Recently I was rearranging my closet to make room for my fall and winter clothes, and I noticed that one of my favorite pairs of boots was covered in salt stains from last winter. (It’s one of the hazards of living in the snowy mountains of Utah in the winter – everything ends up covered in salt!)
Well I wasn’t prepared to just toss my leather boots in the wash, since I know the require special care. So I did some research online to see if I could come up with a way to gently clean off those salt stains. And I’m happy to report that I was successful in my mission! Here’s what I did to get my boots looking good as new and salt-free (at least until the snow flies again!)
How To Remove Salt Stains From Leather
- Castile soap
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Shoe polish (or hair conditioner)
- Waterproofing spray for leather (optional)
1. Preliminary Cleaning
Start by adding 1 tablespoon of castile soap to 1 cup of warm water. Stir to incorporate, then dip a portion of your towel into the soapy water.
Related: How to Clean a Leather Couch
Use the damp towel to gently clean the dirt and debris off the outside of your boots.
2. Remove Salt Spots
Next, add equal parts water and white vinegar to your spray bottle. Gently shake to mix, then spray the diluted vinegar onto a clean section of your towel.
Use it to remove areas of salt buildup on your boots. (Vinegar is great at dissolving salt spots and other mineral deposits!)
3. Condition Leather
Vinegar is certainly effective, but it can draw moisture out of the leather. To rehydrate the leather and reduce the chances of cracking, apply a leather boot polish according to the directions on the label. (If you don’t have any leather polish, you could apply a small amount of hair conditioner instead.)
Buff any excess polish or conditioner off with a clean, dry cloth.
4. Add Waterproofing
Lastly, you can apply a waterproofing spray onto your boots that’s suitable for leather. (This final step is optional, but it’s a good way to prevent further water or salt stains from occurring in the future!)
Looking good! :-)
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