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Toxic Ballet Slippers


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I have a toxic pair of leather ballet slippers that I just got in late June. They smell so bad I can't stand to be around myself. :) Thank goodness I don't have to get too close to anyone in class. Is there any hope for my special, first pair of ballet slippers or are they going to have to be sent off to a toxic waste dump?




Stinky Feet

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Have you considered filling them and then covering them with cedar chips? It won't take too long, and they should be deodorized. Just don't leave them in there too long. A week should take a lot of the schmutz out.

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Lots of companies (dance related and not) make sachets filled with cedar chips for just this purpose... I know that Discount Dancewear sells at least one brand. Beyond that, all I can say is that this is one of the reasons I switched to canvas shoes!

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Stinky shoes? :)


I stick a fresh sheet of "Bounce" or some other fabric softener in each shoe. Keeps them smelling nice and clean and the dancebag has the delightful aroma of fresh laundry as well :wink:

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And if you want the least expensive way out, just buy loose cedar shavings at a place that has makings for potpourri and stuff them into an old sock! Use these for shoe forms not only on ballet shoes, but street shoes, sneakers, etc. They'll not only deodorize the offending footwear, they'll dry it, too! If you want to go all Victorian and grandma's silk drawer-y, you can use lavender flower buds, too. They, as well as cedar, serve as a dessiccant, a deodorant, a fungicide, and a vermifuge (chases varmints).

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"Bounce" or other sheet fabric softener works, too, because the sheets are impregnated with a CAT-ionic detergent. Most of us are used to AN-ionic detergents, which repel imbedded materials, or NON-ionic detergents, also called "wetting agents" which act to float the yuck out of things, but cationic detergents attract soil to a removable item, sheet, sponge, etc., which then is removed when the article is to be taken up for wear.

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Urban legend has it that if you stick shoes in the freezer it kill the bacteria. I have no personal experience of this, because my freezer is full of food... I too go with canvas slippers for just this reason, and rotating my pointe shoes seems to keep the smelliness down.

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It'll kill some. But the real nasties will just sporulate and sleep the inclement conditions out. Boiling the shoes will do much more to kill the bugs, but it'll also kill the shoes! You know, leather shoes can be washed, too. (No, not in the washer, although that's happened)

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Guest fastfeets

I just consider it a badge of honor, myself. Stinky, dirty, worn shoes show the hours of work I've painfully given to the art and if they smell and look like grunge then I have some tangible evidence of that work.


None of the girls in my classes can stand new slippers, because they don't have those signs of passion and love ingrained and embedded in them. I, myself, strive to get them as ragged as possible as soon as possible so I don't have that new, sweet smelling shoe thing going on. :thumbsup:



needless to say, I get lots of dance space in class....LOL!

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Can't you wash them? I washed my Bloch-leather ballet slippers (Not in the machine though) and they turned out fine. I've actually washed them twice. What I do usually is to soak them in water an let them lie in a bucket of water for a day together with soap containing aloe vera and then I start to wash them.


They are a little bit scratchy and stiff when dried after the wash. Walk around the house (use them as slippers) with thin socks on so that the shoes will stretch out before class.

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It doesn't even have to be a soak. You can wash shoes by scrubbing them up inside and out with a wet cloth using a solution of about a liter of water and a few drops of dish detergent (aloe isn't really necessary). Dry them on a shoe tree, slowly.

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Re the fabric softener sheets -- some of us are chemically sensitive, and are disturbed by the chemicals found in synthetic fragrance. Laundry detergent and fabric softeners are particularly potent. The end result varies from migraines to asthma, etc. Don't worry about your stinky feet. Someday, I swear, I'm going to write a book entitled, "No One Ever Died from B.O." -- we've got to get over our paranoia about normal body smells in the U.S. Go ahead and put your stinky ol' foot on the barre next to me. :thumbsup:

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I routinely wash my ballet slippers, both canvas and leather. I put them in one of those zippered bags designed for lingerie and just throw them in the washer with a regular load. I use cold water (I have found that the glue that holds in the canvas inner lining is more apt to separate from the shoe in warm water.) After the wash cycle, I slip them on for a minute to re-shape them and then air dry them. They smell much better and look cleaner, but are far from looking like new when done. They still show all the work that's gone into shaping them and making them mine, but they don't offend the people standing around me. ( And I have been in the studio with dancers who smell from yards away! It's not pleasant.):P



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Ditto w/Carole. I wash mine also. I have no problem doing this w/any brand I have purchased.

I would rather dance in shoes that the fabric liner has come out of than smell like some that I take class with, you can avoid a delightful, wonderful person just because you can't get past the smell from their shoes!

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