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How do I get rid of this shoe stain?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GGA, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. GGA

    GGA Active Member

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    I went out to buy my shoe care products and then on my way back it started to pour. I tried to avoid all the puddles, but unfortunately stepped into one. Here is a picture of the stain: [​IMG]
     
  2. well-kept

    well-kept Senior member

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    Have had similar water stains on a couple of pairs of very good shoes. What took care of it? Time. Plenty. Two years in the case of the handgrade C&Js. Almost five years on the Lobbs and it's still slightly visible. I'll watch this thread with interest to see if anyone has better luck.
     
  3. stach

    stach Senior member

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    The only thing I can suggest is to put some alcohol on a rag and try gently dry brushing right at the line of demarcation. Or you could try going one shade darker with shoe creme in the lighter areas.
     
  4. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    I've heard of people soaking the shoes for a while in clean water and allowing them to dry slowly on trees. Apparently what stains the leather is not the water but what's in the water (oil, dirt, road grime, salt, etc). Try at your own risk, but someone may chime in one way or another.
     
  5. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    A few months ago, I attended a presentation on shoe care for the rainy season. The speaker's theory was the same as J's. He claimed that it was not the water that stained the shoe, but the salts and other stuff that was deposited on the shoe when the water dried. He said that this type of stain could be cleaned by washing the stain with lots and lots of clean water. Water caused the grime to accumulate in one spot on the shoe in the first place, and the grime could be diluted across the surface of the leather with water. His advice: Wash in clean water, wipe dry. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    Bic
     
  6. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    A few months ago, I attended a presentation on shoe care for the rainy season...
    Such things exist?
     
  7. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    Ha ha ha... They do in Japan! Takashimaya, Isetan, and a few other department stores each had this guy come in to talk about shoe care....

    I wasn't sure I agreed with all of what he said. For example, he claimed that the salt stains we see on our shoes after we wear them in the rain are from salt from inside the leather, rather than picked up from the pavement. Still, he gave advice on shoe cream, polish, shoe trees....
     
  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I suppose if you had your shoes polished to an extremely high effect--a la Berluti-- then rain wouldn't particularly affect the skin.
     
  9. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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    This is the kind of problem that Lexol cleaner is made for.
     
  10. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    This is the kind of problem that Lexol cleaner is made for.
    That would be a good thing to try. I'd probably try some amount of clean water or diluted alcohol (say, 25%) first, though, in case any "nourishing" ingredients in Lexol might set the stain. If it doesn't appear to be working, move on to Lexol.

    Then colored cream, rub in and buff off excess, then follow with wax mirror shine.
     
  11. GGA

    GGA Active Member

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    Soaking the shoes in clean water doesn't sound like a good idea. I don't know much about shoe care, but isn't too much water bad for shoes? That's why there's water repellant products right? I was going to order from joesshoeservice soon, so i'll buy the Lexol from there too. I'll try that first, unless someone had a similar problem and found a remedy for it posts before I get it.
     
  12. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    Well, maybe not soaking them, but try "applying" water. Keep in mind, many cleaners (like Lexol, most likely) are mostly water. Water is not particularly bad for leather. The point is, you want to redissolve whatever minerals, etc. were in the water that soaked into your shoe, and rinse them away with clean water.

    I have saturated shoe leather with water, no ill effects. I haven't dealt with a stain like this before, though, as I always polish shoes before exposing them to the elements.
     
  13. Aus_MD

    Aus_MD Senior member

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    Sysdoc gave some advice on this a while ago, and following his advice I soaked a pair of shoes in water for a day, let them dry, and repeated the cycle. This seems to have removed the stain completely, and I cannot discern any damage.

    I am not convinced that the stains are "salt". If they were they would be removed very quickly with even a small amount of water. I have wet shoes in sea water and the discoloration is no worse than with rain water. Rather I think this is a chromatography effect, ie some components of the shoe (or polish) pigments are slightly soluble in water and capillary action allows the dissolved pigments to become transported within the leather.
     
  14. well-kept

    well-kept Senior member

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    Thought about this today as I walked outside and through the wet lawn wearing tan-colored shoes. They got wet, of course, but the water spots dried completely once inside. It's a different matter in city puddles so it may indeed be something other than water in the puddle that leaves the stain. Perhaps different things in different puddles. Personally I wouldn't soak good shoes to try to clean them.
     
  15. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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  16. Drinkwaters

    Drinkwaters Senior member

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    I have viewed your image of the stain and it could possibly be related to salt residue from the street. If you live in an area where they use salt to treat the street during the winter months it is most definately salt that has set the stain. With such a light colored shoe you might not succeed removing all of it but should be able to tone down the border where it stopped.
    Soaking those beautiful shoes in water would be a catastrophy. I have always removed salt stains with a mixture of 50% water to 50% white vinegar (the all purpose cleaner). With a pure clean white cloth, damp not wet, wipe gently in circular motions until you achieve the results your comfortable with. Repeated applications will not work any better than the first so stop after you've done it once, let them dry completely and then apply a good leather lotion to condition, damp not wet!
    When applying polish to this area, do not apply full strength! Put a dab on a clean cloth and work it into the cloth first. This will allow you to build up the color slowly so that you do not end up with an area that is darker than the rest of the shoe. I say this because this area that has been cleaned in this fashion is now sort of raw and will be taking color very fast.
    Hope this works for you. Please post pics of the final outcome.

    Best Regards,

    Gary
     
  17. GGA

    GGA Active Member

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    Didn't have any alcohol around the house, and wasn't even considering soaking them, but had some white vinegar. Did some googling and decided to try it. It worked [​IMG] Thanks drink8648! You saved me $6.99. Here is the after picture
    [​IMG]

    well-kept, you should try it on your Lobbs.
     
  18. Drinkwaters

    Drinkwaters Senior member

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    Didn't have any alcohol around the house, and wasn't even considering soaking them, but had some white vinegar. Did some googling and decided to try it. It worked [​IMG] Thanks drink8648! You saved me $6.99. Here is the after picture
    [​IMG]

    well-kept, you should try it on your Lobbs.


    I was confident that the process would work for you. Never use alcohol on leather. There is a shoe stretch liquid that has a small content of alcohol but never apply it in full strength.
    Your image did not post correctly, so could you try it again.

    Gary
     
  19. Roger

    Roger Senior member

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    Never use alcohol on leather.
    Sure can't agree with that advice! Many forumers (myself included) have used ordinary drugstore isopropyl alcohol for a long time to strip away built-up wax and cream from shoes in order to be able to begin a new finish. It's completely harmless and far less aggressive than the oft-recommended acetone (for the same purpose). Alcohol will do no damage to shoe leather--either short-term or lasting. It will dry the leather out at the time of application, but the leather can be re-hydrated (if you will) by application of any leather conditioner applied right after the alcohol treatment. I would certainly advise against using alcohol solely and without any follow-up moisturizing step, so that the leather remained dry, but I doubt that anyone would be careless enough to do that.
     
  20. GGA

    GGA Active Member

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