Leather is a timeless and resourceful material.
And with having features like water-resistant, stain-resistant, and durable, it becomes an ideal element for furniture, handbags, footwear, clothing, and sports equipment and tools.
It is made from the skin of animals like cattle and alligators.
The skin is treated chemically called tanning, to make the material firm and decay-resistant.
Whichever the products, since leather is a classy material, any sort of stain would appear as an eye-sore on it and would require removal to make it appealing again.
Particularly when it is something as commonplace as water, it can be difficult to avoid getting a stain on your much-admired leather product.
How To Remove Water Stains From Leather Shoes
Ironically, the easiest and the most economical method of removing water stain from leather shoes is by using water; remove a water stain by expanding it using a damp cloth over the stain and allowing the stain to blend with the rest of the shoe. The other methods include using leather cleaning products, leather milk, leather oils, and leather polishes that either camouflage the stain with the rest of the shoe or remove it altogether.
Guidelines On Protecting Your Leather Item From Stains
Cleaning up a spill on the leather as early as possible reduces the chance of stubborn stains.
Well, this actually goes for everything basically; the longer the duration of contact of the stain-causing substance with a surface, the longer it would take for the stain to be removed.
When trying to remove any stain from leather, always test a small part of the stain before you attempt to clean the whole stain.
The spot testing not only tells you if the method you are trying would work or not, but it also saves the leather from any mishap or worsening of the stain.
Use a soft white cloth in a circular motion with the cleaning agent specific for the stain to remove it, clean it off with another similar cloth, and let it dry to check the results.
And after cleaning the whole stain, don’t forget to put on some leather conditioner to give the leather a protective layer.
Removing Water Stains From Leather Shoes
As far as water stains are concerned, these are usually benign and do not damage the leather per see.
But they do produce an unsightly stain if not wiped away on time and then the stain would require appropriate removal.
As mentioned before, reducing the contact time for staining agents and surface reduces the risk of stronger stains.
So, if you pat off the water right after it soils the shoe and it is likely that it won’t form a stain.
But we do understand that it may be missed and you spot the stain when the damage is already done.
In that case, you could use a damp white cloth to wipe the stain to spread it by moving from the center of the stain outwards.
This would blend the stain and make it less pronounced.
Most of the leather cleaners are available as kit forms including cleaners and conditioners, such as the Lexol Leather Kit.
Leather milk from Chamberlain’s is another product that may help in removing the water stains from the leather surface.
It’s a healing balm for the leather and again it’s the same procedure with a soft cloth and buffing of the stain with the leather milk.
Really old and stubborn stains can be corrected with the rest of the shoe with leather polishing.
Polish changes the color of the leather, thus concealing the stain and simultaneously giving your shoe a new look.
These are oils that naturally heal the leather, restore its color, and remove any leftover stain.
Coconut oil is a naturally occurring, alternative to leather conditioner.
And if you don’t want to use any of these, you could also give it a go with a mild solution of vinegar and water to wipe away the water stain.
Or a little bit of mayonnaise, which would have a similar effect as leather oil due to its fatty components.
Removing Other Types of Stains From Leather
In addition to removing the staining object as quickly and as early as possible, some stains require specific care.
Grease stains are a common finding on leather products.
The best way to clean it off is by first blotting the grease with a paper towel.
And for the remnant stains, sprinkle cornstarch over the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and clean it off with a vacuum.
Repeat as many times as needed to clean off the spot.
Ink stains used to be more common before when newspapers were common.
As with other stains, remove by blotting as much as possible using a soft, white cloth.
Alcohol-based chemicals like hairsprays and ink removers are not a good idea as they may also damage the color of the leather.
And finish off the cleaning with leather milk.
How to Maintain Leather Like a Pro
And because of its features and multipurpose nature, you could have more than one thing made out of leather for your use.
And the basics of maintenance and cleaning for leather products remain ubiquitous.
Though we suggest that you consult a professional for the upkeep of leather products, but the general steps are more or less the same.
- Clean up spills and stains right away, leaving them to work on them later just makes the stain stubborn.
- Use a clean and soft white cloth whenever you need to wipe anything from the leather surface.
- Never use domestic cleaning agents on the leather; only use specifically made for leather cleaners.
- Use the soft brush attachment when you want to vacuum the leather surface, such as furniture.
- Avoid leaving leather products in sunlight and close to heat sources as that may dry out the leather and fades its color.
- And never forget to apply a leather conditioner every year, or more if in rough or regular use, to extend its life.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Clean Leather Shoes
I have salt stains on my leather boots, how can I clean them?
Dip a cloth in a water and white vinegar mixture and wipe the salt off. As vinegar is quite aggressive, use a 1 to 2 mixture: 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water. Another option is to use saddle soap to remove the stain.
Can I use petroleum jelly on my leather shoes?
Yes, it will help to give the shoe a natural shine and soften the leather. Use a cloth to apply the petroleum jelly and let it dry. You can either air dry it or with a help of a hairdryer. Then use a clean cloth and polish the shoe.