DIY Activated Charcoal Shoe Deodorizer

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How To Make Homemade Charcoal Shoe Deodorizers

In my ongoing saga to find the best shoe odor eliminators, this week I tried making my own homemade activated charcoal shoe deodorizers.  

Charcoal has long been used as an absorber of nastiness from being used in medicine to treat various types of poisoning (more on that here in a dense medical research paper), filtering filtering water and alcohol, as well as dozens of other uses.  

I’d seen some fancy pants charcoal shoe deodorizers for sale on Amazon from Moso Natural which look great.

In the end I decided to make my own charcoal shoe deodorizers with some handy supplies I had laying around. These are a great shoe deodorizer option if you are looking for a diy shoe deodorizer without baking soda.

If you are currently engaged in a stinky shoe related struggle you might be interested in my full list of diy homemade shoe deodorizers.

Top Posts on The Homemade Experiment


This is a super simple shoe deodorizer recipe, that aside from activated charcoal you might have the rest of these ingredients laying around already!

homemade charcoal shoe deodorizer ingredients

Activated charcoal powder can be very messy.  Getting it in white or light colored clothing may ruin it completely.  Keep a damp rag on hand to clean up any stray powder and please be careful.

You have been warned.  Let’s do this!

Add Essential Oils

diy charcoals shoe deodorizers add essential oils

This step is optional, but if you want you can add a few drops of essentials oil onto the outside of the filter to give your shoes a pop of a pleasant scent.  

I find that the charcoal will absorb some of the essential oil scent, but not all of it.  Coffee filters tend to absorb oils from brewed coffee grounds while they let water pass through which is perfect for our purposes.  

We are looking to let the essential oils sit on the outside of the filter while stink and moisture from the shoe are absorbed through the filter into the charcoal powder.

For my set I added a few drops of my handy dandy peppermint essential oils.  If you aren’t familiar with essentials oils, a good starter set is a great place to start.

Fabulous Frannie - Aromatherapy Top 14 Essential Oil Set, 100% Pure - .33oz Size Bottles
Woodside Distributors Supply LLC - Health and Beauty
$75.99 −67% $24.99

Add Activated Charcoal

Add charcoal to the shoe deodorizer

Next add in some activated charcoal.  In my shoe deodorizer I am using 1/4 cup of activated charcoal.  

Again, be super careful, the activated charcoal is very fine and can poof and get all over the place.

Activated charcoal is our odor fighter in this recipe.  Essentially activated charcoal is a champ at adsorption (not absorption).  

This means that liquids, gases, and solids are especially happy to attach to the surface of the activated charcoal (more nerdiness on that here at howstuffworks).

In our case this means adsorbing all those nasty shoe smells we hate so much.

100% Bamboo Charcoal Powder
Thailand - Health and Beauty

Wrap it up

Wrap charcoal shoe deodorizer

Once you have your essential oils on the coffee filter and your activated charcoal loaded inside it’s time to get wrapping.

No need to be too precise, just do your best to wrap the filter as tightly as possible while tucking the corners in to prevent the charcoal from leaking. 

If you want to be extra cautious you can use a small piece of tape to close the coffee filter and keep it from opening in the next step.

The reason I went with coffee filters instead of printer paper, paper towels, or whatever else are simple.

Coffee filters like the pour-over filters I am using are made to be relatively strong and very porous.

Coffee filters are designed to let water and other fine particles through (like the odor carrying ones in our shoes) while preventing larger particles like coffee or in our case charcoal from passing through the filter.

Step Four

Finished Charcoal Shoe Deodorizer

Lastly, place your activated charcoal packet in the center of your fabric square.  Pull the fabric as tight as possible around the packet and tie a piece of string around the fabric just above the packet trapping it snuggly inside the fabric square.

You can use whatever fabric you like best, just keep in mind that: thicker fabrics will trap odors themselves preventing the smells from penetrating and being properly trapped in the activated charcoal.

With frequent use your fabric will get dirty so don’t get to attached or use your favorite fabric unless you’re prepared to throw it away once its beyond saving with a quick wash.

How Well Does It Work

This is by far one of my favorite shoe odor deodorizer remedies.  The charcoal really does do an amazing job at absorbing odors.

As always when using essential oils I also love that I can make my shoes smell exactly how I want them just  by adding a few drops of pine or peppermint oil as the mood strikes.

Plus, I have to admit, the danger involved in using a fine black powder on light colored shoes is thrilling. ;)


If you found this post helpful please share it with all your fellow stinky shoe friends or leave me a comment!


Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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