How to Remove Mildew from Shoes

by Andrew Smith ; Updated September 28, 2017

Mildew can grow on both the inside and outside of shoes. Mildew can cause the shoes to have an unpleasant odor and may gross you out. Your first inclination may be to toss the shoes in the garbage if you find mildew on them, but you may actually be able to remove the mildew from your shoes without taking them to a cleaner. Doing so will get rid of the mildew odor and extend the life of your shoes.

Brush away all of the visible mildew from the shoes. You can use any standard brush to do this. Inspect the shoes carefully when you're finished to ensure that you did remove all of the mildew.

Pour one-half to one cup of either rubbing or denatured alcohol into a bucket or bowl.

Add one-half to one cup of warm water to the alcohol. The amount of water you add should equal the amount of alcohol that you poured into the bucket or bowl.

Dip a dish towel into the solution. Then, use the towel to wipe any spots that were filled with mildew. Go over these spots at least two times with the towel.

Dry the shoes with a different clean towel.


  • Bleach can be substituted for the alcohol mentioned in Step 2. Add baking soda to the inside of the shoes once you're done cleaning them. Doing so can prevent future mildew growths.

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About the Author

Andrew Smith has been a freelance writer since 2006, specializing in sports and technology. His work has appeared on various online sites. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Pennsylvania State University.