How to Clean a Musty Smell from the Inside of Ski Boots

by Mary Ylisela ; Updated September 28, 2017

Take care of boots immediately after skiing to avoid stinky boots.

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The dampness and moisture that forms in ski boots from snow or sweaty feet can develop into an unpleasant musty odor. Although you can avoid obnoxious-smelling boots by making sure the insides dry quickly, this isn't always possible. The resulting musty smell wafting out of your ski boots indicates that odor-causing bacteria and mildew have formed due to the moisture trapped inside the boots. To successfully remove the smell, you must get rid of the bacteria and mildew causing it.

Fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar. Pour water into the spray bottle to fill it the remainder of the way. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.

Spray the insides of your ski boots to moisten them with the vinegar spray. Allow the vinegar spray to sit for 10 minutes to begin killing bacteria and mildew.

Crumple up newspaper and fill the insides of the boots. Leave the crumpled up newspaper inside the boots to absorb the moisture from the vinegar and help deodorize your boots.

Remove the newspaper from the boots and discard. Sprinkle baking soda inside the ski boots to absorb any remaining musty odor. Leave the baking soda inside the boots overnight.

Vacuum your boots, using an upholstery attachment, to remove the baking soda.


  • Dry the insides of your ski boots as soon as possible to prevent mildew from developing. Place 2 drops of vanilla extract on two cotton balls and drop one cotton ball into each boot. Leave the cotton balls inside the boots between uses to keep them smelling clean and fresh.

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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.