One of the worst effects of winter is the damage on your shoes and boots. It’s not the snow and cold weather doing the damage but rather it’s the harsh salts used to keep the roads and streets from freezing up that cause the problem. Most people hate when they have a good pair of footwear stained with that white ring caused by the salt used on the roads.
I worked in the footwear industry for several years and people always ask me how I keep my footwear looking so new. In the winter months one of the simple tricks to keep your shoes from staining is actually to spray your footwear before wearing them. This actually puts a protective layer on your shoes and makes them much easier to clean when you actually get salt on your shoes. Without this layer, it’s easier for the stain to set right into the pores of the shoe; especially if its leather.
To clean the salt off your shoes mix 4 tablespoons of vinegar and a 1/2 cup of room temperature water. Use a clean cloth to remove the stains.* Continue rubbing the shoes to remove the salt. Once it is completely removed rinse off with water. Allow your shoes to dry. If the stain is still there then repeat until it is gone. Once the shoes are completely dry you should spray them with a weather protector.
Another option is using a product specifically designed for removing salt stains from shoes. I have been using Salt Stain Remover by Moneysworth & Best for several years. The product actually works which is why I swear by it every winter. But the chemicals in it could be harsh on more delicate leathers. Test a small area before you use it all over so as not to damage your shoes more. You may want to stick to vinegar and water on leather that you think could damage easily.
It’s very important that any cleaning be done as soon as possible because when you leave your shoes with the salt sitting on it too long it actually begins to eat away at the leather. When this happens the damage is more visible and much more difficult to clean. The first thing I do when I come home is wipe down the shoes to prepare for proper cleaning.
Also condition and polish your shoes after cleaning. That way you keep the leather in good condition and don’t forget to spray them with a final coat of protector to keep them from staining again.
Hope this helps you get through the winter season.