How to Remove Gasoline from Doc Martens - Not

I know what you're thinking. 'Really? How does one spill gasoline on their boots?'. I asked myself the very same question as I kicked myself in the butt with said boots. Here's the story.

I saved up some money to treat myself to a pair of Docs that I have been eyeing for some time. I purchased them for working at the shop which has concrete floors. Doc Martens are the only boots I have tried to date that keep my feet from throbbing by mid-day. And these particular Docs are fur lined which I desperately need during the LONG New Hampshire winters.

Doc Marten work boots with fur lining, brand new

I had my new Docs for just under a week and I was in love with them of course. I went to the local gas station, pulled up to the pump, made my selection and started pumping. The automatic shut off switch did trip and the flow of gas did stop. Then I did what I normally do which is top it off. I was looking at the pump, not the nozzle in my tank (that's the duh move right there) and then we have the spillage on my brand new boots. 

So, now you know how it happened. Here's what I did to salvage my new Docs. I threw them in the sink and turned the faucet on full blast, HOT water and wet them like crazy. Scrubbed them fiercely with Dawn Dish Detergent over and over again trying to rid of the horrible gas odor. I doused them with lemon juice first, then white vinegar next. I repeated the above steps in desperation before I thought to Google "how to clean up gasoline on leather", which is what I advise you to do or consult a cobbler - anything but what I did which ruined my boots. 

I ended up getting most of the smell out of the leather, but I pretty much destroyed the finish of the leather. I washed away the dyes - my Docs were no longer that pretty honey color. They were now blotchy, spotted, stained, pale, and just plain UGLY.

Thank goodness I work with leather!  I was able to dye the spots that were naked. I condition them, and polish them up to almost as good as new. Check out the photographs below of the before and after. I think it's pretty evident which side is the before and which is the after but just in case...left is a photo of the destroyed Docs, and the right photo is after my "leather fix". 

before and after doc martens

I bet you can guess which foot of mine was the one to get the brunt of the gas. This made the repair even more tricky. One boot lost most all of the dye while the other still maintained some of its color. 

before and after doc martens

I scrubbed so hard in some spots that it made the leather blotchy in places. 

before and after doc martens

before and after doc martens

As you can see it was quite the repair and as difficult as it was, I was able to make the right boot and left boot match. The blotchy spots are gone and there is a nice even finish. I had to condition them a lot to restore the leather back to its original softness - I used baseball glove oil and Neatsfoot Oil - a few applications of each. Overall, I'm thrilled at the way they came out and more importantly, I was able to salvage my new boots! 

The moral of the story; there are two. 1. There is always a solution to be found in the calm - don't panic and do what I did. 2. The combined scents of gasoline, vinegar, lemon, and leather closely resembled that of a tossed salad.



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