Woman sitting on a stool rolling her jeans after removing salt from her suede boots

How To Get Salt Stains Off Shoes

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If you live in a snowy area, you’ve probably got at least one pair of shoes that with salt stains. It’s almost unavoidable unless you want to stay home every time there’s a threat of snow in the forecast.

One thing you don’t need to do is walk around with bad looking shoes, though. I’ve got tips to help get rid of salt stains on your shoes—even your boots and Uggs.

Get Salt Stains Off Leather Shoes and Boots

Just as too much sodium in your diet can cause dehydration, salt on your shoes can dry out the leather and cause permanent damage. So, it’s important to treat any salt stains or snow remover residue promptly.

1. Wipe off as much salt residue as you can with an old, damp rag.

2. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a small bowl. Dab the salt stains with this using a white cloth. It’s important that the cloth is white so you don’t transfer dyes from the fabric onto your shoes.

3. When the salt residue is gone, put your boots aside to let them air dry but keep them away from heat sources that can make the leather crack.

4. Protect leather shoes from future salt stains by rubbing them with a little olive or coconut oil. A light layer of oil will help keep salt residue off your shoes while protecting the leather from drying out, too.

Pro Tip

If your boots are damp, stuff them with newspaper to absorb the moisture. Replace the paper frequently until boots are dry.

Get Salt Stains off of Suede Shoes, Boots and Uggs

As with leather, quick cleaning is the key to preventing permanent damage to your suede footwear.

1. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe away as much salt residue as possible.

2. Lightly brush the suede with a toothbrush along the salt lines. Don’t be rough, or you may damage the suede texture— use just enough pressure to dislodge any remaining salt.

3. Combine 1 cup cold water and three drops of liquid dish soap in a bowl. Use a cotton swab to spot test an inconspicuous place on your shoes.

4. If the dye doesn’t transfer, go ahead and dab at the stained areas with soapy water and a white cloth until the stain is gone. Don’t rub, or you may lift off the dye and ruin the nap of the suede.

5. Dry the shoes away in an out-of-the-way spot away from heat and light.

6. Once they’re dry, restore the suede’s texture by lightly buffing them with a dry cloth or the soft-bristled toothbrush.

Get Salt Stains Off of Fabric or Canvas Shoes

Although you can wash many types tennis shoes to remove salt staines, if they’re embellished or have leather accents you’ll need to get rid of the salt residue by hand.

1. Use a toothbrush to dislodge as much salt rime as possible.

2. Combine 1 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap in a bowl.

3. Dip a washcloth into the soapy water and lightly rub the salt stains off of your shoes. Don’t saturate the shoe fabric—get it just damp enough to remove the salt.

4. Press a dry cloth against the area you just cleaned to absorb excess moisture. Your shoes should be stain-free and dry enough to wear.

5. Once they’re dry, protect them with a fabric sealant spray and you’ll be able to simply wipe away the salt stains.

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  1. Interesting read. Snow is not a problem, but I have noticed that after a rain my boots have a white discoloration on them. Do you think it is from “minerals” in the water and that I can do the same treatment?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It could very well be that, Karen. I’d treat the white marks the same way that I’d treat salt stains.

  2. I have tried to remove stains on leather boots…

    Sad to say it didn’t work…..

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t have any luck with this, Patsy.

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