How To Get Salt Stains Out Of Shoes: Winter Cleaning Hacks

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Brr… it’s cold out there! I don’t know about where you live, but here in Canada, it’s freezing out. We’ve got snow, we’ve got ice, and we’ve got a whole lot of salt! Salt stains are a huge pain. They get on the bottoms of long coats, our car tires, and, of course, our shoes!

If you’ve got the winter blues, never fear. After reading about why does salt melt ice and how to clean with vinegar, your winter blues will be gone. And you’ll have the cleaning blues instead. 

Just kidding! But seriously, salt stains can totally get me done, and I bet they can get you down too. So let’s solve this winter cleaning problem together with my cleaning hacks for how to get salt stains out of shoes, how to get salt stains out of Uggs, and DIY salt stain remover!

Funnily enough, How to Get Salt Stains Off Your Boots was my first YouTube video ever! Check it out if you want a laugh and some bad lighting! Either way, avoid abandoning a perfectly good pair of boots because of salt stains. Instead, let my cleaning tips and tricks come to the rescue so those boots can trudge through the snow for another year. 

Why Does Salt Melt Ice

Salt can be a pain in the butt when it comes to our shoes and other belongings, but it can save us from breaking our butt by slipping and falling on ice. But why do we use salt to melt ice? 

Salt alone actually doesn’t melt ice. It’s salt plus water that helps melt ice and prevents it from freezing in the first place. When salt mixes with water, it lowers the freezing point of the water. This is why it’s more effective to put salt out before a freeze. Because when snow or rain lands on the salt and then the temperature drops, the salt helps prevent ice from forming. Pretty neat, huh!

If you’re wondering why the heck I’m telling you this, it’s so you can make the best decision when it comes to salting your driveway and sidewalk! Knowing how and why salt works can help you choose the best salt or the best alternative. 

Not all road salt is created equally. Road salt can actually be pretty harmful to the environment. Think about it; people used to literally salt the earth of their enemies! 

Luckily, there are eco-friendly options out there that are better for the planet, better for animals in your neighborhood, and better for your shoes. I can’t promise eco-friendly options will never stain your shoes, but their non-toxic ingredients will be less abrasive and easier to remove when stains happen. 

Melissa loading presents into her car.

DIY Salt Stain Remover: Cleaning With Vinegar

I’ve talked a lot about cleaning with vinegar. And if you’re new to Clean My Space, I definitely recommend reading 7 Clever Ways to Clean With Vinegar. And salt stain remover is another great way to use vinegar!

To make a DIY salt stain remover, all you need is a teaspoon of vinegar and a microfiber cloth. That’s it! And if you’re thinking, this isn’t a recipe, Melissa, you’re right! It’s easier than a recipe, just one ingredient. 

How To Get Salt Stains Out Of Shoes

Getting salt stains out of shoes is really simple. First, you’re going to take a microfiber cloth and rub or brush as much loose dirt and salt off the boot as possible. Then, take a second microfiber cloth and moisten it with approximately a teaspoon of vinegar. Remember, you can always add more if needed. 

Wipe the salt-stained areas of your shoes clean. For stubborn salt stains or stains that haven’t been treated right away, you might need to use a little elbow grease. A cleaning toothbrush can come in handy here. And before you ask, no, vinegar won’t ruin your shoes. 

This is all you need to do to get those ugly salt stains out of your winter boots. I told you it was easy!

Melissa cleaning shoes

How To Get Salt Stains Out of Uggs

People often ask me about getting salt stains out of shoes, but a lot of those questions are about Uggs specifically. Many of us have a great pair of Uggs we like to get cozy in during the winter. Unfortunately, Uggs are really susceptible to salt stains! Fortunately, I’ve got a cleaning hack for you Ugg wearers. 

Cleaning Uggs is virtually the same as cleaning other shoes. But because Uggs are made of sheepskin, they’re a little more sensitive than other shoes. 

Begin cleaning your Uggs by brushing them with a suede brush made for brushing shoes. Be sure to brush in one direction (top to bottom). This will dislodge dirt and grime. 

Next, wet the stained area. Do not wet the whole boot, simply wet the area you are treating. Next, you have two options. You can use a suede stain cleaner and follow the instructions. Or, you can use a 1:1 cleaning solution of water. Apply this gently with your microfiber cloth. 

For the secret to keeping your Uggs clean and fresh, read The Ultimate Ugg Boot Cleaning Guide.

Winter Cleaning Hacks

Staying on top of salt stains is the best way to prevent them. If you let a shoe sit for too long, it will be much harder to clean. Tackling salt stains right away can help prevent them from setting in, making them much harder to clean. 

Winter brings a whole host of cleaning problems with it. But at Clean My Space, we’re trying to solve these problems one article at a time. Be sure to read Eliminate Winter Boot Messes and How To Wash A Winter Coat to learn our best tips for winter cleaning. 

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.