Disinfecting fungus-contaminated shoes
How do you recommend disinfecting the shoes of a patient with tinea pedis? Is spraying with diluted bleach solution or placing the shoes in moth balls effective?
—ELLEN KAWADLER, NP, Milton, Mass.
The footwear of a person with tinea pedis or onychomycosis may be heavily contaminated with fungus. The optimal method for disinfecting sneakers, shoes, and boots remains to be determined. The use of formalin and mothballs has been entertained (J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2002;16:579-586); however, the authors of one study concluded that four days of occlusion with two mothballs per shoe was not an adequate treatment for eradication of fungus (Arch Dermatol. 1999;135:1120-1121). A recent study of the preventive effects of various cleaning methods demonstrated that cold water, boiling water, and a wet towel were all effective in removing dermatophytes from sandals and sneakers (cold water was less effective for boots) (J Dermatol. 2006;
—Phillip R. Cohen, MD (124-9)