The best way to get salt stains off your winter boots

Many of us accept ruined boots as an occupational hazard of being Canadian. These are the best ways to fight back.

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salt stains- image of a woman walking in the snow with tall brown boots and a red coat

In addition to cars, skin and our collective sense of well-being, winter has also been known to wreak havoc on winter boots. Prevention seems like a logical approach, so some of you may have given your boots a double-coat of protective spray some time around November. If not, these are the best ways to contend with salt and slush this season.

Problem 1: You arrive at work and your boots are a total mess.

Leaving salt to linger on your boots is disastrous for most fabrics. Keep a pack of tissue-sized wipes in your desk drawer, or stash one in your handbag for on-the-go clean ups. (This pack from Boot Rescue should do the trick.)

Problem 2: There’s slush and dirt all over your suede booties.

Whether you’re sporting a dressy pair of suede booties or a super comfortable pair of Uggs, a suede brush will remove dirty, salty buildup. Remember to brush gently in one direction. In a pinch, a nail file or a soft eraser will do the trick.

Problem 3: Salt rings. On your leather boots.

For a quick home remedy, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and gently wipe stains using a soft cloth. If your boots get soaked by snow or slush, let them dry out away from direct heat sources. (Read: Don’t place them upside down on a radiator, or try to speed up the drying process with your hairdryer.) Stuff your boots with newspaper or paper towel to absorb moisture and help preserve their shape as they dry.

Originally published January 2016. Updated January 2018.