Chances are your leather winter boots have trudged through inches of sludge, and now those pesky stains and scuffs are staring back at you.
Before you give your boots the boot, try a few of these tips first.
“Even if your boots get caught in mud, they will be easier to clean – especially with this lovely Indiana weather we’re having,” he says.
While waterproofing leather boots will keep the water and salt spots at bay, a conditioner gives the material the nourishment it needs to restore flexibility and color.
Depending on the style of the boot, pick out a high-gloss or satin polish to take care of the scuffs and make the boot even more watertight. If you’re wearing leather dress shoes to the office, Bolinger suggests purchasing a pair of rubber overshoes to keep them clean.
“Salt is the biggest damager, and with this cold weather it’s a like an acid – it bubbles up and you get the white stain,” Domingo Garcia, owner of Dupont Shoe Repair, says. “Every time the salt on the leather gets wet, the bubbling of the leather gets bigger if you don’t neutralize the salt.”
Shoe repair stores sell desalting products but there is a home remedy you can try as well. Pour into a cup equal parts white vinegar and water, and dab the stains with a soft cloth.
If the stains are too stubborn or have caused the material to dry out and crack, you’ll need to leave it to the professionals. Bolinger says that he works with customers to design leather patches for some Ugg boots to transform the blemish into an accessory.
“If you take care of them they do last,” Garcia says. “Vinyl has certain life expectancy, but a lot of the time if you spray them, they can last longer.”