Suede boots provide a uniquely appealing look to any outfit.
It’s subtle, but the texture gives your footwear a bit of visual interest that helps you stand out.
Unfortunately, this material also has a downside. Because of its softness and permeability, suede is very vulnerable to staining. Simple things like walking through salt can leave your boots looking worn and disheveled.
I’m here to help. This article will walk you through cleaning salt stains in six simple steps.
What You’ll Need
To clean salt from your boots, all it takes is a few household items and a bit of patience. You’ll need:
- White vinegar
- A bowl or basin
- A rag
- A toothbrush or suede brush
- Suede protectant spray (optional but recommended)
How to Get Salt Stains Out of Suede Boots Quickly: 6 Simple Steps
Step 1: Mix
It’s easy to think you’ll need to purchase an expensive suede cleaner. Luckily, a simple solution of vinegar and water will effectively clean the salt stains from suede.
Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a small basin or bowl. White vinegar is preferred, as any colored vinegar has the potential to stain your boots.
Using warm water is ideal, as it will help the water and vinegar mix a bit more easily.
Step 2: Wipe
Once you have your water and vinegar solution, it’s time to apply it to your boots.
Grab a clean rag or paper towel and dip it into the solution. Gently wipe the boots with the wet rag, focusing on the salt stains.
While you want to dampen your suede boots, try not to get them absolutely soaked. All this does is make the drying process more tedious and increase the likelihood that you warp your boots.
Keep the pressure light, as being overly aggressive can damage the suede.
Step 3: Dry
After your boots have been thoroughly wiped down, set them aside to dry.
Allow them to air dry in a room-temperature area. While it may be tempting to set them next to a heat source to speed up the process, doing so will increase the chances of warping your boots, potentially ruining them.
A bit of patience ensures your boots dry back to their original shape, without any damage to the interior or exterior.
Step 4: Repeat
Now that your boots are dry, it’s time to inspect them again.
While the vinegar and water solution is very effective at eliminating salt stains, sometimes the salt will cling stubbornly to the suede. In this case, you may need to repeat the process over again.
The best way to do this is to focus exclusively on the areas that are still showing salt. This will keep you from making your boots too damp and will help ensure they dry quickly.
Step 5: Brush
If you’ve let your boots dry and they’re no longer showing any salt, you’ll want to give them a good brushing to make them look their best again. Brushing the suede helps restore the nap, making your boots look soft and fresh.
Suede requires the use of soft, fine bristled brushes. Big, rigid brushes can leave scratches in your suede and won’t properly mesh with the nap.
If you don’t want to purchase a dedicated instrument for this, you can just use a toothbrush. This should work fine, as toothbrushes are very gentle.
That said, a good suede brush can help make your suede look fresh out of the box again.
This one from Shacke is a fantastic choice. It features multiple brush heads to help you brush each part of your boots with ease, helping your boots look their best.
Step 6: Spray
This final step is optional but highly recommended. Once your boots have been thoroughly cleaned and brushed, you may want to spray them with a suede protectant spray.
Because suede is so soft and nappy, it is incredibly vulnerable to the elements. Suede stains easily and can get soaked when worn in the rain.
Suede protectant sprays offer a degree of waterproofing that helps keep your boots from getting dirty again.
The Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector is our top choice. It works and you can use it safely on all suede and nubuck types .
This is worth having in your locker if you're often spilling on your suede boots, or if you just want to maintain that 'fresh out of the box' look for longer.
Getting salt on your boots is almost inevitable. When those boots are made of suede instead of another material, the cleaning process requires a different approach.
All you need is a rag, a bit of vinegar, and a brush to restore the nap and you’ll have a sharp-looking pair of boots on your feet again.
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How do you remove salt stains from suede boots without vinegar?
If you want to remove salt stains from suede boots without the use of vinegar, you can use a dedicated suede cleaner. Many brands offer foaming cleaners that can break down salt and dirt, allowing you to wipe your suede clean.
How do you clean salt off faux suede boots?
In most cases, you can clean salt off faux suede boots the same way you would normal suede. A mixture of vinegar and water can break down the salt and let you wipe your boots clean. That said, the material used in your faux suede might not react well, so it’s important to know what your boots are made of.
How do you clean salt off of BEARPAW boots?
To clean salt off of BEARPAW boots, simply follow the same steps you would follow when cleaning salt from suede. Combine equal parts vinegar and water, dip a clean rag into the solution, wipe your boots, and let them air dry.