How to clean leather boots with salt stains? They aren’t suede. They’re bull hide.
Maxine Ward, Columbus, OH
The simplest method for how to clean leather boots uses water and vinegar. Combine two parts water with one part white vinegar. Then use a soft cloth to wipe the leather with this mixture until the salt stains disappear. Wipe it dry with a clean, soft cloth. Once the boots are completely dry, be sure to apply a leather conditioner.
As a bonus, you can also use vinegar and water on the interior as one of the ways to stretch leather boots so they fit you better. Always spray the inside rather than the outside to prevent damage to your boots.
It’s not unusual to get grease and oil stains on leather work boots. If this happens to you, sprinkle the spots with baking soda or cornstarch. Massage the powder into the surface, then let it sit overnight. It should absorb the oil so that you can wipe off the residue in the morning.
The same vinegar and water solution I mentioned earlier also removes water stains from leather. Moreover, scuffs are easy to remove if you rub a tiny amount of white toothpaste into the mark.
If you have linseed oil on hand, you can make your leather cleaner. Mix two parts of linseed oil with one part white vinegar. Spread that on finished leather and let it work for twenty minutes. Then use a soft cloth to buff the surface.
Also, lemon juice and cream of tartar work well to clean finished leather. Again, finish up with a leather conditioner to protect against wet weather and dirt.
Should you ever need to clean suede leather, use a suede brush or an eraser. Using liquids on suede has disastrous effects. On the other hand, a light sprinkle of water and a suede brush can get rid of water stains.
For more tips and other ways to clean leather see our leather shoe cleaning page here.