caution

While vinegar and baking soda are generally safe for most materials, it’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area of your boots first. Some leathers or materials may react differently, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Incorporating Vinegar and Baking Soda into Your Routine

Making vinegar and baking soda a part of your regular boot care routine can prevent the return of mold smells. After a wet walk or at the first sign of an odor, treat your boots to this dynamic duo. It’s a simple, cost-effective method that can prolong the life and freshness of your footwear.

By understanding the properties of vinegar and baking soda and how they can be used together, you’re well-equipped to tackle that unpleasant mold smell in your boots. Keep reading to discover more methods and insights on keeping your boots fresh and odor-free.

Next, we’ll explore the freezer method, an unexpected but effective way to kill bacteria and eliminate odors.

The Freezer Method: A Cold Solution

When it comes to how to get mold smell out of boots, sometimes the solution is colder than you think. Freezing your boots might sound unusual, but it’s a scientifically backed method that can help banish those stubborn odors. Here’s how it works:


Placing your boots in the freezer utilizes extreme cold to halt the growth of bacteria responsible for the mold smell. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, so by subjecting them to freezing temperatures, you effectively put a stop to their party.

  • Step-by-Step Guide:
  • Clean your boots as best as you can. Remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Place your boots in a plastic bag. This is to prevent any cross-contamination with your food.
  • Leave them in the freezer overnight. Ideally, 24 hours would ensure all bacteria are dealt with.
  • Thaw your boots at room temperature before using them again.


The science behind this method is straightforward. Most bacteria cannot survive at freezing temperatures. While this process doesn’t remove the bacteria, it kills them, preventing further odor production. It’s a safe, chemical-free way to deal with the issue without potentially damaging your boots.

Why It Works:

  • Non-toxic: No chemicals are involved, making it safe for you and your boots.
  • Convenient: It’s a method that requires minimal effort. Just place your boots in the freezer and let time do the rest.
  • Effective: Freezing is a proven way to kill bacteria, thus eliminating the root cause of the mold smell.


While effective, this method is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It works best as part of a broader approach to boot care, ideally combined with other methods like vinegar and baking soda treatments for a comprehensive clean.

As we’ve explored the benefits of freezing, vinegar, and baking soda in tackling mold smell in boots, it’s clear that sometimes, the most effective solutions are also the simplest. By understanding the role of freezing in killing bacteria, you’re equipped with another valuable tool in your boot care arsenal.

Continuing our journey through innovative and effective ways to keep your boots fresh, let’s delve into the power of nature with essential oils and tea tree oil as our next line of defense against odors.

Essential Oils and Tea Tree Oil: Nature’s Deodorizers

When it comes to how to get mold smell out of boots, turning to nature’s own solutions can be surprisingly effective. Essential oils and tea tree oil, in particular, stand out for their natural deodorizing properties.

Why Essential Oils?

Essential oils are not just for making your home smell nice or for adding to your bath. They have powerful antimicrobial properties that can fight the bacteria and fungi responsible for bad smells. For example, tea tree oil is well-known for its ability to tackle fungus and bacteria. A study mentioned in our research highlights its antimicrobial prowess, making it a go-to for those pesky boot odors.

How to Use Them

  • Tea Tree Oil: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with water and spray it inside your boots. The oil’s natural antifungal properties help kill the mold and bacteria causing the smell.

  • Lavender and Clove Oils: These oils not only smell great but also have antimicrobial properties. You can use them in the same way as tea tree oil to deodorize and disinfect your boots.

Practical Steps

  1. Prepare Your Solution: Combine a few drops of your chosen essential oil with water in a spray bottle. For a stronger effect, you can mix different oils.
  2. Spray Away: Lightly spray the inside of your boots with the solution. Be sure not to soak them; a light misting will do.
  3. Let Them Dry: Allow your boots to air dry completely. Placing them in a well-ventilated area or near a fan can speed up the process.
  4. Repeat If Necessary: Depending on the severity of the smell, you might need to repeat this process a couple of times.

Why It Works

The antimicrobial action of essential oils like tea tree oil disrupts the growth of bacteria and fungi, addressing the root cause of the mold smell. This method is not only effective but also leaves your boots smelling fresh and clean.

A Word of Caution

While essential oils are natural, they can be potent. Always do a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area of your boots to ensure the oil doesn’t damage the material. Leather, in particular, can be sensitive to oils.

Transitioning to the Next Solution

Harnessing the power of essential oils and tea tree oil offers a natural and effective way to tackle boot odors. However, sometimes odors are stubborn, or you might be looking for an even more hands-off approach. That’s where our next topic comes in: Activated Charcoal: The Odor Absorber. Stay tuned to learn how this simple yet powerful tool can keep your boots smelling fresh without any fuss.

Activated Charcoal: The Odor Absorber

When it comes to banishing unwanted odors, especially that persistent mold smell from your boots, activated charcoal is a game-changer. Its superpower lies in its ability to absorb odors, leaving your footwear smelling fresh.

Why Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal isn’t your regular BBQ charcoal. It’s been treated to increase its absorbency. This process creates tiny, internal spaces or ‘pores’ in the charcoal, making it incredibly effective at trapping odors, moisture, and even bacteria.

How to Use Activated Charcoal for Your Boots

  1. Charcoal Briquettes: Opt for non-chemical, activated charcoal briquettes. You can find these at most health or aquarium supplies stores.

  2. Preparation: Place a few briquettes in a breathable fabric bag or an old pair of stockings. You want air to flow freely so the charcoal can do its job.

  3. Application: Insert the bag of charcoal briquettes into each boot. For best results, leave them in overnight or for a couple of days if the odor is particularly strong.

  4. Reactivation: After a while, activated charcoal might seem to lose its odor-absorbing power. Don’t throw it out! Simply place the briquettes in direct sunlight for a few hours. This process ‘reactivates’ the charcoal, making it ready to tackle odors again.

Why It Works

Activated charcoal works through adsorption (not absorption). This means it binds substances to its surface. When you place activated charcoal near something smelly, like moldy boots, it traps the odor particles in its pores, effectively removing the smell.

A Cautionary Note

While activated charcoal is fantastic for odor removal, it’s not a cure-all. If your boots are damp, make sure to dry them out completely before using charcoal. Combining drying methods with charcoal ensures you’re not just masking the problem but solving it.

In Summary

Activated charcoal is a powerful, natural solution for removing unwanted smells from your boots. It’s easy to use, environmentally friendly, and can be reactivated with sunlight. So, the next time you’re faced with the challenge of how to get mold smell out of boots, remember this odor-absorbing hero.

It’s worth noting that sometimes, even the best DIY methods might not completely eliminate tough odors. That’s when professional care can make all the difference. Stay tuned as we explore how NuShoe Inspect & Correct can offer specialized assistance in keeping your boots in top condition.

Professional Care: NuShoe Inspect & Correct

When it comes to how to get mold smell out of boots, sometimes the situation calls for a bit more expertise than what we can manage with home remedies. That’s where NuShoe Inspect & Correct steps in as a hero in the battle against stubborn boot odors.

Why Go Professional?

Despite our best efforts, mold and mildew can be relentless, deeply embedding themselves into the fabric and materials of our favorite boots. At this stage, DIY solutions might not penetrate deeply enough to eradicate the problem. This is especially true if the smell has been lingering for a while, indicating that the mold or mildew may have spread beyond the surface.

What Does NuShoe Inspect & Correct Offer?

NuShoe Inspect & Correct specializes in comprehensive shoe care, including mold remediation. Their process isn’t just about masking the odor; it’s about removing the source. Here’s what they offer:

  • Thorough Cleaning: They start by giving your boots a deep clean, addressing not just the surface, but also those hard-to-reach areas where mold loves to hide.

  • Antimicrobial Treatments: After cleaning, they apply antimicrobial treatments designed to kill mold spores and prevent their return. This is key in not just getting rid of the current smell but ensuring it doesn’t come back.

  • Quality Restoration: Beyond just addressing the smell, they also focus on restoring your boots to their original glory. This means treating the leather, fixing any damage, and ensuring your boots look as good as they smell.

  • Expertise and Convenience: With locations on both the East and West Coasts, NuShoe offers fast and reliable service no matter where you are in the United States. Their volume discounts make their services affordable, and their commitment to craftsmanship ensures your boots are in good hands.

Why Trust NuShoe Inspect & Correct?

Choosing NuShoe isn’t just about getting rid of a bad smell; it’s about investing in the longevity of your boots. Their proven process has been trusted by numerous footwear manufacturers and retailers, making them a go-to for quality shoe care. Plus, their emphasis on confidentiality means your brand reputation is always protected.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda, braved the freezer method, and even dabbled in essential oils without success, it might be time to call in the professionals. Persistent odors, especially in high-quality boots, can signify deeper issues that require specialized attention.

In conclusion, while there are many ways to tackle mold smell at home, certain situations demand professional care. NuShoe Inspect & Correct offers a comprehensive solution that not only eliminates the odor but also rejuvenates your boots, ensuring they’re ready for whatever comes next.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mold Smell in Boots

When it comes to keeping your boots free from the unpleasant company of mold smell, you might have a few questions. Let’s dive straight into some of the most commonly asked questions.

How often should I treat my boots to prevent mold smell?

It’s all about regular maintenance. Ideally, you should aim to air out and dry your boots thoroughly after each use, especially if they’ve been exposed to moisture or sweat. Using deodorizing methods like baking soda or essential oils once a week can help maintain freshness. However, if your boots frequently get wet or you live in a humid area, you might need to treat them more often.

Can these methods damage my boots?

Mostly, no. The methods described, such as using vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and freezing, are generally safe for most boot materials. However, it’s always a good idea to do a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area of your boots before applying any substance fully. Leather boots, in particular, require extra care, so ensure that any moisture from treatments is completely dried out to prevent damage.

What causes mold smell in boots?

Moisture is the main culprit. Boots become a breeding ground for mold and mildew when they’re not allowed to dry properly. This can be due to wet conditions, sweaty feet, or storing boots in a damp, dark place. Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments, digesting the materials and releasing that characteristic musty odor. Regularly drying and airing out your boots cuts off the moisture supply, keeping mold at bay.

In conclusion, while there are many ways to tackle mold smell at home, certain situations demand professional care. NuShoe Inspect & Correct offers a comprehensive solution that not only eliminates the odor but also rejuvenates your boots, ensuring they’re ready for whatever comes next.


We’ve walked through several practical steps on how to get mold smell out of boots, employing everything from the simple power of vinegar and baking soda to the unexpected chill of the freezer method. We’ve also explored how essential oils can add a fresh scent, and how activated charcoal acts like a magnet for those stubborn odors.

But sometimes, despite our best efforts, these home remedies might not be enough. That’s where professional care steps in. At NuShoe Inspect & Correct, we understand the importance of not just removing odors but restoring the integrity and beauty of your boots. Our specialized services are designed to tackle even the most persistent mold smells, ensuring your footwear remains in top condition.

Prevention is always better than cure. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and immediate action when you notice moisture or a mild odor can go a long way in keeping mold at bay. However, when the situation gets out of hand, it’s comforting to know that professional help is just a click away.

For those challenging cases or when you’re looking for a thorough refresh of your favorite pair, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you step confidently, free from the worry of mold and unpleasant odors. Visit our shoe mold removal service page to learn more about how we can assist you in keeping your boots in perfect condition. Let’s keep stepping forward, together, in freshness and style.