Shoes are trudged through a variety of environments -- from snow and rain puddles to sweat that forms after marathon mall shopping sprees. If not stored or dried out properly, mold and mildew can form, which creates an unpleasant odor and can aggravate your sinuses. Instead of tossing out a pair of expensive shoes before your children outgrow them, clean the mold from the inside without causing damage.
Place the shoes outdoors and allow them to air dry completely. Once the shoes are dry, throw away the existing inserts. Slip on a pair of rubber gloves, goggles and a dust mask.
Brush out the inside of the shoes with a small plastic scrub brush or toothbrush to loosen and eliminate the mold spores. Turn your face away and bang the soles of the shoes together to get rid of the remaining mold spores.
Create a mixture of 1 tablespoon powdered, non-chlorine bleach and 1 pint cool water. Clemson University Extension recommends a product containing sodium perborate or potassium monopersulfate. Mix the water to dissolve the powder.
Dampen a rag or small kitchen sponge with the mixture and wipe out the inside of the shoes. Dampen a separate rag with plain water and wipe out the inside of the shoes to rinse off the mixture. Place the shoes outside to air dry completely. Examine the shoes. If there's still evidence of mold, including the tell-tale smell, move to the next step.
Create a mixture of 1 quart lukewarm water and 1 to 2 tablespoons chlorine bleach. Dampen a small kitchen sponge or rag with the mixture and wipe out the inside of the shoes. Dampen a separate rag with plain water and wipe out the inside of the shoes to rinse off the mixture. Set the shoes outside to air dry completely.
Slip a new insert into each dry shoe, and store or wear as usual.