How to remove road salt from shoes

Written by mary ylisela Google
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How to remove road salt from shoes
When winter comes, municipalities salt roads and sidewalks to melt away the ice. But it can really mess up your shoes. (Snowstorm image by soutra from

When winter weather arrives and snow is being removed, road salt and is spread over sidewalks and road to melt ice and provide safe transport. As the melting slush splashes onto your shoes it often brings road salt residue with it, causing a white stain on your footware. While you can purchase commercial products to remove road salt stains from your shoes and boots, or you can remove the stains with a homemade solution.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bowl
  • White vinegar
  • Spoon
  • Sponge
  • Clean cloths

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  1. 1

    Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl. Stir the two ingredients well.

  2. 2

    Dip a clean sponge in the diluted vinegar solution. Squeeze the sponge to remove as much excess moisture as possible. This ensures you clean your shoes with the least amount of moisture necessary, which helps to protect some shoe materials such as leather and suede.

    How to remove road salt from shoes
    A clean sponge helps remove salt stains from shoes. (sponge for cleaning image by Serghei Velusceac from
  3. 3

    Blot at the road salt stains on your shoes. Dab from the exterior of the stain toward the middle. If the stain is large, reapply more diluted vinegar and wring out the sponge before blotting the stain further.

  4. 4

    Rinse your shoes with a dampened clean cloth. Blot the site of the road salt stains to remove the white vinegar solution.

  5. 5

    Press a dry cloth into your shoes to wick out moisture created by the stain-removal process. Continue to blot the shoes until there's no further transfer of moisture to cloth. Allow your shoes to air dry completely.

  6. 6

    Buff your shoes with a clean soft cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear snow or rain boots when the sidewalks and streets are slushy and carry your shoes or boots in a bag. This way your shoes stay clean and salt-free.
  • Commercial shoe cleaners are also available to remove road salt stains.
  • Refrain from getting your shoes wet during stain removal; you could end up with water stains.
  • Always dry shoes away from heat sources as heat can damage the shoe material.

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