Winter boots take a beating– they go through snow, rain, sleet, mud, and a host of street chemicals. By the end of the season, boots that haven’t been properly taken care of can quickly go from looking ultra chic to shabby not-so- chic. Here are four easy tips that will help keep them in better shape to protect your boot investment as well as your image.
Four Easy Steps:
1. Waterproof your new boots. Always spray new boots with a waterproofing product that increases their water resistance before you even leave the house with them. Reapply on a regular basis to help your boots maintain their protective coating. Here are a few products below which we sell at The Barn to help keep your boots in tip top shape.
- Saddle soap is great to increase the longevity of protection. It’s great for leather boots, shoes, and handbags. Simply wipe the boot all over with a damp cloth. Then create a lather with the saddle soap and water using the cleaning cloth. Apply the lather to the boot, allow slight drying, then wipe off any remaining lather. Be aware that is may darken some leather, so do a test spot first.
- Meltonian is an easy spray-on boot protector. This seals in protection on the seams as well as hardware such as zippers and fasteners which can dull or rust over time. Be aware that these sprays are NOT recommended for UGG boots. These sprays will make the natural sheepskin rock hard! We strongly recommend buying the UGG boot spray which is specially formulated for natural sheepskin and suede boots. We sell all of these products at the store.
- Mink Oil is a natural lubricant and protectant. Wipe on boots with a clean cloth, being mindful to get all seams, edges. Then polish with a clean dry cloth. This will create a beautiful luster while forming a barrier against snow, salt, and water. Then, reapply at the first signs of salt stains.
2. Clean salt stain immediately. There is no escaping the onslaught of salt that is used on our streets when it snows. Salt stain dull the boots’ finish and weaken the leather. For the best results, always clean off any salt stains as soon as you see it. Here are a few salt-cleaning suggestions below.
- Take a warm, damp cloth and wipe the salt stains clean as soon as you can. Leave the to dry overnight but never near direct heat as that will harden the leather. Stuff with newspaper to retain the shape of the boot.
- One effective homemade version is to combine equal parts of white vinegar and water to make a liquid solution. Wipe around the salt stains and dry with a clean towel and let dry away from direct heat.
3. Keep boots polished and clean. Taking care of leather boots is a lot like taking care of your skin. For radiant results, you’ve got to keep them clean and polished. For synthetic boots, a regular wipe down with warm water to remove dirt and grime will do the trick.
- Got scuff marks? Simply dip a damp cloth in baking soda and wipe over scuff marks. Then wipe clean, dry, and buff
- Oil stains can be removed with either cornmeal or baby powder as soon as possible. Leave on for a few hours to let absorb, then gently brush off with a towel.
- Patent Leather– one trick my mother taught me as a girl was to use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) with a clean cloth and polish. First wipe off any dirt, polish, then buff with a clean cloth to a high shine. This will make them look shiny and new.
4. Store winter boots. Be sure to put your boots away clean and dry. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking them out moldy, cracked and dry.
- Store boots in pillowcases, shoe bags, cloth bags, or in their original box. Do not store boots in plastic bags. Like our skin, leather and suede like to “breathe” and plastic can trap moisture which promotes mold build up.
- Store boots away from light and heat sources. Direct light can actually fade or change the color of boots, while direct heat can cause them to dry and crack.
- Once boot are fully dry, take crumpled up newspaper and stuff boots to help them retain their shape. You can also purchase inexpensive boot liners at a box retailer to preserve their shape.
These simple maintenance tips will help to keep your boots looking as good as new, extend their wear-ability, and keep your feet happy and dry!