I’m a dedicated shoe fanatic. I love all different styles, but boots are my favorite accessory for the autumn and winter because they add pizzazz to any outfit! Although leather boots look great with sweaters and scarves, they don’t hold up too well in winter weather. Rain, snow, sleet and salt can ruin your beautiful boots. And we all know how pricey leather shoes are—they’re definitely a wardrobe investment you want to last! My friends call me cheap, but I prefer smart and thrifty to describe my self-repair techniques! Here are some do-it-yourself repair tips that will help protect your investment and save you from hiring a shoe cobbler!
Note: Before you go all out on these repair tips, be sure to test a small area of your shoe first.

1. Scuff marks

I have a desk job and have a really bad habit of putting my shoes on the bottom of my chair, which scuffs my boots. For minor scuffs like these, here are some solutions:

  1. Use a permanent marker in the shoe’s matching color. Gently alternate blotting the scuff with the marker and a tissue. Reapply several times to seal color.
  2. Use a clean pencil eraser to “erase” the scuff mark.
  3. Toothpaste and dish detergent also work when applied to a cloth and rubbed gently over scuff marks. Use a clean cloth to dry.
  4. Believe it or not, the inside of a banana peel is an excellent, inexpensive buffer for scuff marks!

2. Water damage

Oh, weather…why do you have to be so moody? One minute you let the sun shine, the next you’re pouring down rain. And because I’m not a duck, my shoes get the brunt of your water assault! In earnest, I’ve tried to dry my water-drenched boots with a blow dryer. Don’t do this—your boot’s leather will crack! When you purchase a pair of leather shoes, remember to spray them with leather protector to guard them from the elements. But if water damage does happen, here’s a quick remedy to dry them out!
  1. Remove the inner sole (if removable).
  2. Stuff the shoe generously with newspaper, which will absorb the moisture. Leave overnight or for at least 12 hours.

3. Salt stains

Salt causes white color stains on leather shoes. Remember to spray your new shoes with leather protector when you purchase them to avoid this. However, salt stains can still occur. Treat salt stains with the following combination:

  1. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Moisten a clean cloth with the vinegar solution.
  3. Wipe the salt stain gently until the spot disappears.
  4. Rinse with a clean cloth to remove the vinegar solution.

4. Dull patent leather

Patent leather is one of my favorite types of shoes because once they’re broken in, they’re so, so, so comfortable! To bring back the original shine, try the following:
  1. Prepare the shoe by wiping it with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  2. Create a solution of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water. Mix, apply to a cloth, and gently clean the shoes. Let the solution seep into the leather for about 2 minutes, then rinse with a cloth dampened with just water.
  3. Wipe dry, then shine the shoe with petroleum jelly. Apply with a firm, circular motion. Allow to dry 1-2 hours.
  4. Buff with a dry cloth and restore the patent leather shine.

5. Water damage on suede

Suede is delicate and requires a soft bristle brush. If your suede shoe becomes damaged, use the following steps to treat the shoe and attempt to restore the suede to its original condition.
  1. Brush the damaged suede with a soft back and forth motion.
  2. Dab a bit of vinegar onto a clean cloth and gently work at the stain, being careful not to completely saturate the suede.
  3. Hold the shoes over a steaming pot of water, but do not allow the shoes to get wet. Steam helps the nap of the suede to stand back up. You can also use sandpaper in a circular motion to restore texture.