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How to Use Vaseline for Waterproofing Leather

Updated April 17, 2017

Perhaps, you're walking uptown in leather shoes under an umbrella as the rain comes down in buckets. Before you get three blocks, the toes of your right foot and then left foot get that familiar, uncomfortable coldness. The rain has soaked through your shoes; your feet are wet. Soaked shoes and wet feet are an annoyance and a distraction and, though no porous and stitched material like shoe or clothing leather can be completely waterproof, vaseline can help you delay the moment when you feel that familiar, uncomfortable coldness.

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  1. Buy a jar of vaseline, also called petroleum jelly, at any drugstore or supermarket.

  2. Clean shoes or boots with a soft, bristle brush to remove any clinging dirt, especially around the seams.

  3. Rub 1 tbsp of vaseline into the leather of the shoe, boot or article of clothing using your fingers or a soft cotton rag or paper towel. Use a circular motion as you rub.

  4. Wipe excess vaseline from the shoe or boot or article of clothing with a clean cotton cloth or paper towel.

  5. Buff the leather to a shine, if you wish, by rubbing with a clean cotton cloth.

  6. Warning

    Test the vaseline on an unobtrusive corner of your shoe, boot or article of closing before treatment. Vaseline will darken leather. Do not use vaseline on suede leather.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
  • Bristle brush (optional)
  • Soft cotton cloths or paper towels

About the Author

John Woloch writes professionally for various websites. He has published in the Dutch journal "Crux" and writes frequently on oil painting, classical languages and topics involving math and biochemistry. Woloch holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in classics from Ohio State University and a postbaccalaureate pre-medical degree from Georgetown University.

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