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I have read claims suggesting that the following remedies, among others, are effective against stinky shoes:

  1. Sprinkle bicarbonate soda, baby powder or deodorant on your shoes

  2. Put tea bags in your shoes (some also suggest adding a few drops of essential oil to them).

References for these claims: (1), (2), (3)

What is the action principle behind them?

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    If you do any testing, make sure you use teenagers' shoes as they're usually the worst! – Randolf Richardson Aug 3 '11 at 15:38
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    Your first (shoe) claim is sort-of a duplicate of this: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2566/… – John Lyon Aug 3 '11 at 22:54
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    Please avoid really as in 'really work'. It sounds so much like yellow press and 'Do your really, really love me?'. Either it is a solution, which means it works. Or it doesn't work. Not only it doesn't really work - no, it isn't really a really working real solution. Urgl. 'Are these solutions?', 'Does it work?'. – user unknown Aug 4 '11 at 4:31
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    So what you are asking about is how to overpower the odor? Do you just want information about deodorizing or do you also want remedies for the bacteria that I have a sneaky suspicion are the reason for the odor? – nalgenegirl Aug 4 '11 at 6:44
  • sprinkling something on top of the shoes won't do anything to what's happening inside. Tea bags might well soak up some of the moisture that on evaporation releases the odour (as well as containing the bacteria causing it) and therefore might have benefit, but I'd still prefer my proven commercial inlays :) – jwenting Aug 4 '11 at 8:19
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Do these solutions work?

It depends on how damp and stinky (how much odor producing bacteria there is) your shoes are.

Are they reliable?

It depends on how damp and stinky (how much odor producing bacteria there is) your shoes are.

What is the principal?

Soda - absorbs moisture and is amphoteric

Powder, deodorant, tea bags - absorbs moisture and have added or natural fragrance.

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