DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband has three adult sons. They grew up without a mother and were all athletes, so this leads to some ... odor issues. They walk into the home when they visit and kick off their shoes, and it makes the whole foyer smell like an '80s gym. Where could we move the shoes as to not offend everyone's nose without offending the brothers? -- Whiff of Fresh Air, Rockland County, New York
DEAR WHIFF OF FRESH AIR: Do you have a mud room? You could ask your stepsons to deposit their shoes there. But honestly, you are probably going to have to say something. It’s kind of like that Febreze commercial: They are probably nose-blind to their foot funk. If you don’t tell them why you are banishing their shoes to another area, you will not likely meet with success.
You can consider using humor, saying, “Boys, you are killing me with those feet. Give me your socks so I can wash them while you’re here.” Or some such. It’s likely that their socks and shoes are dirty. For their shoes, you could sprinkle baking powder or a foot powder to help neutralize the odor. Bottom line: you have to address this head on, or it probably won’t work. When you bring up the awkward conversation, tell them you mean no offense but you need to help them out on this one.