Introduction: Transforming an Old Cardboard Box Into an Odor-absorbing Shoebox

About: "Creativity is contagious, pass it on" -Albert Einstein

Most of us can testify to the horrid smell that lingers inside the soles of shoes after use. This can be caused when sweaty feet make contact with shoe soles. The moist spot becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep on wearing the same smelly shoes and soon, you shall get smelly feet.

This projects takes you through a step by step method of turning an old used cardboard box into a shoebox which does more than being a storage facility for your shoes. It literally sucks out the odor from your shoes so that the next time you want to wear it, it'll be fresh and ready for use.

Step 1: What You Need

1--Bentonite Clay (This can be bought online or from any craft shop.)

2--Limestone (Limestone may be difficult to find in shops. In this case, you can order it online.)

3--Baking powder (This common household item should be in any kitchen. If you lack it, visit a nearby supermarket.)

4--Chalk. (You can acquire the common one used to write on chalk boards. Any color of chalk will do.

*Note that I haven't specified the quantities of the various ingredients. You can get as much as you want, depending on the size of your box.

5--1cardboard box. (Of any size. The larger it is, the more storage space it will have)

6--A candle/sunlight.

Step 2: Mixing

If your limestone came in the solid form, ground it into a fine powder. Same with chalk. With this done, grab a plate and pour in all four ingredients into it (chalk, baking powder, limestone and clay. ) Mix together in a circular fashion. Pour in water teaspoon by teaspoon. Take it slowly and churn after every addition of water. This mixture will be coated on cardboard, so the less water it has, the better. Too much water may turn the box into a soggy mess. Alternatively, a wooden box may be used, but I have misgivings about the above mixture sticking on a wooden structure.

With the mixture uniformly churned, get your box ready.

Step 3: Coating

Get hold of a spoon or a flat butter knife. Scooping portions of the mixture, spread unto the inner walls of the box as if you're spreading butter on bread. There should be four interior walls in total. Each one should receive a uniform coating. Be careful when doing this such that it doesn't touch the base or mess up the entire thing.

Step 4: Drying

In the presence of sunlight, place under the sun to dry off the excess water and further stick the coating unto the walls of the box. If you are like me and live in an area with daily downpours, waiting for sunlight will do you know good. Simply subject the walls to the heat of a flame to dry them off. Care should be taken when doing this in order not to burn the cardboard box instead. If you do, you either have to patch it up or do it all over again.

How to use:

After drying, it is ready for use. Simply place a smelly shoe in the box and seal. Give it a day or more. The stench would be sucked out!

Step 5: The Science: Why Does This Work?

You may be wondering why the addition of the aforementioned ingredients to the walls make a difference. It all comes down to some basic chemistry:

--Both chalk and limestone contain a compound called Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). Calcium carbonate is notorious for absorbing moisture. Smelly shoes are caused by the sweat in them (moisture) . The chalk and limestone simply get to work by absorbing this moisture, hence rendering the shoe drier. Dry surfaces are not a conducive environment for bacteria to breed.

--Bentonite clay is well known by many people for it's ability to absorb odors. Same goes with baking powder. (Chemically called sodium bicarbonate)

The above can be used directly on the soles of shoes for faster action. But by coating them on box, it makes this box an independent object which can be utilized several times and for different shoes.

Box Contest 2017

Participated in the
Box Contest 2017