One of the most unpleasant side effects of winter weather is the havoc it wreaks on our footwear. If you’ve ever found your leather shoes looking less than pristine after trudging through the slush and rain you may think the damage is irreversible. Fear not, as we have a couple of useful tips on how to how to remove some common winter stains from leather shoes.

Follow these simple guides to get your shoes looking ship shape and stain free.

Salt stains on leather shoes

If walking on footpaths and pavements that have been treated with salt has stained your leather shoes or boots. Try this homemade remedy to remove the build-up of salt:

  • Use 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar.
  • Dip a cloth in the mixture and wipe the salt off.
  • Once the salt is off, use a cloth soaked with plain water to wipe down the shoe and remove the vinegar residue.
  • Dry with a clean towel.

Top tips

  • Always apply a small portion of the shoe as a patch test.
  • Try not to let the salt stains really set in - the sooner you can remove them, the better. If you have been out in rainy or snowy conditions, try wiping down the boots with a damp cloth once you arrive at home.

Water Stains on leather shoes

When you stain your shoes with water, don’t panic and use strong cleaning products. Simply follow the steps below to remove the water stain:

  • Put some room temperature water into a bowl and fetch a clean sponge or cloth. Some stains will require stronger products but always read the labels to avoid making matters worse. You may also want to remove laces before you begin, they may get in the way or score leather if rubbed.
  • Wet the sponge, and then wring it out to make it damp but not too dry.
  • Using the soft side of the sponge or cloth gently rub around the area with the demarcation. You are essentially trying to wet the entire panel that was wet so that it will dry uniformly.
  • The watermark is simply a spot that has dried alone and stands out, so you want to expand the wet area. Use slightly less water as you move to the work away from the stain.

Top tips

  • After removing watermarks it is important to treat the leather from time to time using protective solutions like polish and shoe creams. You may also want to apply protector such as the Dubarry Footwear Protector occasionally as a preventative measure.
  • The above tips are applicable to other marks such as tea or wine stains. However, if you notice a mark left behind you may need to use a professional cleaner.

As always, we can’t stress enough the importance of good shoe care, especially in the colder months when your shoes are more vulnerable to the elements. With this in mind, we recommend that you adopt a ‘prevention is better than cure’ mindset this winter. Read our blog on Everything You Need To Do When You Get New Leather Shoes for extra advice and guidance on how to protect your leather shoes.