Malodorous Sneaker Solution?

Graeme Price g.e.price at
Fri Aug 25 11:37:54 EST 1995

In article <41ko4t$cb4 at>, John Berens
<jberens at> wrote:

> trale at (Trale) wrote:
> >
> > Does anyone have any suggestions for rendering foul smelling sneakers
> > agreeable?  I have tried spraying them with high concentrations of
> > cationic surfactants, chorinated hyrdocarbon solvents, a raft of
> > commercial recipes, and adsorbent materials like activated charcoal,
> > baking soda, and fumed silica.
> > 
> > The sneakers (Nike) will not survive a wash cycle and hand washing has not
> > corrected the problem.
> > 
> > I remember reading that Dow Corning has some type of coating incorporating
> > an antibacterial/fungal chemical backbone, but have never seen it on the
> > commercial market.
> > 
> > At 60-70 bucks a pair, any (non flammable) suggestions gratefully
> > accepted.  Thanks.
> A method for killing yeasts in shoes, from Zimbabwe.  
> (Yeasts are probably responsible for the smell.)
> Soak a piece of cotton wool in an aqueous solution of formaldehyde (formalin).
> Put the shoes and the wet cotton wool in a sealed plastic bag 
> overnight.  Keep your feet clean and dry.  Use antifungal lotions on
> your feet regularly...

This sounds a little bit extreme... but it should work. Formalin vapour is
normally used to decontaminate biological safety cabinets and will kill
pretty much everything it comes in contact with. BUT BE WARNED it is
TOXIC, especially by inhalation, ingestion and skin contact (it is an
alkali & corrosive). Personally I wouldn't put this stuff anywhere near my
feet! I also guess that it could damage (corrode or decolourise) your


Graeme Price
Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Group, 
School of Biological Sciences, Biology West Building,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
West Midlands, B15 2TT.
United Kingdom.

Tel. (+44) (0)121 414 6555
Fax. (+44) (0)121 414 6557
E-mail g.e.price at

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