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How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Soccer Socks? 8 Useful Methods

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Soccer Socks? 8 Useful Methods

Aerobic activities make you sweat and soccer is not an exception. Most times, soccer players get really wet from their jerseys down to their socks and boots.

Professional soccer players are usually sponsored by big brands that provide them with new gears every time. However, not every soccer player enjoys that privilege.

Soccer players that recycle gear too frequently often run into the problem of smelly socks. If nothing is done fast, that stench can extend into your boots.

Smelly socks are a sign that you might soon come down with a foot infection if you ever get injured anywhere covered by the socks.

Besides the health implication that comes with smelly socks, it can affect your performance on the pitch too. The anxiety that comes with smelly socks can make you become too self-conscious thereby shifting your attention from the game.

Smelly socks lead to stigma because people—including your teammates—will become uncomfortable around you. While getting smelly socks comes easily, getting the smell out of the socks is not so easy.

If you have found yourself in this dilemma, hold off the idea of discarding the socks until you have finished reading and trying out the hacks that we highlighted here.

How do you get the smell out of soccer socks?

Trouble usually starts when you fail to take proper care of your socks after wearing them. Fungi, odor-causing bacteria, and by-products from sweating get deposited on the socks as you enjoy your game.

When you dump these socks without washing them, these microorganisms will multiply and produce an odor. The longer the socks stay without washing them, the more the odor-causing microorganisms will multiply and produce the stench.

When the socks stay too long in that condition, the smell is trapped within the fabrics making them harder to get off. Therefore, you may notice that the smell will linger even after you have given the socks a thorough wash.

a soccer player wears black socks and cleats running on the pitch

Soccer players who have already developed smelly feet can transfer that smell to any socks they wear. Besides missing a glaring goal, there is nothing as embarrassing as having smelly socks that continue to stink after a good laundry.

Getting rid of the smell from socks is very important because that smell can be transferred to your jersey when you mix them together, further complicating your life.

Thankfully, there are lots of DIY techniques using readily-available home ingredients that work magic in getting stench out of your socks. Below is a step-by-step guide to all the different techniques that can help you to get the smell out of soccer socks.

1. Vinegar solution method

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinegar has antibacterial properties and a whole lot of studies have confirmed this. In recent years, the use of vinegar as a disinfectant for cleaning surfaces has grown because of its eco-friendliness over harsh cleaners.

Also, a lot of people are turning to vinegar because of its strong properties when it comes to getting rid of the odor. The 5% acetic acid component of vinegar can help to dissolve stubborn dirt that clings to soccer socks.

Also, vinegar is known to kill or reduce the population of some microorganisms—implicated with foot odor. To use vinegar to get rid of the smell from your socks follow the steps below.

A cup of Vinegar

Step 1

Firstly, mix two cups of vinegar in every gallon of water. Shake thoroughly to give a homogenous mixture.

Step 2

Next, put your smelly socks in the solution and allow them to soak for about thirty minutes.

Step 3

Once the time elapses, remove the socks from the solution and rinse out any leftover vinegar.

Step 4

Wash your socks as usual. There are different ways of washing socks including hand or machine wash. You can find a long list and step-by-step guide on how to wash soccer socks here.

Step 5

Dry the socks by hanging them on the line under the sun or using a dryer. Make sure the socks are completely dry before putting them away or wearing them.

If the stench is really high, use warm water (about forty degrees) for this procedure. Alternatively, you can add one cup of ethanol or hydrogen peroxide to the mixture to help kill off any odor-causing bacteria that may be causing the persistent stench.


  • Gets the stink out fast
  • Easy to use


  • Can shoot up your budget if you wash frequently
  • Other additives may bleach the socks

2. Baking soda method

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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are familiar with the kitchen or help out when your mom or partner is making pastries, there is a huge chance that you must have seen baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)—and mistook it for flour. Baking soda is famous for getting rid of notorious soccer socks or shoe smell.

Just like vinegar, it requires little or no effort to pull off. Baking soda is also good as a cleaning agent because of its abrasive nature. ‘

When used on socks, it softens the socks and removes heavy stench leaving your socks smelling fresh. In fact, it is said that baking soda can increase the cleaning efficiency of detergents. The following steps will eliminate the smell from your soccer socks.

use baking soda to get rid of the smell of soccer socks

Step 1

Unpack the socks from your gym bag or tightly-packed basket.

Step 2

Shake them out and air until you are ready to wash. Airing helps to diffuse the smell.

Step 3

Fill a sink with water and add half a cup of baking soda. Mix the solution thoroughly. If the smell is excessive, you can use warm water for this.

Step 4

Place the smelly socks in the mixture and allow to soak for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 5

Rinse the socks and wash using a hand or washing machine.


  • Requires little effort from you
  • Baking soda is readily accessible
  • Can be used as a preventive method for preventing the smell


  • You have to leave overnight
  • Baking soda may bleach the socks
  • You may have to repeat a couple of times to achieve the desired result

3. Laundry spray method

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The use of laundry spray can effectively mask any stench on your socks. Call them a quick fix and you won’t be wrong. Some are taunted as containing substances that kill odor-causing bacteria.

They are readily available and easy to use. In fact, they usually do not require any special skill to use and are normally safe to use with soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, and all other laundry additives.

man uses washing machine

To use laundry spray, follow the steps below:

Step 1

Load the smelly socks into your washing machine.

Step 2

Pour your detergent in the designated area and add half a cup of the laundry spray to the detergent.

Step 3

Turn on your washing machine and allow it to wash.

Step 4

Rinse and dry the soccer socks.

If you are hand-washing the soccer socks, simply add half a cup of laundry spray and appropriate detergent to a sink full of water and wash. Rinse and dry afterward.


  • The effect is immediate
  • Laundry spray works with other laundry additives
  • Will not bleach your socks


  • Effect is temporary
  • Most laundry sprays will not kill the odor-causing bacteria

4. Deodorizer ball method

Unlike the rest of the techniques listed above, the deodorizer ball method can be used with or without washing the socks. If you find out that your soccer socks don’t smell nice but have little or no time to wash them for the next game, this will be a great relief.

The deodorizer balls are made of tea polyphenols and essential oils which are capable of neutralizing odor.

Deodorizer balls usually come in different fragrances allowing you to dictate what you want your socks to smell like. The following steps will guide you in using deodorizer balls.

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Step 1

Take out the smelly socks from your gym bag and air them. You should also sun them to dry properly if they are still moist from sweat.

Step 2

Twist one of the balls to activate the scent and place it inside one of the socks and cinch the opening. Repeat the same for the second socks

Step 3

Place the socks with the deodorizing balls in your boots and allow them to stand for up to an hour

Step 4

Remove the balls and wear your socks

Remember to close the balls when not in use. Each of the balls can last up to thirty days—which should be a relief for every soccer player dealing with smelly socks.


  • Gives immediate result
  • Easy to use
  • Balls can be reused several times


  • Masks the smell without eliminating it
  • Doesn’t kill odor-causing bacteria
  • Effect is temporary

5. Enzyme cleaner method

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Enzyme cleaners can be an effective way of combating the smell in your soccer socks. The specially formulated detergents contain enzymes that help to remove trapped organic odor that may arise from sweat and all other bodily fluids.

Most of the products can be used on all types of washing machines and will usually not affect the color of your socks. Below are the steps for using enzyme cleaner.

use enzyme cleaner to get the smell out of soccer socks

Step 1

Soak the socks in a solution of the enzyme cleaner for up to thirty minutes. Load the smelly socks in the washing machine

Step 2

Add your enzyme cleaner in the space for detergent without adding any other cleaning agent as they may interfere with the enzyme. If you are using the handwashing method, only add the enzyme cleaner to the appropriate volume of water.

Step 3

Wash and dry the socks properly before using them.


  • More effective than the use of detergent alone
  • Usually do not cause skin irritation


  • Will push up your budget
  • Some customers complained that it bleached their clothes

6. Lemon soak method

Lemon, which is part of the citrus family, gives more than vitamin C. It can be your life-saver when it comes to getting the smell out of soccer socks.

Lemon juice is very acidic which also makes it a good disinfectant against odor-causing bacteria. Unlike other techniques, this should not irritate your skin—except you have an allergy to the citrus family

Also, the use of lemon juice is less harsh on fabrics compared to the use of detergents. Below are the steps on how to get the smell out of soccer socks using lemon.

lemon and laundry detergent mixture to get rid of the smell of socks

Step 1

Add one ounce of your favorite laundry detergent to half a gallon of water and mix.

Step 2

Cut up two lemons and squeeze out the juice into the solution and mix thoroughly.

Step 3

Soak your smelling socks in the mixture for up to an hour.

Step 4

Wash (with hand or machine), rinse and dry the socks.


  • Doesn’t cause skin irritation
  • Easy to carry out


  • More tedious than other techniques

7. Treat your feet

If you persistently have smelly socks it may be as a result of a medical condition known as Bromodosis. This is a condition resulting mostly from bacterial infection (mostly bacteria from the Brevibacterium family).

The bacteria break down dead skin cells and sweat on your feet. Fungal infections can also lead to smelly feet through a similar process.

Improving your hygiene should go a long way in eliminating the bacterial or fungal infection which will in extension stop the soccer socks from smelling.

a woman is washing and scrubbing her feet

Some of the ways you can improve your foot hygiene include:

  • Thoroughly washing and drying your feet daily and before wearing your socks
  • Use more than one pair of socks and alternate them so that you can wash the ones you have worn
  • Investing in moisture-wicking socks. For soccer where you are required to wear official team socks, you can wear the special socks inside before wearing your soccer socks on top.
  • Use antiperspirant and antifungal sprays

There is evidence that juniper essential oil can help in the control of smelly feet. If everything else fails to stop your feet from smelling, consult your doctor.

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Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

8. Deodorizing soccer cleats

Deodorizing your soccer cleats can be an effective technique for getting the smell out of your soccer socks. In fact, many of the techniques used to get the smell out of your cleats can also work for your socks.

If the smell is getting into your socks from your boots, deodorizing your boots can be an effective way of keeping your socks smelling fresh.

white soccer cleats and ball

Some of the techniques that you can use to deodorize your cleats include the use of air purifying bags, use of boot trees, use of tea or coffee grounds, replacing the insoles and so on. Get the full list of the techniques that you can use to deodorize your cleats here.

Some of the most important techniques for deodorizing soccer cleats include:

1. Moisture absorber method

You can toss one or two moisture absorber bags into the socks before spreading them out. Toss one or two into your boots too to prevent them from developing odor which will eventually pass down to your socks.

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2. Disinfectant spray method

There is a popular saying that prevention is better than cure. The use of disinfectant spray is a preventive method that should kill the odor causing germs and prevent the smell from ever developing in the first place.

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3. Switch to herbal socks

Choose herbal socks of ankle length so that they will stay hiding within your cleats when you are going to wear these socks  on top of your official soccer socks. This way you can avoid getting into trouble with the soccer officials.


When it comes to getting the smell out of soccer socks, you just have to get creative. For example, if the smell is excessive, you may combine baking soda and vinegar to achieve a better result—but don’t over-push your expectation to avoid heartbreak.

While the use of laundry spray and deodorizer balls can mask the smell, you should minimize their use as much as possible. This is because they don’t really tackle the root cause of the problem and give you a false sense of relief.

Also, there is this false sense of safety and esteem that you get from them which may cause you to stop paying attention to your personal hygiene. Eventually, you will increase your chance of getting a foot infection if you ever have an injury on your feet.

There is also the chance that some of these substances may irritate your skin if they are not properly rinsed. Sometimes, the best option would be to discard the socks and get a new pair rather than trying to get the smell out.

This is especially true if the stress that you will have to go through and the price of getting some of the substances you need is higher than getting a new pair of socks. Unless you really love the socks or they are your good luck charm, you may have to rethink the entire process of trying to get the smell out of your soccer socks.

While smelly socks are not comfortable and can negatively affect your performance, it is a subtle reminder that you have to do something about your foot hygiene.