Removing Road Salt Stains

Salty water left from road treatment during snow storms can be devastating to leather and suede goods. Removing the salt from the leather is vital to keeping the leather or suede supple and soft. 

It's easy to understand why salt damages leather. Salt is used to dry out leather in old world tanning techniques. So when it is left on leather garments, it will dry the essential oils from the hide and begin to pucker the garment. In some cases, this is reversible with cleaning and soaking in an oil and water solution. However, in many cases it has to be repaired with scissors and a new piece of leather.

So the goal to removing these stains is to dilute the salt from the leather. It could be as simple as a damp rag and thorough wipe down. You can add vinegar to the water to help balance the PH of the salty water that you wipe off.  You would want to dilute this solution pretty heavily:  sixty parts water to forty parts white vinegar. Dab the solution onto the stain with a cotton towel. Do not over do it, you can always apply the solution again. Diluted vinegar water should not effect the color, but it is always best to test first. Soap is not a good idea. Soap can pull color, even though it would aid in removal through its properties of lubricating a stain, it is likely to disturb the color and not worth the risk.

Salt stains that are not removed prior to dry cleaning can have adverse affects. Be sure to notify your cleaner (hopefully us), before they begin service.

Professionals should be able to remove this stain for you. Do not risk an expensive leather piece to home remedy tips. If water doesn't do the trick, call us or email. There are many misleading blog posts on various sites, that we would strongly advise against. We understand the blogs are trying to save customers money. We end up with the mess that bad home remedies can create, when they go awry.

There are salt removal products that can be purchased from shoe shops. Use them sparingly and follow the directions carefully.

There are leather conditioning products, for certain types of leather, that can be effective. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, and correctly identify your leather type prior to using the product.

If you need help with identification, please text a picture by using the widget in the bottom right corner, call us at 859.739.0483, or email us at


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