How Long Does Fungus Live in Shoes?

How Long Does Fungus Live in Shoes?

If you ever had a toenail fungus infection, you are well aware of the stigma, embarrassment and unsightly toenails that accompany it. Luckily toenail fungus infections are easily treatable and you’ll be able to wear your favorite flip-flops again in no time. However, if you’re treating the whole problem instead of just your feet, there’s a good chance that you could develop another infection.

Having toenail fungus isn’t very pretty, since it can make your nails look yellow, thick and cracked. It might hurt your feet when you try to wear shoes. Additionally, this can be hard to treat, and if you don’t address this immediately, there’s a chance it can lead to a more serious infection.

How Toenail Fungal Infections Develop

Toenail fungus is usually caused by microscopic organisms called dermatophytes. These organisms feed on keratin, the protein found in nails and hair.

There are several factors that increase your risk of developing a toenail fungal infection. Most people contract toenail fungus from a fungal skin infection such as athlete’s foot which transfers to the nail.

Toenail fungus can cause the nails to become thick, discolored, and brittle. If the nail becomes thickened, it can be painful and cause pressure on the underlying nail bed.

Healthy Habits to Prevent Toenail Fungus

Having healthy feet mostly relies on good hygiene, so it is important to keep your toes clean and dry. These tips can help you avoid a toenail fungal infection:

  • Clip your toenails correctly – Using a clean and sanitized clipper or a pair of nail scissors, cut your toenails properly and neatly.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes – Avoid sliding shoes that are too big and loose, which tends to jam your toenails into the end of the shoe. Physicians recommend buying shoes with a wide toe box that won’t cramp your toes.
  • Choose breathable footwear – The more air that’s able to circulate around your feet, the drier and less susceptible to toenail fungus they’ll be. Choose shoes which are made of breathable material like leather or canvas.
  • Alternate your shoes – Wearing the same pair of shoes every day will only increase the chances contracting fungi. It is mostly due to sweat on your feet that causes moisture, and fungi thrive on moist areas. Buy a couple of more pairs of shoes and alternate them to allow the others to dry.
  • Avoid going barefoot in public areas – These areas include locker rooms, public pools and showers. These types of areas are usually contaminated with bacteria and fungi which can get on your feet. Always wear flip-flops, sandals or any other kind of covering to your foot in a warm, moist environment.
  • Disinfect your footwear regularly – Scrub your shoes and disinfect them with a cleanser that is specifically made for killing fungus that may thrive in your shoes. Spray your footwear with antibacterial or anti-fungal sprays, particularly if you have worn them with no socks on. To kill fungi that may thrive in your socks, soak them in a solution of hot water and bleach.
  • Sprinkle your shoes – Use an anti-fungal powder to keep fungi at bay. Sprinkle the powder inside your socks and shoes before each wearing to prevent the growth of fungi spores. This is especially important in hot weather when your feet tend to sweat more.

Tips for killing fungus in shoes

Fungi prefer moist, warm and unhygienic environments. Dirty, sweaty socks and shoes are fungi’s most favorite spots to grow and thrive! People who wear their shoes on for longer periods in a day or extremely active athletes whose feet tend to perspire a lot, are the most susceptible to suffer possible fungi infections. These infections lead to other complications such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.

In order to avoid such adverse conditions to your feet, you should consider the following tips:

Invest in multiple shoes

This option is advisable to those that work on his or her feet all day. This is due to the vigorous activities that they do that make their feet to sweat a lot more. Switching shoes while undergoing treatment at the same time can help you get rid of the foot fungi a lot faster and more effectively.

Wash your socks

You can also kill these shoe fungus by washing your socks often. Black or other dark-colored socks can only hasten the growth of fungi, since dark colors make it impossible to spot dirt or the presence of fungi. When you start having a black coloration, it is mostly mistaken for the fiber of the material the socks are made of.

Spray your infected shoes with disinfectants

Several disinfectants can help in killing shoe fungi instantly. Bacteria are the main cause of these fungi, and disinfectants can effectively kill those bacteria. The moisture (due form the sweat), if not extinguished immediately, will become a breeding ground for fungi. This causes your shoes to stink terribly. Some of these disinfectants often work as a deodorizer by reducing foot perspiration.

Spray your shoes with vinegar or baking soda

Vinegar, being high in acidic content, is an excellent solution for eliminating shoe fungi. You can also use baking soda in place of vinegar, since it is good for minimizing shoe odor. The use of vinegar is a natural, easy and even environmentally-friendly way of killing shoe fungi.

Disinfect your shoes with shoe sanitizers  

Sanitizers work like magic in killing shoe fungus. Fungi will be exterminated in less than 25 minutes after the application of the sanitizer. The UV Total Recovery shoe sanitizer is one product that kills fungi effectively. Most anti-fungal sprays work perfectly in keeping these fungi at bay.

Here are some of the shoe sanitizers available in the market today:

Where to Buy
Everlasting Comfort Deodorizing Boot Dryer
PEET Dryer
PEET, The Original 2-Shoe and Boot Dryer with Sanitizer and Deodorizer Module
OdorStop Boot and Shoe Dryer and Deodorizer with Heat and High Output Fan
KOODER Shoe Sanitizer, Dryer


1. Everlasting Comfort Deodorizing Boot Dryer

Our boot dryer is equipped with a dual-drying technology that not only dries but also eliminates odors from your clothing and footwear. The built-in fan circulates the warm air throughout the drying tubes, while the convection technology takes in and warms the surrounding air. The majority of clothing dries in 80 minutes.

2. PEET Dryer

This dryer is a clever device which is designed to effectively remove sweat and odor from footwear, without causing damage to the material. It is easy to use, as well.

3. PEET, The Original 2-Shoe and Boot Dryer with Sanitizer and Deodorizer Module

This is a sanitizer and a dryer in one that can be used to disinfect winter gloves, hats, and other accessories in order to keep your footwear clean. Simply place the sanitizers in your shoes for 3–8 hours, using less energy than a typical light bulb. It will eliminate 99.9% of foot fungus.

4. OdorStop Boot and Shoe Dryer and Deodorizer with Heat and High Output Fan

This product helps in reducing odors and harmful bacteria left behind by your sweat in your everyday shoes, heels, athletic shoes, flats, and even boots with ease.  It permanently eliminates all foot odors. This product is easy to set up and has easy-to-adjust configurations to fit all footwear and gloves.

5. KOODER Shoe Sanitizer, Dryer

The KOODER Shoe Sanitizer and dryer can effectively kill a variety of common pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi. It can specially kill the foot bacteria which are difficult to be killed with conventional methods.

Use sunlight

The idea of drying your shoes under direct sunlight sounds like it doesn’t help much. But we all know that fungus loves to grow in moist and shaded areas. Exposing fungus under direct sunlight will kill it. Sunlight prevents fungus spores from spreading further.
This method is 100% effective if you use additional treating options like spraying your shoes with anti-fungal powder before putting them out to dry.

Use of the Disinfectant Foot Powder  

Foot powder weakens the cell membranes of the fungi, giving them little chance to multiply and spread. Sprinkle enough amount of foot powder in your shoes, and in your feet also as well especially if you’re going to wear them right away. Don’t forget to do the same thing to your shoes after you take them off.

Here are some disinfectant foot powder products available in the market today:

Where to Buy
GW Foot Powder
Foot Sense Shoe Powder
Natural Powder Foot Odor Eliminator
Gran’s Remedy
Foot Cream for Dry Cracked Heels and Feet


1. GW Foot Powder

This powder absorbs sweat and moisture from your feet and shoes, keeping them dry.
This specially-made foot powder contains high-quality ingredients such as tapioca starch, micronized zinc oxide, Bisabolol and other antiseptic properties. This foot powder helps in minimizing sweat and moisture that can otherwise cause an unpleasant odor and further complications to your feet. The result? It leaves your feet dry, smooth and smelling fresh.

2. Foot Sense Shoe Powder

This foot powder eliminates odor-causing bacteria, keeping your shoe virtually free of fungi and odor up to six months at a time. Just apply this daily for several days to allow the odor-killing ingredients to be activated.

3. Natural Powder Foot Odor Eliminator

This shoe powder foot powder is made from natural ingredients. It helps in preventing moisture and odor-causing bacteria from forming. It contains of natural powders and clays that not only prevent shoe odor, but are also great for your skin.

4. Gran’s Remedy

Get rid of shoe and foot odor by using this Gran’s Remedy: Foot Care for Smelly Feet and Footwear

5. Foot Cream for Dry Cracked Heels and Feet

This non-greasy foot cream is made with only the finest natural ingredients such as raw manuka honey, organic aloe vera, cehami, coconut oil, shea butter, MSM, blue-green algae and more. This is specifically formulated to deliver every nutrient the skin needs for fast and effective healing. If you are suffering cracked heels and find lotions ineffective, the Foot Cream for Dry Cracked Heels and Feet is the better alternative.

If you have toenail fungus, here are some products that could help you treat it.

1. EmoniNail Topical Treatment

This product is considered as one of the best toenail fungus treatments. It contains a good blend of potent active ingredients, essential oils and plant extracts. Some of the ingredients involved in this powerful treatment include tea tree oil, sunflower seed oils and undecylenic which is recognized by the FDA as an effective treatment for fungal infections of the nails.

This also comes with a built-in applicator brush. It is applied with the brush twice daily to the affected nails and surrounding cuticles. You can tell that the manufacturer is confident with its topical treatment as it offers an amazing 60-day full money back guarantee — no questions asked.


  • This is a great choice if you are looking for a natural, gentle but effective way to get rid of your fungus infection.
  • It is formulated in an FDA registered lab.
  • It offers a 60-day money back guarantee
  • It saves you time and money from purchasing useless products


  • It is expensive
  • It may not be as popular as other products on the market, so you do have to really search hard for this product if you want to purchase it.
  • If you are looking for an overnight cure, this product won’t be it.

2. Fungix – Nail Treatment for Toenails & Fingernails – With Tea Tree Oil, Undecylenic Acid & Other Essential Oils – Stops and Prevents Nail Fungus

This is one of the most affordable toenail fungus treatments and is also one of the best-selling toenail fungus treatments in the market today. It comes with an easy-to-use applicator brush. You can apply it twice daily, once before you put your sock and shoes on in the morning and once before you go to bed at night as well.

All the ingredients listed in this treatment are FDA-approved and are very effective in treating toenail fungus.

  • It has a high success rate compared to other products.
  • Ingredients are very effective against toenail fungus.
  • Each bottle comes with a topical brush
  • Made in USA in a cGMP certified lab


  • You cannot find it at local stores.

3. Zane Hellas Fungus Stop

This product has proven to be one of the most popular toenail fungus treatments. It is also clinically proven to treat 99.9% of nail fungus infections with its potent natural ingredients. The ingredients of this product include carvacrol, extra virgin olive oil, essential tea tree oil, almond oil and oregano oil. The blend of natural ingredients makes this remedy extremely effective in fighting against different types of fungal infections including jock itch and athlete’s foot.


  • It is usually affordable compared to other treatment options.
  • It is effective against 99.9% nail fungal infection.
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Treatment is very easy to apply


  • May take up 4 weeks before you see any improvement
  • You may need multiple bottles if your nail infection is severe

Most of the measures used to kill these shoe fungi can also be seen as preventive measures. If you have not been a victim of this fungus yet, these measures are sure to keep them away. How long the fungus live in shoes depends on how long will you wait before you kill it.