How to Avoid Sock Smell

Jenny Harrington

Avoiding the unpleasantness of smelly socks begins with your shoes. Your feet tend to sweat more when encased in both socks and shoes, since your skin can't breathe. The damp, sweaty conditions provide a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.

Change your socks regularly to prevent odors.

Keeping your feet and shoes odor-free helps prevent bad odors from developing in your socks. It requires minimal effort to establish a regular foot odor-fighting routine, and the reward of pleasant smelling feet makes these new habits worthwhile.


Proper hygiene further prevents sock and foot odor. Consider purchasing socks made with odor-resistant fabric if foot odor is a severe problem. Breathable, natural fabrics are also less prone to odor issues.

  1. Air out your shoes each evening. Loosen the laces, if applicable, and pull out the tongue. Odors and moisture trapped inside the shoe can transfer to your socks.

  2. Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to neutralize existing odors. Alternatively, place a cloth bag of activated charcoal inside each shoe after removing them in the evening.

  3. Change your socks daily. Socks develop a bad smell if worn too long and when left unwashed. Allowing your feet to air out also diminishes odor issues.

  4. Wash socks after each wearing in hot water with laundry detergent. Dry the socks completely before putting them on, as damp socks are more likely to develop a bad odor.

  5. Use a scented fabric softener when drying the socks. Although the scent does not eliminate odor, it may help camouflage minor bad smells.