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Neutralize Boot Odour: How To Stop Your Rugby Boots Smelling

24th January

For more details on how to eliminate boot odour, read the blog below…

Let’s face it, all it takes is one game of rugby for your boots to lose their shiny new feel. After a few more games that familiar, unpleasant smell appears and you’re already dreaming of fresh new pair. Like with most things, if they aren’t maintained properly, they can quickly deteriorate and lose their longevity. For most of us, frequently investing in a new pair of rugby boots isn’t an option. It can quickly become un-affordable and unsustainable.

Luckily, there are simple ways to neutralize boot odour, and give them that fresh feeling, that require minimal effort. Below you can discover a variety of ways to neutralize boot odour and increase their life-span.

Why do your rugby boots smell? 

Before deciding how you want to tackle your boots, it’s important to know why they smell to ensure you keep the odour away for good.

The short answer is sweat.

Rugby is a very fast-paced, high impact, physical sport, which as a result leads to high levels of sweat being produced.

It is not the sweat itself that smells, it’s the protein, lipids and salts found in sweat that are being broken down by bacteria. When the bacteria breaks down sweat, a potent smell is produced. Body odour. Body odour is not dangerous in any way, however it can be embarrassing and lower self-esteem.

When you begin to smell sweat, it means it is no longer fresh. It has become stale. If preventative measures are used, your boots can be sweat and odour free for good. Check out the following methods that will help neutralize boot odour for good…

Probiotic Deodorizer

Envii Kit Fresh uses anaerobic bacteria and enzymes to eliminate the bad bacteria that breakdown sweat. By removing the bad bacteria, the sweat cannot be broken down, creating the foul smell, and can simply be wiped away. Kit Fresh can be used to prevent new smells and eliminate old ones. Give your boots a light misting inside and out after use and leave them to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the bacteria to start working. After this time, give the boots a wipe to clean away any sweat. Finally, spray the boots inside and leave the Kit Fresh to dry naturally.


An item that almost everyone will have lying around the house. Fill your shoes with 2 to 3 teabags and leave them for between 12-24 hours. Supposedly the tea bags absorb the odour and leaves your boots smelling fresh! The best part about this is that you can pick the flavor or scent for you boots.

However, teabags are only a temporary fix. The teabags will remove the odour, but the bacteria that creates the smell will still remain. The teabags can absorb some moisture, but cannot target deep set sweat found inside your boots.


Newspaper is a popular choice when it comes to removing odour from boots. After a game, fill the boots with the paper and leave them for 12-24 hours. An added benefit of using newspaper is that it also helps to hold the shape of the boot.

With newspaper, it is important to note that the material is notorious for ink transfer. If left in your boots for too long, the ink could transfer onto the inner material of your boot and leave a nasty stain.

Lemon Peel

This is great if you happen to have lemon peel lying around. The skin is the most important part for this hack. Peel the lemon carefully and place half to a full lemon peel into each boot. Leave overnight. The citrus oils should be strong enough to remove the smell from you boots.

However, lemon peel doesn’t help to absorb the moisture in your boots. In fact the oils could increase the moisture in your boots which would improve the breeding ground for the bad bacteria.

Baking Soda

If possible, remove the insole of the boots and sprinkle baking soda over. If the insole is not removable, sprinkle inside the boots and taps to ensure it reaches all the way down to the toe. The baking soda will absorb the odour and neutralizer the boot.

This method can be quite messy so ensure you pick a location where it doesn’t matter. The baking soda may overtime break down the material inside your boots so consider using this method sparingly.

Freezer method

Another popular method is the freezer method. Depending on the strain of bacteria in your boots, they are usually only active above temperatures of 5°C. A couple of degrees below this they will enter a state of dormancy. A further decrease in temperature will result in the elimination of the bacteria. By putting your boots in a plastic bag and then putting them in the freezer overnight, the cold temperature will kill the bad bacteria in your boots before they can produce any bad smells.

However, depending on the material of your rugby boots, this can be very detrimental to the boots. The cold temperatures can cause leather and plastic to crack over time. These cracks then provide the perfect home for bacteria to live in. Not to mention they ruin the appearance of your boots!

Anti-bacterial Spray

Currently on the market are a variety of anti-bacterial products that can eliminate the bad bacteria causing the bad smell. Simply spray inside and on your boots to eliminate the bacteria before the sweat is broken down.

This method will remove the bacteria present on your boots, however it does not protect them from new bacteria.

Additional Tips

-Be consistent, these hacks are not a one time fix all solution. If possible, do this after each game. This will allow you to get the most out of your investment.

-Don’t try and remove mud from your boots while its fresh. Wait until the mud has dried out. Knock the boots together or brush it off with your hands. This will stop you from getting into a bigger mess than you started with!

-Now you know how to neutralize boot odour, wipe the boots with a damp cloth so they look as good as they smell.

-Don’t leave your boots in your kit bag until the next game.

-Do not put your boots in the washing machine as this will destroy them.

-It’s the warmth in the shoes that can cause bacteria to grow and create an odour so store them in a cool dry place.

-If this one isn’t too obvious, ensure that your feet and socks are clean when putting on your boots.


Good luck!

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About the author

Olivia Ball

Marketing Manager

Olivia is our marketing manager, when she’s not planning envii’s next big marketing campaign, coordinating the marketing team or working on reports, you’ll find her spending time with her friends, dancing or working on her next travel plans.

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