How To

    Smelly Ski Boots? Clean ‘Em Up!

    Now that the ski season is winding down to a close, do you notice that your ski boots smell a bit funky? If the smell is bad enough that you’d like to do something about it before storing them in your warm garage over the summer and becoming a biological hazard, here are a few suggestions from the mavens at EpicSki:

    • Yank them out and give them a good washing in the sink with some generic detergent and follow that with a good shot and rinse with “Febreeze.”
    • Never throw them in the washing machine with your clothes, and dry them in the boiler room or with a boot dryer. Or use a gentle cycle (low heat) in your dryer.
    • Soap and water (a little ammonia doesn’t hurt) and let it air dry. No reason to amp up drying time if you’re gonna put them away till next season.
    • “Boot Juice” The suggestions above are great and I’ve tried some version of all of them. For me the only thing that kills the odor for more than a few days on my liners and running shoes is a product called Boot Juice. Reliable Racing sells it. If you read the back of the can you can tell that it is basically hospital disinfectant. It is nasty stuff but worth it. If the ideas already listed don’t work out give this stuff a try.
    • Manufacturer’s recommendation (Salomon): Machine wash, gentle cycle with a mild soap. AIR DRY – do not use any heat to dry. Stuff the liners with paper towels, and let them dry over time in open air, no heat.
    • Mirazyme

    Preventing contamination in the future:

    • Don’t ever let your socks touch the floor of a ski lodge … bacteria, mold, mildew and crap from every spilled drink kinda’ end up in your boots that way … ok, some people have naturally funky feet but in my opinion that is the main cause.
    • In the future, make sure you pull out your liners at the end of each day. I find that leaving them wet makes them stinky.
    • The keys for keeping my foot stench to a minimum has been daily use of boot dryer and Lysol and taking them out of the boot to dry every week or so.
    • Use some kind of no-heat forced air boot dryer after every single ski day. No exceptions. Don’t leave them in the trunk of the car or under the basement stairs.
    • Never re-use a pair of socks. Clean socks every day. Don’t let them touch the floor of the lodge, locker room, or condo.
    • CLEAN feet and socks. I wear different socks for the drive up in case they get sweaty. To stay WARM, I put on DRY clean ski socks just before I put on the ski boots. My buddy uses powder, I think to stay dry (and warm) more than to fight funk. Freshly washed socks are warmer than unwashed socks, even if the unwashed socks are dry.
    • If you don’t have a boot dryer or prefer to save energy, pull the liners out of the boot and air dry. Dry the liners and shells after every use. Pull the insoles out of the liners too. Put them near the radiator or heat vent.

    Article republished with permission from

    Photo: Dave Steers

    Share This Article