Leather boots are not only stylish but also durable, making them a popular choice for footwear. However, over time, leather boots can develop an unpleasant odor that can be difficult to get rid of. This article will provide you with effective techniques and tips on how to remove odor from leather boots, allowing you to enjoy fresh-smelling and comfortable footwear once again.

Why Do Leather Boots Develop Odor?

Before we delve into the methods of odor removal, let’s first understand why leather boots can develop an unpleasant smell. There are several reasons behind this issue:

  1. Sweat Absorption: Leather has a natural ability to absorb moisture, including sweat from our feet. Over time, this sweat can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to odor development.
  2. Poor Ventilation: Insufficient airflow in your boots can exacerbate the sweat absorption problem. When your feet are enclosed in a poorly ventilated environment, the moisture is trapped, allowing odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
  3. External Factors: Sometimes, the odor in leather boots is not solely caused by sweat and bacteria. External factors such as dampness, mold, or mildew can also contribute to the unpleasant smell.

Read This: How To Disinfect Work Boots The Right Way?

How To Remove Odor From Leather Boots?

Now that we understand the reasons behind the odor, let’s explore some effective methods to eliminate it. Follow these steps to restore freshness to your leather boots:

1. Proper Cleaning and Drying

Cleaning leather boots is the first step to remove odor. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start by removing any dirt or debris from the boots using a soft brush or a damp cloth.
  2. Mix a mild detergent or leather cleaner with warm water, following the product instructions.
  3. Gently scrub the boots using a soft cloth or sponge dipped in the cleaning solution. Pay extra attention to areas where the odor is concentrated.
  4. Once cleaned, wipe off any excess soap with a damp cloth.
  5. Allow the boots to air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. It’s crucial to ensure that the boots are completely dry before moving on to the next step.

2. Removing Odor with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can help neutralize unpleasant smells. Follow these steps to remove odor using baking soda:

  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside the boots, targeting the areas that have the strongest odor.
  2. Leave the baking soda to sit in the boots overnight or for at least 8 hours. During this time, it will absorb the odor and moisture.
  3. Afterward, shake out the excess baking soda from the boots. You can use a soft brush to remove any residue.
  4. If the odor persists, repeat the process or move on to the next method.

3. Freezing to Eliminate Odor

Freezing leather boots might sound unusual, but it can be an effective method to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place your leather boots inside a large ziplock bag or wrap them in plastic wrap.
  2. Seal the bag tightly, ensuring no air can enter.
  3. Put the bagged boots in the freezer and leave them for 24 to 48 hours.
  4. After the freezing period, remove the boots from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature.
  5. Once thawed, wipe off any condensation or moisture from the boots using a dry cloth.

4. Vinegar Solution for Odor Removal

Vinegar is known for its odor-absorbing properties and can be used to combat the unpleasant smell in leather boots. Follow these steps to create a vinegar solution:

  1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl or container.
  2. Moisten a clean cloth or sponge with the vinegar solution. Make sure it’s not dripping wet but damp enough to clean the boots.
  3. Gently wipe the inside of the boots with the vinegar-soaked cloth, paying attention to the areas with odor.
  4. Allow the boots to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area.
  5. Once dry, check if the odor has diminished. If needed, repeat the process or combine it with other methods.


With the methods mentioned in this article, you can bid farewell to the unpleasant odor in your leather boots. Regular cleaning, proper drying, and employing natural deodorizers like baking soda and vinegar are key to maintaining fresh-smelling footwear. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test any new cleaning agents on a small area before applying them to the entire boot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use commercial odor sprays or powders on leather boots?

While some commercial odor sprays or powders may work on leather boots, it’s essential to ensure that they are specifically formulated for use on leather.

How often should I clean and deodorize my leather boots?

The frequency of cleaning and deodorizing depends on various factors, such as how frequently you wear the boots, the intensity of odor, and the environmental conditions.

Can I use a hairdryer or heater to speed up the drying process?

It’s best to avoid using direct heat sources, such as hairdryers or heaters, to dry leather boots. High temperatures can cause the leather to crack or shrink. Opt for natural air drying to maintain the boots' integrity.

Can I use these methods on all types of leather boots?

Yes, the methods mentioned in this article are generally safe for various types of leather boots.

Andrew Robert
I am Robert Andrew and I have been reviewing shoes for the past 4 years. Living in California, I have a wide variety of shoes to choose from and review. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on different types of shoes with others who are looking for information before making a purchase.