The easiest and least expensive way to effectively remove salt stains from shoes

How-To Remove Salt Stains from Shoes

After a long and nasty winter, it’s bound to happen. You have shoes and boots with salt stains that look nasty but you don’t want to throw them away because that, after all, would be wasteful and we are anything but wasteful! 

Before and after photo of black tennis shoes with salt stains and without after cleaning using this simple trick

There is a very easy and super inexpensive way to remove these stains and I’m going to shoe you a comparison between the two standard household items I used so you can see for yourself which is the most effective.

Before photo of salt stained tennis shoes

Above are my most comfy tennis shoes and yes, they have seen better days. I wear them outside to grab the mail, take out the trash, or when I know I am going to be trudging through slush and snow because they have been retired to “home use” but that doesn’t mean I don’t want them to at least look somewhat presentable….neighbors, the mailman, or someone walking their dog may see me in these and I don’t want to be overly embarrassed. 

Alcohol versus Vinegar 

So, anyway, after wearing them out in the snow a few times these salt stains remain and I thought I had nothing to lose so I would try to remove the stains just to see what would work.

Household alcohol bottle and cotton balls next to salt stained black shoe - how to remove salt stains from shoes

I wanted to do a split testing trying household alcohol on one shoe, 

Vinegar spray bottle next to black salt stained tennis shoe

and vinegar on the other to see which one would work better.

For the alcohol option, I simply soaked some cotton balls in the alcohol and then dabbed them all over the salt stain and waited for it to dry.

When using the vinegar, I sprayed it on the tip of the shoe, again where the salt stains were, and then waited for it to dry. You could also use the cotton ball method with the vinegar but since I had it in a spray bottle, I just went the lazy route and sprayed it on.

Black tennis shoes after cleaning to remove salt stains

The Results

Once both shoes were dry, I did a side-by-side comparison and the winner, but not by much, was the shoe whose salt stains were treated with vinegar. 

The side treated with alcohol still showed some residual staining.

Cropped view of the after photo of fabric shoes after having salt stains removed

Another big win for vinegar in the household cleaning category!

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