How To Remove Water Stains From Leather Shoes?

How To Remove Water Stains From Leather Shoes?

Who wants their favorite leather pair to get smudged or even worst, have them lying around with water stains all over them? Those fat ugly splotches just not look ugly but are also harmful for the longevity of your shoes. Here in this article, I would be giving you suggestions and tips that have worked for me to clear my leather shoes. I am sure if you try these, you would be able to bring the shine back on your favorite pair.

The first and the foremost

Remove the laces

Now is a good time to decide whether you would like to retain the old pair of laces or get a new one. Even better, through them in a soapy solution and scrub them. Rinse them thoroughly and let them hang loose till they are dry. Reusing is always fun isn’t it!

Time to clean the outer surface of the shoe

Time to clean the outer surface of the shoe

I always use a toothbrush for this step. An old one that is not supposed to be used again, can be utilized here; instead of you rushing to the nearest kiosk to pick one up.

Brush away the dust, grime and any sticky substances that are stuck onto the body of the shoe.


If you are a complete DIY kind of a person, then get hold of a plastic bucket. Filled it with tapped water and throw in some dish soap; or handwash liquid and mix it well. Wring it out and wipe the exterior surface of the shoe with this concoction.

Soap-Time ByeBye!

Now get yourself a soft cloth, make sure it’s clean and dry! Dampen it up a tad bit and wipe off the soap form the shoe.

Give your shoe a final stroke of self-cleaning by drying it with a towel.

If the soap is still seen on the shoe, then the best way to remove it is to use some warm soapy water on the shoe and it definitely helps removing the water stains and scuffs if any.

Conditioning the leather

For obvious reasons, there are 2 steps to this tip.

  • First one being the DIY. Mix 1-part vinegar to 2 parts linseed oil. Use a soft material of some sort and apply this solution to the shoe and let them sit dry for around 30 minutes. Do not use the shoe till they are completely dry. You may continue throwing in your elbow grease on it till you see the leather starts shining.
  • Second one being a commercial solution. I am not a big fan of these products as they are expensive and are difficult to find the right conditioner for your shoe.

Drying Time

Once you have followed all the steps above, time to dry the shoes. Making sure you keep them out in the open air. Avoid keeping them directly under the sunlight. Nope! Putting them right next to the heater doesn’t help either. Rather the results would be gravely the opposite. Tried and tested!

The above tips come in handy in quite a few scenarios as well and are not limited just to water-stains on your leather shoes. You may use these tricks to clear off coffee stains from your shoes. But do keep in mind if there is mark left behind even after the tips above; then you may need to resort to professional cleaning. And we all know our town-center’s famous shoe repair shop. Time to pay them a visit.


With all this being said, the philosophy with shoes and other thing’s in life should be “Prevention is always better than cure” . So this winter, if you think about going waltzing into muddy puddles, always ensure you use leather sealants on your shoes before that.

If you like the article above and are going to try these technique to clear the smudges and water stains on your shoes, then please leave a comment below how it turned out. Would love to hear!

Zohaib Shaikh

Hi, I'm Zohaib. I too had been suffering from uncomfortable shoes throughout my life. Hope you like my comfortable mugshot!

Recent Posts