MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Winter in Minnesota is hard on our roads and our homes, but it also does a number on our shoes.

If they’re not treated right, the slush and chemicals on the streets and sidewalks can ruin any pair.

Don’s Leather Cleaning in Minneapolis knows a thing or two about cleaning shoes and boots. The store brings in leather boots from dry cleaners across five states, then cleans them up and sends them back.

The store’s president and owner, Dart Poach, said they’re restoring more and more pairs each year. But if you don’t want to be taken to the cleaners, they said there are steps you can take now so your boots are ready for winter.

“Most of this is the salt and the chemical the city uses to melt the ice,” said Poach while pointing to a dirty boot.

The salt and dirt ring around the bottom of the boot is not a good look for a pair of $250 shoes.

Poach’s first piece of advice to keep your footwear looking nice is to use a special aerosol spray that will repel dirt and water. He said you should always use it on suede shoes and recommends spraying it on in a circular motion.

“It prevents streaks when it dries, and you’ll want to put on a couple of layers,” he said.

For smooth leather, you can use a lotion or liquid to protect your shoes. However, Poach said test it on a small part of the shoe or boot first to make sure it doesn’t stain the leather.

Wax products can be used on smooth leathers — just use a hair dryer to finish it off, Poach said.

“Stay back about 8-12 inches and help melt that wax into the skin (of the boot),” he said.

If your leather boots or shoes start to look too rough, the pros know how to make them look new again.

“Cleaning, reconditioning, replacing the lost oils, and adding a little color to make it richer looking.”

If you don’t want to do it yourself, drop them off at most any dry cleaner. A boot cleaning costs $35 at Don’s.

The footwear featured at the end of the video clip are available at the ECCO store at Mall of America.


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