Water Stained Leather Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Franky In T.O., Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Franky In T.O.

    Franky In T.O. Senior member

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    Only a few months ago, I picked up my first couple of pairs of expensive leather shoes and let me tell you, once you do you never go back!

    So I've been very happy except it was a very rainy day here in Toronto on Monday and I was caught in it. I've worn these shoes in the rain before, but it was particularly wet yesterday and I was surprised when I looked down and saw a water stain wrapped around the toe and sides of one of the shoes. It looks like a salt stain more than anything and I dabbed some water on it (knowing it couldn't possibly be a salt stain but I admit to being in a bit of a fazed mode being aghast at the time) which probably didn't do me any good.

    When I got home, I searched this forum and decided to use some delicate leather cleaner and then polish them. I think it helped a bit, but this morning I noticed the stain "returned" in full force. I guess I should have let them dry overnight. I applied more leather cleaner this morning, letting it saturate, and I'll see how they look after work today. But I'm worried. What have I done? Does anyone have experience with this? Do I just need to let them sit for a longer period of time? Or is there more that I should do? As I clean and polish them I also worry that I'm damaging the shoes... is it just water damage or am I digging into the surface of the uppers? As you can see, I'm a novice so your good advice is appreciated.

    Another question... should I use water repellent on these shoes from now on? I heard water repellent dries out the leather.

    I never had this problem with cheaper shoes so what have I gotten myself into? [​IMG] With that said, today I'm wearing my old shoes and it just doesn't feel the same! [​IMG]
     
  2. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    You may find your answer in this thread.
     
  3. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    Bummer, that sounds like a real pain. I walk in heavy rain frequently (living in scotland) and I have never had this problem, I polish my shoes with wax polish probably rather more than necessary which I think gives a fair amount of water protection, would be kind of locking the barn door after the horse has bolted in your case. I hope someone can offer you a solution, I would say that you should leave them to totally dry (not anywhere particularly hot) before you try anything else.
     
  4. whiteslashasian

    whiteslashasian Senior member

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    I have a feeling that the OP may have had some salt residue left on the shoe from walking around Toronto in the winter months. This recent downpour is what brought out the salt stain. The thread I linked above talks about a vinegar and water mixture which should remove the stain after several applications.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Franky In T.O.

    Franky In T.O. Senior member

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    Thanks for the link. I did come across that and thought about the vinegar and water solution. Just gotta pick up some vinegar.

    You may have a good point there. Maybe it is a salt stain. However, I wore rubbers during the winter. But we've had little snow in February and March and so perhaps while there was no snow there could've somehow been salt getting on my shoes when I was no longer wearing rubbers. Still, it's pretty apparant and only became noticeable yesterday after a huge rain pour. Is it possible that the rain washed away the polish displaying a salt stain? Seems like a strange occurrence.

    Now weather I apply vinegar/water or leather cleaner, how hard should I rub? I fear rubbing too hard, but then I do want results.

    And as for water repellent... any suggestions?
     
  6. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Senior member

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    Thanks for the link. I did come across that and thought about the vinegar and water solution. Just gotta pick up some vinegar. You may have a good point there. Maybe it is a salt stain. However, I wore rubbers during the winter. But we've had little snow in February and March and so perhaps while there was no snow there could've somehow been salt getting on my shoes when I was no longer wearing rubbers. Still, it's pretty apparant and only became noticeable yesterday after a huge rain pour. Is it possible that the rain washed away the polish displaying a salt stain? Seems like a strange occurrence. Now weather I apply vinegar/water or leather cleaner, how hard should I rub? I fear rubbing too hard, but then I do want results. And as for water repellent... any suggestions?
    Please re-check the link provided above. I have posted now to that thread. I am in Toronto too. Remember that sprinkling of snow we had last week or so? The City Of Toronto (gov) went crazy with the salt, and for no reason other than to spend the $$ so they can keep their budgets [​IMG] Therefore, 100% we can still get salt in our shoes even in the spring rains. You may want to get your shoes TOPY'd, or have a pair of old beaters for commuting, and 2 pair of good shoes in your desk drawer (locked) or locker. Or get a pair of TOTES..those rubber slip-overs to protect your shoes all over. The climate shifts in Canada demand rubber protection over leather -if- one is going to wear leather-soled shoes, in my opinion. Please enjoy this true story about wearing good colthes in bad weather. http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=114835 Best of luck with your shoes, and congratulations on your purchase [​IMG]
     
  7. DrZRM

    DrZRM Senior member

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  8. Franky In T.O.

    Franky In T.O. Senior member

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    Thanks everyone... so my plan was to come home after work today to see how my shoes fared after applying some (more) leather cleaner on them and letting them dry all day. They're looking quite fine now, I must say! It seems that perhaps I've freaked out a little when all I needed to do was give them a night to DRY! [​IMG] Still... it was all too weird how white stained they had become yesterday afternoon after the major rainstorm during the morning and at lunch. Now if I look very closely I can still see the stain, but it's not noticeable unless looking for it. Is it possible that it is salt stains? But then I never noticed it until the rain got to them yesterday which leads me to believe they are simply water stains. I don't know. I picked up a litre of pure white vinegar for $1.49 today. Can't go wrong with that, but should I apply it to my shoes?
     
  9. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Senior member

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    Vinegar on a Terrycloth.

    Pre-wet the terryvloth with water.
    Squeeze out as much as you can.
    put vinegar on the terrycloth
    Squeeze again, but not quite as tight.

    Rub gently on the shoe leather.
    Let dry (at least one hour)
    Repeat until the stain is gone.

    Best to do this asap.
    Once salt starts to raise the leather, its almost impossible to remove those ridges.

    IF you have the salt ridges,
    do above procedure, only get a metal spoon, and use the back of the spoon to burnish the ridging.
    Don't get carried away.

    Be patient and dedicated and you'll get the results.

    Vinegar is 100% safe and natural too
     
  10. Franky In T.O.

    Franky In T.O. Senior member

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    So my shoes turned out to be OK, but since I could see slight stains upon very close inspection I wanted to give them a proper cleaning so I tried Nexus6's directions using water and vinegar.

    I used a soft cloth, quickly dipped it in water, squeezed it, then dipped it in vinegar and squeezed again though not too much just as he suggested... I let it sit for an hour and... perfect! Didn't need to repeat as perhaps my earlier attempts helped out the cause.

    My shoes are as good as new! Thank you very much!
     
  11. wetnose

    wetnose Senior member

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    Since the stains are now gone...I suggest dab some lexol leather conditioner (available at Novelty on Yonge St) and follow up with some serious polishing....
     
  12. Franky In T.O.

    Franky In T.O. Senior member

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    What's the address for Novelty? Where else in T.O. can you pick up Lexol?
     
  13. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Senior member

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  14. Abigail W

    Abigail W New Member

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    For salt marks on leather use a bit of milk on a dry cloth & dab the marks.
    For salt marks on suede use a mix of white vinegar & water to dab. You may need to repeat a few times if stain is stubborn.
    I would highly recommend a water repellent spray especially on lighter colours & regular polishing with a decent shoe polish or cream helps keep them waterproof.
     

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