Save my shoes!
September 6, 2011 8:01 AM   Subscribe

How do I get the smell of dog poop off of the bottom of my shoes?

I stepped in dog poop yesterday wearing my beloved Orthaheel flip flops. I have cleaned them quite profusely since then and while I am confident there is no actual poop remaining, they still smell like poop, which is preventing me from wearing them.

This is what I have done so far:

* I used a paper towel to get most of it off, then sacrificed a toothbrush and used hot water, Dawn and the toothbrush to remove all the visible poop. I then went in with a toothpick so I could be certain that there was nothing hiding in any of the crevices. They still smelled.

* Then I washed them in the washer on hot with a few old towels, detergent and bleach. Still smelled.

* Then I soaked them in Simple Solution (if it works for cat pee, it should work for this right? Wrong.) and let them air dry overnight. STILL SMELLED.

* Then I Lysoled them to within an inch of their lives and let them dry. And you guessed it, THEY STILL SMELL.

I have no idea what my parents' neighbors are feeding their dog, but whatever it is, it is not coming off of my shoes. What can I do to get rid of the smell besides setting these shoes on fire?
posted by crankylex to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds like you've done everything you can from a cleaning perspective. I've got two final suggestions for getting smells out. If they don't work, you're probably screwed:

1. Put shoes outside in a spot that gets direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. Allow the cleansing powers of the sun to work their inscrutable magic on the shoes for at least 2 days-- a week if possible. Please note that this is likely to result in some color fade as well.


2. Put shoes in freezer. Allow the cleansing power of cold to work its inscrutable magic for at least 48 hours.

Both of these have worked for me in the past for getting smells out of things. The sunlight treatment, specifically, I have successfully used on shoes with scent issues, which is why I listed it first.
posted by dersins at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the direct sunlight method. It worked for when I stepped in it with my chucks.
posted by griphus at 8:22 AM on September 6, 2011

Best answer: Try Simple Green or Oxyclean. I would start with Simple Green (unless you've already got Oxyclean in the house.) The stuff is miraculous for things like this. Use it full strength. And as much as I hate to recommend WalMart, if you can't find it anywhere else, they should have it. A lot of stores tend to put it with automotive supplies and cleaners, for some reason.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:33 AM on September 6, 2011

Have you asked a neutral third party to smell your shoes? I can't imagine how they could possibly smell of dog poo after everything you've done to them. I've stepped in more than my share of dog poo and never had to do more than wipe them off. Maybe they smell because you expect them to smell or they do smell but not of dog poop anymore and you're just interpreting it as that - rubber can smell pretty nasty all by itself. I'd ask someone who doesn't know about the poop incident to smell your shoes and tell you if they smell and what they think they smell of.
posted by missmagenta at 8:38 AM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: missmagenta, it really does smell. I made my husband, who didn't see the shoes until after I'd cleaned them and he was able to pinpoint on the shoe exactly where the, um, deposit was made. I've stepped in poop way more times than I care to count, and this has never happened to me before. This poop was so foul that I feel like these shoes need an exorcism.
posted by crankylex at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2011

I second missmagenta's idea to get someone else to smell your shoes.

This morning, I heard one of my cats wretching in another room and I immediately "smelled" the horrible scent of cat vomit. I found out later that the cat didn't actually vomit - it just made those gross sounds. That's when I realized that I completely imagined the smell. It's weird, because it seemed real, but obviously it couldn't have been...

Also, are you smelling your shoes from the usual distance (i.e. your height)? If you're putting them right up to your face, you should stop doing that. You're not normally that close to them anyway. If you can't smell them from 5-6 feet away, they're fine.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:57 AM on September 6, 2011

Oops. I just read your response... hmm... sorry, my advice is not that helpful, after all.
posted by cranberrymonger at 8:58 AM on September 6, 2011

Have you thought about taking them to professional shoe cleaners?
posted by shivohum at 9:02 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you tried vinegar and baking soda?
posted by missmagenta at 9:36 AM on September 6, 2011

Best answer: Bad doggy!
I used Magic-zymes to remove the vomit smell from unfinished wood after my son's first foray into alcohol experimentation. The odor was made worse by his efforts to conceal his crime and not telling me right away. I thought my brand new oak steps were goners, but the spray successfully neutralized the smell. I bought it from their website after calling and speaking with the seller, who assured me that it could neutralize any smell it could reach through the surface.
posted by Breav at 9:42 AM on September 6, 2011

Best answer: Try sealing the shoes in a plastic bag filled with baking soda for a few days. I always used to pooh-pooh (sorry) the wisdom that baking soda absorbed smells but then a box of it completely destankafied my cooler that was holding onto the horrific odor of a forgotten bag of rotting squid.
posted by jamaro at 9:44 AM on September 6, 2011

Is this a noticeable smell when you're not holding the shoe to your face? I bet if you just wear them normally the smell will go away within a couple of days.
posted by jwhite1979 at 10:03 AM on September 6, 2011

Was your Simple Solution labeled for cat pee? If so, there are other formulations out there specifically for dog smells that might work better.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 11:22 AM on September 6, 2011

Best answer: Seal them up in a bag of ground coffee for two or three days. I've used coffee to get smells out of things with even better success than baking soda. Supposedly it's an old coroner's trick.
posted by corey flood at 11:53 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Activated charcoal supposedly works too.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:28 PM on September 6, 2011

Enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle gets out all sorts of stink. It's made for this kind of thing.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2011

Ack, I meant to say OdorMute, not Nature's Miracle. It's more concentrated than NM or SS.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:25 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I decided to try the things I had in the house first, and we just moved so I have discovered that we have very few useful things. They had a bath in rubbing alcohol. No success.

So then I decided to try dersins' advice first. There is no sun out in NJ this week, so I tried the freezer. I left them in there overnight, and while there is still a weird smell about them, the horrific poop-specific smell is gone.

Tonight I am going to try baking soda and if that doesn't work, coffee grounds. Thanks so much everyone!
posted by crankylex at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2011

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