Getting salt stains out of your favorite leather boots requires an entirely different process than getting road salt from your winter coat or scarves. We’ll break it down for you step by step, so the salt doesn’t break you down. 

Different fabrics and materials require different cleaning techniques. Since you’re most likely to get some salt on your shoes, we’ll start with leather. Time is a factor – so try to clean the leather as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more set the stains will become. This is the salt actually damaging the leather. So move quickly like a bunny! 

Start with some warm water and white vinegar. The ratio varies, but vinegar is also a little acidic so we recommend a 2:1 ratio – that is, 2/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of white vinegar. Then, with a clean cotton cloth, gently wipe at the stain. Take care not to soak the leather in your mixture. Once the stain disappears, go ahead wipe the area with a water-dampened cloth. Let your shoes dry naturally. This process works for leather jackets as well, and can be repeated as many times as necessary to remove the stains.

Suede is a little different, and can be damaged more easily. Some folks report that undiluted white vinegar is the key, but we recommend diluting anything you apply directly to a garment. Be sure the salt stain is dry, and dab the stain, do not rub. As a last resort, a pencil eraser can help with some of the remaining, dry stains. 

Please note the amount of vinegar that is recommended for use varies wildly. Some folks suggest a quart of water and a single tablespoon of vinegar. Use your best judgment, and err on the side of caution. 

Where else does all that winter salt end up? How about on the carpeted floor of your car? Using a stronger mixture (again – results will vary, so be careful) of white vinegar and water, fill a spray bottle and apply a few blasts to the stain. Then, gently scrub the area with a brush or cloth. Use a wet-dry vac to finish the job! Well done! Now you’re ready to take on the mud of Spring!

Image credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Baloncici