Removing Salt Stains from Leather Shoes and Boots (3 Steps!)

Removing salt stains from leather shoes and boots is a task every owner of these prized possessions should know how to perform.

Salt stains can make your footwear look old and worn out, and if left unaddressed, they can even cause damage to the leather.

However, the good news is that removing salt stains is a relatively simple process that can be done with just a few ingredients and tools. 

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps you need to follow to effectively remove salt stains from leather shoes and boots.

Whether you’re dealing with small or large colors, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to restore your leather footwear to its former glory.

Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water. Dip a cloth into the solution and gently scrub the salt stains. Let dry, then condition the leather with a leather conditioner.

Can you Remove Salt Stains from Leather Shoes and boots

Yes, salt stains can be removed from leather shoes and boots. There are various methods, such as using vinegar and water or a specialized leather cleaner. Acting quickly and avoiding using too much water to prevent further damage is essential.

Why Salt Can Harm Leather Shoes and Boots?

Leather is a sensitive and porous material that can easily absorb water and other foreign substances, including salt.

When salt gets in contact with leather, it can penetrate the surface and dry out the natural oils in the leather.

These oils make leather soft, supple, and shiny; when they’re lost, the leather can dry out, crack, and even develop bubble marks.

In some cases, salt stains can also be caused by the salt used in the tanning process of leather.

When leather is soaked with water, the salt from the tanning process rises to the surface and causes a visual effect on the leather.

This is why it’s important to act quickly when salt stains appear on your leather shoes or boots.

Removing Salt Stains from Leather Shoes and Boots:

We recommend you follow the easy guide below to protect your expensive leather footwear.

We have tested this method several times for its efficiency and have found it effective for most types of leather. 

To get started, you will require the following:

  • Vinegar 
  • Water 
  • Clean cloth 
  • Salt stain remover 
  • Leather cleaner (optional) 
  • Leather conditioner (optional)

It’s crucial to note that suede or nubuck leather boots and shoes should not be cleaned with these methods and cleaning solutions since they will alter their appearance. Instead, use cleaners designed for softer leather.

Use or Create a Cleaning Solution 

The initial step to remove salt stains from leather shoes is to create a vinegar and water cleaning solution or use an off-the-shelf cleaner suitable for leather.

Vinegar is an effective natural cleaning agent that can remove salt stains easily and effectively from leather.

Mix 1 part of vinegar with 2 parts of water in a small bowl to make the cleaning solution.

You can also use a dedicated leather cleaning product to remove the salt stains.

However, ensure it’s compatible with the type of leather you’re treating by carefully reading the product description.

Clean the Salt Stains 

Use the vinegar and water solution or the leather cleaner on the stains in the second step.

Dampen a soft, clean cloth with the solution and gently rub the salt stains.

This method will enable you to lift the salt from your leather footwear, but you may need to repeat the process for more persistent or larger stains, such as salt lines, as they are slightly harder to remove.

If the salt stains do not lift from the leather easily, try using a salt stain remover with leather-friendly ingredients.

Condition Your Leather Shoes or Boots (Optional) 

As mentioned earlier, the combination of water and salt can harm the durability and quality of your leather shoes and boots.

Therefore, restoring any essential oils in the leather that may have dried out is crucial.

A leather conditioner is an excellent product for this purpose since it contains leather-friendly ingredients that can renew the appearance and suppleness of your footwear.

Use a dry and clean cloth to apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to your leather. Cover the entire surface of the boots or shoes evenly and repeat the process if required.

Allow your leather footwear to rest in a cool shaded environment after conditioning, and only use them once the leather conditioner has completely dried.

Best Practices to Treat Salt Stains :

Although cleaning salt stains from leather boots is relatively straightforward, there are steps you can take to make the process even more effective and efficient. We recommend considering the following aspects:

  • Act Fast – Time is of the essence when dealing with salt-stained leather boots. Salt is a corrosive substance that can dry out leather, causing it to be brittle. Therefore, if you do not act quickly to remove salt stains, your leather footwear may begin to peel or crack over time.
  • Condition After – Since salt and water can displace nourishing oils in the leather, it’s important to condition your leather shoes after the cleaning process to reintroduce them to the material. Conditioning provides suppleness to leather and protects it from exposure to salt.
  • Avoid Contact with Salt – Avoiding contact with salt and excess moisture is the first step in preventing salt stains on your leather boots. When going to the beach or walking on salt-sprinkled roads, we recommend not wearing your leather boots unless you are properly clean and conditioned afterward.


How do you get salt stains out of leather boots?

To remove salt stains from leather boots, create a cleaning solution using vinegar and water or use an off-the-shelf leather cleaner. Clean the colors with a damp cloth and repeat if necessary. Condition the leather afterward to restore its essential oils.

How do you fix salt-damaged leather?

Remove any excess salt and dirt with a dry cloth to fix salt-damaged leather. Then, use a mixture of water and vinegar or a dedicated leather cleaner to remove the stains. Condition the leather afterward to restore its suppleness and protect it from future damage.

Does salt ruin leather boots?

Salt can ruin leather boots by drying out the leather and causing it to crack or peel over time. To prevent damage, it’s important to clean salt stains from leather boots as soon as possible and condition the leather afterward to restore its essential oils.

What removes salt stains from shoes?

A mixture of vinegar and water or a dedicated leather cleaner can effectively remove salt stains from shoes. It’s important to act quickly to prevent the salt from drying out the leather and causing damage.


In conclusion, removing salt stains from leather shoes and boots is essential to maintain their quality and durability.

As we have discussed, salt stains can cause damage to leather and reduce its lifespan if not treated promptly.

However, with the right materials and techniques, it is possible to remove salt stains effectively and restore the appearance of your shoes or boots. 

It’s important to note that prevention is always better than cure, so taking steps to protect your leather footwear from salt exposure is the best approach.

Following the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you can keep your leather shoes and boots looking great for years.

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