Funky, less-than-fresh odors emanating from the shoe rack can make you need to avoid the area at all costs. Instead of pretending the problem doesn’t exist, either zap that Zone of Mysterious Smells back to non-existence using natural deodorizers such as white vinegar.
Go Straight to the Source
If the shoe rack itself smells, some of the shoes or boots stored on or in it probably also have odor issues. Remove each item from the shoe rack and spritz the whole rack with equal parts water and white vinegar, wiping off the liquid after a moment or two using a soft fabric. Inspect the shoes and boots to determine which pair cause the unpleasant odor in the shoe rack. Sprinkle baking soda inside the offending shoes or boots; if the odor is extreme, place a wad of newspaper in the shoes following the baking soda; then get rid of the paper the following day. Keep the whole shoe-rack place — along with the shoes stored there — dry, because moisture and humid conditions donate to the odor. If one particular pair of sneakers smells on a regular basis, sprinkle the inside with baking soda after wearing them, or even fill a pair of old socks using baking soda or coffee beans, then stitching them shut, for a slide-in, reusable deodorizer.