How to Remove Paint from Shoes in 4 Easy Ways

how to remove paint from shoes
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. Please read our Disclosure for more info.

For an art lover, getting paint stains on your clothes or shoes is common. No matter how hard you try to cover, a few colored drops may find their way to your shoes.

Paint on shoes seems impossible to remove, especially if it is dried. People often dump stained shoes thinking they are a waste now. Luckily, you don’t need to do that anymore. We have a few easy hacks that will help you remove paint from your shoes for good.

how to remove paint from shoes
Photo by Grailify on Unsplash

How to Remove Paint from Shoes

Before trying the below steps, remember that removing 100% paint stains may be difficult. Moreover, getting rid of wet paint is much easier than a dried one.

However, patience is the key. With the right strategy, these methods can make your shoes functional again.

1. Removing the Dried or Wet Paint on Top

First of all, you have to remove the excess paint on top, whether wet or dry. If the stain is completely dried, take a knife or any other sharp tool for scratching. After that, apply pressure with quick strokes on the stained fabric and rip off the paint blots. You can also scrape bulky spots using your fingernails.

Plastic Razor Blade Scraper, 2PCS Scraper Tool with 60PCS Plastic Blades, Cleaning Scraper Remover for Stickers, Decals, Adhesive, Labels, Paint, Glass, Car, Window, Stove Top, Caulk, No Scratches

However, if the paint is wet on top, take a damp cloth and remove it first. Keep repeating this step until no more color comes off. Remember to keep the shoe fabric damp throughout the process. It will help it be more flexible, and the stain will dissolve more easily.

2. Using Nail Polish Remover

Now that you have removed the excess paint place the shoe under hot running water. Apply detergent, and scrub well using a brush.

Next, take a cotton ball and apply a small amount of nail polish remover. Gently rub it on the stained area. This will remove the spots in no time.

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover, 6 oz

In the case of oil-based paint, apply rubbing alcohol in place of nail polish remover and gently dab on the affected area. Finally, wash your shoe with soap and water and sundry afterward.

3. Turpentine

Place the shoe on a dry napkin with the stained area facing downwards. Now, pour a small amount of turpentine into an old towel. Rub it on the inside of the shoe on the stained area. Apply pressure thoroughly using the turpentine towel until the paint comes off from the other end onto the napkin. This method works best for wet, oil-based paint stains.

16 Oz 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine

4. Using Paint Thinner

If your oil-based paint stain is completely dry, consider using an acrylic paint thinner. To do this, hold the shoe with one hand in a tub. Take paint thinner and pour it down directly onto the affected area. It will soften the stain, and the paint will come off more quickly.

8oz Acrylic Paint Thinner for Slow Drying Acrylic Paints, Acrylic Paint & Slow Drying Mediums Paint Mixes, Thins Paints Without Losing Slow Drying Qualities Made in USA

These easy tricks help remove paint and other stubborn things like a sharpie, gum, and tar off your shoes.

How to Get Sharpie/Tar off Shoes

To get sharpie marks or tar off your shoes, apply nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol in the same manner as explained above. However, as the tar is bulky and sticky, you have to scrape it off using a knife first. At last, don’t forget to wash the shoe with detergent water.

Amazon Brand - Solimo 70% Ethyl Rubbing Alcohol First Aid Antiseptic, 16 Fluid Ounces

How to Get Poison Ivy off Shoes

The poison ivy may come under your feet when you walk through a forest, and its juice may stick to your shoes. Beware, as you can develop a rash through it. To remove poison ivy from shoes, wash them with equal quantities of warm water and a dish detergent like Dawn. 

Dawn Ultra Dish Liquid 7Oz Platinum Refreshing Rain Scent

How to Get Gum off a Shoe

Put your shoe in a plastic bag and press it against the gum. Put the shoe in a freezer for a few hours until the gum is frozen. Now you can easily pull it off.

Another trick is to apply peanut butter to the gum and leave it for some minutes. Finally, scratch it off using a knife or a wire brush.

Skippy Peanut Butter, Creamy, 16.3 Oz, (Pack of 2)

How to Get the Gas Smell Out of Shoes

Working in a gas factory have its drawbacks. One of them is the infusion of gas smell in your shoes and clothes.

Anyhow, you can get the gas smell out of shoes with an easy trick. Put smelly shoes in a plastic bag having vinegar or baking soda. Leave them for at least a day, and then wash them off with detergent.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Fridge-n-Freezer Odor Absorber, Orange 14 oz, Pack of 12


Paint stains can be stubborn and may ruin your favorite pair of shoes uninvited. Fortunately, the above hacks can be your way out to getting rid of paint stains once and for all.

In addition, you can also remove other stains like tar, gum, or sharpie from your shoes using similar brilliant techniques. This way, you won’t have to waste money on fancy stain removers or a new pair of shoes.

Scroll to Top