Shoe Care & Comfort

Killing Fungus in Shoes Doesn’t Have to be Hard

Killing fungus in shoes will help you on the road to a quick and lasting recovery.

Foot fungus and toenail fungus tends to start due to trapped moisture. That can be caused by a wide variety of different things.

From public showers to some trauma to the toe, there are many reasons why people get fungus. But, one of the major reasons is to do with your shoes and the way that you care for them. Shoes are the perfect environment for fungus to live and grow.

Think about it this way – your shoes are dark, warm, and yes, at times they can be moist. Athletes experience this type of problem all the time. It’s simply labeled athlete’s foot, but that’s nothing more than a fungus, too. Here are some of the best treatments for athletes foot.

These products work well for removing fungus from shoes:

Just insert your shoes into the shoe sanitizer machine, and your footwear will be fungus-free in 20 minutes. It’s a good option if you have athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, or you buy used boots on eBay or at thrift stores. An ultraviolet shoe sanitizer can save you time and money.

How to Kill Fungus in Shoes

There are several ways to kill fungus in shoes and get better-smelling feet. These six tips can also help to prevent it from happening in the future. When fungus gets out of control, it can spread quickly. So, using these strategies will keep your shoes, and your feet, healthy.

  1. Air Drying

As a preventative measure, air drying your shoes in the sun each day can be effective. The sun will help to fight back against existing spores. This works especially well if you’re using an additional treatment option for the fungus in your shoes.

But, simply air drying your shoes outside can be good enough to keep fungus from coming back. Simply set them out in the sun, or in a cool area that tends to be dry outside your home. This may not seem like much, but it’s an easy step to take, before considering more ‘serious’ prevention and treatment options.

The idea here is to keep as much moisture as possible out of your shoes or dry it as quickly as possible. Moisture build-up throughout the day can cause a problem, especially if you’re active.

Another preventative measure is to wear antifungal socks with your shoes. While socks can sometimes retain moisture, they do help to provide a barrier between your skin and the shoe itself. This likely means less moisture/sweat will build up. Keeping your shoes as dry as possible throughout the day, and drying them out at night can be a great way to keep fungus at bay.

  1. Use a Common Disinfectant

There are dozens of different disinfectants that you can use to kill show fungus instantly.

They kill the bacteria that can cause fungus and other foot problems extremely well. Most of them even work as a deodorizer, as well. This can be useful if you have an existing fungus, as sometimes they come along with an unpleasant odor.

Some disinfectants will specifically advertise use for foot fungus or athlete’s foot. But, even a general disinfectant can work just as well, such as Lysol, which boasts killing up to 99.9% of all bacteria.

One of the biggest benefits of using disinfectants is that you can virtually take them anywhere. Whether you choose to use them at home, keep a bottle in your gym bag, etc., it’s a quick and easy way to kill fungus and keep your shoes safe.

It’s a good idea, however, to stay away from using bleach as a disinfectant option, simply because it may damage the fabric or color of the shoe. Instead, search for something that will be safe on the fabric or material of your shoe, that you can spray frequently.

  1. Foot Powder

Another alternative to an antibacterial spray is foot powder. Foot powder is also commonly used for athlete’s foot and marketed as such. But, it can treat just about any foot or toe fungus you may have the same way. Simply sprinkle the powder in your shoes every evening, and it will work to suck up excess moisture.

Some foot powders can disinfect, working double duty for your needs. If you want to start fighting back against fungus immediately, you sometimes don’t even have to look past your pantry.

It’s made for soaking up moisture, and ‘clumping’ a bit. It will absorb the excess moisture in your shoes, and you can simply tap out the excess in the morning, or whenever you put on your shoes.

These powders, too, will typically work as a deodorizer. They provide a great, easy way to keep foot fungus and extra moisture away, reducing the risk by quite a bit.

  1. Switch Your Shoes

While this tip won’t technically kill the existing fungus in your shoes, it’s a great way to prevent it from happening. Try wearing a different pair of shoes every other day. If you’re worried about your gym shoes, it’s worth it to invest in more than one pair so that you can switch them out.

When you’re using one pair, the other one can be drying out (after being disinfected or sprinkled with powder).

Guide to killing-fungus-in-shoesThis gives each pair of shoes you have a chance to fully dry so that moisture won’t become locked inside, and become a risk to your feet. This simple trick can work wonders, as long as you remember which shoes you wore the day before.

Remember, foot fungus can happen in just about any type of close-toed shoes, not just athletic shoes. So, if you work on your feet all day, or have feet that perspire regularly, switching out your ‘work shoes’ is equally important. You don’t have to have a massive wardrobe to get this done – two separate pairs will do.

  1. Wash Your Socks

Shoes and socks go hand-in-hand. But, did you know your thin black socks could be the culprit causing fungus in your shoes? We touched briefly on the importance of wearing the right socks earlier. However, when you do wear them, it’s important to take the proper precautions and responsibilities that come with them.

If you already know you have a potential fungus in your shoes, never wear the same pair of socks twice without washing them. Even wearing the same pair more than once is a bad idea in any situation. While socks can provide a great moisture barrier, they also can trap moisture quite well.

Keep your socks in a cool, dry place at all times, and always wash them as soon as possible after wearing them. This is especially true for athletic socks, or if you know your feet perspire more than most.

Some people have a habit of leaving their dirty or used socks inside their shoes after wearing. Try to avoid this. Instead, give your socks as much air as possible, so any fungus that might occur won’t have the opportunity to grow.


If you find that you may be more prone to foot fungus, or that your socks trap quite a bit of moisture, it may be a good idea to invest in socks that wick away moisture. Cotton and synthetic materials typically absorb moisture the most.

Many companies specifically make dry socks that are great for those with sweaty feet. Other materials like wool, and bamboo fibers, are also great options.

  1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a common treatment option for foot and toenail fungus, because of its acidity. It can eat away at the fungus, and work almost in the same way a disinfectant does, by killing the bacteria involved.

To use vinegar on your shoes, try filling up a spray bottle with white vinegar, and a bit of water. You can then spray your shoes after every wear.

It’s a safe and natural way not only to kill fungus in your shoes but also neutralize any possible odors. What’s the best part about this simple solution? You can keep a small spray bottle with you wherever you go. That way, you’re always equipped to spray off your shoes, at any time.

Preventing Fungus in Shoes

While we’ve touched on a couple of preventative techniques already, the best thing you can do to ‘kill’ fungus in your shoes, is to take precautionary action in preventing fungus in the first place. Or, if you know you have a toenail or foot fungus, get it treated as quickly as possible.

A fungus can continue to live and thrive in the dark, warm environment of your shoes, even if you’re treating it on your feet. So, treating both the shoes and your toes is important when it comes to curing the fungus for good.

There are plenty of toenail fungus treatment options, from over-the-counter solutions to home remedies. By combining the proper care and treatment of your feet, with the proper care and treatment of your shoes, you can kill off the fungus for both.