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Quick Trick: Remove Salt Stains From Leather Boots

What a beautiful thing snow is. Those soft white crystals fall from the sky, silently forming a blanket atop the earth. To this day I still marvel at the sight of it. But with the fall of snow, comes the addition of salt.

And, while I very much appreciate the salt’s ability to save us from taking a dangerous spill with every step… I’m not so fond of what it does to my footwear. Salt can actually cause leather to dry out and crack, making it easily susceptible to picking up elements that will ultimately cause destruction.

How to fix salt stains on leather

A lovely addition to the beautiful Bao Ankle Boot, haha.

I actually thought I was at the point of acceptance of those unsightly white marks left all over the toes of my boots… but then I realized I didn’t have to be. There’s a quick fix for removing salt stains from leather shoes, and it’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

How to fix salt stains on leather shoes


1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Small glass and spoon for mixing
Small cotton towel


You’ve probably already figured this out for yourself, but…

  1. Combine the water and vinegar, and mix well.
  2. Dip the towel into the mixture, and wipe gently over the surface of your shoe. Continue this until the stains have fully disappeared.
  3. Let the shoes dry naturally. Using artificial heat could cause the leather to fade.

How to fix salt stains on leather shoes

Boots, carpet, greens

As good as new! This is so easy that I actually cleaned the boots that were on my feet as I was taking the photos of the pair you see above. I can’t wait to fix all of my boots. Ah! If you have any additional tips, please share below. :)

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Arvolyn -January 8, 2014, 8:57AM


LamentingLizzie -January 8, 2014, 9:54AM

You have saved my favorite boots. Doing this asap – meaning once they stop salting. Or maybe I will clean them and wear crummy sneakers until the salt is gone. I am VERY particular about boots, so I can’t afford to let the salt destroy them. :) Anyway, thank you!

Emily -January 8, 2014, 10:13AM

Awesome. Thanks!

France -January 8, 2014, 12:38PM

Are there any tips on how to remove salt stains from suede boots?

Anonymous -January 8, 2014, 1:07PM

Can this be used on suede as well?

K Grace -January 8, 2014, 1:35PM

I’d like to know if it works on suede as well.

Juliette Laura -January 8, 2014, 2:09PM

Ahhh yes! Perfect! Can’t wait to try this.

xo, Juliette Laura

meg -January 8, 2014, 2:37PM

This could not have come at a more perfect time!
Thank You!!!

Amy -January 8, 2014, 2:49PM

I hope you are following up with some sort of leather conditioner! Vinegar can sap moisture out of leather and a conditioner can help combat the salt from soaking into your boots in the first place!

fp brigette -January 8, 2014, 4:23PM

Thanks for the tip, Amy!!

Elia -January 8, 2014, 7:19PM

This is awesome! Great for when I go up to Idaho!

Christine -January 8, 2014, 9:47PM

Great tip! I wish I knew this about a year ago! I used to wear my leather riding boots everywhere I went at university and I ended up just ruining them and throwing them out! This year I decided to invest in actual snow boots. But they put such a damper on my daily outfits!!

xo Christine

Sally -January 9, 2014, 8:15AM

Wow, this is so easy! Thank you! This will save my boots this winter.

Rachel -January 10, 2014, 10:08AM

Wonderful tips!! I have these similar Awesome Boots and they look exceptional with my hareandhart convertible shoulder its an multitasking bag… I used it formally and with a casual look as well you guys must visit this website

J Stella -January 11, 2014, 1:49PM

Awesome! and so many thanks, my boots and I love you!!!!

Kim -January 20, 2014, 7:40AM

I lent out my favoutite dress leather boots and she wore tgem in the snow and now they are full of salt stains any suggestions how to remove it and will this workmon suade aswell thx for your input in advance

Rachel -January 22, 2014, 8:59AM

Make sure fill the boots with the news paper (to not lose shape), then apply with the vinegar wipe. Once you are done with that vinegar wipe, follow up with the banana peel. Rub banana peel over the leather boots then wipe it with the clean towel. It will remove other dirts, add shine and prevents the leather boots from future water damages. I have boots that survived 8 yrs of brutal winter storm and still looks great.

Priscilla -February 14, 2014, 1:13PM

Cleaning salt off suede shoes from the website: Too much moisture will stain suede, so it’s best to avoid using a lot of water to clean them. Instead, try mixing a teaspoon of fabric softener with a teaspoon of dish detergent or mild laundry detergent. Mix both into two cups of lukewarm water. Then, grab a stiff-bristled brush and try getting as much of the salt off dry as you can — a toothbrush works well. Once you’re sure you can’t get any more salt off, dip the brush into your fabric-softener solution and shake off the excess. Slowly begin rubbing the bristles over the salt stain in a circular motion until the shoes are clean. Use a dry cloth to soak up any excess moisture on the shoe before allowing them to air dry.

Prashasti -April 21, 2014, 4:46AM

Very useful & easy tips to get clean leather boots and shoes. Workers wear safety shoes at very tough work places so it becomes very difficult to keep it clean from dirt. You told here a very easy way to clean it.

Flo -January 30, 2015, 10:11PM

Thanks for the great tips.To keep my boots from getting more salt stains I waterproof my boots after cleaning and conditioning them. I use Camp Dry spray, 4 light coats. I treat them periodically to maintain protection. If the boots are expensive, I try to use mink oil. I just threw out my favorite boots after 10 years. One big advantage is that it keeps your feet warmer, too.

Mike -March 1, 2015, 8:54AM

Don’t forget the leather conditioner

nae -March 7, 2015, 8:42PM

Has anyone tried this on leather ugg boots yet?

Heather Travis -March 17, 2015, 9:27AM

I hate salt stains on my leather shoes so much! I can get rid of them at all. Thank you a lot for sharing so easy and cheap way which will help me to take care of this problem!Emerson Park Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

Sandy -January 26, 2016, 5:25PM

Can you use any type of vinegar?

Putri Zachira -March 27, 2016, 10:25PM

great post

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