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How to Remove Paint from Leather Shoes: Step by Step Guide



Have any of your leather shoes been stained with paint? Are you looking for ways on how to remove paint from leather shoes? Cleaning dirty leather shoes is one thing. Removing paint from leather shoes is a whole different ball game. Even with shoe polish, you cannot remove some stains from leather. Caution is required when cleaning stained leather shoes to avoid any risk of color change on the leather.

The moment you realize you have accidentally stained your shoes with paint you must act quickly because it is easier to remove fresh paint than wait for it to dry up. Read on to learn more about how to get rid of stubborn paint from your leather footwear. 


What will need to remove paint from leather shoes?

  • Water
  • Clean cloth
  • Baby or vegetable oil
  • Cotton swab
  • Nail paint remover 
  • Leather conditioner


How to Remove Paint from Leather Shoes – Easy Steps

Let’s now look at a few ways how to remove paint from leather shoes. You can carry out this task by first identifying the correct products and having a thorough knowledge of the process.

Try to gently wipe off the paint with a damp cloth

Some types of paints are water-based, which will allow you to wipe them off even with a wet cloth. If the pain isn’t water-based, the moisture will still soften the paint. Come back later to cautiously remove the leftovers from the leather with a plastic card. After removing the paint, wipe the area with a dry cloth.


Baby or vegetable oil 

Oil-based paints are as common as water-based paints. To remove this type of paint from your shoes, use vegetable oil or baby oil. Dampen a cotton swab or rag with oil, and then rub the stain. Try to prevent the oil from absorbing into the leather. Wipe the surface with leather cleaner or a cloth dampened with soap and water. This will remove any residual oil.


Nail polish remover 

Nail polish remover can effectively remove many types of paints and tough stains. Apply nail polish remover to a cloth or cotton swab. Wipe the stain until you remove the paint. Wipe the cleaned area with a damp cloth to remove any residual nail polish remover. Then, preferably, wipe the leather with a special conditioner.


Try alcohol for tough stains 

For more stubborn paint stains, try rubbing alcohol on the stained area. Moisten a cloth or cotton swab with a small amount of alcohol and squeeze out excess liquid. Wipe off the paint gently with a cloth. Try not to wet your leather with alcohol, as this can lead to dryness. And dry leather is prone to warps and cracks. After removing the paint from the leather, wipe it with a damp cloth to remove the remaining alcohol. Lastly, it’s advisable to wipe the leather with a special conditioner.


Additional tips 

You are advised not to take too long before removing any stain on your leather shoes. Paint is easy to clean while wet than when it has dried up.

Though when the spill is too much you can scoop it out using something like a spoon. The remaining stain can be wiped out through recommended procedure.

One of the ways is to use a cotton cloth on which you can apply olive oil and spread it on the shoes.

 Rub it all over the shoes as you work in small circles to help loosen the dry or wet paint.

You can use a plastic or a wooden scraper to scrape off the softened paint.

You can use another clean piece of cloth to wipe away the scraped paint from your shoes.


Do not try to remove them using any solvent

Solvents such as turpentine or any of the paint thinners in the market can and will damage your leather shoes permanently. The solvents are a no for leather as they can permanently damage the leather material. You should use products that are leather-safe as well as apply the right methods.


Removing Oil-Based Paint from leather shoes

Oil paint is tough and durable once it is applied on any surface. It contains natural or synthetic oil. This paint is meant to cover surfaces to protect them against elements of weather and any other factors for a long duration of time.

Removing dried-up oil-based paint from leather shoes is tasking. But you can manage it as it takes about four to eight hours to dry up.

The shoe soles should be scrubbed using a toothbrush. Scrub any paint on the sole applying extra vigor until you notice that the paint has been rubbed off.

Use a piece of cloth and warm water with detergent to wipe out the rubbed-off.

You can use a rolled-up piece of cotton and some nail polish remover to blot out any remaining paint on your shoe.

The nail polish should be poured on the remaining specific spots on the shoe.

The cotton ball is used on the specific spots to blot the paint and then rinse the shoe in warm soapy water.

Remove your shoe from the warm water and rinse them in cold water.

You can put them to run in cold water in your washing machine.

These fixes of removing paint from your leather shoes can be used in a combined form. So far you have realized that removing paint from your shoes is a daunting and frustrating process.

It is therefore advisable to know the type of paint substance you are dealing with. This will help you look for the correct product.


What should I do if any of the methods don’t work?

That means that paint deposits and stains have penetrated deeper into the leather shoe. If this is the case, it will be nearly impossible to get rid of these stains. If you do not succeed in removing the paint deposits with any of the products mentioned above, there is nothing else you can do. The stains have probably penetrated too deep into the leather. The solution will then be to paint over the stain with leather paint to conceal the stain. 



We’ve just looked at several ways how to remove paint from leather shoes. It is a fact that accidental spillages of paint do happen and are unavoidable as one goes about doing their daily chores.

You may be on your phone and not looking at where you are going and you can accidentally trip over a tin of paint. Maybe you might step on wet paint thinking that it had dried.

You should try your best to act as quickly as possible to protect your shoes from paint smudge or spill.

You must be attentive and vigilant about your surroundings and keep on watching your steps to avoid the risk of damaging your expensive leather shoes.

Remember that getting rid of any paint on your leather shoes is not an easy task. Beware and take care of your shoes against any paint-related accidents and incidents.

Don’t forget that splatters and spots from paint are among the most stubborn and most difficult stains to remove from leather.


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