Your Best Safety Gear Reviewed

How to Disinfect Shoes From The Thrift Store

Last week I had gone to the thrift store, just as a time pass, on my way back from work. I saw an awesome pair of shoe and could not resist the temptation to buy it. So, having bought the used shoes, I wanted to disinfect them properly before I use it. After getting home, I searched and read a lot on the internet, learning the proven techniques to disinfect the used shoes at home. I am writing what I learned, to help you.

Learn how to disinfect shoes from the thrift store. First, remove the insoles from the shoes. Second, manually wash the shoes and insoles separately using a good detergent and dry them properly. Third, if the shoe smells, apply baking soda or rubbing alcohol on the shoes and leave them overnight. You can finish the job off by using an antibacterial spray.

How to Disinfect Shoes From The Thrift Store_ - old shoes

There is no hard and fast rule that the perfect pair of your dream shoes would be lying in the shoe rack of a classy store. It may be sitting right there in a thrift store. Many people may step back from buying a stunning pair of shoes just because they are being sold in a thrift store. Questions about hygiene are understandable and very important too. The only thought that concerns people is how to disinfect shoes from the thrift store.

But following some really easy steps after buying can make them as clean and perfect as any new pair of shoes. A slight amount of effort can put to rest all hygiene concerns about your second-hand shoes.

How to Disinfect Shoes From The Thrift Store

It is, therefore, a nice idea to purchase items from the thrift store if you like them. Just ensure the fittings and clean them as instructed.

Here you will get to know about the best tips on how to disinfect shoes from the thrift store:

Washing the Insoles of The Shoes

How to Disinfect Shoes From The Thrift Store - insoles

The best way to disinfect shoes is to wash the insoles thoroughly. Remove them from the shoes and scrub them gently with a solution made of water and mild detergent.

You can use a light scrubber or a sponge to gently rub the insoles and clean away the deposited dirt, sweat, smell and stains. After you are done with the scrubbing part, wash the insoles in lukewarm water and let them dry naturally. You can also drop in a bit of laundry disinfectant at the end to completely leave them clean.

Washing the Shoes to Disinfect Them

The best possible answer on how to disinfect shoes from the thrift store is to wash them completely. If the shoes you have bought are made of cloth or rubber and are washable in nature, clean them with detergent and water and put them out to dry in the sunlight. Remove the shoe laces before washing them.

If you have bought machine washable shoes then you can definitely put them in the machine too and wash them. But let them dry naturally instead of putting them in the dryer.

However, if your shoes are made of leather or suede, never wash them in the machine. It is better to wash by hand if the materials of the shoes are finer and more delicate. Do not scrub them hard while washing them.

You can instead use a soft sponge to gently rub the shoes. Leather shoes too can be gently washed by hand using a sponge and detergent water solution.

Take Care of Smelly Insoles with Baking Soda

Another issue with thrift store shoes is that the insoles are often smelly even after washing. This results from trapped sweat, bacteria and germs in the insoles from long use.

To remove all of that you need to put the insoles in a plastic bag, fill it with some baking soda and seal the packet. Leave it overnight and take them out. The smell should have been gone by now.

However, if the smell still exists, you can soak them in a solution made of water and vinegar and leave it for a few hours. Then wash off the insoles again with a mild detergent and leave them to dry.

Use Rubbing Alcohol on The Shoes

One way to chemically disinfect the shoes and get rid of the smell and germs is to use rubbing alcohol. In case of washable cloth shoes, dip them in a bucket or bowl of rubbing alcohol. You can also use a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol and gently clean the shoes if they are made of delicate material. Learn how rubbing alcohol can be used as a multipurpose disinfectant spray for your home purpose.

Use Bleach and Water Solution

Another good chemical disinfectant for shoes is a solution of water and bleach. You can mix them together and use a hand spray to disinfect the shoes. But remember to spray only inside the shoes to prevent any bleach stain on the outer surface of the shoes.

Use an Antibacterial Spray

The easiest way to disinfect your shoes is to directly spray any antibacterial disinfectant readily available in the market inside the shoes. This will eliminate all the germs and smell and make them hygienic again. Let your shoes dry completely before you wear them.

Drying Sheets

When old shoes smell bad, stick a few dryer sheets inside them and leave them for a few days. Remove the sheets when you need to wear them. This would take care of the odor and kill the bacteria inside too.


Now that you know all the methods to disinfect a shoe that you recently bought from the thrift store, in order to help you I am mentioning the step by step process you can follow:

  1. Wash the shoes properly either in the machine or using a hand wash. It is better to wash the insole and the other part of the shoe separately.
  2. If the insoles still appear smelly, put them into a plastic bag, add some baking soda and seal it. Keep it overnight and wash it again to get all the smell removed.
  3. If the shoe or insole still smells bad, you can use rubbing alcohol, an antibacterial spray or rubbing sheets to directly kill the bad odor.

Over To You

Buying second-hand items is actually environment friendly because you extend the life of a product instead of increasing the waste. You can also save a lot of your money while fulfilling your shopping dreams. Thrift stores allow you to buy items that you would otherwise be unable to afford. So put your second thoughts to rest and learn how to disinfect shoes from the thrift store before styling yourself up.

Other articles that might interest you:

How to Break In Cowboy Boots Overnight
How to Get Creases Out of Leather Shoes

You May Also Like

About the Author: Bellamy Smith

Bellamy is a freelance safety consultant who helps companies and individuals best assess their safety requirements. He is an expert in all kinds of safety gears. He has been with Safe Work Gears from the start, helping the readers with his useful tips and tricks.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *