Skip to content Skip to navigation

How to Effectively Remove Salt Stains from Your Shoes

The Truth about Salt and Leather

In case the winter cold wasn’t bad enough, salt has now left stains on your favorite pair of leather shoes! But wait...did you know it may not be winter’s fault? Although staining is commonly caused by road salt spread during snowy winter months, watch out, because it can also come from the leather itself.

Leather is treated with salt during the tanning process, and once in contact with water, it can rise to the top of the leather, producing a white salty stain. These stains can be frustrating to remove and often reappear over time due to improper treatment, which can lead to permanent damage to the leather and your planned outfit for the night!

Removing Salt Stains from Your Shoes

It is imperative that you remove salt quickly from your leather shoes, as salt will dry out your leather shoes and can cause cracking or creasing. Check out the Clarks Shoe Care and Maintenance Guide video above to give you the tools, tips, and tricks on how to quickly remove those unsightly salt stains from your favorite pair of leather shoes.

To remove salt from a leather shoe:

Make a solution that is two parts water and one part vinegar.
Dampen a clean cloth with the solution and gently wipe the shoe.
Remove the solution with a cloth dampened with clean, pure water.
Make sure the shoe fully dries out, as you do not want the leather to be soaked in water for long. One way to do this would be to place the shoe within range of a heater or radiator. (Not too close, though! Heaters can cause leather to dry out and become brittle, and can also harm the adhesives.)

Or, use the following Clarks products for easy and convenient salt removal and leather shoe care:
For light stains, use the Clarks Oil Leather Sponge to wipe off excess salt and moisturize the leather.
For heavier stains, also treat the leather with Clarks Leather Lotion as soon as possible and allow to dry for 30 minutes. Once dry, use the Oil Leather Sponge or Cream Polish for additional care and shine.
Please note that the Clarks shoe care products shown in the video are designed for leather ONLY.

Long-Term Shoe Care

Remember to purchase the Shoe Care Kit by Triangle on the Clarks website for long-lasting leather shoes that look great, or visit your local Clarks store for Clarks Oil Leather Sponge, Leather Lotion and Cream Polish to preserve your leather shoes’ luster and to prevent future damage.

Say good-bye to salt, and hello to fantastic looking leather shoes!

General Care Polishing and Restoration