how to survive salt stains this winter

Don’t Let Winter Ruin Your Shoes: How to Survive Salt Stains

It’s that time of year again when the snow starts to fall and the roads get icy. Winter can be a beautiful time of year, but it can also be a pain when it comes to your shoes. One of the biggest problems during winter is salt stains. In this article, we will teach you how to survive salt stains this winter season and how to remove them!

What Are Salt Stains?

Salt stains are caused by the salt that is used to melt the ice on the roads and sidewalks. When salt stains your shoes, it’s not just an unsightly mess – it can actually damage your footwear.

Salt stains can penetrate leather and fabric, causing the material to break down and become brittle. Salt can also cause the colour of your shoes to fade.

What Shoes Are Made Of

winter boots

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to your footwear until something goes wrong. But if you live in an area with cold winters, it’s important to take care of your shoes to prevent salt stains.

The majority of boots and shoes are made out of leather and vinyl. Fabric and leather shoes are particularly susceptible to damage from salt stains when not treated promptly and correctly. It’s important to prep your shoes before Fall and Winter starts to ensure your footwear can stand up to the elements.

Why Are Salt Stains Bad?

Salt stains are bad because when left untreated, they can cause permanent damage. They eat through the surface of your shoes, leaving them crusty, cracked and discoloured. Plus, removing salt stains can be difficult and requires a little elbow grease to remove.

How Do You Remove Salt Stains?

You should always try to treat stains as soon as possible. There are a few ways that you can remove salt stains from your leather boots. One way is to use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away the stain. Another way is to use a mild soap and water solution to gently scrub away the stained area.

Treating a Salt Stain with Vinegar

salt stain

If the stain is particularly stubborn, you may need to use a stronger cleaning solution such as distilled white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Use cool water and a clean white cloth to wipe any excess dirt and salt residue off your shoe. Be sure to try and wipe in one direction to prevent further spreading.
  2. Mix one part water with one part white vinegar.
  3. Dip a clean cloth into the distilled white vinegar and test the solution on a small area of your shoe.
  4. Blot the salt stain in a circular motion until it lifts.
  5. Gently blot dry with a paper towel and leave them to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

If you are cleaning salt stains that cover your entire shoe, you can pour the vinegar mixture into a spray bottle for complete coverage of your boots and shoes.

If none of the methods above work, you can try using a commercial-grade cleaner designed specifically to remove salt stains.

Tips to Survive Salt Stains This Winter

The best way to survive salt stains in the winter is to prevent damage from happening in the first place! Follow these cleaning tips below!

Invest in a good pair of footwear

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s important to invest in a good quality pair of shoes that can withstand the elements. Look for footwear that is water-resistant or waterproof and has a good sole that can grip the ground.

Take care of your footwear

shoe care tips

Just like any other piece of clothing, your shoes and boots need to be cared for properly. Be sure to clean and condition your boots regularly, and store them in a cool, dry place when they’re not in use. If you do notice a stain, try and wash it before the salt dries.

Be proactive and protect your boots

When you know you’ll be walking in areas where there is salt on the ground, take measures to protect your boots. You can apply a waterproofing spray to your shoes before heading out, or wear footwear with built-in protection.

Wipe your feet

Whenever you come through the front door, take the time to wipe your feet off. This will remove any salt, snow or moisture that could potentially damage your shoes.

Rinse your winter footwear

treating salt stains

After each wear in the winter, it’s a good idea to rinse your winter boots off with cool water. This will remove any salt or other debris that could cause stains. Be sure to let your shoes air dry completely before wearing them again.


By following this guide above, you can help prevent winter weather damage to your beloved boots and shoes. Do you have advice for surviving salt stains? Share them with us in the comments below! To learn more about shoe care, check out our 10 shoe cleaning tips.

Tags: shoe cleaning

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