How to naturally care for your boots

How to naturally care for your boots

You asked, here it is!

Okay, we all know the struggle: buy beautiful boots, wear them for a season, live through the awful salt stains, put them in the closet and forget about them – until next fall when you realize they’re too far gone to wear again.

Well, I was done with that struggle.

I had a pair of black ankle boots that I’d left at the office for an entire summer, shamefully salt-stained and hidden under my desk. Finally one day in fall, I thought I’d better get rid of them at last.



As soon as I announced I was getting rid of them, a coworker of mine said, “try cleaning them! I’m sure they’ll come out well. Might as well give it a go.”


I couldn’t just talk the talk. I had to walk it – and my coworker helped me realize that I was being way too hasty to dispose of boots that could be salvaged. (It’s not like I could afford new ones anyway!)



I toted the sad boots home and resolved to get them back to new condition. I didn’t even know if they were real leather: but I had a feeling they had some life left. Now, on to the good stuff!



Here’s the easiest, simplest, most natural way to care for your footwear in winter.



Step 1: clean


Household ingredients: white vinegar, 2-3 drops essential oil of your choice

I chose tea tree for its antibacterial properties, and lavender for its soothing properties!

For more intense stains: use vinegar & essential oil on their own.
For milder stains: use 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water & 2-3 drops essential oil



To start, grab a cotton rag you don’t mind mucking up. Dip it in your vinegar mix and scrub your salt stains using a rotating motion. Get all over those boots!

Since my stains were quite strong, I wasn’t afraid to get more vinegar on, and use a soft rotating motion with the dry end of the cloth afterwards.

Let sit for a couple minutes to be sure the salt isn’t showing again when they’re dry 🙂




Step 2: condition & protect


Household ingredients: extra virgin olive oil

Yup, you read that right. Good old olive oil is the only thing you need to keep those boots looking soft and protected. Olive oil works on rubber, too! Use a circular motion to rub it in, and buff it out with the dry end of the cloth at the end.

VoilĂ ! That’s all it takes.



My last recommendation is to be ON IT when you get home every night.


If you have a shoe brush by the entryway and lightly buff out salt stains every evening before you take your shoes off, it means the difference between boots that last 1 season, and boots that last years. I did that with my Timberlands and they’re going so strong!


Happy polishing!


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