It is that time of year: cold, wet, snowy, icy... and salty.
This time of year it’s difficult to walk outside without ending up with salt on your shoes and boots. And when you have salt, you have salt stains and damage.
The best thing to do is to clean them right away.
1. Brush off any dirt and salt residue.
2. Wipe the entire shoe or boot with a soft, damp cloth.
3. Dry them off using a soft, dry cloth/towel.
4. Store in a dry place away from radiators or heaters.
This is of course assuming that they will only get dirty and wet and salted on your way home....
So what do you do when you had to trudge through salty slush on your way to work, run a few errands during the day, come home at the end of the day in more salty, dirty, messy slush which is now adding to the stuff that’s already dried on from the morning?
If you notice any white or grey spots and lines that don’t come off by wiping with a wet cloth, you’ll need to take an extra step to get rid of those. Mix about one part white vinegar with three to four parts water (diluted white vinegar is not harsh on leather; I prefer to use enough vinegar to only have to rub them down once instead of multiple times to remove the salt stains).
1. Follow steps 1-3 above: brush, wipe, dry.
2. Dip a cloth in the vinegar water and wipe the stains using soft circular motions.
3. Dry with a soft cloth or towel.
4. Check to make sure the white stains are gone once dry; repeat if necessary.
5. Condition with an oil such as Neatsfoot oil (from hardware or sporting goods stores) or spray with a leather protector.
If you’re wearing your boots and shoes outside in this weather, they are in need of extra TLC this time of year.
It doesn't matter whether you have a pair of boots that belong in a display to showcase their beauty or winter boots that are built for comfort, there is no excuse to not to give them the proper care they deserve. They will not only look nicer but also last much longer.
Please note, these are instructions for regular top grain hide that has a smooth finish, not for suede and distressed leather.