How To Remove Paint From Leather Shoes

How To Remove Paint From Leather Shoes

Who doesn’t love wearing leather shoes. It adds a classy, dapper look to your style and feels fantastic to wear for any occasion. But, leather shoes are also prone to getting dirty very easily, and cleaning them can be quite a task. Especially if it’s a paint stain on your leather shoe, then removing and cleaning it can be quite a risk. One wrong step and you may end up spoiling your favorite pair of leather shoes and lose them forever.

Which is why we decided to help you out of the dilemma of removing paint stains from leather shoes while making sure your shoes remain safe. We have come up with some exclusively handy tips and tricks that you can use to maintain your leather shoes and successfully remove paint stains without spoiling your favorite pair. After all, a leather shoe is a heavy investment, right?

Read on to find out how to remove paint from leather shoes safely and maintain your leather shoes to make them last longer and shine better.


How to Remove Paint from Leather Shoes?

Leather shoes do not come cheap, and spoiling them just by spilling few drops of paint definitely seems like a waste. This is why we have come to your rescue and decided to offer some handy tips to keep your leather shoes intact despite having paint spilled over them. Read on to know how.

Use Soap and Water

Use Soap

Water always comes to the rescue when it comes to cleaning almost anything. Even in the case of leather shoes, water alone may not be able to clean the paint off the leather shoe surface, but soap indeed does. Water and soap solutions are suitable for removing water-based paint stains on leather shoes.

Follow the steps for cleaning:

  • Create a soap or mild detergent solution. Mix around 1/4th cup of soap solution/detergent with two parts of water.
  • Use a gentle cloth and dab the fabric into the soap solution.
  • With your fingers, gently rub the wet cloth on the paint surface.
  • If the paint has not dried too much, it should come off pretty quickly; else, you may have to rub harder.
  • Let the soap solution remain on the paint stain for a few minutes before washing the shoes off and removing the soap from the leather surface.

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure after using a wet cloth; the leather shoes have been dried properly. If they remain damp, the quality of the leather deteriorates, and it spoils easily.
  • Use a leather conditioner after drying the leather shoes to retain their shine and quality.
  • You can also use a soft-bristled brush instead of a cloth to rub off the paint stains with detergent/soap.
  • Make sure to use a mild soap/detergent as it may react with your shoes’ sensitive leather.


Use Oil

Use Oil

It can be either edible oil or olive oil. You can use oil to remove oil-based and water-based paint. Oil also retains the luster and leather shine, not allowing it to get spoilt due to excessive cleaning and tampering.

Follow these steps below:

  • Take some oil in a small container, about a few oil caps in a bowl should work.
  • Take some oil in your fingers or a small brush, and place the drop on the paint stain.
  • Cover the entire area of the paint stain on the leather shoe with oil
  • Allow the oil to react for some time with the paint stain. Leave it for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now, use a dry cloth with soft fibers to wipe the area with the paint stain properly.
  • Repeat the process if the stains are too stubborn.

Pro Tip: We recommend the oil-based method to be the most effective in removing paint stains from shoes. It does not harm the leather either, and most leather-based shoe polishes contain oil which allows to maintain the shine of the shoes and keeps the shoes moisturized.


Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover is Acetone, and its reactions with leather cannot be very pleasant sometimes. It is known to remove most kinds of paint and works well on our fingernails. However, leather being a sensitive material, one has to make sure to use as little nail polish remover as possible on the shoe surface.

Follow the steps below:

  • Take a small quantity of acetone on a cloth or cotton swab.
  • Dab the cloth or the cotton on the surface of the shoe where there is paint.
  • Dab until the paint starts to come off on the cloth or the cotton swab.
  • If the cotton swab is dirty enough, repeat the process with a new cotton swab or a different area on the cloth.
  • Don’t rub on the surface of the shoe with the nail polish remover. Rubbing can cause discoloration of the leather and spoil it.
  • Once done, wipe off the entire shoe to remove any excess remover on the surface and allow it to dry.
  • Make sure to condition the leather shoes once done.


Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly is very safe for leather shoes as it causes no harm while also helps in peeling off the paint easily. It helps in moistening the paint stain so you can scrape it off easily.

Follow the steps below:

  • Take some petroleum jelly on your fingers and dab it on the paint stain on leather shoes.
  • Allow the petroleum jelly to react with the paint stain for 3-5 minutes.
  • Now, use a blunt knife or blunt end of your credit card to peel off the paint stain.
  • Repeat the process if it does not peel off easily.
  • Once done, wash the stained area with soap and water and wipe it off.
  • Apply some polish on the leather shoes after washing.


Using a Blunt Knife or Scraper

Using a Blunt Knife or Scraper

Using a scraper or knife works best when the paint has dried out and formed a thick layer on the leather shoe surface. With a few gentle scrapes, you can easily scrape off the paint from the shoe surface. Make sure to use a blunt knife and apply only light pressure. You can also use a credit card edge instead of a knife to prevent the leather material from getting damaged and torn.

Pro Tip: After scraping, moisturize the leather shoes with some leather conditioner or vaseline.


Rub Alcohol On Leather

Rub Alcohol On Leather

Rubbing alcohol works in the same way as using acetone on the surface of the shoes. However, alcohol is a little more gentle on the shoe surface. But, alcohol has a general tendency to cause dehydration. This means it can even dry off the leather surface. Therefore, it is essential to condition the shoes to retain the shine and moisture of leather.

Follow the steps below:

  • Prepare an alcohol solution with a 1:1 dilution.
  • Now, use a cotton swab or a piece of cloth and dip it in the solution.
  • Dab it gently on the shoe surface where there is paint. Remember, do not rub.
  • Repeat the process if the stains are very stubborn. Remember, do not rub; simply dab or wipe at once.
  • Once done, use a dry cloth to remove excess alcohol, if any.
  • Use a leather conditioner to retain the luster and shine of the shoes after removing the paint stains.


Rubbing Lime Juice with Vinegar on Leather

Lime Juice

Rubbing lime juice and vinegar over leather is known to be quite an effective method. You will need several materials for this, but it does remove paint stains even if they have dried out. Ideally, if there is paint on your leather shoe, do not allow it to dry as it can be challenging to scrape, which can spoil the shoes later. Immediately get rid of it using any of the above methods.

Follow the steps below:

  • If the paint has dried out, use a blunt object like a credit card or a blunt knife first to scrape the paint layers.
  • Once the dry paint layer has been scraped off, prepare a lemon and vinegar solution 1:1.
  • Dip a soft-bristled brush or soft cloth into the solution and scrub it gently on the surface of the leather shoe where there is paint stain.
  • You can also use a spray container to spray this solution where you find paint stains.
  • Now, allow it to stay on the stain for some time while the lemon reacts with the paint and removes it from the shoe surface gently.
  • Rub the remaining lime juice and vinegar solution off with a dry cloth.
  • Use a leather conditioner after removing the paint stains and drying the shoes.


Use a Clean Wet Rag

If the paint has fallen on your shoe, the most immediate measure you can take while still wet is using a wet rag or towel. Use it to rub the paint stain from the leather shoe. Once the wet paint stain goes off, clean it with a dry rag or towel to remove the moisture.


Tips to Maintain Leather Shoes

Be it anything like paint or dust, you want to see that you always protect your leather shoes and don’t let them spoil under any circumstances. Which is why we decided to give you some valuable tips to keep in mind to maintain your leather shoes and make them last longer.

  • Keep some necessary shoe care kits handy. This can include a soft brush, shoe wax, shoe polish, leather conditioner, muslin cloth, shoe creams, etc. They help you to leather your leather shoes shining as new and make them last longer too.
  • Avoid excess water. Leather and water don’t always go well. You can undoubtedly waterproof your leather shoes, but these are very temporary measures. Leather and suede leather is not entirely waterproof, and it is best not to use excessive water for cleaning leather. Dripping water can deteriorate the quality, and the leather loses its natural shine and stiffness, making it wrinkly and saggy.
  • Always damp and dry-clean them. You can use a damp cloth to wipe off any dust. You must choose dry cleaning over wet cleaning, as leather is not entirely waterproof, as mentioned earlier. You can always go to a shoe care expert for better and professional cleaning.
  • Always condition your leather shoes after following any cleaning cycle above. Leather needs to maintain its texture and shine, for which it is necessary to condition them. You can use shoe cream or conditioner that contains lubricants suitable for use on leather shoes. Allow these conditioners to stay overnight and apply them after every use to maintain your leather shoes.
  • If at all you are treading out with your leather shoes on a rainy day, make sure to waterproof them. You can use a shoe protector or beeswax. These protecting agents do not allow water droplets to stay on the surface, and they slip off easily. Moreover, even dust and dirt in the surroundings will not stick to your shoes. Apply multiple coats for best results.
  • Polish the shoes using a soft-bristled brush and keep wiping the dust off the shoes using a soft muslin cloth. Ensure that the bristles or the cloth fibers are soft; else, they can form scratches on the shoe surface. Even if you are not using the leather shoes for a long time, make sure to maintain them once in two days to retain their quality and shine.


Take Away

You cannot let a few drops of paint spoil your leather shoes. However, cleaning the paint stains off can be pretty risky as it may end up damaging your leather shoes. Leather is a very sensitive material and needs to be handled with utmost care and patience. It can be quite an effort in cleaning leather shoes, especially if it has paint over it!!.

Therefore, we decided to make the task simpler for you by suggesting a few easy-to-follow techniques to clean your leather shoes and remove paint stains. You can use blunt objects to scrape off dry paint and use the various methods mentioned above to clean wet paint stains. Make sure not to allow them to stay for too long as it may get challenging to remove the paint from the shoes, which can cause permanent damage.

Read our tips above and let us know if they helped you remove paint stains from your leather shoes in the comments section below.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top


Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp

× How can I help you?