How To Clean Salt Stains From Leather Shoes In 4 Easy Steps

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

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!)

Related: How to Clean Suede Shoes the Easy Way

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

How To Remove Salt Stains From Leather

You’ll need:


Removing Salt Stains From Leather

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

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

Use the damp towel to gently clean the dirt and debris off the outside of your boots.

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

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.

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

Use it to remove areas of salt buildup on your boots. (Vinegar is great at dissolving salt spots and other mineral deposits!)

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

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.)

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

Buff any excess polish or conditioner off with a clean, dry cloth.

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

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!)

Removing Salt Stains From Leather

Looking good! :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I just cheated… And it worked. I used your recipe that I have been using for a few yrs for produce cleaner directly on the boots. Then the hair conditioner. I got to skip a step. I guess it helps that they were “clean”, just salt stained.

  • Jillee, my husband and I have just moved to Cincinnati Ohio from Florida, needless to say I know nothing about taking care of my leather goods, especially my boots. I love your blog, read it faithfully and file all of them, you never know when you might need them. Thank you for your timely information. Love you and keep up your wonderful work.

  • I’ve done the vinegar on a cloth with my shoes.We don’t get as much snow where I live. It can get icy and have black ice and they do use the salts for this .

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