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Baking soda on dress shoes


Senior Member
Nov 1, 2003
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From Obenauf's pamphlet: "If you have a quality boot with all leather interior, rinse inside with baking soda solution occasionally, but only if the inside is all leather. This neutralizes body acids that otherwise deteriorate the inner linings and soles." Any comment?


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2004
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Well, I Have to Know, so off to Google I go. According to this information from Procter & Gamble, men´s perspiration is acidic with a pH of about 5.6, with 7.0 being neutral. Much research has been conducted into the rigorous preservation of leather as used in bookmaking. I´d say that much of what has been learned would apply to leather shoes. These guidelines for the conservation of leather bookbindings say that deacidification should be done when the pH is less than 3.0 and buffering can be done when the pH is less than 4.0. They warn against applying a buffer to leather with a pH higher than 4.0 because the pH may increase to between 6.0 and 7.0, thus "such leather becomes unstable and discoloration may occur." Taking the leap of making an analogy between preserving book leather and preserving shoe leather, I believe nothing needs to be done to neutralize the acidity that comes from an average man`s perspiration. I recall that diluted baking soda has a pH in the low 8-range so I think, given the above, its use in shoes may actually be harmful. A little knowledge is dangerous. If anyone has anything to add or correct, feel free to jump in.


Senior Member
Jul 27, 2003
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Well, it's been 25 years since I took Chem 10....

.... but, given that pH (ie. degree of acidity when pH < 7) reflects the ions in solution, doesn't pH decrease (i.e. an acidic solution become more acidic) if some of the water in the solution evaporates? If so, the chemicals that render perspiration acidic would likely build up over time (assuming they are not volatile), thereby possibly lowering the pH into a more harmful range. Not the I'm in any hurry to be putting a baking soda solution into my E Greens.

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