Got salty boots, shoes, clothes, or carpets? Salt stains are an unfortunate, yearly, material destroying part of winter. Unless you are hibernating all winter or living on a beach, you may not be able to prevent them but you can remove them.
For boots and shoes, including leather or suede:
To remove salt stains from shoes and boots, start by mixing two parts water with one part vinegar. If the stains are very bad use a one-to-one ratio. Then dip a clean rag or sponge in the vinegar-water solution, and wipe away the salt stains.
Repeat as many times as needed.
For thick, grainy buildup:
Some days you just can’t be bothered with cleaning the salt off right away. In order to get rid of the build-up, start by using an old toothbrush to remove the worst of the salt; be careful to flick it away, not grind it in. If your boots or shoes are wet, allow them to dry completely before attempting to remove any stains.
Important tip – don’t try to speed up the process—with, say, a hairdryer or heater.
Heating the build-up could make the stains even harder to remove and potentially cause damage to the footwear. Apply a shoe, leather, or suede conditioner if you have it.
For (washable) clothing:
Start by removing the worst of any dried salt with an old toothbrush or bristled brush. Soak either the salt-stained areas or the entire item, in cold water, ideally overnight. After this wash as usual, with your regular detergent and cold water.
Important tip – If the garment is dry clean only…take it to the dry cleaner.
Vacuum the area to remove loose bits of salt. In a spray bottle, mix hot water and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio, then spritz the salty patches enough to dampen but not soak them. Wait five minutes, and blot dry with a clean rag or paper towel.
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