My grandfather stored his shoes on cedar shoe trees and I always assumed the reason he kept shoes this way was to keep the shoe’s shape. Little did I know until recently the natural benefits of cedar for shoes! Here is more about cedar shoe-care, deodorizing smelly shoes, and how to find a shoe polish that won’t cost your health or the earth:
Cedar Shoe Trees
Have you ever seen cedar shoe trees? Cedar wicks moisture, acid, and salt from shoes, so housing shoes in cedar is a great idea since the cedar will keep the leather from cracking.
Baking Soda Shoe Deodorizer
Sprinkle baking soda into your shoes after wearing them, and brush it out the next morning. Baking soda is a great deodorizer.
Tea Deodorizing Spray
Tannin, that dark bitter-tasting aspect of black tea, is a great deodorizer (and dust-mite neutralizer). Make a cup of black tea, cool it, and spray the insides of the shoes (making sure that the shoes are dark so that the tea won’t stain the leather). Let it set overnight. If the shoes are still damp from the spray in the morning, sprinkle with a little cornstarch to absorb the moisture, and then remove.
Antibacterial Shoe Spray
Add 1 teaspoon of an essential oil of your choice to a cup of water in a spray bottle. If your shoes smell really strongly of mold and mildew, choose tea tree oil for the essential oil, but all essential oils have some antibacterial qualities. Spray the shoes, and air for a week so the smell has completely dissipated before wearing.
Most shoe polishes are made with petroleum solvents and should be avoided. A nice light freshener is to polish with a bit of jojoba oil. Just dab a bit of this liquid wax on a rag and buff the shoes. Otherwise find plant-based shoe polishes online, but be alert to the strong smell of terpenes.